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Survey: Checking In on Block

by Corbin Johnson, First Edition Designer

7th July 2014

Block has been an ambitious project from the start. Block was designed to give players who wanted a smaller format of First Edition to play within just that. Block arguably has opened up 1E to new and returning players of the game. Also, block was designed when access to cards was restricted to who could afford to trade or purchase them. Now that all cards are available for players to use in non-block tournaments and because block has now been around for nearly two-and-a-half years, it is time to check in on block and see what's good, what's not-so-good, and what can be done better.

Block arguably has met and exceeded the goals originally set out for the format. It has been able to deliver a product that can be used in both a limited-constructed and limited-sealed format with the hopes that it would entice people to try what has always been a very complicated game. Anecdotally, old local 1E players have come out to try out the format and came back to later try block again as well as OTF. This in and of itself is exciting and it motivates 1E design to keep up with keeping block interesting and fun.

We are now in a new era for Trek with all cards now available to be used. Feedback appears to be positive about this move but it has caused a shift in how design looks at reprint expansions like Homefront. Homefront had as one of its original goals the ability to get hard-to-get and commonly needed cards into the hands of those who needed them. This is no longer a goal of these sets. Instead, Homefront also has the honor of being a "core" set for block in that all cards in all such sets are available to use in any block format. The time has come to focus in on using these expansions in this capacity to improve block as needed.

Design is now reaching out to players of block format for feedback to find out what is it that makes block fun for them as well as what could make block better. These questions will give design valuable feedback that cannot be gleaned from tournament data alone and will hopefully spark some dialog on this article's forum topic where First Edition design will be looking for anecdotes, thoughts, criticisms and whatever else you need to say about block.

Design will be podcasting about the design of Homefront VI and you can keep up with this by listening to "The Long Journey Home" podcast hosted by yours truly. Results of the survey as well as design of Homefront VI will be discussed periodically on the show. You can follow "The Long Journey Home" on our podcasts page. TLJH is also available on iTunes, or you can subscribe via the RSS feed with your favorite podcast tool.

Do keep in mind that the survey questions should not be seen as final indication of where 1E design will be taking block and feedback received may or may not influence future design. However, surveys like this are important to help First Editiondesign understand the state of the game as well as where we can push the game to make sure the game stays fun, fresh, vibrant and enjoyable for years to come.

Discuss this article in this thread.

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