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Klingons Say Yes

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

24th August 2020


One of my favorite parts of the design process is the high-level brainstorming that precedes the creation of the actual cards. The part where we take a look at what there is already, and how we might use that foundation to go in interesting new directions with the game. The card that eventually became Kered was born in one of these brainstorming sessions. Here is my pitch to the team from the design forums:

The relationship between the TOS era Federation and the Klingons was a (very) thinly veiled cold war allegory. The two powers wouldn't engage in outright war, but would often interfere with third world countries (pre-warp societies) and fight proxy wars that way. The Prime Directive was born out of a disillusionment with this meddling, envisioning a future government that was too principled to drag other planets into a conflict that they had nothing to do with.

Here's my pitch: TOS Feds say "no" a lot. They have first-class event destruction, interrupt prevention, skill gain denial, they get dilemmas off missions, that sort of thing. Those are all examples of interactive abilities - they do things that make the game not just a solitaire affair. Saying no, I feel, lines up well with their adherence to the Prime Directive, which is really about saying "no".

What if Past Klingons said "Yes!"?

What does that look like? Well, what if they had a card that allowed the opponent to place a personnel in play, and in exchange all your personnel were attributes +1 versus dilemmas that turn? Say yes to personnel! Maybe they could have a card that allowed the opponent to initiate battle, but if they don't you drew cards at the start of your turn? Say yes to "peace"! Let the opponent do something, but get a bigger benefit for yourself.

I think it would be important to differentiate this flavor from Dominion or TNG symmetry; I'd recommend that the effects not be symmetrical, or even the same action for each player. No global "everyone is +attributes", just do something like make one player's cards +attributes, while the other gets something else.

Lots of fruitful discussion, including other pitches and counter-proposals followed, and many of the past Klingon cards in the set ended up going in a slightly different direction. For example, there's a lot more symmetry going on with many of them, but Kered stayed in the zone of the original pitch. He offers the opponent something nice, giving them the opportunity to take a personnel from a headquarters mission and move them somewhere else. But once they do, he sweeps in and kills someone who is left there.

I hope you enjoyed this look at the early part of the design process. Have fun, and when you're facing past Klingons, be wary of the gifts they offer!

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