Nucleus: A group of atoms

Nucleus: A group of atoms
Nucleus: A group of atoms

For or against nuclear power? Nucleum challenges you to shape Europe’s energy future.


PEF, aka Pierre-François to his friends. Undisputed master of board games that last forever. PEF started playing complex strategy games as soon as he could hold a die in his hands. His favorites are those that require building empires and plotting against your opponents while sipping a herbal tea. Motto: “If the game lasts less than two hours, it’s a coffee break!”

Nucleum: The Perfect Fusion

Warning : In the interest of transparency towards our community, we would like to clarify that this article reflects our personal opinion on the game. We have not received any compensation from the publisher of the game. We have acquired and tested the game independentlywith no commercial connection to its publisher. The reviews presented here represent our honest and unbiased analysis of the game, based on our own experience.

Do you like big, big, big games? Complex, rich and intense? You’re going to (over)love Nucleum. In the ever-expanding universe of board games, Nucleum promises a powerful, deep gaming experience.

This management and strategy game, which follows in the footsteps of classics such as Power Grid and Brass, offers an immersion into the world of nuclear energy (a… fun theme?). Let’s take a closer look at what makes Nucleum a title worth your attention.

Mechanics: Nucleum, a trendy game

At the heart of Nucleum is an ingenious game system based on the use of multifunctional tiles. These tiles are the main engine of the game, giving us remarkable versatility in our actions:

  1. Performing actions on the individual board
  2. Network extension on the central plateau
  3. Revenue Management

This core mechanic provides considerable strategic depth. For example, placing tiles above income tracks creates a ceiling on earnings, forcing players to carefully plan their actions over the long term. This approach avoids the classic “win to win” syndrome seen in many economic games. The more I win, the more I…win. With a gap that keeps growing. And too bad for the others who lag behind.

Compared to Power Grid, where resource management is more straightforward, Nucleum adds an extra layer of complexity with its multi-functional tiles. This mechanic is reminiscent of some aspects of Brass, particularly in the way actions interact and influence each other.

Structure and progress of the game

A game of Nucleum takes place over several rounds, each divided into distinct phases:

  1. Selecting and placing tiles
  2. Actions on the individual board
  3. Network development on the central plateau
  4. Revenue collection
  5. Verification of objectives

This structure allows for a fluid progression of the game, with each phase logically flowing into the next. Players must constantly juggle between their short-term goals and their long-term strategy, creating a palpable tension throughout the game.

Strategic depth (for irradiated evenings)

One of Nucleum’s strengths is its ability to deliver a deep strategic experience. The basic rules are relatively simple to understand, but the interactions between the different mechanics create a game space rich in possibilities.

For example, one person might focus on rapidly expanding their network, while another person might favor a more calculated approach focused on maximizing revenue. These different strategies are all viable, which is a testament to the game’s careful and powerful balancing act.

Matos (and enriched uranium)

Visually, Nucleum impresses! The tiles are clearly designed, with intuitive icons that make it easy to understand the actions. The game board, representing a stylized map of Europe, is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. If you like… garish colors

And frankly, the individual boards deserve a special mention. Their ergonomic design allows for clear management of the different aspects of the game, from energy production to network expansion. This visual clarity contributes greatly to the game’s accessibility, even for less experienced audiences (but will they really play it? Rhetorical question).

Theme and immersion

Nucleum is not just an abstract exercise in strategy. Its nuclear energy theme is well integrated into the game mechanics, providing an immersive experience. You really feel like you are in control of an energy conglomerate, making decisions that affect not only your company, but also the energy future of Europe. Nice program!

This thematic integration raises relevant questions about resource management, energy policy and environmental challenges, adding a reflective dimension to the playful experience. For or against nuclear power?

Game length and replayability

Or: Do you have 3 hours in front of you?

A full game of Nucleum lasts about 2.5 to 3 hours, including setup. This may seem like a long time, but it is justified by the depth of the game and the satisfaction that comes from gradually developing your strategy.

Replay value is one of Nucleum’s strong points. The variety of possible strategies, combined with different starting configurations and changing objectives, ensures that each game is a unique experience. In addition, the game features a single-player mode developed by David Turczi, a recognized expert in this field, offering a rich and powerful single-player experience!

Comparison with other games

To situate Nucleum in the current gaming landscape, it is useful to compare it to other similar games:

  • Compared to Power Grid (unfortunately no longer published today, sniff), Nucleum offers a greater variety of possible actions each turn, but retains the crucial aspect of resource management and network expansion.
  • Compared to Brass, it offers a more modern approach to industrial management, with a focus on nuclear energy rather than 19th century industry.e century.
  • Similarities to games like Terra Mystica can also be found in the way players must efficiently manage their resources and plan their expansion.

The core, the verdict

Nucleum stands out as a gem in the pantheon of strategic management games. It manages to deliver a deep experience for experienced audiences, with well-thought-out mechanics and a clear design.

Its strengths – the innovative tile mechanics, the successful thematic integration, and the great replayability – make it a title that deserves its place in the collection of any strategy game fan. Although its length may be a deterrent for some, the richness of the experience offered amply justifies the investment in time. So yes, who, today, still has 3 hours of time “to kill” around a board game. But if that’s your (mine, anyway) thing, Nucleum will clearly be your thing!

Nucleum is not just a game, it is an invitation to explore the complex challenges of modern energy management, all in a playful and… “fun”? Hard fun!

Grandiose !

Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Label The Green : No. To learn more about the Dé Vert label, click here.
  • Creation : Dávid Turczi, Simone Luciani
  • Illustrations : Zbigniew Umgelter, Andreas Resch, Piotr Sokolowski
  • Editing : Intrafin
  • Numbers of players and players : 1-4 (ideal at 3. Neither too much nor too little)
  • Recommended age : From 14 years old (but clearly not less. Or at least 32 years old and bac +17, to be sure)
  • Duration : 2 to 3 hours (count 3 hours instead, and we remain friends)
  • Theme : Industry (now that’s a sexy theme!)
  • Main mechanics : Connection, Powers, Actions, Construction, Tiles. To learn more about the different game mechanics, click here.

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