Star Saga Week continues today. Make sure you check out our previous posts detailing the background of the mercenaries, showing what’s inside the retail edition and explaining how the co-op mode/solo play works. Today we’re turning to the dark side, as designer Stewart Gibbs explains how to be an effective Nexus Player!
Make sure you are familiar with the map and the areas that the mercenaries will visit next, and save any cards that will be more beneficial in those areas. For example, if the mercs are about to enter a wide open space with lots of lines of fire, save your Target Acquired card. Save your Interrupts for areas where they have to travel single file past a Reinforcement Point, so you can run a minion into the middle of their party. Save your Booby Trap cards for tempting crates that may be coming up in the next room. There are plenty more examples if you look through the card deck and think about how the cards could be used.
Bait your opponents
As a co-op game, there’s usually lots of conversation around the table. As the Nexus player, you can join in the conversation with some ‘helpful’ comments, bluffing the mercs into traps or throwing them off course. Also, players really can’t help but discuss their tactics for future turns. Listen closely and work out how you can scupper their plans!
Understand the timing of the card deck
Lots of missions will have event cards that come out at certain times. Some of these will help the mercs, and some will help the Nexus player. To an extent, the Nexus player can speed up or slow down this process. There are some cards that can be used in combination, like a Stealthy Advance followed by a Target Acquired for example, that will get you through the deck quicker. You can also make the most of bonus activations to bottleneck the mercs and leave them in an inconvenient position for when the event card comes out.
Lab Techs are weak, but they are perfect for swarming onto the board and holding up the mercs while the stronger troops arrive. They can hide around corners for the cover bonus while projecting their front arc into the corridor and stopping the mercs getting past. For your ranged troops, use the same positioning but take advantage of the pot shot rule to target the mercs as they approach. Another aspect to positioning is to place your minions in a way that to attack some of them, the mercs must turn their backs on others. This will open them up to some powerful rear attacks.
Pick your targets
In Dungeon Saga, killing Danor is usually the most obvious way to win, but in Star Saga, the weakest merc is not always the best target. For example, Curby is physically weak, but very resilient to ranged fire due to his shield, and is usually tucked away at the back so can be hard to reach in close assault. Therefore it can be a waste of actions to try attacking him unless you isolate him first. Instead, try to target the mercs that will be most useful for later parts of the mission. In mission B for example, both Wrath and the Devil’s feats are perfect for clearing out the large room at the end. Pile the attacks onto them early, and you might have a chance of taking them out before they get there, or otherwise you may tempt them to waste their feats in a less beneficial part of the map.
In a mission with a lot of open space, take out Erika, with her powerful ranged ability, first. That then gives your minions the advantage at range, whereas the mercs have to get closer to attack you. In a mission where the main objective involves hacking terminals, then Curby or Ogan will be your key targets. In all cases, as above try to position your minions for rear attacks, and make the most of these advantages with bonus activations.
There you have it Nexus players – some great tips on being as evil as possible. If you fancy keep your plans completely secret, then consider picking up the Nexus Screen, which hides the map and even your minions from the mercs.