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The Future of Second 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 Second Edition cards that the network has produced so far. Second edition already has much more... robotic wording than First Edition, so the electronic mind has taken to it much more easily - that said its output is far from flawless, and we could really use your feedback on its progress so far.

I've broken down the output into three categories for your browsing convenience. For each category, I've curated a selection of 9 to 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.

Provent Pels

I really appreciate that Second Edition wall dilemmas have multiple routes to solving them, in order to make lockouts harder to achieve. This... this card may have too many options.

Data, Founder Adanter

Yes, AI, stopping the personnel would effectively prevent him from facing the dilemma. Good work, I guess.

Resco

Oh, you wanted a Thief personnel? Why don't you go and pull one out of your deck, shuffle the deck, and place that personnel where you'll never see him again. Seems spiteful.

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.

Phunale Places

I really like the idea of a skill-based filter that then checks to see if you have too much of a specific skill. Seems like a gentler way to do what An Issue of Trust and Personal Duty have been brutally doing for years.

Sharital Worve, Readssic Daitor

So many "score 5 points" cards have complicated text that boils down to "you've gotta solve a mission first." It's nice that this card cut out all that unnecessary text and got straight to the point.

Berath

Just a nice non-unique card with an interesting, simple ability. Bonus points to the AI for keeping the "CONN officer skills package" of Astro/Nav/Officer together.

Grossly Overpowered: These cards are way, way over the power curve. PDF Link.

Destinical Pretertion

I mean, that's way too many points, but that gametext is just bonkers. I do have to give the AI credit though, it has nailed Matt Kirk's naming style.

Acearing, Envilerons

Not only is that not an appropriate counter cost, but that ability cost is... it just isn't a cost. At least it is only once per turn. At least.

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

Progical Ching

Don't give up now! We need to get a QR code on this card so we can scan it to make the text repeat infinitely!

Batual

How... how do I win if my missions are in my opponent's brig? How do I even play? I don't think I should use this card.

Ever.

Temporal Destinged

That cost seems a bit too steep. I don't think destroying one core event is worth my life. Maybe two events, but not one.

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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