Core Space: First Born

At the furthermost tip of the Perseus arm of our galaxy burns a small white star. Here lie the remnants of the First Born, an advanced civilization that conquered the galaxy long ago and found that they were utterly alone. In despair they receded, and their great civilization was brought low by civil war. One war-like faction placed themselves into suspended animation and waited.

For millions of years they slept as the younger species took their first steps into space. But the sleep wasn’t dreamless and the First Born were slowly driven mad. Fanatical and paranoid, they have learned to fear and despise the new species that they once longed for.

Then the Traders turned up to pick over the bones of a long dead people, and the First Born were awoken…

Later in 2020 Battle Systems will be launching a new Kickstarter – Core Space: First Born. This new standalone starter set is designed for new and existing players alike, telling the story of a Trader crew venturing into the ancient First Born temples. If you haven’t read it already, check out our Future of Core Space article for an overview of all the new content. In this blog we’ll be focusing on the new starter set. Let’s hear about where it all began…

Colin: Core Space was always just the start of a much bigger adventure. With the Purge seemingly emanating from somewhere near the black hole at the centre of the galaxy it made sense to start the story of our intrepid traders right in the thick of it all. The risks were high, but equally so were the rewards. As such Core Space has so far been set in the Barrens, the less populated area around the black hole. As any regular player of Core Space will know the Purge are relentless so it’s inevitable that our Traders will take any opportunity to find somewhere less dangerous to salvage. As relentless as they are, the galaxy is a big place and it will take the Purge hundreds of years, maybe millennia, to purge it all.

So, when our traders find an area of space that before now would have taken most of a lifetime to get to, and that seems otherwise un-explored… well that’s got to be a safer bet, right?

The First Born

The First Born are an ancient race that lived for tens of thousands of years in harmony with nature. They evolved an advanced technology matched only by their wisdom. However, they never encountered another intelligent species and came to the conclusion that they were alone in the galaxy and, over time, their society faded and fell into ruin. Countless civil wars erupted and the old ways were forgotten. The harmony so long fought for was swept aside by fanatics and wisdom was replaced with madness.

Highest born of the First Born castes, in its somnolent stage a True Born is only partially conscious, as if in a dream or fugue state. It is protected by a Mantle draped around its neck that is able to attack and defend against intruders and even warp its immediate reality.

If left somnolent for too long nerve and brain damage will occur so the True Born must be revived by an attendant Liege. A fully conscious True Born is physically imposing, but its true power is in its ability to manipulate minds. The long sleep of stasis has a profound effect on the True Born – some suffer from mania when first awoken, others long term paranoia.

Colin: For the next instalment of the Core Space story I wanted something that could counterbalance the Purge threat. Not as vast and relentless, but far smaller and more potent. The idea of the First Born was, well… born.

It started with sketches of aliens. I always start with the characters. If they don’t look interesting and cool then it doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from. Also I find that adding the armour, weapons and tech tend to tell me where they come from and inform their story.

After a few sketches it was clear these new characters were going to be both ancient and wise, and also visually different in style from the general tech of the rest of the galaxy as we know it in Core Space. For this to make sense they had to be far away and as such I placed them at the very tip of the Perseus Arm.

So, why were they there and why have we not seem them before…? Wayne came back with the answer. Maybe they were woken up from a long sleep…

Yes, these are old photos, but they illustrate my point and I don’t want to scare you with what Wayne looks like now!

The design language of the characters was always clear in my head, but getting it on paper is always the challenge. I wanted scary, but wise… Strong and powerful, but lean and elegant… Ancient, but high tech… Weapons, but no guns as such… Ornamental and symbolistic, but also practical… This is always the constant battle with every character and the adornment you give them. With the design language you tend to lean on specific shapes to convey characters and objects. Squares are strong and reliable (think big trucks and heavy loaders, oxen), circles are often friendly and approachable, (think VW Beetle, baby faces, owls) and triangles convey speed, sharpness and danger, (think fighter jets, super cars, wolves and foxes). So keeping this in mind I subconsciously pulled in triangles to convey the speed and power, with some circles for counter balance for form to show the First Born are not just about offensive and aggressive mind-sets. I tried to stay away from squares so the feel of the characters was focused and not confusing.

The Godly

The godly are a fanatical sect that thrived in the later years of the First Born empire and may well have been a major contributing factor to its eventual demise. They were militant and persecuted other First Born that they could not convert. They were superstitious and paranoid and eventually lost focus even within their own beliefs. Outlawed, they were driven out of First Born space and ended up in the Perseus-Orion arm of the galaxy where they hid themselves and waited. These are the First Born your Traders will encounter.

The Liege is both servant and confidante of the True Born and is a formidable power in its own right. It performs the duties of a True Born when the True Born is in stasis. Unlike the True Born in its permanent stasis the Liege is regularly awoken to oversee the sleeping First Born and perform general maintenance of the asteroid base. The Liege’s first duty is to revive the True Born from its somnolent stage. The Liege spend less time in stasis than the True Born and are nearly always lucid, rarely suffering from the derangement that the True Born do. It is from a slightly lower caste to the True Born.

Dyson Sphere

The First Born live within the circumference of a Dyson Sphere. The Sphere orbits a small artificial star and directs power to the First Born. There are no planets or sizeable moons within the solar orbit, only an asteroid belt.

All of the First Born’s power is from their sun, converted primarily into plasma and directed to relays that then pass to each of the asteroids. The First Born have capacitive technology but they don’t store power to a high degree because their power source is constant.

By manipulating this constant power the First Born can move the entire solar system, essentially using it is as a spaceship. They move the entire system into a different part of space-time, and an unsuspecting world may suddenly see a new star in the night sky. In theory the same technology can be used for rudimentary time travel.


We’re really keen to take a step up with the miniatures this time. The original Core Space game contained our first ever miniatures, and although they were very well received we think we can do better. With the new range we’ve focused on lots of depth and detail as well as dynamic posing, but always with casting in mind – after all, these minis will be in plastic!

These are still WIP – since the test print we’ve sharpened up the facial details and made a few other improvements. We love the alien lettering texture on the cloak – nice and easy to paint :-).

Next up for printing are these guys. Pretty awesome don’t you think!

The Crew of the Eidolon

Core Space: First Born will have a brand new Trader crew in the box, ready to play through the new single-crew solo/co-op campaign.

We’re still keeping a good mix of humans, aliens, and machines, and we’re still making sure every character has a rich backstory and cool little details that make them unique. Like the First Born, we’re also taking a lot of care with the depth and detail of the miniatures to make our sci-fi world as immersive as possible, and to make it easier to paint them!

Name: Cassiopeia Peltier
Species: Human
Age: 32

Cassie has an ex-military background serving in the militia of her home world. After a short stint as a mercenary she stumbled across the Trader’s life and hasn’t looked back since. She served as support for a number of different Trader ships before leasing her own ship and assembling her own crew. Her combat suit is a remnant from her military service and gives her enhanced strength and speed and is equipped with shoulder mounted cannons similar to line rifles. She is a fair and equitable captain and doesn’t believe in taking unnecessary risks.

As you can see, Balcor, Wade and Hopper are looking great even at this early stage. The Cassie sculpt will be joining them soon!


This is a Battle Systems project, of course it has terrain! However, with five different sci-fi styles already covered we needed something new and exciting, and I think Colin’s done it!

Colin: I’ve always loved games like the original Tomb Raider, the thought of treading ground lost for centuries or even millennia. Hidden temples and places of great design left unattended.

Like the characters the design pushed forward with triangles and circles, but I also had a very clear image of the hidden temple vibe I wanted to end up with. Overgrown, but not consumed. It had to feel familiar, but also not be polluted by standard galactic language. No black and yellow hazard tape, no girders or beams, no rivets or bolts, no wires, conduits, pipes, buttons, switches, panels, computer screens, etc. Well that was my normal go to supply of coolness out the window. So, I approached this with a view of what was necessary for the First Born. They are humanoid (mostly) and are ‘generally’ bound by our scientific laws. What do they still need then? … Doorways, controls of some kind, vents maybe, power sources, sleep chambers, storage and so on. With this in mind I started to form their environment. I placed it underground, and as Wayne developed the lore this ended up being the inside of asteroids, tethered to a massive Dyson Sphere.

Asteroid Bases

The First Born inhabit the asteroid belt that orbits their sun. Thousands of the larger asteroids have been hollowed out, some contain crypts for the sleeping First Born, some are huge databases of collected lore, others are virtually cities where the First Born lived for hundreds of years before going into stasis.

The asteroids are made of a composite of rare minerals which were harvested and used by the First Born to power the habitats. Rather than use mechanical tools to form the walls, floors and ceilings of a desired space, the First Born used a programmable synthetic virus to restructure the rock on a molecular level, in a number of passes, each more sophisticated than the last. It would first carve the required shape of a room and then use the minerals found just under the surface to form pre-programmed three dimensional structures, from complex semi-organic nerve clusters down to simple iconography.

Over long periods of time the structures disentangle and the rock starts to slowly morph back to its original form. Many of the functions will therefore fail if not monitored and given enough time, the asteroids could, in theory, completely obliterate any trace of the First Born.

Colin: The process described above leaves the visual feel of the rock itself growing back. Hydroponics of old also inhabit the sleeping temples with an echo structure of dry vines. Although the First Born sleep for many millennia, the temples are kept in check by drones who clear blockages and repurpose any functional areas that are needed, just enough to keep the temples practical and to stop them being reclaimed completely by their original form. The final look lives up to my original vision of a temple-like tomb; ancient, alien and just begging to be uncovered and explored.

It’s not just the look and feel of the new terrain that’s different. You may expect a ‘reskinned’ version of the Cyberpunk set, but that’s not what we’ve done – this set has plenty of elements to make it unique. The walls are draped with vines, providing plenty of large Infestation-style struts. There are no windows at all; instead you’ll also find quarter-size wall panels and brand-new standalone pillars for more interesting layouts.

When it comes to scatter terrain you’ll find new multi-purpose reactors, exhaust vents, sleeping pods and a new cargo crate design. The new designs have also transitioned into the rules – the terrain will be more interactive in this game, doing far more than just providing cover and adding yet more immersion to the game. There won’t be as many crates in this new set either. Instead we’ve taken some elements of the item crafting rules from the Rogue Purge expansion so you’ll be able to mine the walls for minerals to make new equipment!

That’s all for now. We’ve got plenty to get on with, so we’ll be back to tell you more a little closer to launch!

Mission Monday #18 – Factory Settings

Mission Monday has arrived again! In case you missed the last one, Mission Mondays are where we release brand new narrative missions for Core Space to download for free.

Mission Mondays will return on a regular basis. To stay up to date with the latest game content make sure you subscribe to this blog and sign up to our newsletter HERE.

Factory Settings

In this week’s free download, your crew will infiltrate a processing plant for one of the biggest conglomerates in the galaxy. You’re not there for factory work though – you have reason to believe they are smuggling contraband in their goods and you want in! This could be a big score. Unless you get spotted of course – if that happens you’ll have to fight your way through an army of criminals to escape, but then again that sounds like a normal Monday…

The production line is overseen by Zed and his cronies…

If anyone else has a mission they would like to see featured here, send it in to – we look forward to hearing from you!

It’s now even easier to create your own missions with the new interactive map editor created by Enno Welbers. You can find it on our Downloads page.

Download the mission HERE.

Let us know how your games go in the comments below!

Fantasy Terrain Release Schedule

The wait is nearly over. Whether you backed our Fantasy Terrain Kickstarter or your’re intending to pick it up at retail, it will be making its way to your homes in July. The first container has arrived, and shipping is about to begin!

We are expecting to start shipping Kickstarter pledges in the week commencing June 29th, continuing through July. Pledges for the US and Canada will start shipping in the week commencing July 13th. If your FLGS backed the Kickstarter then their rewards will be on their way at the same time.

Once the Kickstarter is fulfilled we will move onto website and retailer pre-orders, broken down over three months from July to September. Talking of which, the first pre-orders are now live! Head over to our webstore or to your favourite stockist to pick them up.

If you want to be notified when the August and September pre-orders go live, make sure you are signed up to our newsletter. Sign up HERE.

We are currently working on all the assembly tutorials and more pretty pictures which will go live on the site in early July. They will also be a big feature on our brand new site coming a little later in the summer!

Kicking off the range in July is the Village. The buildings have fully detailed interiors and removable roofs, and the set comes with plenty of scatter terrain and accessories. We’re really proud of how we’ve incorporated curves and rustic designs into the card terrain for a fantasy look.

Each month of releases also includes supporting products. Alongside the Village we’ll be launching the Village Ruins, ideal for Mordheim-style tables. They can be built as a standalone set as shown or combined with a core set for a complete ruined town.

Also released in July is the Battlefield. This is designed for players of big wargames – Kings of War, Song of Ice and Fire, Age of Sigmar etc. The watchtower, roads, rivers and assorted barricades are staples of any gaming table while the modular ruins are suited for filling a large area.

Heading up the August releases is the Citadel. This is similar to the old Warhammer Fortress in size, with four 12″ / 30cm wall sections and four towers. Like all our sets, the interiors are detailed and accessible and you’ll also get a market, gallows and stocks to fill out your courtyard.

The perfect centrepiece for a gaming table or the final battle of an RPG campaign, the Wizard’s Tower will be released in August. It stands an incredible 16″ / 41cm tall and includes over 100 accessories and pieces of arcane furniture!

In September we’re launching the Northern Settlement as our fourth core set. This was NOT available on Kickstarter and is going straight to retail! This Rohan/Norse/Skyrim style set includes a large Mead Hall, a Stable Block and plenty of palisade walls and smaller buildings.

The above are just the highlights. The full range includes over 40 products, with the core set contents available separately, more centrepiece buildings like the Chapel and Water Mill, and a selection of premium neoprene gaming mats.

If you’re waiting for a specific product, the full release schedule can be found below:

July 25th 2020

  • Fantasy Village
  • Tavern (now sold out, re-released in September)
  • Wooden Fencing (now sold out, re-released in September)
  • Fantasy Battlefield (now sold out, re-released in September)
  • Ruined Monastery
  • Stone Walls (now sold out, re-released in September)
  • Blacksmith’s Forge
  • Village Ruins
  • Ancient Portal
  • Fantasy Village Furniture
  • Plastic Terrain Clips – Brown
  • Snow-Covered Roofs
  • Snow-Covered Roof – Blacksmith’s Forge
  • Village Well
  • Baggage Cart

August 22nd 2020 (Pre-orders go live early August)

  • Fantasy Citadel
  • Town House
  • Thatched Cottage
  • Watchtower
  • Graveyard
  • Wizard’s Tower
  • Chapel

September 26th 2020 (Pre-orders go live late August)

  • Northern Settlement
  • Mead Hall
  • Northern Homestead
  • Lookout Tower
  • Palisade Walls
  • Deadly Stakes
  • Storage Barn
  • Lake House
  • Guard Post
  • Roads & Rivers
  • City Wall
  • Citadel Tower
  • City Gate
  • Marketplace
  • Gallows & Stocks
  • Raised Walkways
  • Lakes & Bogs
  • Bridge
  • Water Mill
  • Grassy Fields Gaming Mat 2×2 v.1
  • Grassy Fields Gaming Mat 2×2 v.2
  • Muddy Streets Gaming Mat 2×2
  • Flagstone Floor Gaming Mat 2×2
  • Grassy Fields Gaming Mat 3×3 (also now available in a gridded version!)
  • Muddy Streets Gaming Mat 3×3 (also now available in a gridded version!)
  • Grassy Fields 6×4 Gaming Table

Updated 24/06/20 – some of the gaming mats have already sold out! We’ve moved them to September instead in time for a restock.

Mission Monday #17 – Rough and Tumble

Mission Monday has arrived again! In case you missed the last one, Mission Mondays are where we will be releasing brand new narrative missions for Core Space to download for free.

Mission Mondays will return on a regular basis. To stay up to date with the latest game content make sure you subscribe to this blog (link in the bottom right corner) and sign up to our newsletter HERE.

Rough and Tumble

In this week’s free download, your crew were hoping for a leisurely weekend on board a pleasure ship. Unfortunately, like everywhere else in the galaxy these days, the Purge had other ideas! The impact of the Purge attack has set the ship spinning on its axis. Your ship’s airlock has become disconnected and the artificial gravity is intermittent. You’d better get out quick!

6 15_5191
Quick! Fight our way out while we still can!

If anyone else has a mission they would like to see featured here, send it in to – we look forward to hearing from you!

Download the mission HERE.

Let us know how your games go in the comments below!

The Future of Core Space

Core Space is going to be around for a long time. It’s more than just a game, it’s a immersive sandbox universe where you can pick and choose the bits you want. We have so many ideas and our amazing community have got even more, and by giving the players more to pick and choose from they can make the perfect game to suit them.

The Story So Far

The Core Space Starter Set and its supporting expansions are built around the desolate region of space called the Barrens and the Purge, an aggressive machine species that have appeared there. There are 24 playable Traders (more if you count the NPCs) all trying to survive in this harsh galaxy, under attack from the Purge and the new challenges added with each of the four expansions.

Add all of this together and it’s a complete world for you to inhabit and create stories in.

Mission Mondays

The Perseus Arm campaign is the central story, but it’s not the only story. Not all of the Traders are involved at once, and they have many adventures before, after, and in between the main events. Mission Mondays, our regular, free, downloadable scenarios, add yet more replayability to the game and create yet more narratives. They tend to have a focus on objectives beyond simple cash, incentivising the campaign aspect of the game to make the most of the unique rewards.

Mission Mondays will continue throughout this year and beyond. Make sure you’re following the blog so you don’t miss out!

Dangerous Days

Core Space is a living system and the story doesn’t end with the Perseus Arm campaign. We wanted to create a second campaign to continue the saga and so Dangerous Days was born.

After a year of the game being out in the wild and reviewing all the feedback we also saw how we could ‘redirect’ the game to improve the experience. To support the new campaign we created some new campaign rules, which I’m sure you’ll agree add far more weight to the decision making both during and between games. Like all the Core Space extras it was important to us that these new rules added to the core mechanics rather than changing them, as we don’t want to invalidate anything in the starter set this early in the game’s life.

We also used the Dangerous Days book to expand the sandbox with new terrain rules, and we took the chance to print the Mission Mondays to date alongside the new NPC rules so that the entire year’s content was in one place. Dangerous Days is like an ‘annual’ for the game – with this and the Deluxe Rulebook you have everything you need to play. I say ‘annual’ for a reason – we’re planning another for 2021 :-).

Resin Expansions

Alongside Dangerous Days we released the Shift Change at MegaCorp and Rogue Purge expansions, each adding new NPCs and new challenges.

Unlike our previous plastic sets, these two are advanced hobby kits with resin miniatures that require assembly. Many of our customers have been asking for resin minis for years, so this was a godsend as resin allows for sharper detail than PVC and we are very happy with the quality of our resin casts. A large proportion of our customers are experienced hobbyists who think nothing of assembling miniatures.

To others, however, assembling miniatures is a daunting prospect and not something that’s part of their gaming hobby. We appreciate that unassembled resin miniatures are not for everyone and so I wanted to quell some concerns about the use of resin going forwards.

Resin is not our material of choice for everything, but it’s likely to be used for non-Kickstarted products. Battle Systems is a tiny company and the costs of plastic tooling are simply too high without very high production numbers – more than we could forecast without a Kickstarter.

Preparing another Kickstarter will take us a long time, and we didn’t want to leave the game for too long without any new releases. There is so much competition in the industry these days and games that go without support rarely survive. We didn’t want to run the risk of leaving Core Space quiet for too long, returning with new content only to find that people had moved on!

Getting new stuff out now was a choice between doing it in resin or not doing it at all. Of the two options resin was better than nothing – the expansions are entirely optional after all.

It’s also worth noting that although these expansions aren’t for everyone, our initial print run SOLD OUT within a week of the launch date! That says good things for our ability to do more with Core Space going forward!

Name: NAB-13 -2X4B
Species: Machine (Human origin)
Age: approx. 30-50

NAB-13 is a standard manual labour robot that was mass produced but has since been discontinued. The model has a distinct modular design to facilitate easy storage and cheap replacement parts.

Over time NAB-13 has developed a slightly defective personality, ranging from staring at sunsets, when it should be working, to a tendency to wander off for days at a time. Rather than fix it each owner has simply sold it on, usually as part of a job lot. NAB-13 is decades old and is far from its point of origin.

NAB-13 seems to have a certain degree of autonomy not written into its program, it is not unreasonable to assume it may be on the cusp of sentience, but, as none of its owners have ever cared to investigate further there’s no way of knowing. Despite its quirks NAB-13 can work tirelessly for weeks at a time and has a broad skill set.

To be clear, while resin was our choice for these expansions it is not the future of Core Space. Plastic is more accessible and we are committed to Kickstarting more plastic Core Space content as soon as we can. I talked about preparing another Kickstarter earlier – well that’s what we’ve been doing!

New Core Space Kickstarter

We’ve been thinking about how we can tell new stories with Core Space, and how we can add exciting new content without invalidating or bloating the game we know and love.

The character and charm of Core Space is in the Traders, the campaigns and the unique mechanics, so they had to stay. Instead, we figured that the perfect way to tell a new story was to build a new setting, and inhabit it with a new enemy to face…

The First Born

The First Born were an ancient race from the very tip of the Perseus Arm. They lived many millennia ago, long before any of the species that inhabit the galaxy today. They evolved to become balanced with the environments they inhabited, unlike the current races that eat up the resources of their worlds like a virus before moving on.

They developed advanced technology and were masters of both biological and synthetic matter, giving rise to a disease free and long-lived reign of their star systems, drawing near-unlimited power from their suns with massive Dyson spheres. Such is the depth of their scientific knowledge that others might perceive them as almost magical.

After countless millennia a fanatical sect broke away believing their species were doomed to die out. They believed their kind would become unstable, overpowered by the sheer repetitiveness of their lives, having seen every occurrence and mastered everything this galaxy could offer. This sect, obsessive and focused, constructed hidden temples and chose the most noble of their followers to go into the long sleep. They would remain sealed in their temples for an undetermined amount of time, ready to awake in a new galaxy with fresh experiences and challenges.

Unless somebody wakes them up first…

These are nothing like the Purge…

This summer we will be launching a new Kickstarter based on this new race – the First Born. We will be launching a new starter set, but don’t worry, this is not a second edition! Instead this is a standalone boxed game equally playable by new and existing players alike. It will tell the story of a Trader crew venturing into the ancient First Born temples, with unique new terrain and all the minis and accessories you’ll need. The core rules of Core Space remain the same – you’ll just be swapping the Purge phase for the First Born phase and its associated new mechanics.

With six crews already, we figured that adding too many more Traders wouldn’t do much to expand the gameplay, so we’re just putting one new crew in the box (making up the difference with more First Born!). The campaign will therefore be built for a single crew, playable solo and co-op – something that’s long been requested for the game! You can of course mix and match Traders as normal and we’ll have plenty of gameplay options for PvP games too.

We will be following up this new core set with supporting expansions and boosters, including new NPC types and some larger beasties to be found in the temples. Like the new starter, everything funded in this Kickstarter will be in plastic.


With one of the planned expansions we want to take the opportunity to further develop one of the key areas of Core Space – ships. We think of the ship as a character in itself, like the Serenity in Firefly. However, the current ships are purely functional – it doesn’t feel right that the Ion Hope is a simple cardboard rectangle.

Arianna may captain the “Crew of the Ion Hope”, but her story so far is just starting out. Imagine the ship she’s using now as her first ship, the old banger she’s using to find her way in the galaxy. Once she’s made a name for herself she can buy a ship to fit her new status. That ship is the Ion Hope – the ship she’s famous for commanding.

The Ion Hope

That’s the angle we’re taking with these new rules – the bigger, better ships that our captains are known for are something to save up for and earn. We’re planning to create a new plastic dashboard with customisable card inserts and peg sections for tracking ship stats. The inserts will represent different parts of the ship that can be upgraded in different ways (more important choices to make between games) and even spaces to allocate tasks to the crew that remain onboard during a game. The famous name of the ship will also play a part in the rules – once a crew has such a prestigious ship they will have a reputation to go with it. This will be tracked between games and will be affected by a crew’s actions (such as attacking civilians). It will in turn affect how the crew is treated by other NPCs as well as their access to stores and the missions they get offered.

We’re still working out the details, but we think this is a really exciting way to enhance the game.

The Black Maria

Note that this isn’t all we’re doing with ships – we’ve also been playtesting a spaceship combat game which we’ll be squeezing into the schedule as soon as we can…

That’s it for now. This lot is just a sneak peek of what’s to come – we’ll be sharing more over the next few months and if all goes to plan we’ll be ready to launch around the end of summer. To make sure you don’t miss out, sign up to our email newsletter.

Note: all details are still subject to change as the game is currently in development.

Until next time, happy gaming!