Core Space – Round Break Down

Today we are going to take a closer look at the gameplay. Conveniently, Colin was over at Beasts of War recently and played through a few games with Justin. In the video below you can watch part of their game, and they will be explaining each part of the rules as they go. By the end of the video you should have a good idea of how Core Space works.

2019-03-29 Blog BoW Video

Each round consists of five phases:

  1. Hostility Phase – the hostility rises and new events will occur.
  2. Trader Phase – players alternate making actions with their Traders.
  3. Purge Phase – the Purge will arrive and activate using the AI rules.
  4. NPC Phase – all other NPCs – Civilians, Galactic Corps etc will activate, also using the AI rules.
  5. Assessment Phase – resolve any ‘end of round’ effects and pass the Turn Counter over to the other player – they will go first in the next round.

These phases will be familiar to most veterans of miniatures games. Alternate activation is in fashion at the moment and Core Space makes good use of it. The difference comes from the resource management of health, skills, ammo and equipment (see the post on Character Dashboards) and of course dealing with the relentless AI actions of the Purge.

The other key feature of Core Space is the narrative – during the video you’ll see that Colin and Justin aren’t just moving pieces on a board, they are telling a story. In a way Core Space is like a more accessible RPG, with immersive visuals set out on the table in front of you.

2019-03-29 Blog BoW Video Top Down

The video goes into a lot of detail, showing everything the players do action by action. It’s a great way to learn the game.

Don’t forget, everything you see in the video comes in the box – you get a full table of terrain as well as the minis, plastic dashboards, and other game components.

For those who prefer reading rules, they are available for FREE on our website.

Core Space Unleashed!

As of this weekend, Core Space is no longer a pre-order and is officially released! The stock is in the warehouse and ready to ship. We are finishing up the KS dispatch and then we will move onto website pre-orders and retailers. You can pick it up HERE.

Keep up with the latest news by signing up to our newsletter HERE.

Happy Gaming!

Core Space – NPCs and AI

Core Space is a narrative-driven game. In the end what’s important is that your crew lives past the end of the mission and keeps their ship in the sky. Sometimes you may want offer a little charity to a Trader in need, and sometimes it’s a simple choice – you either fight alongside another crew or you die.

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So, that’s why many Core Space missions are designed to be played co-operatively or even solo. For this to work the common enemy, the Purge, had to be AI controlled. Of course we didn’t want to complicate the game’s mechanics to do this so we came up with a simple process to follow each time the Purge activate.

Firstly, the character will select a target for its actions. Being emotionless robots the Purge aren’t too picky about what they kill; they just want to assimilate biomass! Therefore they will always pick the closest non-Purge character as their target, prioritising those that are visible and/or not in cover. The Purge Assassin adds a little twist to this rule – if they can see a Trader Captain they will be a priority target for an Assassin, so be careful!

2019-03-27 Blog NPCs Assassin.png

With their target chosen they will then carry out their actions – one for a Harvester and two for the other Purge types. We got this clear in our heads very early on – essentially the Purge will attempt to cause the most harm possible in the easiest possible way. While this means their chosen actions are usually very obvious, it wasn’t quite precise enough for a set of gaming rules.

The end result was a neat little chart as you can see below, but once you’ve got a couple of games under your belt you won’t even need that. It boils down to just move, shoot or fight depending on their current position.

2019-03-27 Blog NPCs NPC AI Chart

Combined with the various special rules this makes the Purge quite terrifying to fight at times. Their actions may be predictable, but they always advance faster than you expect! The Scramble ability used by all but the Devastators means they can effectively ignore terrain, clambering through windows and vaulting tables as if they weren’t there. They may not move any faster than your Traders, but they do most of their movement in dead-straight lines while you have to go around the scenery!

The First Strike ability of the Harvesters and Live Ones makes them even more flexible – if they can reach you they will attack you for free! This doesn’t just apply in the Purge phase either – some of the game’s Event cards will move the Purge in the Hostility Phase before the Traders even get a chance to react.

Other NPCs

The Purge aren’t the only NPCs in the game of course. The board wouldn’t feel like a living, breathing spaceport without the locals. While some of them fled when they heard about the Purge invasion, not everyone had that luxury. Some couldn’t afford to leave and some saw lucrative opportunities for looting!

2019-03-27 Blog NPCs Treva.png

The game includes three Civilians that are AI-controlled just like the Purge. Not being emotionless robots however, they are a little more nuanced. The box contains a white Chance die. It’s got numbers and arrows used for randomising or scattering, but it also doubles (or triples) up as a method for activating Civilians. The die is rolled when they activate, and could see them wander around on their day-to-day business, attempt to sell items to a nearby Trader, or throw caution to the wind and defend their home with violence. There’s also a chance they were never a regular Civilian in the first place as they throw off their disguise to reveal a Live One!

2019-03-27 Blog NPCs Live One.jpg

In addition to these three, ALL traders can also be used as Civilians just by flipping their character boards. If you’ve got spare Traders they will come in handy!

Coming in expansions later this year (or in your box very soon if you backed the Kickstarter!) are other types of NPC to add even more life to your gaming tables. They include:

  • Criminal Gangers – low-life who want you off their turf
  • The Galactic Corps – the galaxy’s police force
  • Security Guards – Civilians with body armour and a sense of entitlement
  • New Purge – the Annihilator and the Gatherers will present a whole new threat

2019-03-27 Blog NPCs Anni and Harveys.jpg

NPCs can be used in all games to add a twist to a familiar mission. They can change your gameplan by doing unexpected things, and if you’re clever you can use them to your advantage.

Going back to the narrative, where the NPCs really shine is as objectives. They are great for building missions around as you will see in the Core Space expansions, really adding to the immersive RPG feel of the game. You may have to rescue some civilians, or negotiate with the local organised crime syndicate, or even be commandeered by the Galactic Corps to defend a space station from attack. The options are endless.

2019-03-27 Blog NPCs Galactic Corps.jpg

You can pick up Core Space HERE. Keep up with the latest news by signing up to our newsletter HERE.

If there are any other types of NPCs you’d like to see, let us know in the comments below.

Happy Gaming!

Core Space – Character Dashboards

Miniatures games, especially those towards the skirmish end of the scale, can get fiddly. Many of them use counters, dice, or handwritten rosters to keep track of your characters’ health, special abilities and any other resources.

Core Space solves this issue neatly with its bespoke plastic dashboards. They keep everything in one place and easily visible, and the design means you don’t have to worry about the table getting knocked as the raised lip and tight-fitting pegs keep everything firmly in place.

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Arianna Dashboard


Let’s take a look at how they work:

Trader Board

The top section contains your Trader Board. This contains your character’s personal details (name, species, etc) and statistics. It is these statistics that determine how the character acts in game.

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Trader Boards

The four main statistics are Health, Actions, Skill and Career, each depicted by a series of circles. You will notice that each statistic has some spaces filled out with an inner circle (default), and some left blank (potential). Default statistics show the character’s starting level, whereas the potential spaces can be filled when levelling up in the Advancement Phase (see Campaigns). A character can never exceed their potential, but they can drop below their default!

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Pen

You’ll notice that Core Space Trader Boards have a laminated finish. This adds strength to the card, making it feel almost like plastic. However, this is just a bonus – the lamination is there so you can use a dry-wipe pen on the boards. You can use the pen to fill each space as your character advances. When you finish your campaign you can wipe it clean and start afresh!

Health and Actions are pretty self-explanatory. The Skill statistic allows the character to use Skills during the game. These are one-off special abilities that can really make a difference when things get tough. Skills are represented by the coloured symbols on the Class Board (see below) and sometimes on the Trader Board too. They can be found in the reference section at the back of the rulebook (also available as a free download).

The Career statistic represents the character’s experience during their time in the crew and affects how many Skills they can learn, as well as improving their other statistics later in a campaign. Each completed row will enhance a character’s Health and Skill statistics, and some characters can even gain Actions!

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Career

Once the game begins, you will rarely need to use the Trader Board. The two statistics that change during the game, Health and Skill, are both transferred down to the peg section at the bottom so it’s very visual (more on the pegs later). For a non-campaign game you won’t need the pen either as your default stats are already marked.

Points, Abilities and Armour

There’s more to the Trader Board than vital statistics. Most importantly it contains a points value used for building a balanced crew. Many Trader Boards also have Skill icons – these are innate abilities that the character has regardless of their Class. Finally there is an armour slot in the bottom right hand corner. This can be used for an armour equipment token (see below), but note that many characters have an ability in this slot that they lose when they wear armour!

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Armour

This icon in the armour slot means that Arianna can move one inch further when not wearing armour.


The second section of the dashboard is the character’s pack and is used to store equipment tokens. There is an actual, physical size limit – the character cannot carry more items than the tray can hold. Larger items such as rifles take up more space, so use this area wisely. You can’t carry everything!

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Items

It’s not just the dashboards that physically hold items. Core Space’s real-search feature makes the game board fully interactive. At the start of each game the crates around the board are physically filled with equipment tokens. When you want to search a crate as one of your actions, you literally pick up the crate and look inside to see what you find!

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Equipment Example.jpg

Class Board

The next section contains the Class Board, representing the character’s profession and specialisation and therefore the type of Skills available to them. The Board has a number of coloured Skill icons with spaces around them to show the character’s proficiency with that Skill, from Level 1 to Level 3. One space on this board can be filled for every Career point on the Trader Board, so characters will become more skilful as time goes on. Like the Trader Board, a dry-wipe pen is used to mark these spaces and keep track of them during a campaign.

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Class Boards

There are hard choices to be made here – do you focus on one type of Skill or be an all-rounder? Do you spend your latest Career point on refining an existing Skill or do you learn something new? These choices can really change the playstyle of your character. With a few exceptions, Trader Boards can be used with any Class as well, so there’s a huge amount of replayability.


The bottom section of the board is where the in-game action takes place. The three rows represent the characters Health, Skill and Ammo respectively, and are filled with the coloured plastic pegs provided.

2019-03-25 Blog Dashboards Pegs

The starting number of pegs for the Health and Skill rows is taken from the Trader Board. Traders always start with a full row of ammo pegs. All of these can fluctuate during the game – Health pegs when taking or healing damage, Skill pegs when using Skills, and Ammo pegs when firing or reloading a ranged weapon.


This is sci-fi; we have to be prepared for the future, right? These boards do everything we wanted them to and more, but we’ve still got more ideas. What if in the future we wanted to make some more powerful alien races, or put a character in an exo-suit? It would make sense that they could have more health, or carry more items.

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Well, as and when this comes to pass, we’ve thought ahead. On the back of the dashboards you will see some sockets on each side. These will allow us to clip expansion sections to the sides of the dashboards to do fancy new things. Cool, eh?

Signing Off

That’s about it for our overview of dashboards. Don’t forget that the core rules of Core Space are available for free on the website, so you can download them if you want to find out more – just click HERE.


To play the game you will need one dashboard per Trader taking part. You can pick up a set of four, enough for a single crew, HERE. You get all the pegs too, so they’re great value. Of course, you get two complete packs in the Starter Set – as if the game wasn’t insane enough value as it is!

Keep up with the latest news by signing up to our newsletter HERE.

Happy Gaming!

Core Space – Campaigns

Each time you make a board game purchase, you may look at the price tag and think ‘How many times will I play this? How much is it costing me per game?’ It’s not always an easy decision.

Campaigns are the perfect way to make that choice and justify your purchase, and campaigns are at the heart of Core Space. A campaign is simply a series of games played one after the other, usually linked with a narrative. You’ll use the same group of characters from start to finish; you’ll get to know them, develop their skills, and build their story. Starting a campaign is a compelling way to keep playing Core Space and make every game exciting and important.

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Setting Up a Campaign

To set up a campaign, you and your gaming group will just need to agree a regular time to play, and how long you want your campaign to last. You may decide to have a fixed story where all the Trader crews are travelling to a specific location for a final showdown, or you may decide to leave the narrative open and just play games until you’ve earned enough to upgrade your ship. The Core Space universe provides a massive sandbox to play in so in terms of narrative the scope is endless.

The rulebook includes a pre-made 10-mission campaign with a storyline that progresses from game to game and we recommend playing though this first to immerse yourself in the universe before diving in and designing your own.

2019-03-18 Blog CS Overview Campaigns

The first thing each player will need to do in a campaign is to pick their crew. The Starter Set comes with 11 different Traders, and each Crew Booster gives you four more, which can all be mixed and matched freely. Alternatively, all Core Space crews can be used straight out of the box and are balanced against each other.

Colin and Justin dive into setting up a campaign in more detail over at Beasts of War – check out the video below.

2019-03-22 Blog CS Campaigns BoW Video

Your Ship

Once you’ve got a crew, they need a home! Core Space campaigns are based around your ship. Your crew will take on jobs and get themselves in dangerous situations, Firefly style, to keep their ship afloat. Its condition will deteriorate as time goes on so you’ll need to set money aside for repairs. The Ship Board represents your chosen vessel and tracks its condition from game to game.

2019-03-22 Blog CS Campaigns Ship Board.jpg

As you can see, the reverse of the Ship Board is your airlock – this butts up against the game board to act as your deployment area and can also be used to store excess equipment!

Side Missions

Between your regular games you may decide that you want to tool up your crew a bit more, or you may be the underdog in a long running campaign and want to even things out. To do this you can run side missions, representing quick smash and grab jobs to build up cash before returning to the main storyline. The Salvage Run mission in the rulebook is perfect for this, and we’ll be adding more side missions as free downloads in the coming months.

These missions may even be where the bulk of your cash comes from. The narrative missions can be tough, and unlike a lot of games completing mission objectives is not mandatory in Core Space. Missing out on objectives will surely make your next game harder, but what’s really important is staying alive! You can always make a deal with your opponent to share spoils later!

Between Games

After playing a campaign game you’ll have a few more phases to run through to determine how the game’s outcome has affected your crew.


If any of your crew got left behind, you’ll need to get them out. You can use their emergency teleporter, but the tech isn’t totally reliable so they may not return in the same state. Alternatively you can leave them to their fate – they may be kidnapped, sold into a gang, or captured by the Galactic Corps and you’ll need to pay dearly for their return.

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You can also play Rescue Missions and go back into the game to retrieve them, but you won’t have time for more than a quick reload so it’ll be tough!


Any crew that survived the mission will gain Career points in this phase, which they can spend to learn new skills. As you will have seen in the video, one of the most exciting things about picking your characters is choosing their career. Based on your personal playstyle and the other characters in your crew, you have the option of lots of different skill trees, each with their own advantages. This adds a huge amount of replayability as you can pick different skills each time to build different characters.

Traders can also ‘level up’ at certain points on the Career track, gaining more actions and health.


In the Trade phase your crew can sell their haul from the latest mission, and pick up new items as well. The game has five different stores to visit and there’s only enough time and fuel to reach one, so you’ll need to plan your purchases carefully. If you want to pick up a fancy flak jacket from Armourote you’ll have to go without grenades for now…

Of course, the stores aren’t the only place you can buy things. In Core Space players can freely barter with each other – you can swap money, equipment, mission objectives, and even crew members!

2019-03-11 KS Update Trade Phase

You can also hire new crew in the Trade phase. You’ll be given a random selection depending on who’s in the cantina at the time, or you can hire Civilians that you encountered during your previous mission for a nice discount.


In this final phase you will need to use your spare cash to make ship repairs. This can make money tight, but once you’ve fully repaired your ship you can even upgrade it. This allows it to take part in your missions, with gun turrets mounted on the airlock or thrusters that literally move your deployment zone around the board!

So, Core Space or Kill Team?

If you’re in the market for a new sci-fi campaign game, hopefully this has convinced you that Core Space is the one. I’ll leave you with Charlie over at Ding and Dent – his opinion is most certainly clear on the matter! He wants Core Space to replace his group’s Kill Team campaign. His podcast is a great listen and you can find his Core Space coverage HERE.

You can pick up Core Space HERE. Keep up with the latest news by signing up to our newsletter HERE.

Happy Gaming!

Core Space – Miniatures and Terrain

We could go on and on about all the cool things we’ve crammed into the Core Space rules, but for some people out there we know that all you crave is plastic crack :-P.

2019-03-20 Blog CS Minis Black Maria Painted.jpg

Today we’re going to cover the minis and terrain that you get in the Core Space box. Despite being a tiny company we’ve invested big money into the tooling for this game. We already knew Core Space was going to be unique due to its complete 3D board, but that wasn’t enough for us – we want the game to be known for its minis too!

The Miniatures

We spent a long time reviewing samples to make sure we were getting top quality. The miniatures are made from PVC just like pretty much every other miniatures/board game (see Monday’s blog) around right now, but this is a higher grade of PVC than most, ensuring crisper detail and very little bend even with thin parts.

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Even the skinny Harvesters are solid miniatures, and the sharp detail really works with their robotic forms.

2019-03-20 Blog CS Minis Purge Elites.jpg

For a bit of variation in your Purge forces, look no further than (l-r) the Devastators, Live One and Assassin.

2019-03-20 Blog CS Minis Purge Bio.jpg

Colin spent many hours slaving over his sketchbook before the Core Space Kickstarter, churning out character after character, and it would have been such a shame not to include them all in the game. One of his primary goals for the finished product was for every sculpt to be unique. Repeat sculpts can break the immersion, and this game is all about the immersion! Well, we totally smashed that goal – all 20 figures in the core game are unique, and there are a further 35 unique sculpts across the forthcoming Crew Boosters and Expansions.

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The Crew of the Ion Hope: Gak, Roykirk, Arianna and Tirgarde

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The Crew of the Black Maria: Lars, Jace, Beck and Renton

In fact, tiny Spiders aside the only place you’ll double up is with the Purge Reinforcements Booster, giving you an extra set of the Purge minis from the starter set for even more deadly games. That will be coming this summer along with the Purge Outbreak expansion. We’ve got even more planned in the future too!

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As we said, it’s all about immersion, and we needed to make the Core Space universe deep and engaging. We’ve filled it with a diverse cast of characters, human and alien. Some of these appear in the Trader crews but others act as NPCs, Civilian or otherwise. There are three of these in the starter set:

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Civilians: Kaori, Gan’eek and Butler

And here are a couple still to come:

2019-03-20 Blog CS Minis Ooma Evangeline.jpg

The Terrain

Of course the Core Space setting wouldn’t be complete (and it wouldn’t be a Battle Systems product!) without the 3D board we mentioned above. It’s this that makes the game really stand out on your table, and when you duck down for a model’s eye view of the action you feel like you can step right into the environment. As usual the scatter terrain – struts, crates, computer consoles, shop counters and more – take it that extra level and elevate it beyond a simple network of walls.

2019-03-20 Blog CS Minis Cyberpunk.jpg

Talking of elevation, Core Space is not just limited to the single-level Cyberpunk set that comes in the game. You can play Core Space equally well on any terrain, such as our Frontier, Galactic or Outlands sets. The 3D/external aspects of these boards bring a whole new challenge and will allow you to use all the advanced rules for jumping, climbing and more, found in the Deluxe Rulebook.

2019-03-20 Blog CS Minis Outlands.jpg

But don’t just take our word for it! For more on the appeal of the Core Space terrain, check out Geek and Sundry’s recent review HERE.

We’d love to show you even more minis, but we’ll have to save them for another post. Check back later in the week for the next in our series of Core Space blogs.

Happy Gaming!