Battle for the Cores

A 2-player tabletop wargame.

   – 2 Weeks
   – Finished December 2011
   – Solo Project

   – Ages: 14+
   – For 2 Players
   – 15-30 Minutes

   – Resource management
   – Combat







Battle for the Cores is a tabletop board game for 2 players. Mechanics include resource management, combat, and army-building.

The main inspiration for Battle for the Cores was multi-unit real-time strategy games such as Dawn of War and Starcraft. Because of this, I wanted to make each unit in the game mechanically and thematically unique, with useful and strategic roles and abilities, and emergent synergies with other units.

Playtesting resulted in the game being highly strategic through calculated imbalance. There were clear strategies that some testers would utilize (such as spawning an endless wave of Skarabs) which could have easily won the game. But because every single unit was overpowered in their own light, natural counters became apparent. When a player would began exponentially spawning Skarabs, his opponent would stack Clockwork Sentinels and use their special ability to attack 3x per turn, thus managing the growing cloud of endless Skarabs.

Despite multiple strategies and synergies being discovered, there was still one common practice all players had to succeed at if they wanted any chance of victory. Much like Starcraft, if a player did not match his opponent in resource acquisition and management, then the odds would begin to tilt in the favor of the richest player.

Important skills that I learned or practiced included:

  • Systems design
  • Unit synergy, strategy, abilities
  • Resource economy, wargame flow, and emergent tactics

Looking back, I would have changed the following:

  • Choose a different art style
  • Lower the global costs of unit abilities OR increase the rate at which resources are acquired (in order to speed up the game)
  • Larger map with more environmental conditions & effects (To increase player favor & use of the Portal Key, a group teleportation unit)