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Syrran (Desert Wind) and T'Les (Syrrannite)

by James "RedDwarf" Hoskin, Staff Writer

20th January 2009

With just ten days to go until Raise the Stakes is released, you may have been expecting some more Non-Aligned personnel to join T'Pau (Syrrannite) in the card list, but would you have predicted they would be more Vulcans? This "Tale from the Raise the Stakes design team" describes how Syrran and his followers might have come to exist. As usual, codenames have been used to amuse me in this unrelated and fictional story:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, four Liverpudlians were taking a break from recording their latest album when they decided to design an expansion for an unnamed customizable card game. After A Hard Day's Night when they pitched almost 200 ideas to each other, they only came up with two Non-Aligned personnel. One was a Garak designed to counter Dukat (Pah-Wraith Puppet) (because Ringo's Voyager deck got messed around by Dukat and The Caretaker's "Guests" at the 2007 World Championships), and the other was a new Android personnel (because Ringo's brother demanded that he pitch the idea.) Neither impressed Paul that much though, so he made the executive decision to not use either of them. The first cut document instead just had a space where the Non-Aligned personnel would go and a note saying "Non-Aligned suite goes here." This state lasted for several more days, until Paul asked the team to Come Together and give him some Help!

Paul received No Reply from Ringo, who was struggling to think of any characters who would make for a good group of Non-Aligned personnel. Fortunately, George did not suffer the same affliction. He suggested the Dissident Vulcans saying that "We could give them Vulcan-related abilities (skill sharing via Mindmeld) or even make Mindmeld a card...," while Paul countered with "Trady, his partner and his boss." After a quick search on the Internet, there were virtual blank-looks from the others until Paul corrected and clarified his statement with "Traidy, from the Orion Syndicate."

The Vulcans were chosen in the end, and the three personnel were given the temporary names of T'Pau, T'Les and T'Syrrannite. Following George's idea about skill sharing, T'Pau was given the ability to gain one skill from a personnel (or two skills from a Vulcan) present, while T'Les gained all skills from a Dissident present. The "40 or more" theme was also mixed into these cards, with both abilities only triggering when the personnel began a mission attempt at a mission worth 40 or more points.

George and The John then went on to suggest skills for the Vulcans. George was of the opinion they should be given Telepathy, but Paul interrupted his Carrots, Sticks and Grease theory discussion with The John to tell him that "We made an early choice that Vulcans would not have Telepathy. Vulcans do not read minds by just walking by someone - Telepathy personnel do." With his point made, he then returned to theorise some more. Ringo, who had not designed anything before, just sat by and tried to understand Something of what Paul and The John were on about.

Once the epic theory discussion had finished, Paul expressed his reservations about the Vulcans. He thought that "one of the mindmeld abilities would work better than the other, and that is the one that would get played." Consequently, T'Les was given a new ability, Syrran was introduced and T'Syrrannite (who still didn't have an ability) was cut. At this point, the Vulcans were felt to be good enough to go through playtesting, so the team returned to The Long and Winding Road that was the handful of other unfinished cards still needing their attention. It turns out that they were right, because the playtesters had very little negative feedback about any of the Vulcans, and they remained untouched from that point until it became time to add the final titles and lore.

The End.

The moral of the story: You don't always need to keep tweaking something to make it work well.

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