We announced Wednesday that Nexus Ops , the frenzied board game of fierce battles and fantastic alien creatures, is available at your local retailer and on our webstore . In this classic game of tense extraterrestrial combat, two to four players race to control rubium-producing spaces on a randomly built board made up of modular, hexagon tiles. Only by spending precious rubium to raise an army of indigenous beasts will a faction have the strength to defend its claim, as players clash in a series of quick, dice-based skirmishes at key strategic locations.

If you’re already familiar with the classic edition of Nexus Ops , you may not be aware that while FFG’s update preserves that core game play, it also adds eleven optional rules. These can be used in a multitude of engaging combinations, allowing players to tailor their Nexus Ops experiences for nearly infinite replayability. Perhaps the most significant optional rule is that of the all-new alternate alien powers. By simply flipping their reference sheets to the “Alternate Unit” side, players can unlock a range of exciting new abilities and synergies. And while the alternate units use the same figures as the standard ones, they present entirely new tactical choices. Today, we’ll take a closer look at these alternate units.


Physically more fragile than the Humans on which their DNA is based, Clones are the backbone of a corporation’s labor force. These alternate units replace Humans on the reference sheet, but since cloning is a complex and time-intensive process, they can only be produced at a rate of one Clone per home base hex per turn. What’s more, their physical limitations make them even weaker than humans; in battle, Clones roll one fewer die than their overall number.

To help remember the recruiting limit, place newly purchased Clones on the
refinery, then move them to the edge of the hex at the end of your turn.

Despite these restrictions, however, Clones are quite cost-effective. Their price is only one rubium a piece (as opposed to two for Humans), making them excellent “meat shields” for your more valuable units. And while their recruitment cap means you can’t immediately flood the board with a Clone army, you can (and should) slowly build up a reliable force of them, to work your refineries and defend the home front.


This red Shardian has a surprise in store
for his attackers. When killed, he can explode,
potentially taking them both out. Click to enlarge.

The suicide bombers of the alien moon, Shardians are prepared to destroy themselves to ensure the defense of their homes. These three-cost units may begin a battle by rolling a special two-dice attack that hits on 4+ (as opposed to their 5+ standard attack). This special attack utterly obliterates the attacking Shardian, but he has the potential to take up to two enemies with him.

When fighting on his home turf in a Crystal Spires, the Shardian provides an even more effective deterrent. This is because in a Crystal Spires, his controlling player is not forced to decide between a standard and special attack; he can have both. As long as a Shardian is in its natural habitat, it “explodes” when it’s removed as a casualty. A Shardian could therefore attack as usual during the Battle phase, but still reserve the option to use his special attack afterwards!


Sporlings, the alternate counterparts to the classic game’s Fungoids, are remarkably mobile fighters. First, observant fans of the classic game will notice that Sporlings come before Shardians in the Battle Order (in the classic game, Crystallines attack before Fungoids). This extra speed in combat, however, is only the first of their benefits.

The green player’s Boulder Blitzer has wandered into the wrong hex.
The blue player has Sporlings in three adjacent Liquifungus Forests, and he can
move them in when combat begins.

Whenever possible, Sporlings are best kept within Liquifungus Forests; as long as they are, they can quickly teleport to adjacent hexes in which battles begin! If you’re fortunate enough to control multiple Liquifungus Forests within close proximity of each other, you can create a highly defensible sector of the board. Spread your Sporlings across the forests to limit enemy movements, but be ready to converge them onto a single hex whenever a fight breaks out.

Boulder Blitzer

The red Boulder Blitzer might seem outmatched
by the superior blue Monolith Wyrm, but since
they're on a Rock Plains, the Boulder
Blitzer will strike first. Click to enlarge.

And speaking of mobility, the Boulder Blitzer (a close cousin to the base game’s Rock Strider), is an insectoid monstrosity capable of moving across multiple terrain types with blazing speed. Whereas the base game’s Rock Strider could move up to two hexes only when one of them was a Rock Plains, the Boulder Blitzer has no such restriction; its six long legs allow it to skitter through Liquifungus Forests and Magma Pools with equal ease.

While in the Rock Plains, however, its natural camouflage and instinctive knowledge of the terrain give the Boulder Blitzer an edge in combat. When in one these hexes, the Boulder Blitzer ignores the standard battle order, instead gaining a “first strike” option even against the mighty Monolith Wyrm! It’s therefore important to mention that since Rock Plains are one of the most plentiful terrain type in the game, the Boulder Blitzer is able to exercise its ability more often than any other unit.

Magma Diver

Meanwhile, the fearsome Magma Diver is not only immune to the scorching temperatures of the moon’s Magma Pools, it thrives on them. With a tough exoskeleton hardened by generations of direct exposure to lava, the Magma Diver is able to swim through it like a fish through water. What’s more, its incinerating attack devastates foes; the Magma Diver hits on a roll of 3+, but on a roll of 5+, it scores two hits!

The blue Magma Diver on the right is facing a daunting defensive wall.
Fortunately, he can dive beneath the surface and target the vulnerable
refinery on the other side. He must go alone, however;
so if he’s unlucky, that Clone might kill him.

When traveling from a Magma Pool, the Magma Diver may move directly to another Magma Pool, or to a hex adjacent to a Magma Pool. This provides a range of options; just remember that because of the configurations of the hex tiles, Magma Pools can only be placed directly adjacent to the central Monolith tile. This means that to maximize the impact of your Magma Diver’s mobility, it helps if the Magma Pools begin as far apart as possible.

Monolith Wyrm

The mighty Monolith Wyrm is a rare species that actually feeds on rubium to power its flight. Its mastery of the skies gives it free reign to attack adjacent hexes (as long as it’s striking from a safe position). In addition, this special attack benefits from a mechanic sometimes called “exploding dice.” Whenever it scores a hit, it must roll another die, potentially dealing perpetual damage (so be careful not to prematurely destroy enemy units that might be better saved for a Secret Mission card).

The blue player’s Monolith Wyrm has a few options here.
He could end his movement and safely attack an adjacent space,
or he could spend one rubium to fly to green’s vulnerable refinery. 

The Monolith Wyrm also carries a unique strategic choice. It can essentially fly to any hex on the board, even over enemies and deep into unguarded home hexes. This power, however, comes at a significant cost: for each hex the Monolith Wyrm moves beyond the first, it must pay one rubium. Is such an incursion worth spending your precious resources for?

Launch the video trailer for a quick look at the themes and components of Nexus Ops (QuickTime, 19.1 MB)
You can also view it on
YouTube .  

With its range of all-new tactical choices, the Nexus Ops ’ alternate units variant provides a never-before-seen way to enjoy this classic game of extraterrestrial combat. Learn more by downloading the rules from our support page or reading our series of online previews , then head to your local retailer and begin the race for rubium!

Nexus Ops is a frenzied board game of fierce battles and fantastic alien creatures. Two to four players control factions of corporate troops and indigenous life forms on an alien moon. Players deploy troops from their home base to explore the moon, mine resources, purchase troops, win battles, and fulfill missions to win the game.

Nexus Ops is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. Game images (c) 2011 Hasbro.
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