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Introducing: Bridge Crew Format

by Fritz Meissner, Ambassador

11th August 2020

I can never resist a story, but if you're just here to find out what this thing IS, I'll give you the quick answer: Bridge Crew Format is an alternate set of rules for STCCG 2nd Edition where you start the game with a bridge crew and ship and you're chasing easier victory conditions. If you're a no-fuss person, don't hesitate to skip to the Rules Changes section, or check out the demo game video (warning: it won't make sense until you check out the rules), then join me for the public playtest in a few weeks' time.

The story, starting with a new store

In a time when game stores weren't shut for in-store activity, I found a gem of a local venue called Pandemonium Games. I went in there for Star Wars: Destiny, discovered a group of decent humans that play a variety of games, and they've been very kind with allowing me space for STCCG despite it being a no-profit game. Some of the owners and staff have even sat down for games of trek.

Different people playing different things has given me new things to think about, even if I didn't play the games themselves. For instance I somehow got onto pro Magic: the Gathering coverage on twitch (it sort of makes sense, I like watching sportsball, but I don't do that IRL either).

Inspiration: L5R skirmish format

Another game that I saw was Legend of the Five Rings LCG (Pandemonium Games has an FFG niche). During a what-if moment googling about the core set, I stumbled upon Skirmish Format. Skirmish is a 20-minute adaptation of L5R, which is normally a 60-minute game. It's friendlier for new players with some confusing or tedious aspects deleted. The drastic time reduction was also achieved by creating a smaller goal for victory conditions.

Being an STCCG player, it wasn't going to just work to play a different game with a cool 20 minute mode. I mean, I already had Hearthstone if I wanted to not really care about the pictures on my cards for short periods at a time. No, I needed to take all of this and apply it to Trek. It was time to get my brain in motion!

What if Trek was shorter?

A shorter game would make weeknight tournaments a possibility (we only get like 1.5 games in at Star Trek Thursdays before people start yawning). In fact I'd already done something like this when we adopted the Slipstream Format, which offers 30 minutes. The effect on timing of casual nights was great, but there were other problems. I wrote various forum posts in that time about the topic

Bridge Crew Format born

Bridge Crew Format (give or take a few name changes) was my answer to L5R Skirmish and other random influences (e.g. one tiny conversation about the difference between WoW TCG and VS System 14 years ago). It looks very different now from what it did at the start, but always pursuing these design goals:

Lots of brainstorming, testing in LackeyCCG and advice from fellow community members later, and I think I have something worthwhile.

BCF Rules Changes

These rules are for version 12 of the format. The format will be a living thing, but the rules are stable at least until the public playtest tournament later this month (more on that later).

Before the game

Seed Cards

Missions: bring 2 missions (1 planet, 1 space) + HQ. The total printed points on your missions is important for deck building restrictions.

Seed a ship and bridge crew: choose a maximum of seven personnel and one ship from your draw deck. The total cost of ship and bridge crew cannot be more than your total mission points divided by 3 (rounded up).

E.g. if you bring two 30 point missions, the points total is 60. Therefore your starting bridge crew and ship cannot cost more than 20 counters.

You cannot use “when you play” abilities on your starting ship or bridge crew. You also cannot include personnel with “to play this personnel” restrictions; the game has not started yet so you do not command anything or have anything with which to pay costs.

In-Game Changes

At the start of each of your turns, decide whether you will take a Supply Turn or an Orders Turn.

Supply Turn

At the start of a supply turn, place your starting ship and all your personnel at your HQ. Your ship does not need to be staffed.

Play/Draw: take a normal play/draw phase (7 counters to draw/play).

You may not execute any orders on a Supply Turn

Orders Turn

You may not use counters to play or draw on an Orders Turn.

Execute Orders:

Victory conditions

First player to solve both space and planet, and have points equal to the printed points on your missions. If you spend points on abilities or otherwise lose points, you must gain the same number of points to win.

Time limit

30 minutes IRL, 45 minutes online


You cannot include any of the following in your deck:

These cards are much harder to deal with in BCF where you cannot choose to attempt different missions, or attempt more missions than you originally intended.

All other rules are the same as a standard game

No no-HQs

If you're paying attention, the mission rules will break the requirements for the various no-HQ teams (Voyager, Khan etc). That's a problem for a future version to solve, but I think there's a reasonable game to be had without them for now.

Living Design Document

These rules may change, although more slowly now that this is going public. You can use the living Design Document to follow along, and also read a lot more detail on the design goals and what has been tried so far.

Demo Game Recording

I recorded a demo game in LackeyCCG with some commentary. It's 40 minutes long, which is about on par for online events in LackeyCCG where game length is expected to be +- 1.5 times the real life equivalent.

The decklists used are here: TNG and Klingon

Public playtest, 23 August 6pm CET

Please join in the public playtest tournament on 23 August. It's a one day online event, and the timing is such that North American, European, and African players can all participate without too much disruption. Help me write the next chapter in BCF!

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