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20 Years of Memories

by Charlie Plaine, 20th Anniversary Collection Lead Designer

10th November 2014

Today, on the exact 20th birthday of the release of the Star Trek Customizable Card Game, we are proud to celebrate the game's platinum anniversary with the 20th Anniversary Collection, a special boutique product for both First Edition and Second Edition and releasing worldwide, for free, on Friday, November 28th! The 20th Anniversary Collection features thirty-six (36) brand new cards - eighteen (18) for First Edition and eighteen (18) for Second Edition - designed to celebrate the long and rich history of the STCCG. Before we get into too much detail about what you'll see on the 28th, I want to take some time to introduce the designers for these expansions.

Charles Plaine [MidnightLich], Lead Designer
Designer Profile: Charles Plaine
We knew that we needed to deliver something special for the game's 20th anniversary, and I wanted to pour my heart and soul into celebrating the game's history. As such, I led each team for these projects and I put together strong teams for each edition and worked hard to make sure these cards were fun, exciting, and put through their paces. I know I speak for everyone when I say that I hope you enjoy the results.

First Edition

The design team for the First Edition half of this project, we put together a traditional design team of three members.

Dan Hamman [SirDan]
Designer Profile: Dan Hamman

Not only is Dan one of the most experienced First Edition designers, he has a rare mix of humility - to accept criticism and other ideas - and passion - to fight for what he believes is right. Dan's contribution is immense, and this project would not have happened without his work and his help.

Chris Lobban [Maelwys]
Designer Profile: Chris Lobban

The 20th Anniversary Collection is Chris' first foray into the world of First Edition design, having previously worked on several Second Edition expansions. Chris was interested in working on a project to celebrate the history of the game, since he's been involved in so much of it. His talents at data manipulation are unparalleled and let us find some fun new things to try.

Second Edition

For the Second Edition half of this project, we tried something a little different. Instead of assembling a traditional design team, I invited anyone on the entire team that was interested to submit ideas. We would discuss the ideas and refine them, but there was no traditional team: no meetings, no forum discussions. Once the designs were done, the project was put through testing and the rest of the development process without a team. In the case of a hole, yours truly filled the gap with a new (or rescued) card. Here's the list of designers that contributed to this project:

Kevin Jaeger [Hoss-Drone]
Designer Profile: Kevin Jaeger

Kevin continues to deliver quality cards backed by his status as a top-tier and highly competitive player. His designs always seek to tweak and nudge the meta in interesting directions, but he is also willing to make bold decisions to help shape the game. 

John Corbett [KillerB]
Designer Profile: John Corbett

As a designer, John is looking to make faithful adaptations of Trek's moments into Second Edition cards. This "top down" approach is fairly uncommon amongst the 2E design team and is a valuable perspective. But even though he starts his designs with story, he is not afraid to make them be big weapons against powerful strategies in the game.

Investigate Anti-Time Eruption

Nick Yankovec [nickyank]
Designer Profile: Nick Yankovec

Nick's duties as the Second Edition Brand Manager keep him very busy, but he likes to contribute to design every now and again. Nick made some excellent cards for some of his favorite decks, and his contribution was vital to the quality of The 20th Anniversary Collection. Most impressively, he managed to do so while ensure the expansion marched its way to release!

Nathan Miracle [GooeyChewie]
Designer Profile: Nathan Miracle

Nathan is not an official member of our design team, but he's been someone I've had my eye on as a potential recruit for some time. He was a finalist in the original Make it So and a strong contestant in the second, so I jumped at the chance to invite him to participate in this design. Nathan did not disappoint me and made some fun cards, and I have high hopes he'll join the design team in the future.

Though these four were the primary designers for The 20th Anniversary Collection, a number of others contributed thoughts, ideas, and comments but didn't have one of their original designs included. I'd like to recognize the additional design contributions made by designers Chris Lobban and Richard New - thanks guys!

Finally, I would be negligent if I failed to mention the hard work of the dozens of volunteers that work on both First Edition and Second Edition Kudos to all of our play testers, rules guys, creative team members, our Art team, and the men that keeps us all on track; Brand Managers Cristoffer Wiker (Smiley) and Nick Yankovic (nickyank). All of our volunteers 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! And, if you donate now, you'll get one of The 20th Anniversary Collection donor badges:

 

 

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane
With the teams and the projects in place, it was time to set out and make something special. But the product we're going to be sharing with you over the next few weeks isn't the product we started making - the theme changed, and more than once, before we would be done. Originally, we started with the number twenty; given this was the product for the 20th anniversary, it seemed like an interesting place to explore. We started making cards that played around with the number 20. Some were blunt - draw 20 cards, score 20 points - and others were subtle - personnel where all the numbers on their card added up to 20.

 

First Edition Second Edition
[Evt] celebration
Round the total number of points scored by all players to the nearest multiple of 20; draw that many cards. Place this event out-of-play.
[Car] 5 •someone big
[Cmd] Cardassian
•2 Archaeology •Intelligence •2 Science •2 Transporters
When you play this personnel, reveal cards from the top of your deck until you have revealed cards with a total cost of 20 or more; place two such cards in your hand and discard the rest.
[INTEGRITY 5] [CUNNING 5] [STRENGTH 5]
Examples of cards designed for the "20" theme

 

While there was some interesting design space to explore within the "20" theme, it was a clunky theme for an expansion and was ultimately set aside, and we started exploring other ideas.

At this point, you might be asking, "why have a theme at all? Why not just make cool cards?" Well, we like to have some kind of hook or through line for our expansions. We could just make a bunch of cards until we meet a requisite number or date and call it good, but expansions that have a cohesive theme or identity are easier for people to understand. It's a lot easier to talk about the "Maquis" expansion for First Edition than the "Summer 2014" expansion. Themes also give the designers restrictions and inspiration, and I believe they ultimately lead to better quality cards.

So, with "20" gone, our next idea was to explore cards and mechanics based around games and gaming. Our thinking was that we aren't just celebrating any old 20th anniversary, we're celebrating the anniversary of a game - why not explore that by exploring the games of the Star Trek universe? We did a little bit of design on this theme, even going so far as to create a new keyword for Second Edition (which I won't spoil here, because I still like it and think it might find a home some day.)

 

First Edition Second Edition
[P] Royale Casino: Telephone
As part of the impeccable service at the Hotel Royale, guests get nightly calls asking if they would like room service.
Choose to "stop" any number of personnel in Away Team. X = the number of personnel remaining in Away Team. Opponent scores points. [X]
[D] X Blackjack
Unless you discard any number of cards from hand with a total cost of 21, all your personnel are stopped. If any of your personnel are stopped while facing this dilemma, or if it was prevented, your opponent may discard any number of cards from hand with a total cost of 21 to score 10 points.
Examples of cards designed for the games/gaming theme

 

I felt like this was the theme we'd end up with - a rich vein of source material, lots of interesting potential mechanics and cards - so it was off to the races. But I don't think the designers, especially the First Edition designers, were as keen on the theme as I was. Keep in mind, this was all happening last year, in 2013. It was around that time that this post from community member KazonPADD was made.

In his post, Paddy suggested a theme of an "extra" card from each expansion produced to date. I thought the idea was interesting, but presented logistical challenges and besides - we already had our theme. But Dan, Chris, and several others loved the idea and it built a lot of internal momentum. I've tried hard to learn to listen when the universe is telling me something, and in this case, it was making its case loud and clear - nostalgia was a winning theme. So we set aside our gaming ideas, and I put the design teams to work creating cards that would feel right at home in our previous expansions.

"Lost" in Time and Space
With our theme of nostalgia suggested, confirmed, and locked, we set out making cards. Early on, we realized these expansions could get wildly out of control if we tried to make a card for every product ever released, so one of the first decisions was to limit ourselves to Decipher-era expansions only. Secondly, we wanted to make sure these expansions were a reasonable boutique size to ensure that the quality was there; thus we had to make some cuts, especially on the First Edition side. So we made our cards, had our design discussions, and sent them off to playtesters; and, overall, the reaction was positive.

However, as we started sending the files off to Rules and Creative, we discovered a major flaw in our plan. We'd passed the files off with a brief description of what we were trying to do, implement "lost" cards from Decipher-era expansions, but our problem was that we were being taken literally. For example, our First Edition Premiere card, Investigate Anti-Time Eruption, drew complaints because it was a Neutral Zone Region mission - but Regions didn't exist for Premiere! It was then that we realized we had to change how we were describing our product, not only to our volunteers, but to all of you as well.

Dedication Plaque

The 20th Anniversary Collection is a celebration of the history of the Star Trek Customizable Card Games, but designed in the modern era and using modern design technology. Don't think of the cards as "lost" from the Decipher-era expansions; instead, imagine them as "inspired" by those products. You might find a special download icon on a card from an expansion before First Contact, or a keyword introduced in a virtual expansion on a card associated with In a Mirror, Darkly, but that's okay! Design has evolved a lot in 20 years, developed a lot of new technology, and we wanted to use those tricks. Instead of being constrained to the technology at the time, we sought to capture the feel of the expansions using modern technology.

So, what exactly are you going to see in The 20th Anniversary Collection? Well, as mentioned above, there is a total of thirty-six (36) cards; eighteen (18) for First Edition, and the same number for Second Edition. Almost every card is inspired by a Decipher-era expansion (there are two exceptions on the 2E side), and over the next few weeks we're going to be spoiling them for you in the order their inspiring expansions were released. We'll be alternating between First Edition and Second Edition and there will be an article for every single card in this product! Even after the expansion's release on November 28th, look for articles from our talented writers and designers about these special cards.

An important note about the First Edition version of The 20th Anniversary Collection is that the expansion is not block legal. It's not a part of any block, and can not be used in block card pool events.

The First Edition schedule looks like this:

 

Date Card Inspiration
10 November 2014 Investigate Anti-Time Eruption Premiere
11 November 2014 Frederick La Rouque Alternate Universe
13 November 2014 My Ship, My Crew Q Continuum
15 November 2014 Quantum Incursions Fajo Collection
17 November 2014 U.S.S. Enterprise-E First Contact
19 November 2014 Orderly Mavek Official Tournament Sealed Deck
21 November 2014 Lwaxana Troi Deep Space 9
23 November 2014 Rak'tazan The Dominion
25 November 2014 **** Blaze of Glory
27 November 2014 ****** ********** Rules of Acquisition
29 November 2014 ********* ****** Trouble With Tribbles
1 December 2014 ********** ** ********** Mirror, Mirror
3 December 2014 ****** ** *** **** Voyager
5 December 2014 ******* ***** The Borg
7 December 2014 ************ **** *** ******* Holodeck Adventures
9 December 2014 **** ***** The Motion Pictures
11 December 2014 ******** *** All Good Things
13 December 2014 ****** ****** Enterprise Collection

Are you excited to see what All Good Things or Fajo Collection inspired cards our First Edition designers cooked up? Is there anything on this list that surprises you, or is there anything missing you can't believe? Sound off on our forums and let us know, and feel free to join in all sorts of wild speculation! In the mean time, check back to see articles on these cards from yours truly, Chris Lobban, Niall Matthew, Matt Zinno, Lucas Thompson, our Head Writer J, and more!

Now, on the Second Edition side of things, here's the schedule:

Date Card Inspiration
10 November 2014 Dedication Plaque Second Edition
12 November 2014 Ayala (Patriot) Energize
14 November 2014 Shrouded in Light Call to Arms
16 November 2014 Varon-T Disruptor Necessary Evil
18 November 2014 Declan Keogh (Veteran Captain)
U.S.S. Odyssey (Gamma Quadrant Vanguard)
10th Anniversary Collection
20 November 2014 Split Second Fractured Time
22 November 2014 Wolf 359 (Last Stand) Reflections 2.0
24 November 2014 ****** (***** *****) Strange New Worlds
26 November 2014 ***** (*******) To Boldly Go
28 November 2014 ******** **** Dangerous Missions
30 November 2014 *** ***** (****** ******) Captain's Log
2 December 2014 ***** ****** (************ ********) Genesis
4 December 2014 ********** ********* These Are the Voyages
6 December 2014 ****** ******* In a Mirror, Darkly
8 December 2014 ***** (**********) What You Leave Behind
10 December 2014 **** **** (********** ***********) Return to Grace
12 December 2014 *** (************* ****) Balance of Terror

 

As you can see, we covered every Decipher-era Second Edition product, which gave us a total of sixteen (16) cards. We debated long and hard about that number - should we let it stand, should we add more cards, should we cut down to nine? In the end, we decided to add a card from each of this year's virtual expansions to bring the total number up to eighteen (18). We hope you won't mind the extra cards! Join the forums to discuss what you think might be headed your way, and check back to see articles from Nathan Miracle, Nick Yankovec, John Corbett, Mike O'Shogay, Lucas Thompson, and Kevin Jaeger as the cards are revealed!

Here's to the Next 20 Years
It's been a pleasure to work on these expansions, and it's going to be a pleasure to finally share them with all of you as we celebrate two decades of playing with our Star Trek cards. No matter if you cracked your first booster pack with Premiere or have just discovered this community in the era of virtual cards, we're proud to be able to celebrate with you. The 20th Anniversary Collection will be a walk down memory lane, but it will also bring eighteen (18) new cards to both First Edition and Second Edition when it releases on November 28th. As always, the expansion and set will be legal in all formats one week later, on December 5th. Thanks for reading - and here's to living long and prospering for the next decade or two!

Okay, you want a little more? How about bringing back a tradition we haven't done in awhile. You see, there's a man named Brad to whom both of these games owe a great debt. Brad used to write articles called "What Brad Would See" about upcoming expansions, teasing lots of little information about the cards. Given how special The 20th Anniversary Collection is, and how important to the game's history Brad has been, how about we play What Brad Would See: 20th Anniversary Edition!

 

 

And that's really all for now folks. Check back every day for a new card and a new article, and we'll see you on the 28th!


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