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Its Hour Come Round at Last!

by Ross Fertel, Second Edition Brand Manager

19th May 2017

The Continuing Committee is proud to announce the fortieth (40th!) Second Edition set. Zero Hour will release worldwide and free for your downloading pleasure on Friday, June 2, 2017!

This set has something for almost everyone, but more on that later. First, the design team!

Keith Morris (Foreman) – Lead – This is Keith’s fifth design and first as a lead! He did a truly amazing job in the leadership role, guiding the overall direction and making sure that everything got looked at. This expansion has similarities to his first in that almost every affiliation gets something, except that was just before Phase II and this is after the Two-Affiliations-an-Expansion model. You can see the growth of the affiliations and of Keith with the final product.

John Corbett (KillerB) – This is John’s fourth expansion. It is pretty easy when designing into an already existing framework to get a bit … complacent. With John, that is never the case. The box that everyone else lives in and thinks from is not where he looks for cards. One card in particular got even more amazing when John put his special touch on it.

Ben Hosp (Bhosp) – This is Ben’s second time designing an expansion. (We skipped over someone who had done two products before). Just about everything about John’s creativity and design approach can be said for Ben. They may have different approaches, but their final products always turn out amazing. This is the first time they have been involved in the same project and it is much better for it.

Alexey Korolev (Ashby) – intern - This is Alexey’s first Design. It became apparent early on that the expansion would involve almost, if not every, affiliation and faction in the game and it didn’t take long to choose Alexey to come aboard and help out. He had a firm grasp of what fit in each affiliation, both old school and new. It also didn’t take long to realize that he would be a key member of the team! Expect to see a lot more from him in the future.

It Takes II, Baby. 

Phase II has been an excellent boon for the game. By focusing on two affiliations at a time, design was able to refocus each affiliation and make them stronger, better defined going forward. If there is a new theme or keyword to play with, for example, we know not only which affiliation will work with it best, but how each affiliation will interact with it. Borg cards will feel different than Ferengi if they ever get into the same playground and such. It’s hard to find a deck that does not include a card from this segment.

There has been one expansion since the ‘two affiliation at a time’ model ended and one of the main goals of Zero Hour was to enhance if not outright add to these strategies. To that end, almost every affiliation gets something in this set. If this sounds like a challenge with only forty-five cards, you’re not kidding!

You’ll find that design went to extra lengths to give everyone something, but it isn't always going to be an obvious noun, especially in a game as multifaceted as this. There’s bound to be overlap, if you look around. Take Ceres, Ecliptic for example. It has Deep Space Nine Earth written all over it, but that gametext is perfect for an especially crafty Khan player.

Almost every affiliation gets something, but it might not be precisely what you’re expecting. The Bajorans get some love, but they don’t get another Orb. Yes, one affiliation does have to sit out this time, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. It just didn’t work out this time despite everyone’s best efforts.

Them’s Fighting Words

Let’s face it, a lot of games follow the pattern: my turn and then your turn, rinse and repeat. Yeah, I may choose some dilemmas every now and then, you might get a commodity in your core once in a blue moon, but that is too often the extent of interaction between players.

Several cards in Zero Hour are combat related. They might make battle easier for you to win or easier for you to defend yourself against. Some of them might enhance the rewards a successful combat will give you, on top of the enabler itself.

Should this sound like a new concept, it’s not. Personnel have been making battle better since the early days of the game. Joining the already established ranks are the new War Heroes, as the designers have dubbed them. They didn’t have a name before, but expect me to use that more often. How about adding a TOS War Hero? Gametext looks good, but how about as an ability on a war hero?

Phase II and War Heroes. If only there were some possible design space in the venn diagram of those two concepts.

The Hour is Upon Us!

Thanks is due to the following in no particular order: Proofreaders who caught some fairly significant errors (40V1 has something I would never have found in a lifetime), Art who made some amazing images (chief among them 40V33; that is truly a work of art), Rules who made sure that the cards worked (40V8 needed refinement), Creative who found some really amazing stories even after thousands of cards worth of material has been used (40V7? Really? We haven’t used that?), and throngs of playtesters who made sure that cards were fun and worked (40V6 practically owes its existence to them!)

So enjoy as the spoiler period begins in earnest. You’ll get daily spoilers through the release on June 2, 2017 when it will be available to print before they official become legal a week later on June 9, 2017.

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