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Make a Difference Again with the First Next Generation

by Brian Sykes, Rookie Designer

6th February 2023

Star Trek: Generations, while not necessarily the best or most popular film of the Star Trek franchise, was still a very important piece of the larger Star Trek story. For the first time it brought together Star Trek's "present" and its "past" to lay out a course for its future. In First Edition Star Trek CCG, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Generations form the "TNG era" core, but there was a group of personnel and ships from Generations that never really fit in... until now.

Introducing the newest addition to the Continuing Mission family of Warp Core cards: Make A Difference Again! This card does for TNG Feds what Generations did for the Star Trek movie franchise: bring the past and present together to chart a course for the future!

Make a Difference Again

This card is special to me as a Designer, as not only is it the first card I've designed that has gone all the way through the Design process to final release, but it was also the very first card designed for this set. When Charlie asked me to join what was at the time called the Project Solo team, I was super excited and super eager - just like a typical rookie. The project forum was created on May 31, 2020, and after a few idea kick-around posts, I proposed the first version of what would become Make A Difference Again on June 11, 2020 (Working title: The First Next Generation). It went into the file and stayed there for quite awhile unchanged. However, eventually Dan asked me to come up with a different "carrot" than what was on there at the time, which was a fairly basic and generic bonus point mechanism. He asked for something more flavorful that did more to tie the Classic Films era folks to the "proper" Next Generation era folks. After thinking about it some more, I realized that I could meet that ask AND get some more cards out of the binder if I focused on the ships that were around for both eras. This led to me proposing additional text on the card that allowed the player to play universal Excelsior-, Miranda-, and Oberth-class ships for free, and gave them all an attribute boost for each mission completed (either solved or cleared and scored by a Borg player). Dan loved it, but quickly pointed out that was WAAAY too much text for one card, even a 7-line incident (Rookies, man...). The fix was easy though: Make that part a separate card! So that's what we did, and that led to today's second card: Workhorses of the Fleet!

As much as I enjoyed designing Make a Difference Again, I more or less knew where I wanted to go with it from the beginning and the rest was just details. With Workhorses of the Fleet, once we got the basic text transcribed, we realized that there's some real potential here to tie in other things. What is between the beginning of Generations and the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation? a 70-ish year period generally referred to "The Lost Era" that doesn't have a lot filling in the gaps, but does have some ties to the TNG era, as seen in episodes like "Yesterday's Enterprise" - which also happens to be my favorite TNG episode. While doing a deep dive into this era was outside the scope of *this* set, we wanted to create something that could work with other "lost era" cards if that turns out to be something that gets developed down the line. As a result, we added Constellation- and Ambassador-class ships to the "qualified" list. Since we don't know if that will actually happen though, we didn't want to create any broken links that would tie the hands of future designers' efforts, so even if Lost Era development never comes to pass, there are existing ships of all of the listed classes that can benefit from Workhorses of the Fleet in the game today.

It's at this point where I need to acknowledge the efforts of some of the amazing and talented volunteers that the Department of First Edition has. Paddy Tye and his Creative Team took Make A Difference Again in a slightly different direction than I thought they would. When I wrote the game text I was envisioning something like Captain Harriman and crew aboard the Enterprise-B getting underway (The "First Next Generation" after Kirk &co.), but looking at the finished product, with Kirk and Picard on Veridian III, and the final title of Make A Difference Again, I think that angle does a much better job of achieving the Design objective of tying the two eras more closely together and really captures the essence of the card.

Workhorses of the Fleet

Additionally, I have to acknowledge Johnny Holeva and his Art team. Workhorses of the Fleet was probably not the easiest card text to source an image from, but like the miracle workers they are, they found a way to capture all three classes of ship on one image, and even appeared to have captured the relative scale of each class of ship! Whether you play with this card or not, I hope your inner Star Trek nerd appreciates such attention to detail, as in my view, the image really makes the card work.

And that's another thing I got to experience for the first time working on this set: The feeling of seeing the text boxes that I've been working on in Utopia Planetia (the card design software) for over two years finally becoming actual cards with actual images... wow! I had a hard time even proofreading the art proof because I was nerding out so hard on what I was looking at. As a designer, that's a hell of a payoff that makes the long hours, revisions, and the sinking feeling when a card you've put significant energy into developing just isn't working and gets re-routed to the cut file all worth it!

I've definitely gained a much deeper appreciation for the work that Creative and Art both do to make these cards a reality. Big thanks to Paddy, Johnny, and their respective teams!

Ok, enough story time. Time to get down to business. What does Make a Difference Again really do in gameplay terms? Let's break it down:

1.) Downloads Workhorses of the Fleet. This card can also be seeded as a standalone supplement for any deck, but this deck gets it for free. As I've already said, Workhorses was made to bring the ships that were present in both the classic films era and the TNG era out of the binder and make them playable. When was the last time you played a U.S.S. Miranda or U.S.S. Excelsior (or a U.S.S. Oberth outside a starter deck)? You could be forgiven for saying "never," which is why this card got made. Now you can get up to three ships in play FOR FREE. That's right, free ships! That's not something that happens very often, and now it can be a centerpiece of a deck. On top of that, these ships have been 29-year binder residents because, well, they aren't necessarily very good. Relatively low stats and a distinct lack of holodeck make them inferior choices to the shiny, flashy Galaxy- and Nebula-class alternatives, especially when they all cost the same card play. That's why we added a carrot: A +1 attribute boost across the board to begin with, and it grows as the game progresses. Is your opponent outracing you to missions? This will help you catch up! On the other hand, if you are racing out to missions, this card could keep you one step ahead of your opponent. But of course there's a catch: You can't get this bonus if you're not running the workhorses of the fleet. So no big shiny U.S.S. Enterprise, but you could run both of its predecessors, the Enterprise-B AND the Enterprise-C! And did I mention that the U.S.S. Stargazer is also a Workhorse? Let's get all of these cards out of the binder and into some decks!

2.) Powers up your Classic Films TNG Feds. The group I mentioned earlier that got left out of the "TNG era" core is the classic films personnel from the beginning of Generations. They weren't usable with Attention All Hands, they didn't play for free with any of the other Warp Core cards, and despite being given the TNG icon by Continuing Mission, they just didn't have a place to fit in ... anywhere (except maybe the binder, but that's no fun)... until now. Now, James T. Kirk, John Harriman, Demora Sulu, and "Nurse" Chekov, along with all of their friends from the opening moments of Generations are fully part of the TNG family. What does this mean in Gameplay terms? Well, like most Warp Core cards, you get to play a personnel for free once each turn. But even better, you now get a play phase card draw when you play one of these Classic Films TNG folks. That's on top of the play phase card draw that every TNG era deck gets from Continuing Mission! Remember when Continuing Mission used to give those two play phase draws before it got errataed (I do!)? Well, if you play this Warp Core card, you can replicate that level of deck versatility.

But wait, there's more! Since Attention All Hands doesn't allow AU personnel to report for free, we gave these Classic Films TNG guys an out: The can ignore their AU icon when reporting! That means you don't need to spend a seed slot on a doorway that allows them to play, AND they can report for free with Attention All Hands now to boot! That's a pretty good deal, right? And based on playtest feedback, we extended the ignore-the-AU-icon text to all relevant CARDS which means that ships can ignore the AU icon as well (though they won't play for free). This truly does free up the AU Door seed slot for use elsewhere (for example, you could pivot to Dyson Sphere door if you still wanted to seed AU dilemmas).

Unfortunately, there is some fine print on this deal: You can't draw extra cards during your execute orders or end of turn phases (though you still get your regular end of turn card draw - singular - as that's fundamental to the game). So, no Love Cafe, no Surprise Party, no Duck Blind, etc. (I mean, they're still legal to include in your deck, you just won't derive any card draws from having them in play). That might sound restrictive, but is it really? I don't think so, and I'll illustrate why:

By itself, this card more or less guarantees you three draws a turn, and two free plays a turn. On top of that, there's still ways to draw extra cards: there are no restrictions on card draws at the start of your turn or during your play phase, so you could break some rocks with Process Ore: Mining, or you could play interrupts like The Power and Mutation during the play phase to cycle through your deck, or you play Handshake (first or third functions), or even go old school with Kivas Fajo - Collector. Heck, you could even play some poker! Also, it opens the door to more easily playing Q's Tents from hand to get utility cards from the Tent (remember when every deck did that? I do!), as if you time it right, you'll only lose one card draw for the turn (your end of turn draw) - a much better deal than a lot of modern decks would demand.

The other thing I tried to do with this card is keep the card plays open. With Make a Difference Again and Workhorses of the Fleet, there's a decent (thought not comprehensive) core of personnel AND ships that play for free, and a lot of card draws to keep the party rolling turn after turn, but aside from James T. Kirk specifically, nothing else costs a card play - and I could argue that JTK is worth a card play, but if you disagree, feel free to Go to the Top and get him directly (though make sure you do it during your play phase to catch the draw he provides). That means that this deck engine is a sandbox: There's not one way to play it. You could sprinkle in a few All Star personnel to round out the skills you need, you could go more verb heavy with things like Spaceline Pollution, or you could go Card Draw Engine heavy and use those extra draws to power an interrupt-based strategy like Barclay's Transporter Phobia or Loss of Orbital Stability, to name just a couple of examples.

Attached to this article is a basic deck to illustrate the concept. The core is based on my TNG-era "Squire Starters" that I play with my kids, but I put a little more consistency and coherence - plus a couple of extra cards - into this version so it's playable from jump and also maximizes the features of the free play engines given. Additionally, it has a few skill gap filling All Stars that cost card plays, but shouldn't slow the deck down too much, and 4 copies of Let's See What's Out There to convert card plays into extra draws if/as needed. It's basic, but it's tuned enough to take to a local and probably compete. But more importantly, it's a foundation. Feel free to take it and modify it to do what YOU want to do with it; If I designed it right, there should be no shortage of options!

What do you think? Do these cards make you want to dust off some binders and get some "binder fodder" out of the pages and put them into your decks? I hope so, as it's always good when old cards get a chance to make a difference again.

Discuss this article in this thread.


Print DecklistCopy Deck

This deck is legal in the following Card Pools:

This deck is legal in the following Rules Sets:

This deck is currently eligible for the following family or families of achievements:

Mission (6)
37 V1x Avert Solar Implosion
41 V1x Investigate Destruction
15 V1x Navigate Argolis Cluster
28 V1x Prevent Military Escalation
S1x Search and Rescue
47 V1x The Last Outpost

Seed Deck (30)
59 VP1x Barclay's Protomorphosis Disease
U1x Berserk Changeling
2 V1x Chula: The Chandra
255 VP1x Chula: The Game
5 V1x Dead End
177 VP1x Edo Probe
1 V1x Eminian Disintegration Protocol
2 V1x Experience Bij!
94 VP1x Ferengi Infestation
288 VP1x Friendly Fire
8 V1x Hard Time
191 VP1x Hippocratic Oath
U1x In the Pale Moonlight
C1x Lack of Preparation
6 V1x Linguistic Legerdemain
3 V1x M-113 Creature
7 V1x Misinterpreted History
4 V1x Nanobiogenic Fugitives
5 V1x Nuclear Disarmament
6 V1x Poor Quality Workmanship
14 V1x Rules of Obedience
S1x Scientific Method
8 R1x The Clown: My Festival
5 V1x Unscientific Method
9 V1x White Rabbit
11 V1x ❖ Federation Outpost
21 V1x Attention All Hands
22 V1x Continuing Mission
18 V1x Assign Mission Specialists
27 V1x The Squire's Rules

Draw Deck (40)
C1x Federation PADD
19 V4x Let's See What's Out There
U1x Lower Decks
8 V1x Regenerate
64 R+1x Admiral J. P. Hanson
53 V1x ❖ Barron
29 V2x ❖ D.C. Franklin
55 V1x ❖ Daniel Kwan
57 V1x ❖ Davies
47 U1x Demora Sulu
67 R+1x Edward Jellico
66 P1x ❖ Herbert
51 VP1x James T. Kirk
82 VP1x Jean-Luc Picard
57 R+1x John Harriman
62 V1x ❖ Lian T'su
67 P1x ❖ Lieutenant Ballard
63 V1x ❖ Lopez
59 V2x ❖ Mark Tobiaston
31 V1x ❖ Marruu
64 V1x ❖ Martin
21 V1x Pavel Chekov
71 C1x ❖ Sam Lavelle
65 V1x ❖ Seth Mendoza
C1x ❖ Sito Jaxa
23 V1x Spock
C1x ❖ Taitt
67 C1x ❖ Voight
9 V1x ❖ Anhaica
45 V1x ❖ Millin
30 V1x Refugee Guinan
115 U1x U.S.S. Enterprise-B
C1x ❖ U.S.S. Excelsior
C1x ❖ U.S.S. Miranda
C1x ❖ U.S.S. Oberth

"Outside the Game" and/or Seed-Phase Downloads (4)
17 V1x Make a Difference Again
20 V1x Workhorses of the Fleet
8 V1x Alyssa Ogawa
U1x Hannah Bates

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