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Design Diary - Holodeck Adventures

by Chris Lobban, Assistant Designer

7th December 2014

When we were looking back across the sets, brainstorming card ideas, I knew right from the start that there was one new mechanic that we needed to include in this set. One that had been seeded in the game right since Premiere, but never actually called out. And that was the magic words "Romantically involved with...". They appear on almost sixty cards across basically every expansion in the game, making them the single most common lore call-out, but they've never actually done anything. And if we were going to change that, this felt like the right time to do it. Once we'd decided to do that, it was just a question of figuring out which expansion to link it to. Holodeck Adventures seemed like a great choice, since it was a time when the game was playing with more complicated rules and lore call-outs, and this rule would fit right into that era. And to make it more fitting, we even decided to make it into another Holoprogram. This would give us lots of template space to work with (as an incident), and let us tie the romantic involvement into the idea of going on a date on the Holodeck, as seen in "We'll Always Have Paris". And so, the first version of the card was born:

Holoprogram: Café des Artistes
Seeds or plays on your ship or facility with a Holodeck. Thrice per turn, you may stop a personnel here and another personnel present named in lore as "romantically involved" with that personnel to draw a card. Once per game, you may destroy this incident to download a personnel and a personnel that is named in lore as "romantically involved" with that personnel.

It was a mouthful, no question. Mechanically, it seemed to work pretty well, and didn't really change from that version until the final (the only significant change being that instead of being able to download two people, which was far too powerful, you had to have one present to download a second that matched with them). But the real changes that did happen were with regards to the rule. We started off simply with a lore call-out. But as you can see above, it's a bit of a mouthful. And we knew we were overlooking other large groups of people too, so we tried to see if we could squeeze "romantically involved with or married to that personnel" on there, but it didn't really fit (which the married design team members jokingly passed off as "that's okay, married people don't go on dates anyway"). And even if we could make it fit, that opens questions like "if Married counts, why don't Husband and Wife?" So then we got the Rules team involved, to see if we could make it into a rule instead, that we could more easily reference. We all really dislike adding extra rules burden onto cards, and adding extra entries to the Glossary, unless it's really well justified... but after tossing ideas around for a few weeks (that became months), we finally decided that in this case it was justified. A new rule would allow us to compress this text down to a much more managable size, but more importantly it would let us reuse this type of text in the future without using a 7-line template every time. And equally importantly, we feel that it's a very intuitive rule. It's not complex or complicated, so you don't need to look it up every time you use it. You just need to read it once, and you'll understand what it means and be able to use it in the future without the glossary next to you. So yes, it's a bit of extra rules burden... but not compared to the amount of extra development space that it opens up.

Holoprogram: Cafe des ArtistesSo now we have a newer, much cleaner, and much more encompassing gametext for our new card! And only at the expense of two small additions to the glossary. It's a good duel-purpose card, that allows you to send your couples on dates (for up to three card draws a turn, if you stop enough people), and even use one person to download their partner (so if you really need to be able to grab that Picard early game, you can stock Anij, and Janice, and Kamala, and Vash, and Bev Picard in your deck, to have lots of chances to download him... old man got around!). But to me, what's even more exciting than this, is the opportunities that it opens up going forward. Now that the rules are in the book, we can do lots of great things with them. And that was one of the biggest arguments for getting them into the book. Using the big complicated text like we have on the earlier version, we would need a full size text box anytime we want to use the mechanic. But using the new terms, we should be able to easily make things fit onto a 3-line Event or Interrupt template. So I think there's definitely the possibility for more love in the future...

But first, lets take a look at some of the people that can enjoy these dates. Obviously, the Federation has a huge number of opportunities available (and also the most ready access to Holodecks), so we won't worry too much about them. But what about everybody else? Is this just a Federation card? Nope! Lots of other options!

[Baj] BajoranWith ready access to the Holosuites on DS9, Bajorans can enjoy some romance as well!
Kasidy Yates and Benjamin SiskoAs long as you don't mind using a 2EBC card (either this one, or the non-aligned Outlaw), you can fit this into a Bajoran deck
Furel and LupazaThese resistance fighters look like they need a date night!
Kira Nerys and either Odo or Bareil AntosKira has two boyfriends available (three if you don't mind a Crossover)
Leeta and RomIn one of the weirder cases, this 2EBC card has 1E-style lore that identifies her as being married to Rom, giving them a link that the 1E versions of Leeta is missing! If it's eventually converted, we'll definitely need to make sure to maintain that lore-mention!
[Bor] BorgRomance is irrelevant
[Car] CardassianAs with the Bajorans, Cardassians can easily setup a Holosuite on Terok Nor
Dukat (or Dukat) and Kira MeruRe-enact their forbidden love by sending them on a date together in the Holosuite
Natima Lang and QuarkQuark is well familiar with the Holosuites already, he'd love to show Natima how they work.
[Dom] DominionApparently there is no inter-office romance allowed within the Heirarchy. But if that day comes... their Battleship is good and ready!
[Fer] FerengiLuckily a Holodeck is standard equipment on several Ferengi ships, including of course their brand new Enterprise
Pel and Quark (or Quark, or Quark, or even Quark)A brief trist, but even that can merit a night out in the Holosuites, right?
Nunk and LeosaLeosa doesn't yet have a 1E version, so you'll have to make due with the 2EBC version for now
Lwaxana Troi and TimicinEww... old people
Grand Nagus Zek and IshkaSpeaking of old people having fun...
[Hir] HirogenWith access to both a seeded Holodeck and a portable one the Hirogen would love to plan some dates... but unfortunately this hunt-focussed society never seems to slow down long enough for dating
[Kaz] KazonSince capturing Voyager, even the tech-poor Kazon can get in on the action!
Culluh and SeskaAs the masterminds who captured Voyager, it's only fair that they get to enjoy some time together on the Holodeck to relax!
Ril and JabinThis visiting Maje might want to visit the Holodeck with a member of his harem, apparently
[KCA] KCAUnfortunately for the Intendant, her buddies in the KCA haven't yet developed any Holodeck technology. So she'll have to make use of a Holodeck Door if she wants to party
The Intendant and Bareil, or Ezri, or Mr. SiskoWe always knew that the Intendant liked a good time, and the number of options that she has just reinforces that!
[Kli] KlingonThe Klingons have a Holodeck available on any of their capital ships, the Negh'Var, the Chang, and the Fek'lhr
Jean-Luc Picard and his harem: (Anij, Jenice Manheim, Kamala, Vash)With so many of Picard's loves being non-aligned, even this Klingon version of his persona can get in on the action
Kruge and ValkrisThis movie-couple has a chance to relax together
Grilka and Quark Son of KeldarOnce again, Quark has an opportunity to show somebody around his Holodeck. Who knew that Quark got around with so many aliens?!?
Ch'Regha and NeelixFollowing in Quark's footsteps with another awkward interspecies relationship
Commander K'Ehleyr and Worf (or if you want to stick with 1E templates, Worf)Thanks to weird naming, the 1E template Klingon K'Ehleyr and Worf unfortunately do not form a pair... instead each matches primarily with the others Federation version. But this pairing still makes it work for the Klingons, at least.
[Rom] RomulanThe Romulans have a Holodeck available on several of their bigger ships, the Decius, the Goraxus, the Trolarak, and the Prometheus
Jean-Luc Picard and his harem: (Anij, Jenice Manheim, Kamala, Vash)As with the Klingons, the Romulans can take advantage of Picards non-Aligned Harem for some fun
[Sta] StarfleetUnfortunately, Holodeck technology hasn't really been invented yet... luckily they can still take advantage of the dating scene by installing a Holodeck Door on one of their bases or ships. Bonus points if you install it in past Earth, when the real Paris is so close by!
Jonathan Archer and Erika HernandezCaptains need their down time!
Charles Tucker III and T'PolPlease, just avoid the blue light gel.
Gannet Brooks and Travis MayweatherThe latest couple to join the game, with Gannet having just been released
[Non] Non-AlignedNon-Aligned has quite a few options for ships to use, from the lowly Mondor up to the massive Husnock Ship
Secret Agent Julian Bashir and either Anastasia Komananov or Professor Honey BareWell, we're playing with Holodecks anyway, might as well stop off for a date! Plus, if you put the Mountain Retreat on the same ship, you can download any of them there.
Professor Moriarty and Regina BarthalomewSpeaking of Holodecks, here's a Holo-couple that can go on a Holo-date to Holo-Paris together.
Jean-Luc Picard and his harem: (Anij, Jenice Manheim, Kamala, Vash)Yep, it's Picard again! This time in a Non-Aligned (though 2EBC) version any can fit into any deck!
Jenice Manheim and Paul ManheimAnd when Jenice isn't swooning over her long-lost Captain, she can spend some time with her potato husband.
Persis and MalikFinally, we have a genetically enhanced couple that would make genetically enhanced babies. Of course she also names Raakin in her lore as a second lover, but we haven't seen him yet.

So, lots of dates available! Go find a partner, and enjoy your night in Paris!

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