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Revised Format improved with November Rules Update

by Jeremy Commandeur

7th November 2011

Why update Revised?
Many active 1E player groups use Revised as their primary format. It is beneficial to maintain a "no-ban" format that is easy to play for new and returning players. Someday in the future, the OTF errata project will reach its goal of having zero banned cards in OTF. At that time, Revised will probably ride off into the sunset. Until then, the Continuing Committee is dedicated to maintaining Revised as the designated no-ban format.

What changes in this update?
In reality, there is only one significant change to Revised, rule #8, the Alpha Quadrant Requirement. More on that in a moment. The other rules in Revised have been re-worded, cleaned up and clarified to allow them to mirror the rules in OTF and the game in general. The spirit and effect of the rules do not change, your Revised decks do not need to change.

Did the Referee side deck rule change?
Not really. However, the wording has been clarified based on feedback from the community. Referee cards discarded from play MAY be put into the side deck, even if they did not originate there.

Why is the dilemma phase batch seeding rule twice as long as before?
This is based on feedback from the Oregon player base and other groups. When I traveled to Oregon this year I discussed the batching seeding rule with the Oregon guys and the Canadians who had traveled down for the regional. There was confusion as to how the Revised batch seeding rule was supposed to work compared to the OTF batch seeding rule. That is my fault, I wrote the original batch seeding rule for Revised. The rule was not as clear as it should be. In this update the batch seeding rule for Revised has been changed to be the same as the rule in OTF word for word. The updated rule is more wordy, but now it is very clear and easy to understand.

Dude, why did you take away my crazy 2E Tech?
With this update, all Second Edition backwards compatible cards that have been converted to 1E templates are now the official version of that card. The game text on both the 2E BC version of the card and the 1E conversion should be treated as the text on the 1E conversion, just like in OTF. This was done to close various 2E BC loopholes in Revised.

Some guy that might sound familiar won the 1E World Championship this year in part by exploiting 2E BC loopholes. It is in the best interest of the game to close these loopholes with conversions.

There are many 1E players that never bothered to buy any Second Edition cards and have no backwards compatible cards. Locally, around half of my active player base don't have 2E cards. Most of my friends in Sweden, who have been very active here at the Continuing Committee site, don't use backwards compatible cards. Conversions give all players, new, returning and existing access to more cards without leaving anybody out or forcing them to chase down a handful of BC cards from increasingly hard to find 2E sets.

Why the new Alpha Quadrant requirement?
To understand the thought and playtesting that went into this rule, please consider the following factors:
1. Historical tournament performance of delta quadrant decks.
2. Performance of delta quadrant decks in major OTF tournaments, even after recent bans.
3. Skill density or skill concentration.
4. Historically, how interaction between various affiliations was encouraged.
5. Historically, how mission selection abuse was resolved.

1. Historical tournament performance of delta quadrant (DQ) decks.
Until this year, DQ Hirogen or DQ Federation decks have won almost every world championship and continental championship going for the past decade. That fact that two affiliations are so dominate in high level play reflects severe gameplay imbalance.

2. Performance of DQ decks in recent major OTF tournaments.
In 2010, Delta Quadrant Spacial Schism, Ancestral Vision and War Council were all banned in OTF. Yet, the DQ managed to win the World Championship once again that year. The DQ also dominated the other high level events that year.

In 2011, the DQ engines mentioned above remained banned. Yet, the DQ still won the North American Continental Championship. The AQ did manage to win the World Championship, but only by exploiting downloads in mass. The top decks at Gen Con this year were once again Delta Quadrant and defeated almost every Alpha Quadrant deck they faced.

3. Skill density or skill concentration.
If you are game to do a little math you can understand the basis of what is going on here. Try the following.

First, make a list of every skill and classification in the game. Next, assign a point value to that skill or classification based on how many dilemmas require that skill. Next, modify your point value for each skill based on the popularity usefulness of dilemmas that require that skill. For example, Vendetta requires LAW, but hardly anybody uses Vendetta. Friendly Fire appears in the vast majority of decks, making SECURITY and Leadership much more valuable.

Now, take the nine best Hirogen that play for free. Take the nine best DQ Federation personnel that play for free. Choose two Alpha Quadrant groups that report for free, say Enterprise E Feds and Bajorans with Resistance. Lay these sets of nine personnel out in your binder on on the table. Now add up all of the skills for each set of nine based on your values for each skill that you came up with.

What happens?

You should see the Hirogen generate a score around double of the score on the Bajorans. The DQ affiliations should easily outscore almost every AQ or GQ group that reports for free.

Even when we ban and errata DQ play and draw engines, the DQ still has an edge over the rest of the game. Their skill density is much higher. If an DQ player and an AQ player report the same number of personnel for free during a game, the DQ deck will almost always come out ahead because of higher skill concentration. The Delta Quadrant needs a global penalty to put it more in line with the Alpha Quadrant.

4. Historically, how interaction between various affiliations was promoted.
Up until Voyager you could pretty much guarantee the chance to interact with your opponent in the same quadrant. The Gamma Quadrant is filled with difficult high span missions. The best Dominion missions lie in the Alpha Quadrant. The Mirror Quadrant has no space missions and only 30 point planets to choose from. The Bajoran Wormhole provides access in and out of both the Gamma and Mirror quadrants. Gamma and Mirror decks needed to pursue missions in the Alpha Quadrant to be effective. All roads lead to the AQ.

With Voyager, that changed forever. Now I could sit around in the Delta Quadrant and keep to myself. I had little to no incentive to travel to the Alpha Quadrant and interact with my opponent. Many players will tell you this is where the quality of the game declined.

Following the model from the Mirror Quadrant and the Gamma Quadrant, the Delta Quadrant needs incentive to come to the Alpha Quadrant and interact with everybody else. Travel between quadrants needs to be easy enough to be practical. Thus, the movement between quadrants rule in Revised.

The Borg can try to assimilate the Federation. Voyager can go home. The Hirogen can find new hunting grounds. The Vidiians can find new organs to harvest. The Kazon can find new equipment and ships to steal.

5. Historically, how mission selection abuse was resolved.
The game has had problems with mission selection in the past. All space or all planet decks had a distinct advantage over decks that played both mission types. To correct this, Balancing Act and later the Big Picture were created to add a risk and a cost to playing all space or all planet.

Now in Revised, playing all Delta Quadrant has the same cost as playing all space missions. If you play only DQ missions, you will need to score 140 points OR you will need to travel to the AQ for a mission. In playtesting, I have built DQ decks that win both ways. Some deck solve three missions and score bonus points. Others use Quantum Slipstream Drive or the Revised quadrant hopping rule to move into the AQ for their second or third mission.

Conclusion
The Alpha Quadrant Requirement in Revised promotes interaction between all affiliations and gives the DQ a global penalty designed to balance the DQ against the AQ.

Have fun playing Revised. As always, the Continuing Committee and myself are dedicated to updating and supporting Revised as a no-ban format. If you would like to share your thoughts, Revised tournament results, skill density math or just flame me for being crazy, you can reach me at Trek1ELives at mac dot com.


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