2022 Top 10 Solo Skirmish Games #2!


This is another game that was bound to land on my top ten solo games of 2022. The delivery of the Core Space First Born Kickstarter from Battle Systems kickstarted (heh) my interest in Core Space again, and pushed me to finish painting the core minis from the original Core Space box (less the Kickstarter stretch goals).

Playing the game is lots of fun as the system is very robust. First Born (perhaps due to its inception during the Covid lockdowns) is primarily a solo game, with some interesting mechanics added to the core game so it doesn’t feel the same. OG Core Space was designed primarily as a PvP game, but works well solo because if you aren’t going up against another crew, you’re going up against the game (Event cards) and the Purge which is a third party NPC faction that’s out to kill everyone that’s not them.

The game has your Trader crew going into space stations to accomplish some story-driven objective. You can move and do another action (search, shoot, etc.) and the entire point of the game is to accomplish the objective while making sure you get lots of loot so you can buy better gear so you’re more effective. You also want to gain some XP via combat so you can level up your crew members’ skills as well.

All this is set in the backdrop of a war of extermination started by the inhuman Purge, so you’re always one step ahead of the war. This is reflected a bit in 5 Parsecs but in that game the way is a bit further away and might (or might not) come your way in the vast galaxy. In Core Space, the war is in your face as it’s inevitable that the Purge will arrive at the space station here you are and start killing non-Purge left, right and centre.

Robust as the game’s solo rules are, I’ve found it more interesting to run a second crew as an NPC crew. It kind of blocks what your own crew can do, even though they aren’t adversarial. The mere fact that they are also icing to loot the loot boxes ahead of you means you might not get some juicy weapons that will help you in your fight against the Purge.

I’m 3 more missions away from completing the original Perseus Arm campaign. Then there’s the First Born campaign I need to finish. Then I got the Dangerous Days expansion and the Purge Outbreak expansion. All of this will keep me well busy till the end of 2023.

Granted, the core game isn’t cheap but look at what you get! And the gorgeous terrain can be repurposed for many other minis agnostic games and bring you indoors into an urban mall/station that will change your usual style of playing if you’re used to playing your skirmish games outdoors.