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It's Just a Matter of Time

by Charlie Plaine, Second Edition Lead Designer

1st February 2013

It's a Matter of Time!

The Continuing Committee is proud to announce Matter of Time, our twelfth virtual expansion for Second Edition, will be released online and free at trekcc.org on Friday, February 22nd, 2013. As we've previously hinted, Matter of Time is an expansion all about the past, future, and parallel universes of Star Trek. This expansion features cards from the past, present and future of both the Star Trek universes and the game itself and, unless you're a time traveler, will shake things up on February 22nd.

Matter of Time is, as the name implies, all about time. We set out to make a spiritual sequel to Decipher's original Second Edition temporal expansion, Fractured Time, and ended up doing far more. But before we get into the specific cards you'll see, I'd like to introduce you to the design team for this expansion.

Charles Plaine a.k.a. MidnightLich, Lead Designer. Yours truly has worked on quite a few expansions, dating all the way back to Decipher's Captain's Log, but this expansion went through more trials and changes and debate than any other I've worked on. I'm grateful for all that angst, however, because it's made for a better expansion and helped me grow as a designer.

John Corbett a.k.a. KillerB, Assistant Designer. John is brand new to the design team, but is an experienced and long time player. He brought a lot of energy to the process and was constantly challenging the team, the card, and even our processes to make sure we were doing our best work.

Brad DeFruiter a.k.a. Brad, Consultant. Does anyone not know the man, the legend, the one-and-only Brad? He was my predecessor as Lead Designer and shephered Second Edition from Day 1. Brad submitted one of my favorite "teams" of cards and popped in from time to time to offer his knowledge and experience.

Mark Morris, a.k.a. BarronMorrath, Assistant Designer. Mark earned a spot on the design team via the Make it So design competition, following in his brother's footsteps to do so. But Mark quickly proved to be a different kind of designer than his brother and a strong follower of tradition. He even managed to keep contributing even after the birth of his second child!

However, even though our designers did great work on Matter of Time, this expansion would never have seen the light of day without the hard work of dozens of volunteers that work on Second Edition. Kudos to all of our play testers, rules guys, creative team members and our Art team. They do so much work and all deserve significant recognition for making this game thrive.

If you appreciate the hard work of all of our volunteers and enjoy having this website available as a hub for our community, we encourage you to make a donation to our operating costs today. Without the support of our community, this site wouldn't exist!

With all that out of the way, it's time to talk about time. Matter of Time started out as a concept - a sequel to Fracture Time that would play around with Temporal cards and the colorful [Pa], [Fut] and [AU] icons. The truth is; there is a wealth of time-travel and alternate universe stories in Star Trek lore and even with a double-sized expansion, we couldn't have hit them all. (That's okay, we can come back to a time theme in another few years!) So instead of breadth, we tried to deepen the ways that time is reflected in the game and find new and different ways to make those cards matter.

Exploring the Past
Shortly after we started working on Matter of Time, we came upon an idea: what if we went "back in time" to our own game and meddled around a little bit? The original idea was to find a dozen or so cards from Second Edition that were not quite right (or were downright awful) and redo them - possibly even as a bonus sheet in the expansion. We started brainstorming lists and even pitched a few ideas, but we quickly realized that not only would this be a lot of work, but it was disrespectful to our own past.

Instead, we changed tactics, and wrote new cards that made old cards better, more efficient, or more fun. Make them sexy again, you might say - and check out an article from Mark in a couple weeks about this very topic. Some of these cards are subtle and nuanced, and some of them are about as subtle as a ton of bricks, but all of them do something interesting and will hopefully bring a few of these cards back out of the binder.

And speaking of the past, we've got a whole cycle of new [Pa] cards that will join one of the game's most popular sub-affiliations - but not without making you think about things a little differently. And how fitting that two of the cards that reference an old card appear in this cycle - but more on them another day.

The last thing we did is look at the decks that have done well in the history of top level competition and set out to give player's weapons against them. Quite a few popular strategies that have never been challenged will see cards meant to counteract them in Matter of Time.

The Alternative Factor
Of course, when time travel is involved, things don't always align neatly for our heroes. Sometimes reality shatters and we end up in the future, looking at familiar characters in new ways - like Icheb. He makes his first non-Borg appearance in Second Edition not as the intelligent young man, but as an experienced officer more than a little familiar with Temporal events.

Other times, travel through time has dangerous repercussions that can change the fate of entire civilizations. One moment, you're on a scientific mission and the next, fighting a war you cannot hope to win - all because of a Temporal Disturbance. This mission presents both universes through it's requirements and its game text, allowing you to solve it from the "normal" side or from the "alternate" side. But this is just one of the temporally themed missions you'll find amidst these fifty-four (54) cards...

There are even stories that entire civilizations can be wiped out of existence due to temporal manipulation. Thousands of people erased from history due to the actions of one crew, or one man in love with a doomed woman. These tales span series, and we've done our best to represent them in Matter of Time for you to enjoy.

Looking Forward
Of course, what would a time themed expansion be without a look at the future? Star Trek never shied away from exploring beyond the 24th century and neither did we. In fact, I count at least ten (10) appearances of the [Fut] icon, including the previously mentioned Icheb, and not counting the other cards that draw their story from ventures forward.

One of those personnel is everyone's favorite liberated Borg, Seven of Nine. Unlike her previous versions, this Seven is sporting the blue Future icon as well as her standard [Voy] reporting icon, and an unusual keyword: Infiltrator. Of course, this appearance of temporal agent Ensign Jameson (as she's known in First Edition) might lead one to infer that she'll appear with some backup. But that would be a Preposterous Plan, wouldn't it?

Nevertheless, I expect that her card will prompt all sorts of speculation about Temporal ships and the function of Temporal Transporters, but don't worry, you won't have to speculate long. Come back on Monday for some - but not all - of the answers you seek. In the mean time, hop on over to our Gameplay (2E) forum and join in the discussion - let us know what you think!

Matter of Time is going to be a set that changes things, although in different ways for different people. It's gone through a tough adolescence but has ended up stronger and more solid that it would have otherwise. The fifty-four (54) cards in this expansion will work their way into decks as players explore the past, present and future of Second Edition. After all, things can't stay the same forever and it's only a Matter of Time until February 22nd!

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