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I Just Can't Help Myself

by Ross Fertel, Second Edition Brand Manager

9th March 2018

The Continuing Committee is proud to announce the next expansion for Second Edition.  Symbiosis will start previewing today and be fully revealed Friday, March 23 and will be legal one week later on March 30.  Check the front page for spoilers coming out daily.  If that's not enough, you’ll want to seek out your Ambassador and keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook.


There are three themes of the set; getting a good start to the game, enhancing multi affiliation decks and catching up later in the game if you need it.  There’s more to it and we’ll get to the specifics later, but first, let me introduce the design team.


Lucas Thompson (Edgeofhearing) is the co-lead of the set.  It is his first co-lead and third set he has designed.  He is the conceiver and driving force behind the ‘late game’ cards.


Daniel Giddings (Danny) is the other co-lead.  This is his second set and first as co-lead.  He focused a lot on the cards that are better in your opening hand.  When I sent Danny some work done on the concept from an earlier set, he was very welcoming and thoughtful with productive dialogue.


Mike Shea (Skrain Dukat) is designing his second set.  He was the driving force behind the multi HQ cards.  These were tough to get just right while honoring and being useful to both affiliations, but he came through every time.


OrtakinThis is Keith Morris’s (Foreman) fifth set.  Not content with nouns that are good in your opening hand, he worked on getting that same concept on other card types.  On a more personal note, Keith was the designer on the first set I managed and I always relish the opportunity to work with him.


Needing to step in at a moment’s notice, Ben Hosp (bhosp) worked on his third set.  Although he came in very late, he was able to hit the ground running, adding in two key cards that would help facilitate the initial hand concept.


Early Riser


Your opening hand is very special.  It tells you how your first few turns will go.  There are players who can tell a lot about your deck just by the mission selection, but it really is your opening hand that determines if you’ll get a good start or a less successful one.  It’s always good to have a ship and a good mix of strong personnel.  Others can be more situational, like having Base Commerce in your opening hand with commodities in your deck.


Take Ortakin, for example.  One cost, four skills, blah blah blah.  He’s worth playing, but if you have him in your opening hand, before you play or draw a single card, you can discard him to draw a card for each of your Treachery missions.  Yes, you will need to be aware of running afoul of Agonizing Encounter, but it can pay dividends.  Granted you need to command Qo’noS, but that’s a small price to pay for getting a two or three card advantage over your opponent.  You’ll see this on these ‘jumpstarter’ cards so that you can’t put him in your Equinox deck and get four extra cards, for example.


And just because he’s in your discard pile doesn’t mean that you won’t have a chance to get him into play later, but you’ll see more of that soon enough.


Rama Lama Lama Ka Dinga Da Dinga Dong


Covert Collusion>We’ve all put Headquarters together from time to time.  When done right, it lets you get the best out of both worlds.  There is a high cost of being forced to complete a specific mission in order to win the game since two out of your five missions are headquarters.  There are other disadvantages you might be opening yourself up to, but if you can overcome them, you’ll be in good shape.  Having some non-aligned personnel who can report to either headquarters to help with staffing is a big help to avoid being mana-screwed, and that is based on first hand experience.


Symbiosis has specific pairs of affiliations together on one card.  Take Covert Collusion.  You wanted the Romulan Cardassian Alliance on a card, you’ve got it!  All right, it’s not a new headquarters, and in fact it pretty much requires both to be in play, but it does cost you nothing in terms of counters.  Not just that, it captures the flavor of both affiliations.  The Cardasisans keep their love of discarding to benefit them overall and the Romulans keep their love of using information to your advantage.  When you get tired of hemorrhaging your way through the deck, you can always use the order and get a really nice ship in your hand for the deal.


A note before your mind races too far: we are limited by the series that we can draw from in order to make images and there’s simply not an Cardassian heavy episode of Enterprise, for example.  But just because there is no specific card for one of the hundreds of combinations doesn’t mean that there isn’t something in the set for whatever wonky combination you can come up with.


Wait for Me


ZonThe third and final major theme is cards that are good late in the game.  The technical concept was coming from behind, but that is a very hard situation to write on a card, and even harder to stock something that you can only use when you are behind in scoring points.  You build your deck to win and while even the best of us have had hard games from time to time, and it will help decks that take a little while to charge up.


Take Zon, for example.  Decent skills good cost, yada yada.  His strength of eight is not too shabby either, to the point that he brings a lot in that department to all but Klingons and Dominion.  But with his gametext, he’ll get another two for each mission solved.  Note that it isn’t any one players missions completed specifically.  Suddenly sitting across from Four Space Voyager isn’t that bad, huh?  You’ll note that there is a cap of fourteen as a total, mainly to prevent him from getting too crazy with two players going at it with Four Space Voyager.


All Together Now


This expansion would not come to fruition without the help of several volunteers.  Be sure to thank Rules, who helped with a special paragraph on the cover sheet; Creative, who knocked it out of the park especially with the last card in the set; Proofreading, who looked over every detail; Art, who made amazing images, especially the ones previewed at Manasters; and Programming, who integrated the cards into the site.  You’ll also be hearing from several members of the writing team over the next couple of weeks.


When Symbiosis releases, your deck will work better with itself.  Either getting out of the gate running, working better with whatever wonky combination of headquarters you can think of or even catching up to a speedy opponent, there’s something fun for you to use.

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