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Strategy Articles

Two Birds With 14 Pounds

by Brad DeFruiter, Second Edition Lead Designer

31st August 2010

When we set out to design Peak Performance, one goal was to give some of the affiliations tools that they did not have already. But there were so many game functions that each affiliation lacked. We didn’t have enough card spaces in the expansion. Then, I remembered something interesting about Second Edition interrupts.

There are two types of interrupts in the game: one is an order interrupt, and one is a response interrupt. You can tell the difference between the two because the latter starts its effect with “When” and the former starts its effect with “Order-

Yes, dear reader, I know what you are wondering: what is Grav-Plating Trap? It is a hybrid interrupt. It both reacts to actions (when an event or interrupt is played) or it can be played as an Order (to destroy an event). This flexibility is one of the reasons so many decks stock this interrupt.

The design team used this hybrid-type of interrupt to its max. Ten interrupts in Peak Performance have this hybrid wording. But what makes them interesting is that the two parts do not always complement each other like the two sides of Grav-Plating Trap do. During the design and development process, these interrupts were called “stones” because of the saying, “Kill two birds with one stone.” We were taking care of two things with just one card.

Let us take a look at one of these stones, the Federation Stone – which you know better as Diversionary Tactics. The response portion of the card works like Reprogrammed in that it can zot an interrupt being played while one of your dilemmas is being faced. But then it has an order portion that lets you get a card back from your discard pile. Alone, each function may not be overly exciting, and stocking in a deck would be an extreme meta choice. But together...

A good deal of research and decision-making had to be done to choose what functions we wanted to see on these interrupts... and didn’t want to see on these interrupts. The Bajoran Stone (now known as Hidden Resource) had different sides, but it was decided that other cards in the game and in Peak Performance were doing what we were looking for already. So, Hidden Resource was changed to work with just ships – both halves of it.

Opportunity Seized was a bit different. The Ferengi do not have a way to boost the Range on their ships. But their ships are built well enough that they don’t really need that boost. And there are interrupts out there like Quantum Slipstream Drive that do the Range boost that Opportunity Seized does. But this interrupt also adds the interrupt-slapping response text.

One can stock Opportunity Seized, ready to prevent interrupts, and if an opponent isn’t stocking interrupts, the card can be played to boost the Range of a Ferengi ship. And that doesn’t even start to touch on how well this interrupt works with Rom (Professional Soldier) or some of the other cards that interact with cards under Ferenginar.

Not all of the stones have the duality that Diversionary Tactics and Opportunity Seized have... where one half might be useful, and if it isn’t, one can burn it on another function. Some might even be viewed as two halves that don’t do a whole lot. And some, like Ruling Council, have two sides that do quite a lot.

Ah, Ruling Council. If you haven’t read it yet, you should click and view what this card does. Yes, that's what it does. Did you have the reaction some of the proofreaders and play testers had when they first saw the card? Did you think “Wow”? Did you get that itch to go build a Terok Nor deck?

Ruling Council has two pretty amazing things going for it. It can be used to help compete missions by unstopping personnel that will attack a mission again on the same turn. Or it can be used to celebrate the conquest of a mission by scoring points.

Yes, I know what you are thinking: I can get a two-mission win with this card. And we aren’t worried about Holding Cell with our new Dukat now are we? And getting Ruling Council in hand isn’t difficult with Odo, Weyoun, and Dukat fetching it for us. Now, we just need to protect it and/or get it out of the discard pile to play again, and again, and again...

Something one may notice about these stone interrupts is that they do have requirements to play them. These requirements, of course, apply for the whole card and not just the response side of the interrupt.

Ten stones were written for Peak Performance. Federation, Klingon, Bajoran, Starfleet, Ferengi, Terok Nor, Romulan, Cardassian, Borg, and Dominion each get one. Depending on what type of player you are, and what your preference for building decks is, there may be a stone for you.

I would like to suggest to the players out there that you not judge these stones too early. When you build a deck, grab the corresponding stone and slide one to three into your build. See what these cards can do for you. You never know, maybe one of these cards is just what your deck needs.


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