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MiS Spotlight: Keith "Foreman" Morris

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

21st July 2010

Today is the second article in a series of three featuring a little bit of information about each of the three Make it So finalists. Find out more about what inspires the finalists, how they have done in the competition to date, and what they've enjoyed (and not enjoyed) during Make it So!

Keith "Foreman" Morris
30 Years Old • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Keith started Phase I of Make it So as a member of the Bajoran Team, helping his team emerge victorious 3-1, and was nominated as Best of the Worst for his team's only loss during that phase. During Phase II, as a member of the Federation Team, Foreman was nominated as Best of the Worst twice (during Challenges #6 and #7) and was never put up for elimination by his teammates.

All of the contestants were required to submit an application prior to their participation in Make it So. Following are excerpts from Keith's application.

How long have you played STCCG?
I started playing with premier in 1994. I stopped playing just before the release of 2nd edition. I got back into the game just after the release of Captains Log.

Why do you want to be an assistant game designer?
I’ve always been interested in game design in general. I hope to learn a lot about what goes on behind the scenes when designing cards for a ccg. I also think I have lot of creativity to offer.

What do you feel is the greatest strength of the 2E game mechanics?
The counter system for playing cards is very simple for new players to learn, but still allows a lot of design options. It also keeps a great balance to the game.

What do you feel is the largest weakness of the 2E game mechanics?
I think the biggest weakness would be the importance of drawing a ship. If you don’t draw a ship soon after your opponent does, it is sometimes hard to catch up to his or her lead. This can be offset by putting a lot of ships in your deck, but you often only need to play one ship in a game which leads to a lot of dead card draws. I appreciate that there has been a conscious effort to design cards that will allow a player to make use of their extra ships. (Tactical Disadvantage, Gorgan, and abilities that require you to discard a card from hand.)

Choose any affiliation-specific event or interrupt from all of the Second Edition cards. Convert that card’s core game play into the same type of card for a different affiliation.

Based on 'Walk the Line':
[Evt] 3 •Victory is Life
Decay: 3. Plays in your core. When your Founder is about to be stopped by a dilemma, you may discard a card on this event to prevent that.
Order- Place your Jem'Hadar on this event. You may only do this once each turn.

Design a card that is intended to be given away to new players at conventions and large tournaments. Instead of lore, the card will have basic information about The Continuing Committee. The card should be instantly recognizable as Star Trek.

[Evt] 3 •Make It So
Plays in your core.
Order- Stop your Commander aboard his or her staffed ship to download an event (limit once each turn.)

Create a new Second Edition card that you’d like the judges to review (or pick one you’ve made in the past). Imagine that this will be the only card that the design team will see, so make it something you think shows off your personality, your skill, and your creativity.

[Evt] 2 •Stable Foothold
To play this event, you must command three [TN] personnel. Plays on your Mouth of the Wormhole. Cards your opponent owns may not destroy your Decay events. Destroy this event if you command a Dissident personnel or if your opponent commands more ships here than you do.

We asked a few follow-up questions to each of the finalists after they knew they'd advanced to the final challenge. Here are those questions, and Keith's answers:

What has your time in MiS taught you about game design?
A big lesson I learned specifically about STCCG is the concept of the soong-type android syndrome. That is something that is very important to keep in mind when designing non-unique personnel that can only do something once per turn. About game design in general, I discovered that its important to let go of an idea that just isn't working, and move on to something new. Otherwise you'd never meet a deadline.

What has been your favorite MiS experience?
I think working on the Federation team to try and design an expansion. It was fun trying to work out the logistics of whose ideas to use. And the guys were all class acts. And having a finished expansion and the end of the challenges was pretty cool.

What one thing would you add to Second Edition (or fix about Second Edition) if you could?
I'm not sure if this counts, but I'm a fan of dilemmas that require a choice during the mission attempt. Either by the person playing the dilemma or the person who is facing it. Even if its as simple as stop a personnel with skill x, it still makes a dilemma for the personnel facing it. It would be intersting to see what the game would look like without all the random stop dilemmas.

What was your favorite MiS challenge? Least favorite? Why?
Favourite - Meta Challenge. This challenge is probably the one that made me feel most like a real designer. Getting a chance to tackle the meta, and affect which cards players used was an exciting challenge.
Least Favourite - The Rules Change challenge. On its own, its not a bad idea for a challenge, but as part of the Second Stage (make and expansion) it was kind of frustrating to try and make cards that probably wouldn't end up being in the expansion.

Why should the public vote for you to be the Next Assistant Designer?
I bring a good balance between creativity and consistancy that a game like this needs to survive. I believe in cards that the complexity of a ccg shouldn't be in the individual cards, but in the interaction of the cards with each other.

If the public wants to judge me on the cards that I had the biggest input into during the creation of Home, take a look at the following:

And while I can't take sole credit for the 'no-one home' mechanic, I did play a big part in the creation of the following cards:

Plus I will try to Bribe them :)

Will Keith and his team emerge victorious? Or will he end up a runner up and have to be content with just designing a single card? Find out on Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 when the entries for The Final Challenge are posted!

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