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Strategy Articles

Ready... Fight!

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

29th June 2015

It all started back in 2011. The World Championship Trek league was entering its fourth year and Brad DeFruiter (Brad) and I were discussing options for League Promo cards. We had made new cards for two years but we were looking for something different to try. I don't remember who pitched the original idea, but it was suggested that we theme our league promos and release them year after year, all as part as the theme. After some discussion, we settled on the Voyager episode "Tsunkatse" as our theme. We didn't have the theme fully developed at that time, but we knew who the first card had to be:

The Pendari Champion (Electrifying Favorite)

If you're not a wrestling fan, then you might not know the origin of this card. The Pendari Champion was played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a major superstar in the WWE at the time; he would go on to have a massive Hollywood career. Most major stars in the wrestling world have a signature move they use to win matches or get the crowd excited, and The Rock's signature move was the "Rock Bottom." That was literally the origin of this card's text - a joke that The Rock should interact with the bottom of player's decks. But even though that ability originated as an in-joke wrestling reference, it would define all the Tsunkatse cards to come.

It was during the development of Lineage that we first tried to fully develop the Tsunkatse theme. Since we hadn't done it with The Pendari Champion, but were planning on continuing the theme for future league promos, we wanted to take some time to develop the cards so they would, eventually, make sense. Here's the very first draft of the Blue Match and Red Match events, pitched back in December 2011:

Blue Match

[Evt] 2 tsunkatse: blue match
Each players reveals the bottom three cards of their deck. The owner of the cards that have the highest total combined Strength scores 5 points. Destroy this event.

[Evt] 4 tsunkatse: red match
Each players reveals the bottom three cards of their deck. The owner of the cards that have the highest total combined Strength scores 5 points. Each other player discards those cards. Each player shuffles their deck. Destroy this event.

To go along with these cards, Penk and his ship (given the playtest title of "Wrestlemania") allowed you to download, retrieve, and protect your Tsunkatse events. But these cards went through multiple revisions, changing form and effect repeatedly. We tested them far enough to have a sense of what the mechanic would do, and then put them on the shelf for a later expansion. We planned to release Hajur, Seven of Nine, Penk and his ship as promos, and then print the events in a future expansion. But eventually, people tired of the Tsunkatse promos as league promos and we realized that Lower Decks, with its Delta Quadrant flavor, would be a great place to finally finish these cards.

I looked up the old Tsunkatse cards in our cut file (nothing ever gets deleted) and decided, given how rough they were and how "dated" they felt, to start over. I let the Lower Decks team brainstorm ideas, and they generated lots of them. Here's a partial list of things we considered for the Tsunkatse events:



We put some first drafts together, but again they never felt right. They were walls of text and weren't capturing the flavor we were asking for. I wasn't quite ready to give up though, so I decided to rewatch the episode and see if I could get some inspiration. Fortunately, I found that inspiration. Let me quote for you a post I made on the design forums:

Red Match

Tsunkatse was all about money.

Penk kidnapped fighters rather than having to pay them. Sure, he paid them in food and some creature comforts for champions, but that was a drop in the bucket. He repeatedly talks about ratings and money and prioritizes getting his audience - and thus more sales - up.

The Norcadian government acts shocked to hear that Penk is kidnapping people, but a huge portion of their income is derived from Tsunkatse matches; so much so, they turn a blind eye. Again, legality and morality is set aside for money.

So it's all about money. But what does that mean in 2E terms?

Money is a resource. In 2E, we have a lot of resources: points, counters, cards. It seems to be that if we're going to capture the feel of Tsunkatse, it has to be all about money (resources).

Penk has a line that I think will help us create the red/blue matches: "If three billion people paid to see you hurt, imagine how many will pay to see you die."

That gives us this:

Tsunkatse personnel card about the bottom of your deck
Tsunkatse verbs are all about "money"
Red Matches make more than Blue Matches

Mark Morris (BaronMorrath) took that idea and posted the following:

[Evt] Tsunkatse - Red
Plays in your core. At the start of your turn, you may have each player reveal the bottom card of their deck. The player that reveals the highest total strength scores 5 points. In case of a tie, no points are scored.

[Evt] Tsunkatse - Blue
Plays in your core. At the start of your turn, you may have each player reveal the bottom card of their deck. If you reveal a higher total strength than each opponent, the first card you play this turn is cost -2. Each player places the revealed cards on the bottom their deck.

They would go through just a few more tweaks, but that's how the final version of the Tsunkatse events were born. The ideas behind Target of Opportunity and Feykaab came later as ways to develop the mechanic and help it more naturally fit into some specific decks. I'm looking forward to trying a Terok Nor Tsunkatse Capture deck. I really like the idea of Jem'Hadar battling in a Tsunkatse Arena while Cardassians run around and capture your key people. It might not be a competitive deck, but I for one think it will be fun! You can check out my first draft below - comments are welcome.

Discuss this article in this thread.

This deck is currently eligible for the following family or families of achievements:


Print DecklistPrint ChecklistCopy DeckDownload Into DeckPADD

3U96•Mouth of the Wormhole, Terok Nor
7U47•Deliver Prisoners
8U62•Survey New World
26V18•Acquire Captives
26V24•Penetrate Enemy Lines

Draw Deck (57)
34V92x •Blue Match
30V143x Clandestine Kidnapping
34V112x •Red Match
25V162x Tacking Into the Wind
30V203x Trap Is Sprung
22V232x Ruling Council
34V173x Target of Opportunity
22V321x •Odo, Bajoran Representative
3R1411x •Damar, Useful Adjutant
22V331x •Dukat, Cardassian Representative
3U1461x •Mavek, Science Officer
3C1471x Nerot
31V311x •Revok, Eager Ally
3C1482x Thorel
28V251x •Yaltar, Draft Supervisor
3U1531x •Founder Leader, Beguiling Teacher
3C1563x Imat'Korex
3S1633x Noret'ikar
3C1642x Odera'Klen
3C1652x Rak'tazan
3C1683x Tozara'Kesh
22V351x •Weyoun, Dominion Representative
4R1581x •Data, Loyal Brother
0VP1241x •Hajur, Veteran Fighter
14C951x •Harrad-Sar, Slave of the Situation
4R1611x •Lore, The One
14C981x Maras
14C991x •Navaar, Experienced Gift
14U1001x •Neras, Slave Girl
34V411x •Penk, Unscrupulous Promoter
14C1011x •Persis, Loyal Daughter
0VP1651x •Seven of Nine, Notorious Scapegoat
0AP171x •The Pendari Champion, Electrifying Favorite
3C2031x Jem'Hadar Warship
19V142x •Tenak'talar, Vanguard of the Occupation
34V422x •Nammoch, Travelling Carnival
Dilemma Pile (28)
0VP1112x An Issue of Trust
29V21x Artificial Ability
4C61x Back Room Dealings
23V21x Broken Link
14U42x Chula: The Chandra
23V31x Coolant Leak
7R41x Entanglement
0D201x Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
22V41x Healing Hand
22V51x Honorable Pursuit
1R301x Impressive Trophies
23V61x Inequitable Exchange
26V42x Intimidation
22V81x Pitching In
3U231x Restricted Area
0VP772x Secret Identity
0VP351x The Caretaker's "Guests"
24V111x The Oracle's Punishment
14R121x Prisoner of the Exile
4U291x Ungracious Hosts
12R201x Vian Test
28V11x Adversarial Trial
17V31x Covert Ambush
0VP331x Personal Duty

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