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Falsify Distress Signal

by Brad DeFruiter, Extreme Measures Lead Designer

26th January 2011

It has been hinted at in the forum Q&A. You wanted something tasty-good for your Ferengi. You saw it on the front page - and if you didn't, here it is again to the right.

Team Work
I don't give out enough credit to all the designers on the design teams. They all add to the final product. It has been publicly stated but let me repeat - it is a team effort. Falsify Distress Signal is pure example of this.

It started with us looking at some game effects that would be worth losing points for. I cannot remember if I was putting out examples or stating my desire to have a big effect on a card like At What Cost?*. But I did state we should make a card that was lose 5 points to take an additional turn.

I had seen this type of text going on an event for everyone, like the previously mentioned At What Cost?. Of course, I was thinking that event would have some other condition on it. This is where Richard New came in and suggested this text be placed on a mission. It was a brilliant idea.

The moment we knew it was going to be on a mission, it felt sneaky and tricky to me. Sneaky and tricky falls into only a couple of affiliation's wheelhouses: Ferengi, Romulan, and James T. Kirk**. The Ferengi and the Romulans both needed a boost that this mission could give them. As soon as I started thinking about what story the mission would get***, it just suddenly felt Ferengi to me. I cannot remember who suggested this story. So, I will assume it was me. I loved it so much that I wanted to give it a counterpart mission****.

Ah, but where does Charlie Plaine figure in this tale? We needed to keep this mission for the Ferengi. The missions went to testers with out any extra affiliation enforcement but we knew that it was going to need something. Starfleet was going to spread expanse goo all over it with Spatial Reconfiguration or the Borg were going to Expand the Collective it and Expand the Collective it hard. Mr. Plaine pitched the fix that stuck on the card.***** And I think that fix is what makes this mission so interesting.

See, it was a team effort. And really in the end, that is what makes good expansions.

Good With Out Game Text
Let me show you a picture.

If this mission was just a 3 span space mission worth 30 points, the Ferengi would still love it. I don't know if any of you have noticed but the Ferengi have a decent number of personnel with Acquisition. Many of those have Acquisition AND Treachery******. I know this may come as a shock to some of you but this mission is great for the Ferengi. Having it require Cunning just makes it that much easier for the Ferengi as Cunning is the attribute that they can pump up the easiest. Quark (True Ferengi) loves this mission.

The Stockpile
Falsify Distress Signal being a space mission means that it will often be one of the first missions attempted. To harvest its rewards, one needs to do some work first. It is great story that some work needed to be done to get this big reward.

Some may be turned off by this. They want to hit the mission hard and fast and grab an additional turn and outrace their opponent. I understand that. But one doesn't have to put a bunch of cards beneath Ferenginar to use this mission. As I mentioned above, it is good enough for the Ferengi with no game text on it.

There are quick and dirty ways to get cards under Ferenginar. The mentioned Quark, True Ferengi is a good example. As is his advice - the aptly named event Quark's Advice. Or even go old school with Kol or lots of Kol. Or use Ferengi Whip or lots of Ferengi Whip*******.

Keeping It Ferengi
*****The fix was to make sure there was an investment in Ferengi. In version C of testing for Jordan [which was the code name for Extreme Measures], one had to have three [Fer] personnel at the mission before one could lose 5 points to take an additional turn. I've had issues with what it means to have certain personnel help complete a mission. None of the wording is completely clear with out lots of words. Missions are tight for word space as it is.

This is where Charlie Plaine swept in with his cape on and saved the day. He didn't even have to use his X-ray vision**********. To make sure a token Ferengi or Expand the Collective madness was not used to open this mission up to anyone not Ferengi, the need to have cards under your Ferenginar was added.

Like any number, there was debate and discussion about if six cards was too much or just right. It did go around a bit - there was even talk that it didn't matter how big the number was because of how good Ferengi are at stuffing cards under Ferenginar - but we came back to six. Time will tell if it is the correct number and I'm sure at this very moment there is a comment by someone who has won a game on the forums about how this card would be so much better if six was a different number.

Send in the Ferengi
I love me some tricks. Combos. Card extras. Tech. I love talking about this stuff.

I'm sure your first thought when you saw this card was "Quark's Treasure!" and I agree that taking three turns in a row sounds like fun but losing the game at the end of those three turns doesn't sound fun at all. But having Quark's Treasure in your deck can give you that extra turn you need to win and having it and Falsify Distress Signal in the same deck can get you even further ahead in turns.

Favor the Bold. I don't really have to explain this do I? Sure you are down 10 points going on down 15 [or 25] but the extra turns. More chances to play Dabo and put some more Ferengi out into the galaxy to do your bidding is a good thing. Or with Quark's Treasure take five turns in a row.

RoA #18: "A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all." And we should remember this. This mission is pure profit in the long run and this mission plus Rule of Acquisistion #18 means the cost of waiting a turn for an investment to produce benefits is negated. Cash in early folks! Ferengi have a lot of ways to convert things to extra counters and this mission helps you find time to set those conversions up. I hope I do not need to explain why you would want more counters.

This mission is great for a Surprise Audit too and ... oh, wait, you have to wait to see what that card does. Guess I shouldn't talk about hitting Mine Vendarite next. Hmmm ...

Don't let me find them all. Find more card interactions and share them with us all on the trekcc.org forums!

Lore
I like the lore on this card. It was longer and needed to be shortened to fit on the mission. This is always a bummer with missions with game text but it happens. The reason I like the lore on this card [23 V 28] is because of the next card [23 V 29] and how not only the game text compliments each another but the lore does too.

There is more to flavor than lore and titles and sharp images. Story influences skills on a card and attributes and in missions the attribute that gets touched by story is the span of the mission. There is a reason that most space missions are span 3 and some are span 2 only. Rarely does a mission have its span changed for game play reasons. But this mission is one of them. It should be span 2 and for almost all of testing, it was this lower span. Despite what some fools think, we do not go out trying to make bad cards. We do have to be careful and as I have talked about earlier, this mission is good for Ferengi even with out the game text. The shorter span was just too much.

Footnotes
I hope this article wasn't too painful and that you enjoy this mission and look at your Ferengi card in a new light. Play games. Have fun. Don't blame Brad - it was the whole team.

* I really like At What Cost. I think it is a good card. If I were to do it all over again, I might make it only give 5 counters instead of 7 counters. But I really love it. I've tried to remake it too. Remake it with some sort of twist like we have done with Complications. Any version of At What Cost plus At What Cost gets kinda redonkulas pretty fast.

** James T. Kirk is not an affiliation and as far as I know there are no plans to make a James T. Kirk affiliation. But the guy is sneaky and tricky.

*** Designing missions is interesting. We usually have to have a good idea what story we are using. There are many things that need to be taken into account like quadrant and span and skills. I have also had a weakness for writing missions. So, I often look story first with them.

**** Yes, that mission is in Extreme Measures. Nice of me to sneak that hint in here right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, the whole Region: Ligos System was a tip too.

****** I bet there are even Ferengi with all three skills like Quark, True Ferengi but part of any game is discovery. Go out and find what personnel and strategy works the best for you.

******* Fernengi Whip is not the same as Orange Whip. "Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips." ********* Oh, and Muk can fetch Ferngi Whip. *******

******** There is no footnote for "********"

********* This is my humor folks. I think it is funny to quote obscure quotes from movies made in 1980. Or is it released in 1980? I bet parts were made in 1979. You totally forgot it was a John Candy line until you looked it up on IMDB didn't you. The man was a genius and delivered a joke like no one else!

**********Which is good because I was wearing my Hannah Montana undies. I asked Charlie to look this article over for me. Hopefully, he didn't change it to embarrass me.

***********I should have used Greek symbols for these footnotes instead of just asterisks. It all got out of control so fast. Kinda like feeding raptors.


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