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The Doctor's Fake News

by Revised Charlie, Revised Chairman

23rd April 2018

Revised Janeway

One of the most common questions I've seen since the start of Metamorphosis is "why so many new cards?" Well, the answer to that question is deeply tied to what you'll be seeing today: the "Revised Voyager" personnel. These futuristic revisions of the crew of Voyager were always in the file, as the team knew that they were a popular conversion request. But for the first several versions of the file, it was just the Revised personnel with nothing else.

Evolution of a Mechanic
All of the original Revised personnel had abilities that allowed you to discard a copy of themselves or their "regular" version to activate an ability. For example, the Second Edition printing of Revised Janeway had this ability: "While this personnel is facing a dilemma, you may discard a card titled Kathryn Janeway or Revised Janeway from hand to make her Cunning +5 and Strength +5 until the end of that dilemma." The design team wanted to stick to that ability, so they explored mechanics to replicate that ability in First Edition. Their first draft involved creating a new icon that would precede a skill, much like the [SD] or [DL] icon; for our purposes, I'll refer to it as the "%" icon. The new icon would mean "discard a copy, persona, or infiltrator of this personnel to do this thing." With this model, you'd see something like this:

[Fed] Revised Janeway
[Holo] <Fed> [OFFICER] [DQ]
My lore makes me an infiltrator of Kathryn Janeway
[SD] Treachery x2 [SD] Leadership
[%] This personnel is CUNNING and STRENGTH +5 this turn.


From a design point of view, there are a lot of advantages to a loaded icon like this, especially on ships or personnel where space is at a premium. But those benefits rarely outweigh the costs, and the initial reaction to this idea was one of vehement opposition; the testers loathed the idea. So the design team regrouped, set aside the loaded icon idea, and tried to replicate the mechanic on a support card. The first draft allowed you to discard a "copy, persona, or infiltrator" of a Revised personnel to do one of three or four abilities. For example, boost attributes, gain a skill, or take a copy from discard pile into hand. We sent this revision to the testers, and they hated it. With limited options, it just wasn't worth the time investment to use them, so we were back to the drawing board.

Holoprogram: The Voyager Encounter

Because designers are stubborn and don't like to give up on an idea, we discussed a lot of different options for what we could do. We finally settled on the idea of allowing the Revised personnel to renew a resource that wasn't normally able to be renewed: special downloads. Originally, our support card let these Revised personnel do their discard thing to refresh their download. We gave Revised Janeway a special download of "any Revised personnel" since she was the leader, and posted the revision to testers.

It was at this point that a second major objection was raised: the Revised personnel were NOT infiltrators, nor were they personas. Revised Janeway didn't really have any relationship with Kathryn Janeway that was defined in First Edition, and the play testers, the Rules Team, and the Creative Team all pushed back against trying to use one. These objections meant that we couldn't practically use the original mechanic on these conversions at all. We were back at square one and needed to find something else.

We had to give up on the "discard a copy, persona, or infiltrator" mechanic entirely, but we did settle on something in the same ballpark: persona swapping. There was the problem outlined above, where Revised Janeway and Kathryn Janeway weren't versions of the same persona, but we thought we could work around that. And eventually, we did; if you have Holoprogram: The Voyager Encounter out, you can reset the download on a Revised personnel when you swap them into play. But, as you can see, that isn't the wording we used - more on that next.

Museum of Kyrian Heritage

Construct Additional Pylons
So, the new Holoprogram uses the word "native" and plays on Museum of Kyrian Heritage. What does that mean? If you aren't up on your 1E rules lingo, "native" is a term used to mean personnel that are originally from the time on a Time Location. Museum of Kyrian Heritage is such a card: the first one from the future, and the first one in the Delta Quadrant; the corresponding spaceline location was spoiled yesterday: Conduct Perilous Trade.

The time location came about for three different reasons:

1. We needed a shorter way to say "personnel with Revised in their title." That's a lot of words, and it would have needed to be repeated several times on the card. We tried " [AU] [DQ] [Holo] ", but that wasn't specific enough for the engine card. But, if we made a time location and named all of the Revised personnel as native, we could simply use "native" as the hook. It was a pretty good solution to the 1E "real estate on card" problem.

2. The Revised crew needed more incentive to be used. Our testers do a lot of work to see if our new cards are playable, but they also work hard to make sure they are good. It isn't enough for a card, or cycle of cards, to be just playable; they need to be fun, exciting, and good enough to catch notice. There were a lot of problems with the Revised team that we worked hard to address, but though most of those made it into the final expansion, they needed more. The Time Location let us give them a free report, adding value that other cards just couldn't match. And speaking of added value...

3. We wanted to reduce Voyager's seed count. One of the common complaints we hear with regard to Delta Quadrant decks is their seed burdon: the number of cards that you "need to seed" to play the deck. We added in a Time Location for the DQ, but that meant seeding yet another card; two, if you could something like Temporal Conduit to time travel. So we set out to find a way to lower the seed count, and the Time Location gave us a great opportunity to do so. If you're willing to forgo use of Liberation and use the Museum instead, you can get yourself a download of both a ship (such as Voyager) and the Holopgram. Assuming you were running an [AU] door of some sort and can replace it with Temporal Conduit, you come out one seed slot ahead.

That was a lot of text, but hopefully it's given you a good sense of why we decided to add new cards to Metamorphosis. The short version is we did so to make the converted cards playable and fun; nobody would have been happy with just nine (9) Revised personnel. Our hope is that the new support cards like the Holoprogram, the Time Location, and the new verbs will make for a fun and exciting new deck for you to explore. You'll be able to try them out for yourself on May 4th, 2018 when Metamorphosis is released. In the meantime, stay tuned this week for more Revised card spoilers!

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