Captain's Blog: The Next Generation
Posted August 31st 2019 by dragoncymru1
"And you're all astronauts - on some kind of... star trek?" – Zefram Cochrane, 'First Contact'

Yes, I’m back going where I have gone several times before – creating a solo version of the Decipher Star Trek: Customizable Card Game (first edition) from 1994.

I must have been a necromancer in a past life as I love breathing life into old games. And this one is a particular favourite of mine that I have a huge love and nostalgia for - it got me into the CCG hobby in the 1990s and indeed Star Trek as a franchise – particularly TNG which remains my favourite of all the Trek series to this day. It has also cost me a lot of money! But I’ll put that aside right now as it has also given me countless hours of gaming and watching pleasure.

I found an old DWSSG Blog post of mine on BGG dated Nov 2012:

“I've been scratching that Star Trek itch and watching (nearly) all of Season 1 of The Next Generation - by far my favourite incarnation of Star Trek. This is due mainly to the STCCG I collected, gosh, almost 20 years ago in the mid 90's.

I really loved the 1E, and it was ground-breaking at the time. I must have spent a fortune collecting those cards! I dug them all out again and have been playing a solitaire version and tweaking some cards and rules as I watch the episodes. Quite a rewarding play experience actually - by doing it this way as your deck changes as you watch the episodes.

It's been great fun and quite rewarding watching the episodes in order as you see all the 'firsts' as they happen. I'm onto 'Heart of Glory' now, which is the first introduction to Klingons. No-one is going to argue that season 1 of TNG is the best ever season though and the show was still struggling to find the right direction. But I think its heart was in the right place - even though its brain had sometimes reported to Starbase 74 instead...”

Well, that was nearly 7 years ago (when my son was 7 – he’s soon to be 15) and to quote the opening line of 'Enterprise' - ‘It’s been a long road, getting from there to here’

A year ago exactly, I embarked on creating a major solo version for the CCG. I’m quite proud of the 2018 version (which can still be found in the Files section of the STCCG page on BGG) and it did create some great sessions for me which felt like real episodes how they played out. As I watched the seasons of TNG I think I did a great job of making cards to recreate the episodes.

Unfortunately, I think I made a real error in the way the version panned out. It was great for me, but the sheer amount of dream cards and rule tweaks would have made it very, very difficult for other players to pick up the game. Reviewing my card database and rules set from last year when I got to thinking about revisiting it was a real eye-opener, and it was clear that I needed to re-think my approach. So I went back to the drawing board and played a few basic games on the table using my go-to ‘baby steps’ cards – the Premiere set and Introductory 2 Player game from Decipher in 1996. With a few pimps to the game like investing in a beautiful poster of a galactic nebula to use as a playmat, and using Star Trek Ascendancy dice as point markers I’ve had a blast! I’ve since played a fair few games and think I know the way to proceed.

Certainly my approach will have the firm rule of ‘change as less as possible from the existing card text and NO Dream cards (unless absolutely necessary...)’ and players must be able to play ANY Affiliation.

I'm also still doing a re-watch of TNG (I’ve now almost completed Season 5) plus occasionally some other Trek episodes too, and Tweet my episode reviews on Twitter- so if you're interested in what I think about Season 6, Follow me - @DWSSG01 (I even get replies from Trek cast-members on occasions...)

Next week I’ll detail some of the main rules of the new solo version such as setting up the game, the way to win (or lose), my starting cards and decks, and finally some of the small rule tweaks to make the game playable in a solo environment.

“Make it so...”