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Timeless Revealed

by Lucas Thompson, Designer

13th January 2023


The final card reveals for the Timeless expansion have arrived today! Let's take a look at them:

Laas: Picking a Dominion Archive Portrait card was challenging from a story perspective. There's a great appetite for new personnel, but the vast majority of named Dominion characters with high-quality pictures have already been added to Second Edition. Additionally, adding a new version for an existing character carries the baggage of needing to compete with the existing card for playability. A version of Ikat'ika or Keevan or Martok Founder or even Hanok without an ability — but that can compete with the existing versions in playability — is a tall order.

The next idea Richard and I had was to go the route of Founder Architect and make the card a new founder — the Reflections 2.0 solution. The proposed text for such a card was largely similar to the final version, but we encountered a snag in that plan too. First, it was pointed out that there aren't any unused unnamed Founders that we have available images of from the show. We could possibly use a mid-shift image, but most of those are either recognizably Odo or completely amorphous blobs. At that point, the very first Dominion Archive Portrait card would be a great big picture of fuzzy, motion-blurred goo. Very exciting!

A solution that I briefly flirted with was taking existing Founders and using AI face blending programs to merge them and create a new one. I think there are future possibilities for such a scheme, but none of the free options out there produced anything close to usable. (As an aside, I'm curious how the readers of this article feel about trying something like that in the future for affiliations with few available personnel options.)

That's where Laas finally came in. I have a soft spot for times where the game can extend the storytelling of the show — First Edition's Nick Locarno, set after his appearance on the show, when he's no longer a member of Starfleet is one of my favorite examples. Laas's Memory Alpha page includes a fair bit of commentary on his potential fate, in part because the writers knew he would have contracted the Morphogenic Virus from Odo. If he were to live, he would have to return to the Great Link at some point. And, perusing his Memory Beta page, it looks like he does return there in the extended Trek universe. A little Photoshop work later, and voila, Laas appears on the Founders' Homeworld (note: yes, that's the old homeworld behind him, but I imagine the Founders used the same architecture on the new one too, even though we only ever saw rocks and a big puddle).

Omicron Theta Outskirts

Omicron Theta Outskirts: This card was one of the first ones I made a draft image for on the Design boards in order to pitch the project. The Next Generation Blu-ray screenshots are stunning in general, and the Crystalline Entity in particular really stands out. While I think we can all agree that the writing team for TNG was still "finding their footing" in the first two seasons at best, the art really stands out. Later seasons of TNG focus more on the Enterprise in their exterior shots, but in those first seasons there are some absolutely gorgeous views of planets and space phenomena. And even among those images, the Crystalline Entity stands out.

Gameplay-wise, the combination of Astrometrics, Engineer, and Exobiology appears on no other missions in the game. It's not a particularly common combination on personnel, only appearing on eleven cards; notably though, four are Datas and three are Sevens of Nine. Like all the space missions in the set, its span is three, but it shares a region with another mission in the set: Omicron Theta. Is Data's usefulness at both Omicron Theta System missions enough to sway Cunning TNG decks away from the Geology mission set (that notably doesn't require non-mission points)? Omicron Theta Outskirts is one of three Any Affiliation missions in this set (two others exclude Borg); who else might be tempted to include these missions? Romulans have always been good at these skills, and they have access to a 10–range ship. Android decks might be tempted by them, when supplemented by Follow Homing Beacon. I'm very curious to see what the community comes up with!

Weird Planet Displaced in Time: Voyager images haven't benefited from a Blu-ray release the way The Next Generation images have. However, as Voyager travels to many more planets and space phenomena than Deep Space 9 does (and the destinations are more of the focus of the show), so there are some more unique images to choose from. Those screenshots still benefit from manual (and sometimes AI-aided) touch-up more than TNG Blu-ray or Original Series remastered shots do, but the final results can be impressive.

The Weird Planet Displaced in Time is from one of Voyager's most popular episodes, Blink of an Eye (it's referred to as Kellemane's Planet if you're looking it up on Memory Alpha). It's worth mentioning though that, if you check out Where's That Picture From? (our image source database), there has never been a card from this episode before (also true of Voth City Ship from this expansion). Part of the problem in this case is that there's not a lot of material that could be used that's relevant to the larger universe. There aren't many discrete dilemmas related to the planet's surface, and most of the people we meet on the surface never leave it. Such a self-contained story does lend itself to a mission, though!

Gameplay-wise, this mission's main uniqueness is that it is the first to require two levels of Transporters. That's quite a challenge, which is why its attribute requirement falls on the low end of 40-point mission requirements. That low requirement will make it naturally appealing to the Holograms that are native to the Delta Quadrant, though there's tension again with the Transporters requirement — Holograms aren't great at that skill (though they're better than they used to be). Equinox decks likewise also often use 40-point missions to complement their tailored mission Locate Fuel Source; there's a two-skill overlap here, perhaps enough to wiggle its way into Equinox decks?

See You Out There! This set was a joy to work on, from its inception down to putting the finishing touches on the images (which I normally don't get to do, but did this time). I'm really looking forward to seeing what people can do with these new cards, so post those decklists once this expansion becomes legal for tournament play on the 20th of January, 2023. Good luck, and have fun!

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