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Backwards Compatible Cards Leaving First Edition

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

12th December 2016

As the result of a survey conducted of our community, the Department of First Edition has begun to sever the link between First Edition and Second Edition via backwards compatible cards. The details of this separation are outlined below, for those interested in the details. We anticipate the process will be completed in approximately twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months.

The Survey Says
We had a very good response rate for the survey about backwards compatible cards, far exceeding our expectations. A total of eighty-seven (87) responses were cast on the decision regarding the future of backwards compatible cards. After all the votes were in, the votes against the status quo (to remove the 1EC cards) exceeded those to continue the status quo.

Choice# of Votes% of Votes
In Favor of the Status Quo
(Keep 1EC Cards)
3439.1%
Against the Status Quo
(Remove 1EC Cards)
5360.9%

While it was clear from the vote that a majority of players wanted us to end the "backwards compatible" connection, the vote was much closer than anticipated. The Department of First Edition staff spent a considerable amount of time debating how to interpret and then implement the mandate of the voters. Many of the volunteers felt that, while this was a decisive result, it was not one that allowed immediate separation/removal of the backwards compatible cards. Instead, we've developed a plan to phase out the cards and rules related to them over time, which is outlined below.

Phasing Out
1. We are making the use of 1EC cards in First Edition tournaments optional.
A new feature will be implemented in our tournament software allowing tournament directors to mark tournaments as allowing or disallowing the use of backwards compatible cards. The default value for this option will initially allow 1EC cards; this default will reverse at some, to-be-determined point in the future.

Having this option will allow those play groups that enjoy using backwards compatible cards to continue to do so, while allows those that do not to remove them. Once the plan is fully implemented, the option to use backwards compatible cards will be officially removed.

2. From this point forward, no new First Edition expansions that start design will be converting cards, with one exception (see below). Any design projects already underway are not affected by this rule. In order words, you will see conversions in The Terran Empire, all three expansions of the Zelda Block, and a few other small, special projects underway. Future expansions, such as the forthcoming TOS Block, will not feature new converted cards.

3. A new design project, Project Discommendation, has been launched to provide a "bookend" to the era of backwards compatible cards. This expansion is the exception to #2 mentioned above. Discommendation is a non-block expansion dedicated to closing any rules issues and filling any content gaps left by the removal of backwards compatible cards. Project Discommendation will be co-lead by Allen Gould [AllenGould] and Charlie Plaine [MidnightLich].

4. Our staff will review all rules, documentation and procedures for references to backwards compatible cards and prepare updates as needed. This task will be ongoing with the deadline for completion being the release of Project Discommendation, above.

The goal of this plan is to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible, while making continual progress towards the elimination of backwards compatible cards from First Edition. We felt a timeline of 12-18 months (the anticipated timeline for completion of Project Discommendation) was a reasonable one. The plan allows players that want to immediately remove backwards compatible from their local games to do so. It is flexible enough to allow the CC to wean high level events away from the use of 1EC cards, and to allow design teams to continue to use the converted cards in their expansions. Finally, we will provide a clear demarcation date (the future release of Discommendation) to ensure the task is complete and backwards compatible cards are no longer officially supported by the rules.

If you have any questions or concerns about this plan, the results of the survey, or anything more, please share them in the comments for this article. We will be able to provide more details on specifics of the plan outlined here in the coming months. We especially want to thank everyone for participating in the discussion and the voting process.


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