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  • Core Space

All Aboard The Ships Of Disrepute

17th January 2024

All Aboard The Ships Of Disrepute

They say that good things come in small packages and that is certainly true with the Ships of Disrepute expansion for Core Space. It’s packed with fun additions to help your crew survive in a hostile galaxy and adds new dimensions to your campaigns whether you play Core Space, First Born, or both. Ships of Disrepute was released with Core Space First Born, but it works just as well with the original Core Space and some features really get to shine in the galaxy beyond the First Born system.

The expansion adds four main additions to your games of Core Space: a bigger and more diverse crew, new skills and classes, a ship that provides much greater support during missions, and a new Reputation system that tracks how your crew is perceived.

We’re going to need a bigger ship

Upgrading your old rust bucket for one of the ships from this expansion gives your crew a spacious new home. This means more room to store equipment, but with many of the ships in the expansion it also means room for more crewmembers* – and there are upgrades you can buy to increase that further too.

In the base game, you can have up to seven Traders on your crew, but you can usually only take three to four on most missions. That means that any extras were on the bench unless you needed a replacement for some reason. This was a good thing for insurance but, given that your crew need paying, why would you want more of them? The answer is that Ships of Disrepute has lots of options to make you glad you can get all hands on deck!

* Although some ships have a smaller crew and are optimised around other features like a lower cost, or different abilities instead.

The Black Maria is a venerable ‘Ender’ class ship

Aye Aye Sir!

For a start, you’re going to want a crewmember who can act as your ship’s Commander. They spend their actions to access the ship’s abilities and issue orders to the crew that stay onboard. The Commander doesn’t need to stay on your ship, but given that they are likely to want to use those actions for other things out on a mission, you might want a Trader dedicated to the role at the helm instead.

Left to their own devices any other spare crewmembers will be relaxing in their bunks, so the Commander needs to issue orders to them in the Helm if you want them to earn their keep.  They can then be moved to areas of the ship to carry out different tasks. The Commander can also more Traders in and out of the Airlock during missions and move equipment around too. This means that you can drag loot into your ship during a mission, pick up supplies to keep up the fight, bring injured Traders to a med bay (if you have one), and send out a Trader to replace them if needed.

A Trader who is quick with a pistol, or handy with their fists is an asset on a mission, but these skills are not ideal for running a spaceship. The good news is that you can put an expert in charge as Ships of Disrepute comes with two new Class boards that are ideal for the role; the Helsman and Skipper. These come with three new skill sets: Pilot, You’re In Charge, and She Can Take It!. These give you a diverse range of abilities like helping you to manage your Reputation, to manoeuvre into a better starting position, use Zones that you wouldn’t normally have access to, or blast away with your ship’s weapons as a Reaction. The two Class boards have all three skills but have some other skills that differ, normally for things that help you outside of missions such as the Barter skill that helps you bag a bargain in the Trade phase.

This might help you to pick up some helpful bits of gear from the set too, such as a communicator to pass on Actions to other Traders, or a Signal Relay to make missiles and drone deliveries more accurate. But where do these drones and missiles come from? That’s where Zones come in…

In The Zone

A range of different ships are available for your Commander to manage, and each is optimised differently. The Black Maria has no shuttle bay and can carry less fuel than other ships but comes with an ability that makes an Emergency Teleport safer. The Poseidon comes with the ability to ram other ships, whereas the Skylark is cheaper to buy but has fewer slots to add abilities to. There are also some unnamed ships so that you can make your own, including one which has every Upgrade slot and Zone available to refurbish (which is reflected in the cost).

Zones can be improved to unlock better abilities

Whichever ship you get, you’re going to have to keep it fuelled up and in good working order. Once you have enough money available to cover that you can look into unlocking the full potential of your vessel.

This comes in the form of Upgrades and Zones that you can renovate and buy modules for. Upgrade slots let you add innate abilities to your ship, whereas Zones add features that need a crewmember to stationed in them to activate the ability. You can also invest money into both types after they have been installed which lets you flip the token over to its Improved side, making them better and more reliable.

Upgrades allow you to do things like manage the appearance of your ship to change your Reputation (more on that later), add a Ram to use against other ships (for when you really want to mess with your opponent), or create Quarters to house extra Traders.

Zones tend to be more powerful and this makes it valuable to have some spare Traders to staff them. This could be a potent Weapon zone that can be upgraded to include missiles with a blast radius to clear out bunched-up enemies. There are also Zones that improve your crew through healing, training, or reducing upkeep such as the Medical and Lounge Zones. My personal favourite is the Mobile Supplies Zone which lets you send out a drone that can deliver a resupply of equipment to your team while they are on a mission. It can even help a downed Trader get back up on their feet. Both of these things could allow you Traders to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

“It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.*”

Those victories are going to matter more too, and not just to pay for all your new toys, because failure is one of the things that going to have an impact on how other factions treat you. This, and the outcome of other choices that you make, are handled by the expansion’s Reputation system. This is one of my favourite additions to Core Space as it enriches the game by connecting your Traders to the galaxy they work in and provides ongoing consequences for your actions.

The Reputation tracker kicks in once you buy a ship as you are now flying around in a vessel that people are going to notice. As an unknown quantity you start off in the middle of the tracker but as you complete missions you will move up towards the law-abiding end or down towards the disreputable end. Working with Gangers, fighting the law, and killing citizens is going to make you unpopular with the Galactic Corps and civilians, but it opens up opportunities with the criminal underworld. On the other hand, helping the Galactic Corps and saving civilians will make you look like big damn heroes and push your Reputation score up.

This all has real in-game effects; for example it changes how hard it is to recruit different kinds of Trader, and you can get discounts from honest retailers or the black market depending on which way you lean. The impact is most noticeable at the extremes: if you drop to the lowest rungs you will be attacked on sight by the populace, but you can bring a Ganger NPC with you on missions.  In contrast, when you reach the top of the tracker stores will start giving you freebies and you can start taking a Galactic Corps NPC with you on missions.

Being notorious or famous can come with unwanted attention and that’s true here too as the extreme ends of the tracker can push up the hostility tracker before you even begin a mission. As a result, you might want to keep a lower profile by installing Upgrades like Camo Paint to your ship, or bribe your way out of trouble with cold hard cash.

Whether you end up standing up for law and order, or thumbing your nose at the man, there are some actions that will hurt you either way. This could be failing a mission, leaving a Trader behind to fend for themselves, or getting locked up. These Shameful Actions remove the top and bottom options from the tracker entirely and are harder to undo. All of this gives your mission higher stakes that have long-term consequences and add extra fun.  

If your crew are ready to trade in their runabout for a better ship and step up into the limelight grab yourself a copy of Ships Of Disrepute from our website or one of our local suppliers.

If you are playing a multiplayer campaign you can also pick up copies of the Core Space Enhanced Dashboard to access more copies of the dashboard and inserts.

*Isaac Azimov, Foundation