CORE WORLDS: GALACTIC ORDERS
– An article on the expansion by designer Andrew Parks
Core Worlds: Galactic Orders is the highly anticipated first expansion to the one of the galaxy’s hottest new deck-building games!
In this expansion, players begin to forge alliances with the six Galactic Orders, powerful organizations that have maintained their independence in the midst of a crumbling empire.
These Orders were represented in the core set by the six Prestige Cards: the Galactic Senate, the Science Guild, the Merchant Alliance, the Mining Coalition, the Order of Knighthood, and the Mystic Brotherhood. The Core Worlds expansion focuses on these six independent organizations and their influence upon a galaxy at war.
Many players noted the enigmatic icons on many of their Units and Tactics in the base set, and the rulebook mentioned that these would be used in future expansions. Well, this is the first expansion to use them! Each Galactic Order is represented on the table by a large Galactic Order Card that specifies the special power associated with that Order, and each player starts with 20 Faction Tokens that match the Faction symbols on their Starting Decks.
Whenever you deploy a Unit or play a Tactic with a Galactic Order Icon on it, you get to place your Faction Token onto the corresponding Galactic Order Card. If you leave your Faction Token on that Galactic Order Card for the remainder of the game, then you’ll score bonus points at the end of the game if you have the most Faction Tokens on that Galactic Order Card. However, if you wish to use the special power associated with a particular Galactic Order, then you must remove one of your Faction Tokens from that Galactic Order.
Therefore, you must strategically balance your use of the Galactic Order powers throughout the game with your hope to score the most points from that Galactic Order Card at the end of the game. Furthermore, the amount of points you receive is variable based on the number of tokens you have on the Galactic Order Card, so even if you will clearly win a particular Galactic Order, using its power will still diminish your final score.
So what kinds of powers do these Galactic Orders provide that could tempt you to spend your Faction Tokens and thereby reduce your final score to use them? Well, the Galactic Senate lets you take an extra Action, the Mystic Brotherhood lets you draw 3 cards, and the Order of Knighthood lets you add +2 Fleet Strength or +2 Ground Strength to any Invasion. How’s that for temptation?
And to add further temptation, there are also a whole slew of new Units and Tactics added to each Galactic Deck that allow you to spend your Faction Tokens in unique ways. For example, the Mutant Berserker (see above) will allow you to spend one of your Faction Tokens from the Science Guild to allow the Berserker to stay in play after invading a World. That’s not normally how the Science Guild works, but many Units like the Berserker provide you with a whole new universe of ways to spend your tokens.
Now you might be thinking that these tokens make the game easier since they provide so many new options to players. However, we have also added a new card type, Events, that provide new challenges for players as they advance into the different Sectors of the game.
Most of these Events provide players with a choice of how they are affected by the Event, so therefore players must decide the best way to face each of these challenges. For example, if the Prince of the Realm (see above) shows up in Sector 5, players must choose to spend either 1 extra Action or 2 extra Energy to draft a Prestige Card. Similarly, if the Local Mercs show up in Sector 3, players must choose whether or not to pay them off by spending 2 extra Energy when invading a World; otherwise, they’ll have to fight the Mercs, who provide the World with +1 Fleet Strength and +1 Ground Strength. And since the Events are keyed to specific Sectors, players also get a stronger sense of the flavor of the Core Worlds universe as they travel deeper and deeper towards the galactic core.
Although we felt it was important to completely design and playtest the expansion before releasing the base game, we also closely monitor player comments on boardgamegeek.com and on other sites throughout the internet. We have therefore created some additional features that directly respond to player’s desires for future expansions.
In particular, we noticed that players really wanted more ways to cull their decks, and also that players wanted greater incentives to do more invading in Sectors I & II. One of the ways we have addressed both of these concerns is by introducing a new type of card called Advancements, which attach themselves directly to Worlds in your Warzone. There will only be one Advancement in this expansion, but you can expect to see many more in future expansions. The Advancement that comes in Galactic Orders is called the Capital City, and every player starts with it attached to his or her Home World. During each Energy Phase, the Capital City allows a player with at least 3 Worlds in his or her Empire to place any card from his hand beneath the Capital City for the rest of the game. So now you can cull one card every turn (even those pesky Tactics!) once you have conquered your first two Worlds. Suddenly, running out and conquering Worlds during the first two Rounds becomes much more important!
Players have also noted that players who deploy all of their cards in the first few turns gain a healthy advantage over those who would rather spend some of their time drafting and invading. Also, players really wanted to see more creative names for their Home Worlds. So we have taken this opportunity to re-issue the five starting Home Worlds with new names and one additional ability. They retain the ability from the base set (discard 2 cards for 1 Energy), but the other ability is new. Now, during the Draw Phase, if the number of Worlds in your Warzone is greater than the number of Units in your Warzone, you get to draw an extra card! Therefore, players who draft lots of cards and invade lots of early Worlds will receive compensation by being able to move more quickly through their larger decks. The “thin deck” strategy is still just as viable as before, but now those who want to draft more cards (and get those Galactic Order Icons into their decks more quickly!) have an equally viable strategy. The more viable strategies in the game, the better for everyone!
Some features requested by players will not appear in this expansion, but we are planning to add them to future expansions, including the ability to draft unique Home Worlds and starting Heroes. So hang tight, galactic barbarians, the Core Worlds universe will continue to expand for millennia to come!
Artwork previewed here is by Jessada Sutthi, Biagio D’Alessandro, and Jeremiah Humphries. Lead Artist from the base set of Core Worlds, Maciej Rebisz, will reprise his role as Lead Artist in Core Worlds: Galactic Orders!