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Conversions: An Analysis - The Next Generation (Part 3 of 6)

by James Cream, Staff Writer

18th May 2012

When creating a base set for incoming players, the designers inevitably need to consider the utility cards. In particular, the regular joes who wear the red or gold shirts (depending on era), are specialists in specific fields, and do their jobs unquestioningly. Especially when the job requires them to examine a local rock formation, or a local rock formation, or even a local rock formation.

There are a few ways to come by these personnel. One easy method would be to simply reprint key personnel from earlier First Edition expansions. Another would be to convert the utility Backwards Compatible (BC) personnel. A third and less desirable method would be to simply make new personnel from scratch. We see that the designers of The Next Generation expansion chose all three.

Because this article is a continuation of my series analyzing the converted 2E cards in the new expansion, I will be focusing on the former 2E mooks. Their conversions couldn’t be any easier- after all, we’ve seen the formula before.

Formula A: Look for the 2E skill which can be a Classification in 1E. Make it the Classification and adjust the stats to better fit the former game. Send to Johnny for artwork.

We first saw this done back in the first full virtual expansion for 1E, Life from Lifelessness, where Tholun went from being a 5-skill Second Edition mook to a 4-skill, Medical-Classification First Edition mook and Emok went from a 3-skill Second Edition mook to a Medical-Classification First Edition support personnel.

We also saw this quick and easy conversion method used for Garrid, Jeffrey Pierce, and McDermott in the Straight and Steady expansion; Brilgar in the Shades of Gray expansion; and both Karina and Selveth in the Homefront II expansion.

Rather unexpectedly, only three of the easy conversions for The Next Generation were done this way: Daniel Kwan, Davies, and Martin.

Daniel Kwan came from Second Edition Premiere where he was a three-skill, staffing icon mook with the stats of 6 Integrity, 5 Cunning, and 5 Strength. The new 1E version saw his Engineering skill moved up to Classification and 1 added to each of his attributes.

The same is true of Davies and Martin. Each started with 3 skills (standard issue for a 1 cost mook with no ability in the second game), each became a support personnel when one of those skills was made a Classification, and each had 1 added to each attribute.

But what are more interesting are the instances where the conversion was not so cut and dried.

Exception to formula A: There is no "classification skill."

This isn’t actually an instance that we have seen from the conversions before, but certainly those who noticed the pattern have been wondering what happens when there is no classification skill. After all, First Edition personnel always have Classifications (though as long as some 2E personnel still haven’t been converted, there will be personnel who break this rule).

One similar example of this is Andrea Brand from the Homefront II expansion who saw her skill of Officer get converted to a VIP classification.

Both Barron and Seth Mendoza fall into this conversion type. Each was a 3-skilled mook in their Second Edition incarnations and remains a 3-skilled mook in converted form. In both cases, these Second Edition personnel had no skill that could become a Classification. Instead, Barron retained all 3 skills and gained the classification of Civilian and Mendoza retained all three skills and gained the Classification of VIP. This solution makes sense because neither VIP nor Civilian exists as a skill in 2E.

Of interest, in both cases only two of the three attributes was increased by 1. It would seem that a Classification costs 1 (Strength or Integrity, depending on case).

Things Get a Little More Complicated:

Three personnel who would seem to be straightforward conversions were not so straightforward: Lian T’su, Lopez, and Gozar. Given the formula above, we would expect Lian to retain her staffing icon, have her Officer skill bumped up to her classification, and have each attribute increased by one. This is exactly what happened- except she came out with one more (bonus) skill of Astrophysics.

Similarly, we would expect Gozar to transition from a 6-skill, Command star, 3 Integrity, 5 Cunning, 5 Strength 2E personnel into a 5-skill, Officer Classification, Command star, 4 Integrity, 6 Cunning, 6 Strength 1E personnel. Instead, he had his attribute total increased by 3 but to 3 Integrity, 7 Cunning, and 6 Strength, and he learned Diplomacy somewhere.

Meanwhile, Lopez follows the conversion pattern perfectly but gained a special download of the Federation PADD. This example makes the most sense as we can see him holding said PADD in his picture (and after all, that IS the requirement for a 1E special download).

On three previous occasions we’ve seen a change in the number of skills upon conversion. T’Pol from Straight and Steady gained Mindmeld (due to being Vulcan) while otherwise following the conversion pattern. Ruwan, from Homefront II, converted normally but picked up Tal Shiar (due to his collection of intelligence in the episode that featured the character). Dallas, also from Straight and Steady, lost Archaeology for an unknown reason.

The most likely explanation for these changes upon conversion is that it was felt these skills/abilities were needed to balance the three affiliations in the base set and it was simply easier than creating more personnel to cover those skill/attribute gaps.

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