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Future Imperfect

by Seth Claybrook, Packaging Aficionado

15th December 2008

They say that hindsight is always best, and had Decipher been able to bypass the Temporal Prime Directive, I am sure they would have gone back and changed a few things with the older sets that they figured out along the way. Now that The Continuing Committee has taken the reins of this mighty flagship, we have the opportunity to make some minor course corrections in the virtual arena.

As the game progressed, we saw some minor rules changes, more unique packaging, the introduction of expansion icons, and then the addition of the collector's information at the bottom right corner. Since we don't have our own personal Time Travel Pod to go back and include these from the beginning, we will do what we can.

We have gone back to each Expansion and Boutique set and have created a unique expansion icon to help differentiate the older cards. We decided to give you a peek into the thought process behind the design of these new icons.

The challenge in designing an expansion icon is one of size. How do we make an image easily recognizable by its contents shape, color, and contrast at such a small scale? Here is the breakdown for each of the new expansion icons:

Premiere Premiere: Betazoid Gift Box was chosen as a unique object from the set to represent the first set of this long-running game.
AU Alternate Universe: Many images were considered as being from an alternate universe/timeline, but finally we settled on the Ophidian Cane because of the easy recognition of its unique shape.
QC Q Continuum: For obvious reasons we could not use the "Q", but the trademark flash of Q's antics was a very fitting choice.
2PG 2 Player Game: This was a toughy. There was no solid image that stuck out as being truly representative of the set, but since the majority of the cards introduced in this set were missions, we picked one that had good contrast and was more than just a round ball.
1stA 1st Anthology: We have a few things in the works that I can't spill the beans on at this point, but let's just say that we had the future in mind when we chose to add a number on top of the icon. Using this clear and simple method for indicating which anthology it came from was a solution born of simplicity and ... well, I will stop there.
AwayTeam Away Team: The majority of the time when we saw an "Away Team" on the show, the image of them beaming down was the first thing we saw. Since this set had two personnel, the image of two personnel with the familiar Starfleet transporter glow was a perfect fit.
OTSD Official Tournament Sealed Deck: One of the cards that made this format possible was the Space-Time Portal. Selective cropping helps this icon stand on its own.
StarterII Starter Deck II: The artwork on the tuck box was the logical choice for this set's icon, and while the image might not be all that "Fascinating," the event it depicts surely was.
EFC Enhanced First Contact: Again without violating non-disclosure agreements, giving up my firstborn, forfeiting my share of gold-pressed latinum, incurring the wrath of the ruling members of The Continuing Committee, and possibly being assassinated by a member of Section 31, I can't go into too much detail. But I can tell you that I had an experience with a mysterious orb in which I spoke to a small orange fellow with very large ears. He told me that the best way to enhance a product in the minds of the consumer was to coat it in a desired material: chocolate, diamonds, or even gold. The chocolate kept melting in your hands, and the diamonds kept scratching the other cards, so we took the Promo icon, merged it with the original set icon, and pressed it with a gold coating! So there you have the Ferengi method of how to create any Enhanced Icon.
2ndA 2nd Anthology: Follows the "Anthology" icon pattern outlined above.
Armada U.S.S. Jupiter from the Armada Game: We didn't want to just put an image of the Jupiter as its icon, so we pulled the image from another Armada card. Who knows, wouldn't it be cool to see another card in the future from Armada?
Ref Reflections: While not including any brand new gameplay, this set did have foil versions of previous cards. We decided to not create anything new, but to reflect the original Promo/Preview icon in the creation of this set's image.
EP Enhanced Premiere: Follows the "Enhanced" icon pattern outlined above.
EC The Enterprise Collection: What better icon to serve for this set than the Starfleet iconic patch worn by the crew of the Enterprise?
Promo Promo/Preview icon: This icon will house any card not included in the above sets. Tournament Foils would fall into this category.

There you have the behind-the-scenes story on the creation of expansion icons. While the past may be imperfect, we can make slight adjustments in the virtual realm that have the future of the game and its players in mind.

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