What follows is a description of the different components used in Core Worlds.
The five Sector Cards are used to mark the position of each Galactic Deck on the table (see right).
Each Galactic Deck represents a different Galactic Sector, ranging from the Barbaric Worlds at the edge of the galaxy (Sector 1) to the Core Worlds at the galaxy's center (Sector 5).
As the game progresses, a Round Marker moves forward along the Sector Cards, carrying the players' interests deeper into the galaxy. Each Sector consists of two Rounds.
Each time the Round Marker moves into a new Sector, the players will draft cards and invade Worlds from the next Galactic Deck. The Sector Cards also display how many Actions each player can perform during each Round.
At the start of the game, the player with the lowest numbered Home World receives the Destiny Marker, which allows that player to take the first Action of the game.
At the end of each Round, the Destiny Marker passes to the left, allowing each player a chance to act first during a subsequent Round.
Each player receives a Player Board which is used to keep track of his current Action and Energy totals.
The Player Board also includes helpful reference materials, including a Phase Summary, a list of Turn Options that can be performed during the Action Phase, and important information about each of the Core Worlds.
Each Empire is limited to a certain number of Actions each Round. Players keep track of their Action Points by sliding their Action Markers back and forth on their Player Boards.
Energy is the currency of Core Worlds. Players keep track of their Energy totals by sliding their Energy Markers back and forth on their Player Boards. Each player's Worlds generate Energy during every Round of the game.
This Energy is then used to draft new Units and Tactics into each player's Empire, as well as to deploy Units into each player's Warzone.
Energy Tokens & Energy Surge Tokens
Energy Tokens represent bonus Energy that can be earned when drafting certain cards from the Central Zone. Some Units (such as the Genetic Super Soldier) also keep track of their special abilities using Energy Tokens.
There are also three Energy Surge Tokens that are used to balance out certain starting positions in the game.
World cards feature a green background (see right). Each player begins the game with one Home World in his Warzone. Throughout the game, new Worlds will appear in the Central Zone that players can invade using the Units they have placed on the table in front of them.
Each Empire's Worlds are always displayed in its Warzone; they are never added to the player's hand, deck, or discard pile.
On a World card, "Energy" represents how much Energy that World generates each Round. A World's Fleet and Ground Strengths represent its defense against Invasion.
Unit Cards have a yellow background (see right). Unit Cards represent the Heroes, Infantry, Robots, Vehicles, Starfighters, Star Cruisers, and Capital Ships that the players use to invade Worlds
Players draft new Units into their Empires by paying the Draft Cost of those cards (see right). When a Unit is drafted, it goes into the player's discard pile. The drafted card will not enter play until after the player later shuffles his discard pile to form a new draw deck, and then draws the card into his hand.
The Deploy Cost signifies the amount of Energy the player must spend to deploy the card from his hand to his Warzone. A Unit's card text has no effect while the card is still in its player's hand.
Tactic cards have a blue background (see right). Tactic cards have an immediate effect on the game and are then discarded. Players draft new Tactics into their Empires by paying the Draft Cost of those cards (see right).
When a Tactic is drafted, it goes into the player's discard pile. Once drawn, Tactics are played directly from the hand and are never positioned in a player's Warzone.
Some Tactics enhance an Action (for example, if the Tactic is played "during an Invasion"). Others are played "as an Action" and therefore use up one of the player's Action Points for that Round. Each Tactic card specifies exactly when it can be applied and what its effects are.
Prestige cards have a red background (see right). Prestige cards only appear in the last Galactic Sector (Sector 5: the Core Worlds). Prestige Cards are drafted towards the end of the game for the sole purpose of adding more points to a player's Empire; they have no other function in the game.
Unlike Units and Tactics, Prestige cards are never placed in a player's discard pile. They are instead placed directly in a player's Warzone when drafted.
Many Units and Tactics feature a Special Icon to the left of their Card Types.
At present, these Special Icons have no gameplay purpose but they will eventually be used in a future Core Worlds expansion.
Central Zone: Throughout the game, new cards are drawn from the five Galactic Decks and placed face up in the Central Zone, the game's common play area. These cards include new Units and Tactics that the players can draft into their Empires, as well as Worlds that they can invade.
Empire: Each player represents an Empire that begins with a Home World and a Starting Deck. A player's Empire consists of all of the cards in his hand, draw deck, discard pile, and Warzone.
Fleet Strength: Each World possesses a Fleet Strength that represents the starships that defend it from attack. A World's Fleet Strength must be matched or exceeded in order for that World to be successfully invaded. Many Units possess a Fleet Strength that a player can use to invade a World.
Ground Strength: Each World possesses a Ground Strength that represents the infantry and other ground forces that defend it from surface assault. A World's Ground Strength must be matched or exceeded in order for it to be successfully Invaded. Many Units possess a Ground Strength that a player can use to invade a World.
Invasion: In order to add new Worlds to his Empire, a player must launch Invasions. A player performs an Invasion by discarding enough cards from his Warzone to match the Fleet Strength and Ground Strength of the World he is invading.
Warzone: Each player's Empire includes a Warzone, an area in front of the player where his conquered Worlds are displayed. Players also deploy Units from their hands face up into their Warzones, and later use these Units to invade new Worlds.