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Someone Old, Something New

by Charlie Plaine, Staff Writer

2nd June 2023

Els Renora

You may have been surprised to see my name on a modern Second Edition expansion. But as much as you might be surprised, I promise you I was more so when Richard reached out to me. This would only be my third project since 2019, and it wasn't something I was looking for - managing 1E keeps me awfully busy! But once Richard explained the concept of the set to me, and the role he wanted me to take, I was intrigued and signed up. When working as a non-lead designer, you can take on a few different roles: you can generate ideas, you can do research, and you can refine cards. Based on what Richard had outlined for me, my role was primarily the latter.

After taking an initial look through the file, I went through and made some suggestions. I approached the cards with the same tactics I used in Shore Leave - simple cards with a lot of affiliation flavor. One of the cards that jumped out at me was Els Renora, the elderly Bajoran arbiter from DS9's "Dax." The card was fine, with appropriate skills and attributes, and an ability that could prevent an ability on an opponent's personnel. I got the idea - she handled objections and "overruled" things that were out of order. But I didn't feel it was a particularly [Baj] flavored mechanic, and I felt it would be difficult to cost.

I wrote up my thoughts and shared them with Richard, arguing that she needed to be doing something else. He invited me to pitch a different ability for her, and so I did some research into abilities that would fit her character, fit Bajoran flavor and mechanics, and be nice and simple. My first thought, as it always has been with Bajorans, was to think about the discard pile; after all, [Baj] should be the masters of the discard pile. I remembered that we had dabbled with a new spin on this in Shore Leave with Benjamin Sisko (Master Chef). Allowing Bajorans to play cards from the discard pile as if there were in hand felt very appropriate, even though it was a potentially risky mechanic. Sisko allowed an Artifact to be played when he was played, so I pitched Els Renora as being able to play a specific card at any time. That would give her and the affiliation a different look and expand the design space.

The perfect card for this, in my opinion, was Legal Proceedings. Not only would it perfectly fit her character, but it's a cool and underused card in Bajoran decks, especially old-school Integrity decks. Generally in those decks, you solve a space mission and then 2 planets; this gives you the chance to use the same copy of Legal Proceedings twice for 10 bonus points. You can also throw it away early, safe in the knowledge it can come back (unless your opponent has an app for that.) All-in-all, I'm very happy with where Els Renora ended up. Whenever flavor, mechanics, and simplicity can combine, it's a real win. I'm excited to see how this card is received when Second Chances comes out next week. And I'm grateful for Richard for allowing me a second chance to work on a 2E project. I hope you all enjoy it.

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