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September 2023 First Edition Project Status Update

by Charlie Plaine, Director of First Edition

8th September 2023

Hello to all of you glorious Star Trek fans! It is time for another First Edition Project Status Update, as quite a bit has happened since our last update in February. Before we get into the project updates, let's take a look at a quick rundown of what the different statuses mean. These appear in approximately chronological order, from the start to finish of a project. Click to read through them, or feel free to skip it if you've been here before.

Click here to see all of the project statuses and what they mean.

This status covers all of the project work from picking the team and setting up forum access through the first "ready" card designs. It typically involves a lot of research, pitching a lot of ideas for overall themes, and significant back-and-forth discussions.

Unlike a normal project, and exploratory design project isn't about producing a card file. Instead, this type of project is about tacking a problem from all angles. By spending a lot of time (without deadlines) looking at all sides of an issue, the team can deliver a report about why a certain direction is the right way to go.

The Design status covers all the work of actually designing cards. It typically involves a lot of meetings and forum discussions, and culminates with a file that is ready for testing and feedback. Also included in this phase is all of the internal testing done by designers to catch things that might have been missed (so testers don't have to.)

Typically the longest single phase of the entire cycle, development mostly consists of testing and refinement. Over the course of 3-12 months (depending on size and scale), testers will build decks, play them, and report their feedback. The designers will then read and process all that feedback, update the file, and the process repeats. It's the most vital piece of the process, and we really can't thank our testers enough.

Once we are 95% of the way through testing, an expansion moves to production. This involves getting the Art, Creative, Rules, Proofreading, and Writing teams involved with the file (though not all at once). It's the production process that moves the file from card ideas to fully formed and finished cards. There is a ton of work by our volunteers here!

The finished product is in your hands!

Nothing is ever truly cancelled or deleted in our world, but a project moved to this status is essentially not moving forward. It might end up being restarted, folded into a different product, or just never touched again.

Completed Projects

Here is a list of projects that have been released since our last update.

Nemesis f.k.a. Project Solo
(Nemesis is the third and final Movie expansion, pulling from Generations through Nemesis, with a large focus on the latter movie.)

Our last update came out halfway through our Nemesis spoilers. Since then, there's been a lot of good discussion about the new cards and we've started seeing some of them pop up in decks. The design team of Dan Hamman [SirDan], Cristoffer Wiker [Smiley], Brian Sykes [Armus], and Daniel Matteson [OKCoyote] did work they should be proud of! We'll continue to watch and see how these cards impact the game, especially as we head towards Worlds in just 2 weeks!

Ships of the Line formerly known as Project Parachute
(Ships of the Line is an independent boutique-style expansion all about ships.)

Hot off the presses, Ships of the Line was release and is now legal for the World Championship. We shall see if any of these cards make their way into decks played at this year's event. Of course, the idea of Project Parachute was to keep something "on hold" until we needed it. But since we needed this right away, that leaves us with nothing held back for later. However, we're making some changes to how we design things that will hopefully mean our future Projects Parachute will be faster to finish with less investment, and thus we can keep them on the shelf as needed.

Current Projects

Here is a list of projects that are in active design and development. Any project that hasn't been covered in a previous status update is marked as NEW!

Duel Decks: Four Lights f.k.a. Project En Garde - TNG Federation vs TNG Cardassian
(Duel Decks: Four Lights develops [TNG] [Car] and provides a pair of balanced decks designed to give great games against each other.)

Today, I'm happy to tell you that Duel Decks: Four Lights is the official name of Project En Garde. And after years of design and development, it's nearly finished with production! A big part of this expansion ended up being figuring out how to make good duel decks in addition to designing and testing all the cards. And while the cards might be (almost) done, we have a lot of work to do before we can release this. I'm planning on it coming out in November 2023, and with a lot of cool fanfare and information when it does. At that time, you'll get an entire expansion full of new cards. The project will also come with 2 complete decks, ready to print, cut, and play.

Project Mandalorian - A Sequel to Alternate Universe
(Project Mandalorian will an expansion that is a spiritual successor to Alternate Universe, but with source material from more than just TNG.)

After delay after delay, Project Mandalorian has headed to playtesters just this week. To say I'm excited is an understatement! We've worked on this for over a year and I think it's some of the finest work done by our 5-person team of myself, Dan Hamman, Brian Sykes, James Monsebroten [Orbin], and Mathew McCalpin [The Professor Scott]. As a "spiritual successor" to Alternate Universe, Decipher's first expansion, we're planning on taking you into simulated universes, true alternate timelines, and into the past. There's a lot of testing to do, but I'm hopeful you will see this in the first quarter of 2024.

In previous updates, we'd been calling Project Mandalorian a sequel to both AU and Q Continuum. But in this update, we're only calling it a sequel to Decipher's first expansion, not the second. And what about the "What If...?" content we'd teased? Well... it turns out we made way, way, way too much content. So much so that it was almost a Decipher-sized expansion. That would have proven impossible to test all together, and thus we've decided to split it up. Allow me to introduce to you 2 new projects:

NEW! Project Grogu - An Exploration of "What If...?"
(Project Grogu will be an expansion that explores times Star Trek and the CCG faced decisions and explored the possibilities of "What If...?".)

NEW! Project Bo Katan - A Sequel to Q Continuum
(Project Bo Katan will be a spiritual successor to Q Continuum, but with more source material than just TNG.)

What was formerly Project Mandalorian has been split into 3 projects - Mandalorian, Grogu, and Bo Katan. As mentioned above, Mandalorian is the sequel to AU, and will be coming out first. Project Grogu is now keeping most of the "What If...?" content that plays with changes in Star Trek history and in the history of ST:CCG. For example: what if you could attempt space missions from your OUTPOSTs again? Project Bo Katan will be the "spiritual successor" to Q Continuum, with plenty more Q and universe-bending content.

While it's a useful construct to describe the expansions this way, there will be plenty of overlap between them. Not every Q-related card will be in Bo Katan and not every AU card will be in Mandolorian. We have never done a major split like this, and we have yet to figure out how this will impact the schedule. It isn't fair to the Delta Quadrant expansions (and those planned for the future) to push them out so much further. So it's likely we'll mix things up, but those are conversations we're still having. I'm mentioning this now so that you know what's happened and why, so you aren't surprised later.

Project Viking - Giving Vidiians Some Love
(Project Viking is a boutique style expansion "booster shot" for the Vidiian affiliation.)

This small set of cards does a lot of work towards giving the [Vid] an identity all of their own. All current styles and types of Vidiian decks will still exist in a post-Viking world, but this will hopefully give the affiliation some definition. Additionally, it's our hope that they will fill a much needed "control" deck type role in the game. Initial design work was done by myself, Brian Sykes, and James Heaney [BCSWowbagger]. Since then, we have handed over the file to a 2nd team to do development work on the cards. That team happens to be the same team as is working on Project Dilly Bar below - James Monsebroten, Paddy Tye [KazonPADD], and Mathew McCalpin.

Given the likelihood of the schedule being rearranged for the future, the odds of this becoming a stand-alone product have increased. We'll share more about the scheduling as we get closer. If I had to guess, I'd put this coming up after Project Mandalorian in the first half of 2024.

Project Babylon - Exploring Nor Rules/Designs
(Project Babylon is an exploratory design project looking at the problems with Nors, and potential solutions to those problems.)

The team of Paddy Tye, Derrick Marsh [HoodieDM], Cristoffer Wiker, and James Heaney have done a lot of work, and have recently brought their proposed changes to playtesting. This is after they did a ton of internal testing to fix some of the sneaker and most horrible problems of Nor vs. Nor games with the smallest impact. Assuming all goes well with external testing, look for these changes to come out after the World Championship this year or in the very early part of 2024.

Project Blizzard - Delta Quadrant "Heels" (Bad Guys)
(Project Blizzard is the 1st of 2 Delta Quadrant themed expansions, focusing on Borg, Kazon, and Hirogen.)

Our next major "block" will be focused on the Delta Quadrant, after over a decade of only getting bits and pieces. We're all excited to dive into these projects so Voyager and [DQ] fans get to experience an entire block focused on them. The first expansion, Project Blizzard, is being helmed by yours truly with a team of Paddy Tye and Lee Palo [LeeKarlPalo]. Progress has been slow, and there has been a lot of shaking up of our schedules. It's possible both this expansion and the next will be broken up differently. But don't worry Voyager and Delta Quadrant fans - none of this content will be cut!

Project Dilly Bar - Delta Quadrant "Faces" (Good Guys)
(Project Dilly Bar is the 2nd of 2 Delta Quadrant themed expansions, focusing on Federation, Vidiian, Klingon, Maquis, and Non-Aligned.)

Our 2nd [DQ] expansion will be focusing on Vidiian, Federation, and all of the "smaller powers" of the quadrant. This team is being led by James Monesbroten, with Paddy Tye and Mathew McCalpin - the same team as is working on Project Viking above. This team is just getting started with their pre-design work, and things on the schedule are somewhat in flux. We hope to have more information to share about this in a future update.

Project Pink Floyd - Kid-Friendly Decks to Learn the Basics
(Project Pink Floyd is an experimental design project aimed at creating absolute bare-bones decks for demos.)

We're finally moving on from setting up parameters for these decks and have starting putting cards down on paper. We're looking to make a pair of dead simple, bare-bones, easy decks that are kid-friendly and can be used to demo the game. The core of First Edition will still be in these expansions, but we've taken steps to pare it down as much as possible to provide a good learning experience. We are still designing cards, but our hope is to release the decks for public testing later this year. If you've got kids, keep an eye out!

Project Bookend - TOP SECRET 30th Anniversary
(This is a TOP SECRET project tied to the game's 30th anniversary in November 2024.)

I know that there is very little I've said about this project, and unfortunately I'm not going to break that trend anytime soon. We really would like there to be a big surprise when we finally announce this project, and that means a lot of secrecy for you while we work. At this point, we've been working on this for 2 years and it is by far the biggest single project we've ever done. Our project team, led by Dan Hamman, is working diligently to get this ready for testing and then production. I can't wait to tell you more about it and we all hope that you'll love the finished project.

NEW! Project Pearl - A 30th Anniversary Celebration
(Project Pearl is a companion product to Project Bookend and is being developed along with it for the 30th anniversary.)

Because I haven't told you much about Project Bookend, and because this project is a companion to that project, I can't tell you too much about this project either. Dan Hamman is also leading this one, and our team of talented designers just got to work. We are on the clock, so things will be moving quickly. Project Pearl is planned to come out with, or shortly after, Project Bookend in late 2024.

NEW! Project Rainbow - A 30th Anniversary Celebration of Affiliations
(Project Rainbow is a boutique expansion featuring one personnel or ship for every affiliation in the game. It's designed to be part of the game's 30th anniversary.)

The idea for Project Rainbow - one card for every affiliation - was a suggestion made by one of our forum users. We loved the idea, and we've adopted it. Our goal is to make a cool personnel or ship for each affiliation in the game, and thus celebrate the game's history for its 30th birthday. The project is being led by Paddy Tye, and has recently gotten underway (although work won't start in earnest until after Worlds). The focus on personnel and ships is intentional, as they tend to be much easier to test.

NEW! Project Victory - March Madness 2023 Winner
(Project Victory is a boutique expansion based around the winning card concept from the 2023 March Madness - Lower Decks: Fleet Operations. It will be based on universal ships and/or the story of the blockade from "Redemption Part II.")

In March, we finished our 5th annual March Madness - a tournament where 64 card concepts enter, and only one emerges victorious. This year's winner was Lower Decks: Fleet Operations, pitched by a community member as a bonus/reward for using all universal ships. Our staff paired that up with the blockade from "Redemption Part II," and that concept is what ended up winning after 6 rounds of voting. Because it was the 5th anniversary of March Madness, we've gone big - not only will the winning card be made, but we're building an entire expansion around it. I'll be leading the project, but we don't have a clock so I can't tell you when it will be ready at this time.

NEW! Project Sousa - March Madness 2023 Bonus Prizes
(Project Sousa is a boutique expansion collecting all of the cards that won bonus prizes during the 2023 March Madness bracket.

Also as part of our 5th March Madness celebration, we gave out bonus prizes to card concepts in each round. These concepts have all been grouped together into Project Sousa, which will build them all for release as a boutique expansion. Christoffer Wiker [Smiley] will be taking the lead on this and we just finalized the rest of his team today. They will be getting started, but as there isn't a deadline, I can't speak to when this will be released. We'll share more as we start to narrow things down.

NEW! Project G.I. Joe - Exploring Options for Immunity
(Project G. I. Joe is an exploratory project looking at potential new ways to make cards immune to other effects. Hopefully, a path towards unifying all the disparate destruction effects can be found.

This is an abstract project, but that's exactly why we have exploratory design. We've come to realize that we have a lot of different ways to destroy cards and a wide array of ways to say "but not this card." For example, events can be "Immune to Kevin Uxbridge," Treaties can only be destroyed by specific cards, and some dilemmas are "Immune to Adapt." This team, headed up by Mathew McCalpin, is exploring options to see if it's possible to unify all of those different methods into one. After all, "Immune to Kevin Uxbridge" doesn't really tell you anything about what that means. If you don't know what Kevin Uxbridge is and what it does, that line of text is no help. Is there a better way? That's what this project is looking to find out.

And as of today, they think they've found a solution. It's still too early to share more information with you, but they're taking a look at a new way to mark cards as "indestructable" and the impact of making this kind of change. The work continues, and we'll update you as we move forward with this project.

Project Calendar - Promo-a-Week Part II
(Promo-a-Week was a slow-release set of promos that dropped over the course of 6 months.)

Unfortunately, we haven't made any progress on figuring out a good, reliable, and consistent way to bring back the Promo-a-Week project. We haven't given up, especially since there are a dozen new cards in various stages of readiness. We would love to hear your feedback. Did you enjoy the original 2020 Promo-a-Week program? Would you like to see it return? And if so, do you want it to include new cards as well as AIs? Sound off an

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