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Project Status Update - January 2020

by Charlie Plaine, Director of First Edition

1st January 2020

Happy New Year, my First Edition friends! I hope that your holidays, whichever one you celebrate, have been great. I'm currently staying with Chris Lobban (Maelwys) and his family, and his parents are visiting this week from Canada. We're planning to spend our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day playing games and enjoying good food. I hope whatever you're doing is equally rewarding.

For today, since it's a new year and a new decade, I thought I'd try something a little different. Instead of posting my regular column (which will return next week), I'm going to give you a Project Status Update. Historically, I have posted updates on the forums about our current projects, their statuses, and how they are coming along. The goal is to be open and honest with all of you about what we're working on, where the projects are in the pipeline, and what obstacles we're facing. My last update was in August, and since then, we've fallen behind. I thought I'd post today's update as an article and see if it draws more attention.

So, that will be all the content you'll get today. But hopefully, you'll enjoy this update and it will give you a better idea of what to expect and when to expect it. I'm happy to answer questions in the original Project Update thread, this article thread, or anywhere else you choose to ask them. Enjoy the rest of your New Year's Day, and I hope 2020 is bright and glorious.

With all that said, here are the current projects we have in development and where they stand.

Current Projects

Project Na'Toth a.k.a. [REDACTED]
STATUS: PRODUCTION
(Project Na'Toth is a spin-off of The Neutral Zone, with a fun and focused theme.)

While The Neutral Zone was in development, it became clear it was overstuffed. That's not uncommon for expansions in development, and it usually results in painful cuts. In this case, it led to an opportunity to give you some bonus content and we split Project Na'Toth off from Project G'Kar.

I'm happy to report that, minus a few last minute details and confirmations, this expansion is done. It even has a name, though I'm not ready to tell it to you yet. But you'll be finding out about it very soon. Barring a last minute disaster, you'll see these eighteen (18) cards in January 2020.

But if you just can't wait, and you'd like a hint (and a spoiler), click here.
Please note this card is not yet final, and may change before release.

The Neutral Zone a.k.a. Project G'Kar
STATUS: DESIGN
(Project G'Kar is the second expansion of Block #5, the Original Series block, and focuses on [OS] [Rom] cards and the Neutral Zone Region.)

The Neutral Zone brings some really neat tricks to the game, and develops the themes of the block. While quite a bit of the expansion focuses on [OS] [Rom], there will be tricks in this expansion for all of the non- [Fed] [OS] factions. And if you're not an [OS] fan, you'll still find some goodies in The Neutral Zone, including a new dilemma-themed trope card.

The expansion is nearing the end of development, with most of the Creative and Rules work finished. There are still a few tricky cards that need to be finished up, but I'm confident the designers testers will get the finishing touches on those this month. I'm anticipating releasing The Neutral Zone before the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Of course, this begs the question of why these two expansions fell so far behind. When I last wrote an update, I'd planned on both being out before the end of 2019. That didn't happen, and let me tell you why: it took a lot more time to get some of the cards in Project Na'Toth and Project G'Kar right than we'd hoped. All of our volunteers do hard and amazing work, but we gave them a lot to work on. Fall can be very busy for our testers, our rules team, and more as well; as volunteer jobs, these tasks often get lower priority as we get busier in our lives.

I'm not putting blame on anyone here, except for myself. We weren't able to use our resources as efficiently as I'd hoped. All of this means we simply fell behind and weren't able to advance on the timeline I'd hoped. I have been able to use this experience to refine my planning timetables, so I can make better, more realistic estimates in the future.

On the bright side, this has meant that extra time and attention has been paid to all of the cards in both projects. You'll be seeing the benefits of the delays in both Project Na'Toth and The Neutral Zone soon.

Project Londo
STATUS: DESIGN
(Project Londo is the third and final expansion of Block #5, the Original Series block, and focuses on [OS] [Kli] cards.)

James Monsebroten (Orbin) and his team (Matthew Zinno [commdecker], Michael Moskop [comicbookhero] and Daniel Matteson [OKCoyote]) have come up with an awesome theme for the [OS] [Kli] cards. I think their work will very much capture the feel of Klingons, and the Klingon-Federation conflict from Star Trek, and I'm looking forward to seeing the cards hit testing. That should be happening this month, as soon as The Neutral Zone is finalized, with an aim for a release in the Summer of 2020.

Project Keiko
STATUS: PRODUCTION
(Project Keiko is a scripted learn-to-play experience for new players.)

We're finishing up the scripts for the decks, and will begin producing the graphics and documents to go along with them. We plan to have these done in time for the summer competition and convention season.

Project Storm
STATUS: PRE-DESIGN
(Project Storm is a stand alone expansion based on the end of the Dominon War.)

Two things have become clear from talking to staff and members of our community: you'd like to see more non-block expansions, and you're hungry for more Deep Space 9 content. Fortunately, [b]Project Storm[/b] is designed to meet both of these goals. Led by former Brand Manager Cristoffer Wiker (Smiley), Project Storm will be working from the final ten-episode arc of DS9. We'll be building this expansion in a new way, trying to shake up how we design expansions. It will be a test to see if we can do similar shake ups on future projects.

Our current plan is for this expansion to enter testing after Project Londo, with an estimated release of late 2020. It will be releasing between the Original Series block and the start of the subsequent block.

Unscheduled Future Projects

Project Argentum
STATUS: PRE-DESIGN
(Project Argentum was once planned to be an expansion celebrating the 25th anniversary, but is being repurposed.

When we originally announced this project, the plan was for it to release in November 2019 in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of First Edition. The expansion was going to feature cards named after episodes, but this theme fell flat. The testers weren't excited about the cards, and given the tight timeline we had to develop it, we made the decision to cancel the project.

However, we came up with some really cool concepts that we don't want to give up on. Our plan right now is to repurpose the cards we liked, develop them (and their themes) further. The project isn't on the schedule at this time, but it's not dead. It's just going to find new life.

ANNOUNCING: Project Viking
STATUS: PRE-DESIGN
(Project Viking is a boutique style expansion "booster shot" for the Vidiian affiliation.)

I have one new project to announce today: Project Viking. This expansion will be boutique style, so smaller, and will be using a new model we're calling the "booster shot." The idea is that all of the cards will be designed to give an affiliation - Vidiian, in our case - a much needed infusion of new cards. If there are themes that could use support, they might appear here. If the chosen faction needs thematic development, it will appear here.

We're also going to try another new design and development methodology on this expansion. This is a different new technique aside from what Project Storm will be doing. The goal in trying new techniques in smaller settings is to give us data on what works and what doesn't, with the ultimate goal of refining and streamlining processes on all expansions.

It's too early for me to share more, but I will be explaining the differences we're using for these projects as they get closer.

Project En Garde
STATUS: DESIGN
(Project En Garde aims to provide a pair of balanced decks design to give great games against each other, and fit into modern tournament play.

This project is still on hold, as basically the entire design team is shared between this project and The Neutral Zone. Once that project wraps up, I'm going to get them back to work on this project.

That's all for now. I hope this information helps you understand where we are, and how we're constantly striving to improve. For any projects previously announced but not updated here, nothing has changed.

Please stay tuned for more news and updates, including information about our search for a new First Edition Rules Manager, the results of last year's survey, and plans for the next few years of First Edition. Thank you for reading.


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