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Design Spotlight: First Edition Bajoran

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

20th November 2017

"Captain's log, supplemental. I read about the achievements of the ancient Bajoran civilization in my fifth-grade reader. They were architects and artists, builders and philosophers when Humans were not yet standing erect. Now I see how history has rewarded them." - Captain Jean-Luc Picard, "Ensign Ro"

The Bajorans, an ancient and spiritual people, joined First Edition as the game expanded outside of The Next Generation and into Deep Space 9. In the show, the Bajorans were complicated and rife with conflict, far from the usual utopian norms of the Federation. Proud and determined, the Bajorans stood with the Federation against overwhelming threats to take their place on the galactic stage.

At a Glance
Here's a quick look at the blessed of the Prophets, the Bajorans:

Bajoran [Baj] [BAJ]
Nouns 130 Cards (3 Facilities, 117 Personnel, 10 Ships)
Missions 52
First Appearance Away Team Pack (1998)
Recent Appearance Through the Looking Glass (2016)
Signature Skill Anthropology (29 - 24.8%)
Attack Restriction STANDARD (Anyone but [Baj] )
Appears In TNG, DS9, and Voyager
Doesn't Appear In Enterprise, TOS, and Movies

Colonel Kira

As we meet them in First Edition, the Bajorans are struggling to survive. Their mechanics and flavor derive from these struggles as they seek to rebuild what was taken from them during the occupation. Their primary source of hope and strength is their faith; so much so, their headquarters and seat of government is inexorably linked with their religious leaders. Bajorans can get a lot of free reports out of the Chamber of Ministers, but they tend to be very V.I.P.-focused. Fortunately, the Bajoran Resistance is able to provide some additional support - free reports and card draws are invaluable, after all.

A big advantage for the Bajorans is their primary region, the Bajor Region, which contains seven (7) missions in the Alpha Quadrant (and an additional four in the Mirror Quadrant). You can build your entire spaceline out of Bajor Region missions, and since they always are placed next to each other in First Editon, that gives Bajoran players a big mobility advantage. Additionally, there are several cards that benefit from being in the Bajor Region, pushing some of the lower-stat ships up into rock star territory.

Bajorans, always respectful of their history, have an aptitude and reverence for historical artifacts. I don't think it will surprise you to hear that this has been translated into 1E as Artifacts; all of the Bajoran Orbs are Artifacts. There's even an objective for finding Orbs and bringing them home, HQ: Return Orb to Bajor. This particular card is an example of Bajorans getting rewarding for following their culture.

While it's true of most affiliations, Bajorans have some particularly deep skill diversity problems. If you need Anthropology, Diplomacy, Honor, and Leadership then you are in luck: there are 25, 23, 29, and 32 choices, respectively, with those skills. But if you're playing Bajoran and you need Astrophysics, ENGINEER, Exobiology, or Transporter Skill, your options are far bleaker: 7, 13, 9, and 7, respectively. Every affiliation has some gaps of this nature, but these are fairly extreme.

I suspect a part of the skill issues described above is that Bajorans seem to have been designed to require a partner. In a way, this makes sense; they were released with [DS9] Federation cards in Deep Space 9, where easy access to the treaty would allow them to work with their help. But it's a shame that they have to rely on outside help to stand on their own. And while things have evolved and gotten better for them, this is still a real issue they struggle with.

It's also unfortunate that the Bajorans don't separate into factions particularly well. They are almost entirely modern [DS9] personnel, with only a handful of [AU], [MQ], [DQ] and [TNG] options available. This greatly pigeonholes them into a small number of decks they can pair up with, and all but eliminates others. Sadly, it's unlikely we'll ever see [22], [OS], or [CF] Bajoran cards for the affiliation. And while you can always mix your [CF] Klingons with Bajorans (with the appropriate treaty, there won't be any natural overlap.

Alter Records

Looking Ahead
Well, given that the next two (2) blocks are going to be focused on The Original Series followed up by the movies, it might be a bit bleak for Bajoran fans. But I wouldn't fret too much. As the Acting First Edition Brand Manager, I will guarantee you that you'll see a new Bajoran card before the end of at least one of the following things: a) the week; b) the month; or c) the year. The 1E Department is also knee deep in a revamp of the four (4) Next Generation starter decks as a new entry point; if that goes well, an Emissary follow up would be logical.

However, there are plenty of opportunities to give Bajorans new content without a block centered around Bajorans. I promise, we've learned the lesson that we need more non-theme content in our blocks. But there are numerous themes we can explore that would overlap with Bajorans - dissidents, for example. There are dissidents in most affiliations, and that's basically what the Bajoran Resistance would be. Likewise, we could continue exploring the mechanics of cultural artifacts. We dabbled with this in Live Long and Prosper with Seek Hidden Reliquary, and it's a rich vein of design space to explore.

Speaking of rich veins of design space, I've got a bit of an Eleanor to check off my bucket list. Back when we were designing Emissary, we had a really fun suite of cards based around Past Terok Nor, i.e. the station during the Occupation, in orbit of Bajor. We had a few problems that caused us to shelve the mechanic, and though at least of the cards from those stories have been released, there is a lot more to explore. I hope that I'll get the chance to deliver on these before my days here are done.

Bajorans were one of the first affiliations to be added to the game as it grew beyond Next Generation stories. The affiliation, as a whole, is showing its age but still shows amazing potential. Bajorans have been one of the most popular affiliations to add a secondary one to a deck; I think it's high time to get them back into the limelight. Peldor joi!

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