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by Ross Fertel, Forever Changing Writer

27th July 2016

A recent newsletter informed us of something rare in the community: Tribbles Errata. It’s only the second in that entire game, and was badly needed. Adding in a limit is nothing new. Quite the contrary, it’s been a tool in errata’s belt for a long time. Putting a limit on an escalating quantity is a great way to cap something off, letting it be good without being too good. We’ve seen it in all three games.

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Personally, my recommendation was to make it 10K instead of 100K. It would still function the same, but if a player wanted to get a bajillion of them into their play pile, it wouldn’t be as huge a deal. Unfortunately, the card was made to promote a late game comeback, and this might just nerf it into uselessness. Beyond that, art for Big Money Tribbles is well established at this point, and by making that change, one might think that Art needs to be redone on this card and Tribble cards are enough work as it is. Plus, a limit is not that huge of a change. Imagine a player that has wallpapered their house with these cards; they now have to print up thousands more. It’s one thing to pretend that there’s a limit on an already printed card, but to change the title would be another matter entirely.

If the title itself won’t change unless something especially drastic is needed, are they Evergreen?

A term borrowed from Magic, Evergreen refers to something that is sticking around in the game. They use it specifically for gameplay mechanics. Think of Flying. It’s been a staple of the game since the start, is still being used to this day and is not going anywhere. Contrast that with… any basic mechanic they’ve done once and never again. What would be the limit that errata would go to in order to fix a card? Is anything off the table?

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Remember that behind the scenes, cards go through changes. Huge changes. How big are we talking? Remember the first xenophobic Headquarters we got in Return to Grace? A second was designed and while it was released, it was brought to life as another card type entirely. Similarly, First Edition players are familiar with Harry Mudd’s download which started out as an ability in the second Will of the Collective. It proved necessary to put that on another card entirely when the it proved just a bit too powerful in the right circumstances. 

But once cards see the light of day, errata is hard pressed to make changes unless absolutely necessary. Second Edition’s first ever set had some missions that were printed with the wrong point values. Decipher initially decided to not mention anything, only to see those missions rise to the top, forcing them to quickly issued errata. On the other end of the spectrum, these can be caught in advance and changed as necessary, as errata was issued to Q’s Fantasy Women before the set was released. It is important to know that this is a little easier to do in the digital era of the Continuing Committee.

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So mistakes do happen, whether they are made by a for profit company or a nonprofit group. Consider Gozar from The Next Generation. He proved a little too good and thus became unique instead of universal, along with a change in his lore losing his representative status. Lest you think that all titles are Evergreen, look at Second Edition. When a mission is made as the same location as one that exists, the old one gets errata. This gives design a great tool in that should a mission prove too powerful with another, they can make it a version of that mission and the problem is solved. Back when Legacy was causing all sorts of ruckus, errata was very leery of simply raising the cost. It would be another simple fix, but one of their tenants is that card costs are evergreen if at all possible, so another part of the card was looked at. 

Even still, just because changes can be made doesn’t mean they should. Kazon Voyager rekindled a tactic that had been fixed before. A simple fix is to rename it Warship Voyager, but down the road, that name might need to be used for the Living Witness crew. It’s not a given that the ship will use that name, or even that they will see the light of day, but if they are, that name is fairly claimed. Plus, you can’t really fix something by making another problem.

Titles, mission values, card types, is anything off the table to fix a card? Errata does tend to be minimal or simply take off the part that is bothersome, if possible. The best ones are those that don’t dramatically alter the card itself, but sometimes harsh steps need to be taken. It may be a new card entirely, but when the situation calls, errata might be needed. We’ll see what Monday brings.

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