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Lineage: Origin of Species

by Charlie Plaine, Lineage Lead Designer

8th June 2012

The Continuing Committee is proud to announce Lineage, the tenth virtual expansion for Second Edition, will be released online and free at trekcc.org on Friday, June 29th, 2012. Lineage is an expansion all about species and exploring the idea of diversity that was so central to Gene Roddenberry's personal beliefs and the philosophy of Star Trek. Featuring powerful new cards for the Dominion and Ferengi affiliations, as well as new reasons to diversify your species in all your decks, Lineage is bound to shake up everything we know on Friday, June 29th!

What is Lineage?
1: descent in a line from a common progenitor
2: a group of individuals tracing descent from a common ancestor; especially : such a group of persons whose common ancestor is regarded as its founder

Lineage (pronounced lin-ee-age) is our tenth virtual expansion for Second Edition. Named for one of the more "moral/ethical" episodes of Voyager, this expansion visits one of the fundamental concepts of the game that has often been ignored: species. It was our hope when designing this expansion to challenge everyone's assumptions about species (in game) and to encourage players to find new and different personnel to use in their decks. Star Trek, as a whole, has always celebrated the diversity of species in the universe, while simultaniously suggesting our similaries. The Vulcan philosophy of IDIC - Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination - implies our game exists in a universe of endless possibilities. At the same time, we learn in TNG's "The Chase" that all of our major Alpha Quadrant races share a common lineage - originating from a single, ancient progenetor race.

While we didn't try and offer any answers to these great existential and philosophical questions with Lineage, we did set out to make each and every Second Edition player think about the species they include in their decks. In general, it's going to be risker to ignore species diversity with the release of Lineage, and there will be more benefits to including diverse species options. But even with that larger goal, we've recognized that some decks (and some affilations) just don't work that way, and we've tried to offer some tools for a few of those decks as well.

Before we show off some of the cards in this expansion, I'd like to introduce the Lineage design team. We've had quite a run of expansions featuring "new" designers and Lineage doesn't break the streak.

Charles Plaine a.k.a. MidnightLich, Lead Designer. I don't really need to talk about my history as a designer as I'm sure it's out there, but this is the first expansion I've lead that was planned after Brad DeFruiter's departure as the overall Lead Designer. (While it's true he didn't have much to do with Unity, it was planned before he left.)

Richard New a.k.a. The Guardian, Assistant Designer. Richard has been involved in Second Edition design for a few years now, and his work is always fantastic. He has a long history as a prolific dream card creator and was a natural fit for Brad to recruit into the design stable. Prior to Lineage, Richard has worked on This Side of Paradise and Extreme Measures. Richard always looks for ways to "twist" mechanics and cards, and one of my favorite cards in Lineage, was his answer to "How can we twist Security Drills for Bajoran Resitance?"

Kevin Jaeger a.k.a. Hoss-Drone, Assistant Designer. Lineage, is Kevin's first time "behind the curtain" as a designer, and he's done some impressive work. Kevin has previous experience as a play tester and high level player, and got his first taste of design after his 2008 World Championship victory. I'm sure Kevin will talk more about his experiences during the Q&A, but he always drove us to try more and bigger things, and Lineage, is a better expansion because of his work.

In addition to the design team above, Lineage, has been worked on by dozens of passionate, dedicated and talented volunteers in our Play Testing, Art, and Creative departments. As much work as design puts in, these volunteers often equal it and rarely get the same credit. I want to personally think each and everyone who's worked on Lineage, for their hard work and dedication.

Species Matters
At the core of Lineage is the idea that "species matters." You can probably count on one hand the number of cards that care about the species that you have in play, with Racial Tension being the most obvious example. We set out to make it matter with Lineage, and as such it appears on lots of different card types for lots of different purposes. For example, we've made some dilemmas that "encourage" you to bring more diversity to your away teams, like Conflict of Interests.

Conflict of Interests is part of a cycle of dilemmas that gives you a "light nudge" into diversifying. If you're running a crew of all Humans, or playing Borg without assimilation, then this dilemma gives your opponent a chance to bring it back to the dilemma pile - but only if you fail. When the dilemma is passed, it treats everyone equally. Only when failed - and only if you aren't celebrating diversity - will it be able to return.

Most of the Lineage dilemmas are in a similar vein - becoming a stick against running too few species in your decks. But this expansion also offers "carrots" too, like the interrupt, Infinite Combinations.

We also decided to find ways to add species to mission attempts, and that's resulted in a new kind of mission requirement. You'll see several like this, but Gather Information is one of my favorite.

Now, lest you panic, know that almost all of these species required by these new "species-based" missions have a new, [NA] member of that species making an appearance in Lineage. There's one exception, but it not only makes story-based sense, we like the fact it adds a bit of affiliation flavor - but you'll have to wait and see. Yranac, the new Yridian, matches Gather Information and he's just one of many. And yes, like our Yridian friend, all of these new "species mission" personnel are non-unique?

The idea that species matters is in most of the cards you'll see in Lineage, but it wasn't our only goal. We set our sights on two affiliations that are popular but have a history of underperforming, and did our best to bring them some new, powerful cards that would help them arrive on the competitive stage. Let's take a look.

Syracuse Fans
The "orange men" of Star Trek, the Ferengi, have been popular since their introduction in Strange New Worlds, but they are difficult to play and have rarely done well at high-level play. With Lineage, we hope to address both of the problems for this affiliation and see some Ferengi decks at the upcoming Continental and World Championships.

We set out to make a "beast" for the Ferengi - someone with good skills, good attributes, and someone that you'd always want around. He didn't end up non-unique, but he did end up fitting the theme of the expansion quite well:

His skills came from the list of most popular missions in [Fer] decks - a direct example of your decks influencing design. You'll notice he has all of the skills required for Falsify Distress Signal, Purchase Moon, Acquire Illicit Explosives and Restore Errant Moon, and if you bring along Leeta, Jadzia and Lwaxana, he's a 7-7-7 monster. You'll also notice what skills he doesn't have - no Honor nor Treachery, and no Leadership nor Officer. Where's the downside?

In addition to the species loving Stol above, Ferengi get two other personnel and a trio of support cards that should cause everyone to take a second look at the orange men. But on the other side of the galaxy, the Founders scheme and plot, and their new cards in Lineage might lead them to their dramatic arrival to high level play.

Baby, It's Cold Outside
It would be hard to do an expansion about species without talking about The Dominon. Since their introduction in Call to Arms, the Dominion trifecta of species (Jem'Hadar, Vorta and Changelings) have worked together (or against one another) as part of a complex machine. Decipher later added the Breen (in In a Mirror, Darkly) and then TCC added Dosi and Karrema in Unity. While Dominion players should have no trouble adding species to their decks, they have had trouble finding focus and managing the right resources.

Well, Lineage brings help to The Dominion with more Breen reinforcements, who are striking fear into their allies with an Audacious Assault against San Francisco, Earth.

Three new Breen, a new Founder and a new version of an old Vorta join the Dominion ranks, but Dominion players will find quite a bit more to enjoy when Lineage arrives. We've gone out of our way to provide new missions for the Dominion - in both the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants. Over and over we've heard from high level players that mission selection can make or break a competitive deck and we aimed to give the [Dom] player more options. You'll see more and more of the Dominion's new allies and tools as our spoilers unfold.

Lineage continues the tradition of the previous few virtual expansions with the introduction of a new team. With a species theme, there were a number of choices; however, when we narrowed it down to affiliations that hadn't had a "proper" team created, we decided upon one for the Romulans - at least the Romulan affiliation:

L'Kor and the rest of the Klingon Prisoners from "Birthright" are personnel of two worlds, and their game text reflects that. They work as [Rom] Romulans, but retain their Klingon heritage. If joined by previous [Rom] Klingon personnel such a Lursa, B'Etor and Kell, the green-colored Klingons can be quite a formidable force. And if you're brave... these folks even work well in a dual headquarters deck!

Lineage promises to make species a new consideration for deck building; to turn it from an afterthought (or a non-thought) into something else to consider. Dare you risk putting all your eggs in one basket with these cards on the horizon? Or are the benefits of standing alone worth the risk? Time will tell, and on June 29th, you'll all be able to explore Lineage for yourselves!

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