Errata Marches Onward
Posted March 4th 2019 by Rahvin
The following article has been cross-posted from the Continuing Committee.

As always, the Errata Team has been working behind the scenes for you, reforming and retrieving cards in need.

The first change that we have for you this month is not technically errata, but what we’ve been calling amnesty.  The Errata Team has been looking at the classic card Black Hole, and we think the game is ready to try its original text again.  It was a dangerous card in the Decipher era, the focus of various NPE decks.  Its power in that era led to more than one specific counter card, including Writ of Accountability; its inclusion on that Referee card later led to Black Hole’s inclusion on the original OTF ban list.  The difference now is that, as has often been noted, a typical game has many fewer turns than was the case in the Decipher era.  Even if an enterprising (or lucky) player manages to play Black Hole on their first turn, it will “pull in” the first  Space mission at the end of his 3rd turn, the other at the end of his 5th turn, and won’t get to a “real” mission until the end of his 7th turn.  That's late enough in many modern games that the game is at least nearing its end, and players' resources are generally in play. The effect remains powerful, but we think this is mitigated by the delay.  We are going to remain watchful of Black Hole as it returns to the play environment.

Balancing Act was originally designed as a metagame card, for the same purpose as The Big Picture.  Having an extreme imbalance in the missions you bring to the game – with all-planet or all-space being the extreme scenario – can be quite an advantage, since it means that an opponent who prepared to face a more balanced mission pool will see most of their dilemmas go to waste.  Inventive players, of course, devised an offensive use for it: using cards like Supernova or Black Hole to create an unbalanced spaceline where one was not intended, and then triggering Balancing Act for a 50-point loss for their opponent.  More recently, Design has returned to this idea of changing the space/planet ratio after play has begun, with cards like Buried Alive and Unstable Matrix.  In order that cards like these cannot trigger an offensive use of Balancing Act, we have adjusted its wording so that it counts what your missions looked like when they were seeded (which you likely paid attention to during dilemma seeding), and not any changes that may have happened later.  You might think of it as a timing behavior similar to Lack of Preparation, which can only punish you based on what you brought to the mission attempt, not stops and filters that happened afterward.

The Errata Team has been watching complaints about Temporal Benefactor, from both playtesters (working on Cold Front and on the upcoming  set) and players.  It has been a powerful card for the affiliations, with some of the complaints about it being overpowered due to its personnel downloads, gaining of skills but only when convenient, and an effectively free download of a card that flat-out nullifies a significant subset of dilemmas.  I’ve even seen it splashed into other decks, easily fueled by a single seed card.  Today’s errata adjusts several of the card's details by a small amount, bringing it back to a familiar power level while still retaining a lot of the story as well as gameplay that Design meant for it to have.  The card that gets put beneath the deck to fuel the downloads must now be a personnel, decreasing the ability to splash this helper card into non-  decks.  Its downloads now go only to hand, whether they are interrupts or personnel.  The download of Timepod Ring is no longer “free” (by which I mean that you were able to download either a temporal-agent-related card, or that card AND Timepod Ring), but occupies your download slot just like any (other) temporal-agent-related card.  That term, incidentally, is going away with this change, as one of the alterations we’re making for clarification purposes.  The cards you can download are those with “temporal agent” printed in the gametext or lore – which is what the term meant – but now it will hopefully be more clear that this doesn’t include personnel who have gained the status of “temporal agent” from the earlier function of Temporal Benefactor.

In preparation for the upcoming set, Design was looking at existing  cards, and noticed that the lore on Vina did not properly “name in lore” Christopher Pike.  Because she was made before the modern “named in lore” rule, it was not a problem that her lore used his rank (interestingly, much like Premiere cards do).  With a modern lens, her lore was now problematic for proper interaction with Christopher Pike under cards like Dramatis Personae.  So we are issuing errata for Vina, changing only her lore.  But we’ve taken the opportunity to make a bigger change than just her mention of Pike’s rank.  Another rule that was codified after her initial release in Shades of Gray was the modern species rule … and Vina's lore was not clear enough in saying what species she was, necessitating that she be specifically mentioned within the rule so that there would be a clear answer for this gameplay-relevant characteristic.  So we have also changed her lore to clearly state her species, in order that the Glossary can eliminate the need to specifically mention her species.  The species it now states, though?  That’s changed too. The lore in the Shades of Gray release was an attempt by Design/Creative (of 2011) to have her be Orion (to match the Second Edition card of which this was a conversion) as well as human (because that’s what was actually true in the episode).  We are changing this to only say she is human.  She remains a slave girl, but a human one.

While working to get Scanner Interference off of the ban list, we noticed that Panel Overload was still putting Scan hate into the OTF pool. Scan received errata two years ago to add its own costs, and this  card continuing to punish its use is just piling on. So Panel Overload now loses its text related to Scans. (And work continues on Scanner Interference.)

 

As always, thanks go to the Playtesters, the Rules Team, and Art.  I also want to thank Creative this time, for their help with Vina.

 

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