Saturday Morning Gaming: Core Worlds
A million years ago (okay, a little over ten), I talked about the deck-builder game Dominion.
Here’s the basic idea behind Dominion: Everybody starts with identical 10-card decks. You then play your cards to buy/attack cards and beef up your identical 10-card deck to make a unique deck. Maybe you’ll trade your 1-gold cards for a 3-gold card (or a 5!). Maybe you’ll buy cards that give victory points. One of the big criticisms of the game was that it was Turing-complete. That is, you could figure out the best move with a calculator. Or, if bright enough, you could figure out the best move (and there was a best move) in your head. And if you had a bunch of bright people sitting at the table…
EVERY GAME WAS THE SAME.
Well… deck-builders was a genre and Dominion did the job of Candyland. It wasn’t so much about winning the game, as it was about teaching the game to people who had never played a deck-builder before. It explained how these games worked.
If someone has never played a deck-builder before, I would whole-heartedly recommend Dominion to them. The rules are easy to understand, the opening moves are simple, you understand exactly when other players have entered the mid- or end-game (and when you haven’t yet) and you will intuitively grasp scoring within a couple of games.
Okay. So let’s say that you’ve played a couple dozen games of Dominion. Let’s say that you have this game hammered down quite flat. Now what?
Well, let me recommend Core Worlds.
This game is also a Deck-Builder and so it will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has played Dominion (or a Dominion-like game) before.
You have currency points, you have action points… what else is new?
Well, there are now unique decks. When someone plays this particular faction, they get cards that help boost their ground troops. When someone plays that particular faction, they get cards that help boost their aerial troops. You use your currency to buy troops that do ground damage, support ground damage, do aerial damage, support aerial damage, or generate energy (and, maybe, victory points).
And you play through levels 1-5. I’ll try to recreate each of these levels below:
Level 1: “Holy cow, all of these cards are good. I don’t know what I want to buy…”
Level 2: “Holy cow! All of these cards are great! I don’t know what I want to buy!”
Level 3: “Holy crap. All of these cards are amazing. I don’t know what I want to buy…”
Level 4: “HOLY CRAP! ALL OF THESE CARDS ARE AWESOME! I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO BUY!”
Level 5: “Jeez. These cards all suck. They just mostly give victory points.”
So the game consists of 10 turns. Once around the table for each turn. People buy a card, maybe they defeat a card. In any case, they do their turn and then go around the table. And, once everyone has done their allotted actions and made their potentially possible purchases, the next turn starts. Turns 1-2 use the Level 1 cards, turns 3-4 use the Level 2 cards, and so on.
All in all, I’d say that it is one of the most fun deck-builder games I’ve ever played… but it’s not a game that I would have been able to play the first time I played it had I not already been familiar with Dominion.
So get Dominion first and master that. And then… once you’ve seen all of the strings pulling all of the players… get Core Worlds.
Core Worlds is one of the deck-builders for people ready to move on from Dominion.
So… what are you playing?