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The Future of First Edition Design

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

1st April 2018

Star Trek offers us a vision of the future, one that's optimistic, imaginitive... and full of technology. Many technologies from Star Trek have found their way into the real world, like handheld communicators (cell phones) and PADDs (tablet computers). Even the most complicated technology in Trek, artificial intelligence, is being explored in real life, with exciting new advancements every day.

If you play Magic or Hearthstone, there's a chance you're familiar with efforts to generate cards using machine learning software. If not, peruse these links and get a look at what neural network technology has created already. Of course, it would be a shame if card games based on Star Trek were mired in the past, still created by mundane human minds, while boring old fantasy-based games were made with cutting-edge technology!

In order to help close the technology gap, I've been working overtime to get our own positronic brain up and running. I've taken the time to record some of the more interesting output so far, and enter it into the Continuing Committee's playtesting software, so that the community can see what the future holds for our favorite games.

This article houses some of the First Edition cards that the network has produced so far. First Edition's wording is a bit more... colloquial than Second Edition's wording, so the electronic mind has had a lot more difficulty in producing realist output - with the possible exception of personnel. Because of that learning gap, your feedback will be much more essential for the future of this game's AI development.

I've broken down the output into three categories for your browsing convenience. For each category, I've curated a selection of 18 of the most interesting cards the AI has produced, and entered them into the Continuing Committee's playtesting software - which has allowed me to generate some PDF files for you to peruse. I'd also like to highlight a few cards from each category here in the article. Enjoy!

Almost There: These cards got pretty close to the mark, but something or another just doesn't work quite right. PDF Link.

Parforil Control

It perhaps says something that this is the most sensical equipment that the AI came up with.

Commander Hand

The referee icon may be a bit much.

Dr. Pale

I have to question what any doctor without Medical or Science is doing with that title. That said, "Dr. Pale" is definitely a supervillain name anyways.

The Hon

I know that the Vidiians need some help, but this might be overkill. Possibly.

Pretty Normal: These cards look eerily like normal cards. I've erred on the side of highlighting the more interesting ones, since the machine is decent at producing bland, normal cards (especially personnel). PDF Link.

Continuing Commestecherigther

If Kir'shara is playable as just a "get 10 points" artifact, this one probably is too. You have to guess right and seed it at the right place, but then you get the flexibility to make it work with whatever mission selection you want.

Echest Debering

Free ships are quite valuable, but this one has a pretty lousy stat to staffing ratio, which might be enough to make up for its freeness.

Amardis Origy

The lackey text file includes a bunch of card traits, like support personnel, in the same field as lore-given traits like species and gender. The AI couldn't tell that lore alone didn't make someone a support personnel, so it just put it on cards randomly. I was thrilled when this card came up because, out of the hundreds I generated, this is the only one that it correctly labelled as a support personnel.

Silly: These cards are failures. The machine tried, and it failed. Such failures are inevitable along the unrelenting march of progress! PDF Link.

Temporal Destroy

Oh. Huh. What's crazy is that, in First Edition, you could actually carry out this card text.

Secret Fire

The AI generated tons of these verbs that seed or play (or both) on table, and allow some set of personnel to report "here" or "present". Great, I guess, I can play these guys... somewhere. Not on the spaceline, that's for sure.

Kilasa

This card makes about as much sense to me as First Edition Borg ever do.

Creasure

On the other hand, this is what I imagine every Second Edition personnel looks like to First Edition players.

Out of April Fools Mode: I hope you enjoyed these cards, I certainly enjoyed tricking an old computer into making them. I'd never really used Linux before, and this was a fun project to push me into giving it a try. If you'd like to try your hand at making these cards, Here's a reddit thread about making the hearthstone ones; you can follow all the same steps, but feed it a trek text-file database instead. The easiest way to get your hands on such a file are the lackey database, but if you have any trouble with those, just shoot me a line and I can hook you up with my copies that I've put some effort into reformatting.


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