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Lineage: World Champion Design-a-Card

by Mike Harrington, 2011 Second Edition World Champion

26th June 2012

A couple months after GenCon when I was reminded that I’d have the opportunity to design a card for an upcoming Second Edition expansion, I was pretty excited and right away thought I’d be able to come up with a pretty neat card idea. Now months after that initial excitement I’m relieved to have finally achieved what I think is a good product, but I can’t help thinking how tough it’s been to design just one card...

I had two initial ideas: the first that John Doe could make for a cool personnel, and the second, that Vulcans could use a boost somehow. So I designed a John Doe personnel, and I designed a Vulcan event. I was initially pretty pleased with both. But then John went through playtesting. It was ugly. The guy was not working out, and was too good and just too all-over-the-map for me to figure out what to do with. So I went with plan B. I wanted something very straightforward for Vulcans that would give them an immediate boost. So I designed an event to give them a cunning boost. Again, the tireless and wise testers picked at the problem areas of the card and raised concern over the possible power creep of an easy attribute boost for an already attribute-heavy race. While I personally thought the difficulties in managing a Vulcan deck to be great enough to mute some of the potential danger of the card, I was open to the fact that a) I could be wrong, and b) there were alternative routes to explore.

After considerably dialogue with the chairman (mostly long-winded rambling by me) and a variety of testers, I was kind of caught by surprise at just how much work goes into getting cards right (or very close to right), and just how many admirable people (and their time) are involved to make sure this happens on a regular basis.

As far as the storyline/game-mechanic relationship goes for Katric Arc, I believe that it being an artifact is a great fit for the Vulcans because they have such a strong association with their past, and then the cunning boost I think also fits well because so much of the Vulcan experience is finding ways to improve mental clarity, and this kind of helps them achieve it!

So with storyline and gameplay, I’m glad the final version of the card has been made into an artifact. I think it helps bring some pretty juicy not-sold-over-the-counter, steroid-type enhancing capability for any deck that’s stuffed full of funny ears...but at the same time you’ll have to work to get it! I’m certainly very excited to see how this card will be used and I look forward to trying it out myself!

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