Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Simone Luciani
David Turczi

Board & Dice (German: Giant Roc)

No. of Players:

G@mebox Star



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

You should have a fairly large table if you want to play Nucleum. And you should also allow a little more time for setting up the game, preferably before the guests arrive, if you want to get into the game quickly. Of course, it also helps to know the game and to have the material well organised. But once you've got started, Nucleum develops an incredible pull with perfect depth, at least if you also like somewhat more complex Euro games like I do.

But what's it all about? As the name might suggest, the game is about a mysterious new energy source, uranium. At some point in the early 19th century, this new element is introduced to the powerful in Central Europe and, in the course of this, a new reactor was create a new reactor, the Nucleum, which revolutionises energy production compared to conventional coal-fired power stations.

Unlike in Germany today, this energy source was immediately put to use in the fictitious Central European scenario and an unrivalled triumphal march begins. As players, we take part in this rapid rise of the region between Prague and Leipzig and we industrialise the country. Uranium mining areas need to be developed, reactors and turbines to be erected, buildings and industries to be constructed and supplied with energy, and the railway network must be expanded at the same time.


The large main game board shows us where the building sites in the cities, the mining areas for uranium and the areas for the power stations can be found. In addition to this map, there is space for various tiles and pieces for purchase, acquire and we also can find several scoring tracks. All of this takes up a lot of space on the table.

However, each player also has their own personal board, on which the ready-to-use buildings, turbines and uranium mines are located, technologies are developed and action tiles are placed. The maximum number of units that can be taken in an income phase is also noted on three income tracks.

The game has an interesting action mechanism. You choose your actions with the help of action tiles, on each of which we find two actions. Both actions can be carried out, but this is not a must. Main actions allow you to build up buildings, turbines and mines from your own board to the main board, provided you have the necessary money and workers. In addition, you can only build where you have already established a connection to, but more on this later.

There is also the main action with which you can acquire a contract from the main board, which you then fulfil at some point later. Another important action is Energize, which allows you to transport uranium to a power station, burn coal in a coal-fired power station and then generate the electricity required to light up one of your buildings. Once again, a connection must have been established between the building, mine, power station, etc.


Various subsidized actions enable direct gaining or advancing in the area of income.

But there is also another important main action, Develop, and this action can be used to acquire new action tiles from the main board. This allows you to gradually expand your action options, which is an important step, as the action tiles are no longer available once used, but are placed in the upper area of your own game board and thus determine how much income you can earn in the next income phase. That’s because the three income tracks for money, workers and victory points are located under the tray for the action cards used.

In the income phase, which is triggered by taking all the action tiles back into your hand instead of choosing one, a check is made to see which of the two values (the marker on the income track or the space below the last action tile placed) is lower. This value determines the income in the respective area.

However, action tiles fulfil another purpose: instead of carrying out the actions and placing them in the upper area of your own game board, they can also be placed as a railway line on the main board, gradually connecting the cities. So much for the necessary connection between turbines, mines and buildings.


Actions can also be triggered by the cards when they are used as railway lines, but in this case that’s only true if the edge colour of the action tile matches the adjacent colour. Also, the action card is no longer available to the player in this case, so you should carefully consider which action card to use. In any case, it is better to make sure you have a supply in good time.

So, there's a lot going on in Nucleum. Typical for BOARD & DICE, there are also rewards for almost everything we do, often in the form of victory points. For example, when we remove a building from our game board, when we accept a contract, the next time we fulfil the contract, when we light up buildings, etc.

The question now, of course, is whether it's worth all the effort. My answer is Yes, Yes, Yes. Admittedly, I was also confused at the beginning, not to say overwhelmed. But that quickly subsided as the game progressed. Ultimately, you "only" choose one action tile at a time and play it either in your own playing area or as a railway line on the main board. But the possibilities that arise from this choice are fantastic. David Turczi's solo mode also works perfectly, is not too complex and is a lot of fun.


Nucleum is one of my favourite games from the very good 2023 boardgame year, lots of variety (each game colour plays differently due to different starting conditions) and enormous game depth. But beware: the game is at least connoisseur level, definitely not for casual players. For me, worth another great G@meboxStar!

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