What exactly is Core Space, and is it the game for me? If you’ve been asking that question, read on. Here’s what the rulebook says:
Core Space is a science fiction miniatures board game set on the border of the Barrens – the desolate region of space around our galaxy’s supermassive black hole. The Barrens have become the base of a malevolent artificial species intent on the harvesting of all living matter in the galaxy, for ends unknown.
In this game of survival each player takes control of a small band of Traders trying to make a living in a dangerous galaxy. You need to contend with criminal factions, an overzealous police force, a deteriorating ship, rival Traders and a relentless alien species that wants your biomass.
You must complete missions, explore space derelicts and frontier worlds, salvage, trade, upgrade your crew and fight to live another day…
Sounds exciting doesn’t it? But how to tell if it’s your sort of game? There’s a whole spectrum of game categories these days, from family board games to narrative role-playing games to hobbyist wargames. More recently a new hybrid category has appeared, falling somewhere in between – the ‘miniatures game’. What exactly defines a miniatures game can vary, so where exactly on the spectrum does Core Space fit?
The Sci-fi Miniatures Game
Core Space is spreading, like the Purge, across the whole gaming spectrum. It’s the perfect balance between a characterful RPG and a fast-playing board game. It uses the miniatures and terrain to bridge the gap in between – practically they form your playing pieces and your board, but aesthetically they bring wonderful immersion and create the world.
Here are some examples of how Core Space has pulled typical elements from each category and unified them into one game:
Miniature Skirmish Games: Everything that happens on the ‘board’ itself will be familiar to a skirmish gamer. Your characters will move, shoot and fight using straightforward dice-rolling mechanics, with victory often determined by taking an objective or defeating the enemy.
The basic rules for Core Space are available to download for free HERE.
It’s off the board where things become a little different.
Board Games: Core Space comes with some nifty extra components to surround the basic mechanics. You won’t need to track wounds with dice or refer to a roster sheet for your special rules and equipment. No, Core Space has bespoke character dashboards for that. These are used to track your character’s health, ammo, equipment, skills and more, and we cover them in depth HERE.
The second plastic tracker records the rising hostility. This gives the game a soft time limit, with your enemies, the Purge, becoming increasingly more dangerous as the game progresses. This is backed up with the Event Deck throwing curveballs into the game each round to keep you on your toes.
Components aside, the other board game element of Core Space is the way in which you play against the game itself. The deadly Purge are entirely AI controlled with a concise set of rules to govern how and where they will attack. This does of course mean that most Core Space missions can be played solo or co-op – more on that later.
RPGs: Core Space gives you the freedom to do anything, especially with the advanced section of the Deluxe Rulebook. Your characters can dive through windows, throw equipment to each other, use the terrain as a weapon or makeshift cover – it’s really up to the players how they want the narrative to progress. The game can also accommodate a GM who can take over the AI from the Purge and steer the story as they see fit, designing custom missions for their gaming groups.
Campaigns are where your choices really make a difference as the game becomes about more than just the task at hand. You need to think ahead to what you can salvage and trade to keep your malfunctioning ship in the sky and keep your crew alive. We’ve done a whole post on Campaigns HERE.
Round after round the game will present you with opportunities, but you won’t have the resources to take them all – not enough crew, not enough actions, not enough ammo, the wrong equipment. You will need to make difficult choices, echoing the choices made by your crew as they struggle to survive. The right choices will keep you alive; the wrong ones will cost you dearly.
Co-operative or Competitive?
Do you prefer to crush your friends into the ground, or work with them towards a joint victory? Core Space offers both. Ultimately this is mission-based, with some missions having a shared goal and others where victory can only be taken by a single crew. However, just because a goal is shared that doesn’t mean you can’t settle some grudges along the way and snag some loot to repair your ship. Furthermore, even when only one can take the objective there’s no harm in joining forces against the Purge. If your docking bay has become overrun, maybe your opponent will let you use theirs, for a price… You can form alliances and make deals with other players as you wish.
Co-operative missions can of course be played solo by taking just a single crew, or controlling multiple crews. They can also be played in teams with players taking one or two characters each. Core Space can be adapted to the size of your gaming group with ease.
Would You Like to Know More?
That’s it for now, but we’ve got lots more Core Space coverage below:
- Core Space – The Miniatures and Terrain
- Core Space – Campaigns
- Core Space – Character Dashboards
- Core Space – NPCs and AI
- Core Space – Round Break Down
Keep following the blog to stay up to date.
In the meantime, you can pick up Core Space HERE. Shipping begins next week!