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Bar Room Blitz

by Scott Baughman, Director of Communications

26th August 2020

Ah, the infamous Bar Brawl that popped off after Scotty suffered insults to his beloved Enterprise. It's one of the funniest moments in the seminal TOS episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" and had been an inspiration for a Second Edition card for quite some time. But how did we get to the version of the Interrupt we have now? To find out, I put on my investigative journalism hat and sought out Design Director Nathan Miracle (GooeyChewie) to ask him about the background of this particular card. And I even included some questions sourced from the community - so let's get started, shall we?


1. While there have been several articles talking about Past Klingons recently, can you take us through the thought process involved in deciding to put more focus on this particular faction during this expansion?

Over the course of the next few expansions we will focus on each Star Trek series.  All Our Yesterdays focuses on Enterprise and The Original Series.  Given that Klingons were major antagonists in both series, they were a natural fit as a focus for the expansion.

2. What were some of the earlier iterations of this card?

The original version of Bar Brawl had the following text: Return any number of [Pa] Klingons that are present with your opponent's personnel to hand to score 10 points. Your opponent may return personnel to hand with at least the same total cost as the personnel you returned to prevent this. While the card kept the concept of comparing costs, it did go through some major changes.  Playtesters were concerned about using multiple copies of this card to close out games. 

In the second iteration, the design team added a clause that you could not play the interrupt if you commanded two completed missions.  The concern remained, though, since a player could simply score the points before completing the missions.  The third iteration lost the clause about commanding two completed missions and added a clause that you could only play one copy of the card per turn.  Nobody quite liked that clause, and playtesters brought up a further concern that the card could help lock down an opponent's headquarters mission, which led to the fourth iteration:

Order - Begin combat involving your three Past Klingon personnel, comparing total cost instead of Strength. If you win, score 10 points. That opponent may return each personnel involved to their owners' hands to prevent that.

This change helped in two major ways.  One, players could no longer use Bar Brawl at headquarters missions without the aid of the I.K.S. Negh'var

Two, players could no longer isolate a single personnel for easy points, since the opponent could simply return that one personnel to prevent the points.  Playtesters still had concerns that this version could trigger combat-winning cards like Call to Arms and A Warrior's Anthem, which led to the version we have today that allows the opponent to prevent the combat outright.

3. Often in Star Trek CCG Second Edition, cards with a lot of lines of gametext are derided as too complex or useless. In the past, you've said that sometimes the wording conventions of the game itself almost force too many lines of text onto cards - do you think those wording conventions affected this card's text?

Combat and engagements always take up a good bit of text.  The cards which begin them have to detail at a minimum who can start them and what happens if you win.  We did have to create some new wording to get this card's effect exactly right.  If not for the concern about triggering combat-winning responses, we could have cut the length down by a line.

And here are some questions from the community:

Phil Schrader asks: When would I ever not choose to bounce people if I know you're giving up more cost?

Often times you would want to bounce the personnel.  Your opponent will not necessarily know the cost of your personnel when combat begins, whereas you will know the comparison when you make your decision.  You might come out quite a bit ahead when your opponent's army comes up against your B-team of 1-cost personnel.  Your opponent will need to pay close attention to make sure to play this card at the right time and at the right location. On the other hand, I can think of several reasons you might choose to let your opponent score the points rather than returning all the personnel involved. 

The Past Kingons often have cost-reducing text, so while their printed cost might show higher than yours they might actually play for fewer counters.  Your opponent may have powerful "when you play" effects, like Kered or Klaa.  Maybe you left all your personnel on a planet, and picking them up will leave your ship stranded.  Or perhaps those personnel could win you the game next turn and your opponent played Bar Brawl in hopes that you would make the wrong choice and pick them up. The fact that Bar Brawl provides both players options, and that none of those options are always the 'right' choice, makes the card very interesting to me.

Brian Sykes asks: Why should this card exist? Why would players be compelled to use it? What does it add to the game?

Until now, Past Klingons have not had any non-ship, non-personnel cards designed specifically for them.  Ever since their introduction in These Are the Voyages, Past Klingons have had a theme of reducing their own costs when you play them together.  Bar Brawl leans into that theme.  You can use their high printed cost to win the combat, while relying on the cost reduction to gain an advantage on your opponent if they choose to have everybody walk away from the fight. Different players might use Bar Brawl for different purposes.  Some might hope to actually score points, while others might hope to slow down the opponent.  Others might figure they win either way. Still others might use it just because they find it fun and thematic to have their smooth-headed Klingons start bar brawls.

John Corbett asks: You forget about B'aht Quls, bubba?

Not at all!  B'aht Qul Challenge and Bar Brawl do share similar design spaces, as cards which can conditionally score you points and can also back-fire on you, and which both encourage high-cost cards.  At the same time, they have enough differences to both have a place in the game.  B'aht Qul Challenge encourages you to use high-point missions, whereas Bar Brawl encourages you to use Past Klingons.  You can certainly use both in the same deck; that's the reward you get for using both 40-point missions and Past Klingons.

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