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Suicide Is Painless

by Sean O'Reilly, Staff Writer

19th December 2019

The year was 1977.

The eighth most popular television show in the United States, M*A*S*H, added a new regular character. David Ogden Stiers joined the sitcom during its sixth season, playing the arrogant surgeon Major Charles Emerson Winchester III.

Star Wars also debuted in theaters in 1977.

The George Lucas-film made Paramount rethink its decision to relaunch Star Trek as Phase II on television. Star Trek: The Motion Picture arrived in theaters two years later to less-than-critical acclaim.

Stiers can thank Lucas for his first role in film or television. He voiced the announcer in THX 1138.

After M*A*S*H ended in 1983, Stiers would go on guest star on a number of television shows, including Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, Wings and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Next Generation producers asked Stiers if he was interested in appearing in the show. As a fan of the series, he happily agreed. Stiers portrayed the character Timicin in “Half a Life.” The episode deals with suicide, a topic not often talked about on television during that era.

You might think it’s ironic a M*A*S*H actor ends up in a story about suicide when the 70s sitcom’s theme song is titled ‘Suicide is Painless.’

In “Half a Life,” Timicin nearly leaves with Lwaxana Troi before agreeing to follow tradition and end his life at age 60 through The Resolution, a painless procedure. The first time we see Timicin on cardboard came in 1996’s Q-Continuum. Decipher’s designers decided follow the episode’s storyline by including a restriction box.

While it made “trek-sense” that Timicin could only be used before you reach 60 points, the limitation caused the card to become binder fonder. The moment you get to the 60-point barrier, it is no longer worth playing Timicin as he will automatically go to the discard pile.

To this day, the only decks Timicin really appears in are ones that include Test Mission to get the 10 bonus points he provides.

Fast forward twenty-three years to the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation Customizable Card Game (the game’s name was quite a mouthful back then).
In celebration, The Continuing Committing is releasing twenty-five First Edition cards reimagined as a Second Edition card.

The designers felt Timicin is the perfect card to bring into the 21st century.

This time the plan was to make sure a reimagined 1996 restriction box would not prevent players from putting him into their 2E decks in 2020. In other words, we want to make Timicin’s suicide as painless as possible for Second Edition players.

It took quite a bit of tweaking to get the new version to the point where he’s useful but still respects The Resolution.

The first thing you should notice about the 2E Timicin is his skills and attributes and cost. He now has five different skills including 2 Astrometrics for just 2 cost. Throw in his Cunning of 7, and Timicin turns into a dilemma busting mission solver.

Speaking of solving missions, the second thing you will notice is he can be played throughout the game, even if you have more than 60 points.

His 2E ability only comes into play later in the game and only during missions attempts. He now commits suicide (removal from the game) when a mission attempt he is involved in ends, and you have 65 or more points.

Complete two 30-point missions first, and Timicin will be around to help you solve that last 40-point mission for the win.

The other thing to remember about Timicin’s ability is “turned off” once he is stopped. It may be worthwhile to choose him to be stopped by a dilemma whenever possible so you won’t have to remove him from the game once the mission attempt ends.

The Continuing Committee production team also got into the spirit of First Edition when making Timicin for Inheritance.

The first few 1E expansions Decipher created usually included several “Easter Eggs” like the ZIP Code on Red Alert, the copyright on Paul Rice or the reflection on Data’s Medals.

You will want to look closely at the 2E Timicin. You might spot something fun that harkens back to the 1970s.

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