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Crossover: There And Back Again

by Charlie Plaine, Lead Designer

7th September 2015

"The players are the same, but everyone seems to be playing different parts." - Kira Nerys

The Continuing Committee is proud to announce Crossover, the first expansion of the new Mirror block. This seventy-eight (78) card expansion will release for free on Friday, September 25, 2015 and will be legal in all constructed formats one week later. In addition, there will also be a simultaneous release of Crossover: Supplemental, an eighty-one (81) card reprint expansion - a total of over one-hundred fifty (150) cards! And as always, these virtual expansions will be available for download here at trekcc.org.

Rules of Obedience

Meet the Team
Before we start talking about what you'll see in Crossover, let's talk about the team that designed this expansion:

Charlie Plaine [MidnightLich], Lead Designer
Designer Profile: Charlie Plaine
Crossover is my twelfth time working on a First Edition expansion, and my tenth as lead. I had the privilege of getting to begin this block, much as I did the previous year's block, and I'm excited to share the improvements we've made to block design with all of you.

Thomas Vineberg [Exon], Assistant Designer
Designer Profile: Thomas Vineberg
This is Thomas' sixth time working as an assistant designer, last working on Emissary. Thomas' has an amazing work ethic and an attention to detail and the bigger picture of First Edition that is unrivaled. I'm excited to share that Thomas' next work will be his first lead design, in the very next expansion!

James Monsebroten [Orbin], Assistant Designer
Designer Profile: James Monsebroten
James was the winner of the 2013 edition of Make it So and we are all very excited to finally be able to share his work with the world. James has an amazing attitude and aptitude and was key to the quality of the work in Crossover.

Of course, it's easy to tend to give all the credit to the design team as we introduce new expansions, but there are countless other volunteers that worked as hard or harder to bring you Crossover. I want to take an all too brief moment to mention the hard work of the dozens of volunteers that work on First Edition. Kudos to all of our play testers, rules guys, creative team members, our Art team, and the man that keeps us all on track, First Edition Brand Manager, Cristoffer Wiker (Smiley). All of our volunteers do so much work and all deserve significant recognition for making this game thrive.

Block Rotation & Block Plan
The release of Crossover will once again alter the card pool for Block. Once Crossover becomes legal on Friday, October 2, 2015, it will cause a rotation in the card pool. All of the expansions in the Next Generation block, or Block 1, will no longer be block legal. These expansions are shaded green on the official card list page. Internally, we are all very excited because this is the first Block rotation that involves a Block-designed set of expansions being rotated out. We're hopeful that this rotation will provide a model for future years of Block rotation, and are eager to see how it plays out as we read your feedback.

Test Warship

The majority of the content in this block will come from stories set in and around the Mirror Universe. First introduced in the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror," the Mirror Universe is one parallel to our own. As described in that episode by Captain Kirk, "Something parallel. A parallel universe co-existing with ours on another dimensional plane. Everything's duplicated, almost." Not only will we be capturing the characters, locations and story moments from this universe across the three (3) series, but we will be exploring some of the possibilities not depicted either. We're also keeping our options open to explore other universe-bending stories as the block unfolds.

Crossover, as we reveal today, will explore the Mirror Quadrant stories from Deep Space Nine, focusing on the conflict between the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance and the Terran Rebellion. Project Vaughn will return to the height of the Terran Empire and delve into the Original Series Mirror Quadrant stories. Finally, we will close out the block with Project Sloane that will explore the origins of the Terran Empire and introduce Mirror Quadrant Starfleet to First Edition. But before we get there, let's take a look at what Crossover has to offer.

A Deadlier Universe
When our design team first sat down to discuss plans for this block, we decided that death could be a theme through the entire block. The Mirror Universe is a dangerous place, no matter which time period you're in. The Empire used death as a way to quash rebellion in its early years, and later used it to punish those that were disobedient. Their replacement, the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance, were equally generous is using death to motivate their Terran slaves. One of our first decisions was to use death as a tool for the block, to show how prevalent it was "through the looking glass."

Death as a theme (and a tool) also gave us the opportunity to address a concern from the player community. We'd frequently been told that the dilemmas we'd been creating were "weak" and the data showed that most of them we're not being used outside of block events. Obviously, this was a problem for us (as well as for you), so we made a point to address the concern. Our first step was creating new dilemma combos, which were introduced earlier this year in Homefront VI. We also decided to step up the power of our own dilemmas, and using the theme of death to do so felt like a natural fit. You'll find a suite of new dilemmas in Crossover, many of which are lethal to the opponent's crew and Away Teams.

Rules of Obedience is one such dilemma with guaranteed death attached. It will kill a personnel when it's revealed, and then provide a non-trivial wall. If your opponent fails to meet any of the requirements, the dilemma will return beneath the mission and will provide additional kills. In fact, over half of the dilemmas in Crossover can result in a kill, and many of those can result in multiple deaths. Be prepared for some attrition as we cross into the Mirror Universe. And hopefully, the community will appreciate our efforts to provide new, useful, and powerful dilemmas to mix up combos in competitive and casual play.

Objectively Focused
About a year before we started work on Crossover, the entire First Edition design team was having some generic discussions about card types. We've been working on codifying and updating the knowledge we've gained over the past several years, and part of that process was documenting card types. You can read up about some of that early work in an article written for our Make it So contestants back in 2013. During all of this work, I became interested in the Objective card type. I felt there was a lot of potential in Objectives, but that the card type had been misused in the years since its introduction in First Contact. That interest was always in the back of my mind, and I was pleasantly surprised when the Crossover design team thought it would make a good mechanical space to explore. We spent a lot of time coming up with new design rules for the card type (which would make a good future article), and set to work creating some new Objectives. The theme actually turned out to help us reinforce several Mirror Quadrant strategies and mechanics, and ended up being a good fit for not only Crossover, but the entire block.

Taking Charge

One of the reasons we found the Objective theme so alluring was that it helped us reinforce a mechanical space we'd set for the Mirror Quadrant: smaller missions. We wanted to make sure that, as we developed the Mirror Quadrant, we didn't end up with a Delta Quadrant II problem. This meant that we had to avoid highly inflated personnel (skills and attributes) and high-point missions with easy requirements. We briefly considered continuing the "only planet" theme for [MQ] missions, but quickly decided there were too many cool stories for space missions to do so. Instead, we turned to Objectives as a solution. We could limit the point values of the missions in the Mirror Quadrant, but provide thematic Objectives, such as Historic Coming Together, to make up for the difference.

Of course, we also wanted to promote travel between the Mirror Quadrant and the Alpha Quadrant, not only to help players deal with You Are a Monument, but to promote interaction and reinforce story. After all, every Mirror Quadrant episode but the Enterprise two-parter involved personnel crossing between the two universes. Study Divergent History is an Objective that helps you round-the-corner with bonus points (as long as you're willing to use File Mission Report), and provide some supplemental draw engines. Study Divergent History works in either the Mirror Quadrant or the Alpha Quadrant, as long as you're willing to use Crossover (even if you're invited).

Of course, part of exploring mechanical space is finding ways to care about that mechanical space. If we wanted players to play with Objectives, we were going to have to provide tools above and beyond the Objectives themselves. Taking Charge is one of the tools you'll find in Crossover to encourage you to use Objectives. This incident (which can be seeded) will give you a bonus if you're out exploring (not on a homeworld) and you use Objectives that play on missions, in the form of a small attribute bonus. More to the point, however, if you're playing with a strong leader, you can download your Objectives into play - an ability with a lot of potential power.

We also wanted to find ways to help integrate dilemma choice into deck choice, and were able to combine all of these themes into Disgraceful Assault, one of the new dilemmas you'll find when this expansion releases. Disgraceful Assault allows you to inflict damage to an opponent's ship (doubly so if you've scored points from an Objective), and then possibly kill one of their personnel. And given that most Tactics provide additional kills, you have the possibility of killing three personnel and severely damaging an opponent with a single dilemma - as long as you're willing to score point from an Objective and run a Battle Bridge side deck!

The Other Side
In case you missed the hinting above, we are officially expanding the size and scope of the Mirror Quadrant with brand new missions! After Crossover is released, you'll have quadruple the number of missions to choose from, including Test Warship. Featuring one of the most exciting conflicts of the Mirror Quadrant, Test Warship is one of the bigger missions worth up to forty (40) points on one of the two pictured ships.

You may have noticed that the words "Mirror Universe" do not appear in bold in the lore of this mission. This is an intentional change we're making moving forward, allowing us to reclaim that space in the lore of [MQ] missions. Design worked with the Rules team to update the wording of the glossary so these missions could be identified solely by their Mirror Quadrant icon in the point box. I know the Creative Team appreciated the additional space in the lore boxes!

Regent Worf

Did you notice Test Warship is a space mission? Well it's not the only one! Evade Patrolling Squadron is also a Mirror Quadrant space mission, but it's also a universal mission! And it's not the only one, either! We've really expanded mission options for your Mirror Quadrant decks. Evade Patrolling Squadron is primarily meant for the Rebellion, but could be solved by the Empire or the Alliance. It represents the struggle of the rebels to avoid Alliance detection, and provides a link to the Alpha Quadrant as well. Evade Patrolling Squadron is just one of a number of missions with an opposite location; do you think that will be important?

The Alliance and the Rebellion
Finally, we come to the meat of Crossover: the conflict between the Terran Rebellion and the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance. The foundations of both of these factions were laid in the original Mirror, Mirror expansion and we're proud to develop and expand those factions in Crossover. We wanted to deliver a variety of decks for these factions, as we recognized that there isn't a lot more source material we can use. We've minded these episodes quite hard, and this is likely the last chance we'll have to use them as a theme for an entire expansion, so the pressure was on to deliver something fun and powerful.

You won't be surprised to see more [RC] cards here, given almost all of the story is derived from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes. Using Reshape the Quadrant means we can also provide nice synergy with the previous block as the Crossover-block unfolds, which is always a goal of our block planning. What might surprise you is that there aren't just two [RC] cards in Crossover: there are four (4), two (2) for the Alliance and two (2) for the Rebellion. Because we saw this as our last opportunity to really use these episodes as a major theme, our design team spent a lot of time and effort to deliver on many of the stories, themes, and mechanics depicted in the episodes. We realized there were quite a few different ways each faction could be built. Developing multiple different play engines for each faction allowed us to explore more themes and provide more play opportunities, not only for Block play, but for Complete play as well. It was important to us that your opponent's didn't know which deck they were going to face when you started seeding Mirror Quadrant missions, and a variety of [RC] cards allowed us to meet that goal.

I'll be letting the members of our fabulous writing team explore the ins-and-outs of the play engines for you over the next two weeks, but I will give you some hints and show off a few more cards. As I said above, each faction gets two (2) [RC] cards: one based around Mirror Terok Nor, and one that is not. We've also provided new versions of several old faces in order to help fuel these decks, such as a new version of The Intendant. This converted version of Kira's Mirror counterpart adds assassin to her repertoire, even while she's a captive. She'll come in very handy for almost any KCA deck, but especially so if you play with friends that love to capture; and you never know when having an assassin around will come in handy...

Professor Sisko

Crossover also brings you a new version of the leader of the Alliance, Regent Worf. This version of the Regent provides two special downloads to help drive some of the KCA decks, including a download of Taking Charge if you want to explore the Objective possibilities of the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance. And if you want to see what Pride of the Fleet does (and it's quite good), check out The Continuing Committee on social media. You can like and follow us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @TrekCC. We're also on Google+ and on YouTube.

Straddling the line between the two factions are a number of personnel, including a new version of Smiley. This [NA] Mirror version of Mr. O'Brien sports both a [KCA] icon and a [TE] icon, allowing him to work in both decks. You'll find a number of these "middle ground" personnel that can play a role in multiple decks for multiple factions, and even some cards that support this strategy outside your choice of [RC] card.

On the Rebellion side of the conflict, you'll find two new [Fed] [TE] versions of characters that previously appeared as Non-Aligned personnel, including a Professor Sisko dedicated to the Rebellion. She's shifted her focus from developing weapons for the Alliance to studying the histories of the two universes, and will be quite an asset in any [TE] deck. She's supported by a host of new [Univ] personnel that really flesh out the skills for the Rebellion and will allow it to stand its ground against the Alliance.

Both the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance and the Terran Rebellion have acquired new soldiers, resources, and territory. The Mirror Quadrant is abuzz with new and unprecedented levels of activity, as new opportunities and new threats reveal themselves. Crossover and Crossover: Supplemental explore this conflict in detail, and you can choose a side and join the battle when these expansions release on Friday, September 25th, 2015. Please stay tuned to the website, the forums, and our social media for articles, spoilers, and discussion. The Mirror Universe awaits!

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