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On the Origin of Species

by Ross Fertel, Human Writer

15th September 2016

You don’t know how lucky you are getting a card here and a card there. Several departments, they get the cards in one huge dump. Remember when Unnatural Selection came out? It’s like that every few months. This isn’t a complaint, but at times, having fifty some cards dumped on your lap and being told to get to work can be a bit daunting.

It is helpful that as various departments get their hands on them, as a whole, they become more finalized. They start off with only five or so people knowing about them in the designers, then as rules, testers, creative and art get them, they become more set in stone. Usually.

Every now and then, there is a card that’s a little less finalized than others. Oftentimes a lot of the card is pretty much all said and done coming together pretty quickly, but every now and then, there is a blank to be filled in. They are rare but they do come around every now and again.

<a href="http://www.trekcc.org/2e/index.php?cardID=4001"><img src="http://www.trekcc.org/2e/cardimages/STVE-EN38035.jpg" alt="Rionoj" style="float:right;height:300px;border:none;margin:10px;" /></a>

Take Rionoj for example. When Creative first saw the likes of her, she was an Alien. Technically she still is, but they zeroed in on who she was pretty quickly. And with that, she needed a change. This isn’t unusual for the smugglers. There are three new species in them alone, including her. Yeah, it’s a little more work for the monkeys behind the scenes, but it helps move the flavor of the card. 

Note that there is care to be taken with naming a new species. It does have to follow some sort of source. In this case, there are plenty, but if they have to be a generic alien, then a generic alien they are.

This is not entirely unprecedented. When Creative first laid eyes on Icheb from Unnatural Selection, he was Brunali. Correct at one time, but it didn’t really work out. Condensing the thesis into a few statements, we never saw him as a Brunali, only Borg, it made less trek sense if you brought him back from the discard pile, played another, etc. It quickly became apparent what his species should be.

<a href="http://www.trekcc.org/2e/index.php?cardID=3985"><img src="http://www.trekcc.org/2e/cardimages/STVE-EN38024.jpg" alt="Greitak" style="float:right;height:300px;border:none;margin:10px;" /></a>

Lest you think this was the only species related issue in Hard Time, Greitak was an issue as well. You’ve seen references to him in the Q&A thread, but we did make a key change fairly late in the process. It wasn’t just their species, although it did have to be changed from Hunter. Initially, the lead actor was chosen mainly because there was only one in this set and only one had actual lines not to mention a discernable face. But being the first of this species did kind of indicate that there would be more. The well of viable Vorta was running fairly low and changelings have had odd designations for some time. So opening up the gates for at least a dozen new personnel had its appeal. But by having the lead being a non-unique, it just didn’t feel right. So after picking one out, creative did an about face and sent Art a gift basket to not feel too bad about making a change late in the eleventh hour. They were able to follow through and we are looking forward to the doors that are now open. 

The little box in the middle of the card might not always be the most relevant thing in terms of gameplay and may seem innocuous, but it can undergo as drastic a change as anything else on the card. It can help tell the story and even be a saving grace during a mission attempt more often than it is a liability. Sleep safe knowing that Creative will keep it interesting.

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