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Strategy Articles

Design Spotlight: Overview

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

3rd September 2017


“A big reason games fail is that they don’t let their best aspect shine. Don’t pull focus from what makes your game fun.” -Mark Rosewater

Welcome back to the Spotlight Series, the decennial edition! Over the course of the next year, we'll be featuring each affiliation in the spotlight. I want everyone to know that our honorable vice chair, Maggie "jadziadax8" Geppert, has been the driving force behind this idea. Everything you're about to see and experience as part of this series is thanks to her. Thanks, Maggie!

My role in this endeavor is to highlight each affiliation from a design sensibility. Over the years, we've developed a lot of thoughts, rules, guidelines and plans for the affiliations featured in the games. I'd like to share some of them with you, and engage in a discussion about where the affiliations have been and where they are going. We'll be covering a lot of ground, and I'm sure a lot will change as we go. I'll be updating this document with links to all of the relevant articles. In the mean time, here's a look at what each article will look like:

In this section, you'll get a brief description of the highlighted affiliation's place, both in the Star Trek universe and in the games. Highlights might include key story moments and relevant facts about the affiliation.

At a Glance
This section, as the header implies, will give you some quick facts about the affiliation. As a fan of numbers, I expect to make some charts and graphs as we get deeper and deeper into the Spotlight Series.

In this section, the strong points and advantages of the affiliation will be highlighted. It's my belief that the game is at its best when every affiliation is good at something, but no affiliation is good at everything. This is one of the most powerful areas for designers to draw distinctions between the affiliations, and that's where the game lives and breaths.

Means of Control

The opposite to the previous section, the inherent weaknesses and disadvantages of each affiliation get their turn for discussion. As important as it is for affiliations to have strengths, it's even more so for them to have weaknesses. What an affiliation can't do (or deal with) is as important, if not more so, than what they can.

Looking Ahead
It's a good bet that, no matter where the affiliation is in the game when these articles are written, we'll have some idea about where they're headed. This section will cover plans, hopes, dreams, and expectations for the affiliation. I expect to cover ways to play to the affiliation's strengths, and help them deal with their weaknesses. If the opportunity presents itself, you might even get a spoiler or two!

Finally, this section will conclude the article with an overview of the affiliation and its place in the games. I may share fond memories or funny stories, if I can remember them. There's a good chance I'll ask a trivia or discussion question, and solicit your feedback.

Hopefully, at the end of each article, you'll have discovered something new or rediscovered something old. It's the goal to feature these affiliations on their own merits during each week of the Spotlight Series, and we hope you'll join us on the journey.

Article Archive
All articles written by Charlie Plaine, except where noted otherwise.
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