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A Brief History of Speed

by Ross Fertel, Second Edition Brand Manager

16th March 2018

The Continuing Committee has done extensive market research into what the community likes to read.  Contrary to all our beliefs, history lessons are the most popular.  Every comment card we receive talks about how great the cards are and how much better they would be if accompanied by an article involving what came before.

 

So here we go.

 

One of the themes to Symbiosis is getting a bonus, of sorts, on your first turn if you have the right card in your hand at the start of the game.  It’s a really neat idea.  So neat, that it originated years before Barca came into fruition.

 

LevinWay back in good old 2001, design came up with an idea called Jumpstart.  There were a bunch of cards made with this concept.  The Ferengi one, for example had: Jumpstart - At the start of your first turn, you may place a card from hand beneath your Ferenginar.    Seems simple, right?  If you have it in the start of your hand, you could get a jump start on the game. 

 

Sounds like a great deal, if you manage to get it in your opening hand, of course.  Sadly, it doesn’t much help otherwise.  There was a card in the cycle to help the unloaded keyword.  It allowed you to cycle a Jumpstart card to your discard pile for you to draw two cards.  Not bad if you didn’t get it in your opening hand, but you go from depending on one card at a specific time to getting two cards in a specific sequence.  Not just that, but the cycling event didn’t do all that much on its own.  It got messy real quick and was kind of unremarkable.

 

Ultimately, it got cut.  Historical records aren’t sure why.  For whatever reason, these cards, or at least this one in particular, didn’t even have a cost, meaning that it never went to testers. That should be a big clue as to how early in the process it got cut.  Some scholars believe that it was too hard to cost the effect.  It wouldn’t hit every game, but when it did you got a bonus.  How do you cost something like that?

 

Flash forward years later to the design team for Barca wanting to do something with getting a running start out of the gate.  I sent the Jumpstart cards to the designers via PM so that they could, well, get a head start on the concept.  They immediately got back to me about the problems with the mechanic in terms of costing.  Not to name names, but one particularly intelligent (and handsome) designer thought that they could be discarded, but there were affiliations that wanted cards in their discard pile.  Think of how much the Bajorans would love it!  Someone, who may or may not be me, tried to cost it with removing the card from the game entirely or put it and another card form your hand at the bottom of your deck to alleviate this concern.  But starting off with a hand of five is a lot to ask for, even with a benefit.

 

At any rate, some time passed and design made a whole new slew of jumpstart style cards.  The text on the Ferengi version of this was: At the start of your first turn, you may reveal this personnel from hand to download a Commodity. When you play this personnel, the next Commodity you play this turn is cost -2. 

 

It starts off like the earlier version, with getting a Commodity ready for your first turn.  This is a great tool for the Ferengi player, being able to get the commodity of their choice can get them off on a strong start.  There also a nice little incentive to get this guy out, too.  If he gets out, the commodity itself is discounted, and that’s true whether or not you get him out at the start of your first turn.  In the right deck, this was beyond great and it proved to be a little too great.  The cycle pretty much ended up being higher cost personnel which was a lot to ask for, even with the self-discounting mechanic prevalent in the batch.  Having them all be almost four counters minimum was too much to ask.

 

The next version is pretty much the card you see today.  There is no self-discounting going on, but you get a lower cost of the card overall. Even The cost is much less of a cause for sticker shock, and you still get a good deal in the bargain.  the ship in the cycle is a good price for what you get out of it.  The cycle also went from being entirely unique to non-unique almost overnight.  You’re intended to stock these in multiple in order to increase your odds of getting them in your opening hand and letting you get three of them in play went a long way towards striking that bargain.  The ‘keyword’ is left to the ravages of history and the mechanic is there to use.  If not, you still have a good non-unique personnel to get into play.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this historic article.  We’ll try to bring you more as comment cards demand them of us.  Who knows what other mechanics can come back after being pushed aside for some time.


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