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March Madness 2021: Choose a New Card

by Charlie Plaine, Director of First Edition

3rd March 2021

Ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary friends... let's get ready to rumble! It's time for March Madness 2021. In this friendly game, we vote on matches each week, eliminating options until we have a single winner. The game is named for the NCAA Collect Basketball tournament every year, from which we also stole the bracket structure. This is the third year we've done this. In 2019, we voted on the sixty-four (64) most popular cards, where the original Q's Tent emerged victorious over Alternate Universe Door. Last year, it was a brawl between the most popular personnel cards, with Dr. McCoy winning over Seven of Nine in the final.

But now it's 2021, and we're doing something a little different. This year you aren't voting on a winning card. You're voting on the winning story to turn into a card! That's right, in March Madness 2021, you'll be weeding sixty-four (64) potential personnel, ships, dilemmas, missions, and more down to a single champion. And that champion will enter design and become a real live First Edition card! I hope you're excited, because I'm excited!

How Does This Work?
The game will run for six (6) weeks, so in spite of the name, it will actually be finished in April. Each week, one or more polls go up in which you'll be invited to vote on winning card ideas. For example, in Week 1, there will be four (4) polls, each with eight (8) matches. You can vote in any of the brackets you like. All of the voting is done via Google Forms, and all you need to participate is an email address. You might be asking why you need an email address. Well, that's because we're offering prizes! Each time you vote - up to ten (10) possible times - you'll be entered into a drawing for a First Edition borderless promo. These are amazing cards with art by Lucas Thompson (edgeofhearing) and our fabulous Art Team, and we'll be giving out three (3) of them at the end of this game. Each bracket in which you vote is an entry - so vote often to maximize your chances to win!

The sixty-four (64) cards have been divided into four (4) brackets, each one drawn from a single source series. You'll be voting on cards from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. I only had four brackets, so I chose to exclude The Original Series and the Movies, because they just had a ton of new cards and are about to have a ton of new cards, respectively. This means the final four card ideas will be a series showdown! Within each series, we chose sixteen (16) cards. Twelve (12) of the cards come from three (3) different underrepresented episodes. That's an episode of the show that has almost no cards in the game from it, or where there is a lot more potential than we have. For each episode picked, there are multiple card ideas in the bracket. The other four (4) cards are random single card ideas from various other episodes. You can see all of the cards, with links to appropriate Memory Alpha articles, in the March Madness discussion thread.

The brackets were seeded by Iron Prime. I asked him for some insight into his choices, which he kindly provided:

On a basic level, "seeding" just means ranking the contenders before a tournament begins. This way the weakest players are knocked out early and the strongest ones don't face off until later in the competition. This provides structure to the tournament, laying the groundwork for both expected victories and stunning upsets - it ensures that the competition stays interesting. A proper bracket will have thought about which competitors should be forced to meet, and be designed with those hopes in mind.

We've learned from previous Will of The Collective and 1E March Madness that people gravitate towards nouns, especially personnel. As such today we have tried to spread out the personnel seeding to make sure that they meat later in the competition. This should force them to start knocking each other off midway or later through the voting and prove to be more interesting. A major goal here is to create some tough choices and generate some good discussion.

A few curveballs and longshots have been thrown in for good measure as well. Who knows! Maybe Portable Piano will run away with it all like GameStop stock... There are a few good marquee matches for each franchise. Will the Beta Renner Cloud take over Jason Vigo's mind? Can Melanie fend of Lt. Chandler if the ends justify the means? Will Freya mistake Admiral Strickler for Scyld and slay him? And will that poor, bored, Survey Ship ever find Archer's prized water polo ball (and is this where we queue up a Wilson meme)?

Okay, with all of that explanation out of the way, it's time to vote:

Vote in The Next Generation Bracket

Vote in Deep Space Nine Bracket

Vote in Voyager Bracket

Vote in Enterprise Bracket

Good luck and have fun! Voting will be open until NOON Pacific on Monday, March 8th.


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