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You've Put Bajor On the Map

by Daniel Matteson, Director of Communications

25th May 2018

Far Beyond the Stars has always been an expansion designed to celebrate some of the great moments of Deep Space Nine since it first premiered twenty-five years ago. We've seen cards that looked back on the horrors of the Dominion War and the Cardassian resistance to it. Backing up a bit, we've seen the increase of Klingon hostilities in season 4. And even before that, the partnership of the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar intelligence networks in season 3.

Today, on the day of the full set release, and with the final two cards being revealed, we go all the way back to the beginning, to the premiere episode of Deep Space Nine, "Emissary."

Some players like to see big names, or "star power," appear on new cards, and I think this set has already given plenty of star power. However, the personnel I'm about to spoil was not a big name on Deep Space Nine. He was only in the first episode for a couple of scenes, and never appeared in the series again after that episode.

I'm talking about this guy.

 

Jean-Luc Picard

 

I've waited a long time to see a [DS9] iteration of Jean-Luc Picard, and now we have him. Let's take a closer look! With stats of 8-6-6 and boasting six skills (including double Diplomacy), this guy is (as he should be) a beast at only three cost. His various skills, in line with many of his [TNG] versions, will help with a wide variety of missions and dilemmas. (I'll leave the specifics to the experts; that's not really my strength.) All six skills have previously appeared on JLP incarnations, though Diplomacy, Honor, and Officer are distinctly more common than Anthropology, Archaeology, and Law.

The one drawback is that you need three [Baj] personnel in play to be able to play this Picard. Depending on the deck you want to run, this might not be much of a drawback. The original intention for the DS9 Mouth of the Wormhole player (like the concept of the show) was a joint Bajoran/Federation deck. These days you can take the deck a number of different ways, but even the decks that try to run as many different affiliations as possible, or even as many species as possible, still end up running a decent number of [Baj] cards.

Is Picard not enough of a carrot to get you to play more Bajorans? Can I interest you in a matching ship?

 

U.S.S. Enterprise-D

 

The Federation flagship makes its [DS9] debut while bringing over an iconic theme from the [TNG] faction, that of a shared advantage. If you have three [Baj] personnel in play when you play this ship, both players get to place a personnel in hand into play for free, but yours has to be [Fed] [DS9]. Unlike in [TNG] decks, there aren't any crazy six-cost Datas to drop into play, but there are, of course, several great 4-cost options that already go into plenty of DS9 decks.

I had the opportunity to speak to designer Michael Shea (thanks, Michael!) about the genesis of the new Jean-Luc Picard, and here's what he had to say:

"As has been mentioned, the original pitch was for an 18-card set of nine matched commanders and ships. We wanted to cover each season, and as many affiliations or factions as we could, in order to spread the love. So, when it came to Season 1, we didn't want to design a Runabout. Once we ruled that out, a DS9 JLP/Enterprise combo became an obvious choice. That pair also provided the kind of star power we were looking for and had the benefit of not having been done before. Plus, it was fun!

The original JLP was something of a four-cost monster that allowed a free personnel play. Playtesters were okay with it, but it felt too good for the limited amount of screen time JLP has in Emissary. Plus, with DS9 Rainbow being the dominant build, we were afraid we'd just designed cool binder fodder. 

So, we dropped the cost down to two, changed the ability to what you see now, and purposely left off Honor, Leadership, or Officer so as to allow for him skating by Personal Duty or An Issue of Trust. The Enterprise originally was a point scorer like other personae of that ship, but it too felt out of place for the story. So, the ship got the free-play ability we took of Picard and the pair started to come together.

Playtesters responded well enough to the pair, but after they made the final cut, there was still some concern that we'd be opening up another Declan Keogh, Veteran Captain-sized can of worms with a JLP with no Honor, Leadership, or Officer. So, we opted for listening to the feedback and advice of playtesters and fellow designers by adding back Honor and Officer and upping the cost to three, thinking that this would be more in keeping with JLP precedent and yet still be attractive in the present DS9 environment at that cost." 

Far Beyond the Stars is available today for immediate download and will be legal one week from today, on June 1st. This set would not have been possible without all of our stellar volunteers, including our Design, Playtesting, Rules, Creative, Proofreading, Art, and Writing teams. Thanks so much to them, and I hope you enjoy this new addition to the Second Edition collection.

 


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