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Matter of Time: Bringing Sexy Back

by Mark Morris, Assistant Designer

13th February 2013

First off, being a part of the design team for Matter of Time has been an amazing experience that has taught me a lot about the value of being creative and working as part of a team. In the final challenge for Make It So II, I played the part of the lead designer, asking for card submissions to fit certain parts of my expansion, then modifying or shaping those cards to fit my goals for the expansion.

One of the goals/themes of Matter of Time was to introduce some of the 'Bringing Sexy Back' that Shades of Gray did for First Edition (making older cards better to help bring them out of the binders). I wasn't completely in love with this idea to begin with, I kept hoping to find a way to make the new card make an old card better without actually referencing it by name (as you will see). With time, I grew more comfortable with the idea and eventually came to really like the idea, especially the card that references Line of Defense. I am hoping that we (Maelwys) can set something up where, if a site user is looking at a card that references another card by name, there is a link in the game text on the right.

One of my initial pitches for this expansion involved trying to make Render Assistance a "better" card. (Even though this card didn't make the expansion, I haven’t given up on finding a way to encourage the use of Render Assistance.)

"When a player plays Render Assistance, that player may score 5 points and place that interrupt on the bottom of their deck instead of placing it in their discard pile."

Yet in the same submission I suggested as an alternate version, trying to make it better without referencing it specifically:

"When an engagement involving this personnel ends, if you had 2 or more ships participating, you may score 5 points"

So you can see from an early point that I was looking for ways to make an old card more useful when combined with a new card, but not necessarily calling out that old card by name. I did eventually come around to the idea of naming cards; specifically I mean Hiren has been a staple in all of my Romulan decks so I can’t really argue against it.


Which brings me to Yaltar; or as I still remember him as "Some Gul" (playtesting name). The card Conscription was shortlisted on our list of 'binder fodder' so naturally, a new Gul who could do something with it would likely fit the bill. Our early pitches for 'making bad cards good' seemed to just say 'download a card and play it for cheaper' which lead to the first version:

"When you play this personnel, you may download Conscription and discard the top card of your deck to play it at cost -2."

And there he stayed for several iterations...

A few weeks later, still not completely comfortable with calling cards out by name, I pondered this guy for a while. What would make Conscription a better card...

I decided that putting some Glinns on top of the deck was pretty useless, unless you could draw them or get them into play quickly. Splash in a little Cardassian flavor (discard cards from the top of your deck) and you get his current text.

What makes Yaltar one of my favorite cards of Matter of Time is more than just his ability to combo with Conscription (and other hidden gems). He has grown into a powerhouse for both a Cardassian deck but also a massive boost to Terok Nor and especially the Virtual Terok Nor.

With his ideal skill set, cunning 6 and the fact that he is unique; he is bound to be included in a lot of decks. So, while you are at it, why not track down a copy of Conscription or two and get some free Glinns.

And here's hoping you enjoy the sexy we're bringing back!

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