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Hindsight: A Design Reflection

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

8th January 2014

First Edition

It’s hard to believe, but 2014 will be the 20th Anniversary of Decipher’s Star Trek: Customizable Card Game! Over the past twenty years, the game has evolved and changed, even spawning a “sequel” which has also evolved and changed over time. Many of the lessons learned through First Edition’s life were leveraged for the design of Second Edition, but are there more lessons to be learned? Can the current design teams for the games continue to learn, grow, and adapt based on what we can now see in the past? Those are the questions I hope to answer in this year-long article series.

Over the next year, I will be taking a look back at the last twenty years of STCCG design in a series called "Hindsight." Starting from beginning, I will look at each expansion from a design point of view and attempt to identify what worked well and what didn't work so well, in each expansion. The goal is not to rewrite history or redesign the game. Instead, I’m looking to see what we can learn by looking at the game’s history through a modern lens.

Here’s how it’s going to work: each week I will pick a different expansion, alternating between First Edition and Second Edition and starting from the beginning of each. I will take a look at what that expansion introduced and the design decisions made, and then reevaluate them using our modern design philosophies. I’ll look for things that worked well, things that didn't work so well, and try and find lessons that we can use moving forward. Hopefully, it will not only be an interesting reading experience but will lead to some insight for designing over the next twenty years.

Second Edition

And remember, the point of this process is not to redesign each of these expansions. I’m not talking about making a Third Edition or changing what has come before. Instead, I’m looking to see what decisions were made, and why, and how we can learn from those decisions – good or bad. Along the way, I’ll be eagerly reading the discussion threads to hear your feedback on my analysis and this trip down memory lane. Those of you that played back in the day of each of these expansion’s releases are invited to share stories and your thoughts on what the expansion brought to the game as well.

I hope you will enjoy this series as much as I anticipate writing it. I’ll be back next week to kick things off with the product that started it all – First Edition Premiere.

Hindsight Archive
15 January: (1E) Premiere
23 January: (2E) Second Edition
29 Jaunary: (1E) Alternate Universe
6 February: (2E) Energize
12 February: (1E) Q Continuum
26 February: (2E) Call to Arms
5 March: (1E) Fajo Collection
12 March: (2E) Necessary Evil
19 March: (1E) First Contact
26 March: (2E) Fractured Time & (2E) Reflections 2.0
2 April: (1E) Deep Space 9
9 April: (2E) Strange New Worlds


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