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The Evolution of a Virtual Card (Part One)
by Duane Bruun

Author?s Note: Some of the virtual text listed or hinted at in this article may change over the course of the playtesting process. As such the final release of the Virtual Set #5 cards may differ from the information represented in this article.

It came to me one day in a dream...a fantasy really. I was sitting thinking about what I could write about concerning everyone?s favorite game: SWCCG. The fourth virtual set had been out for a little while and it was changing the tournament scene. It made me sit back and think, ?What do we really know about the guys making these cards? How is this arduous process done and what do we, the public, never get to see??

I decided to find out.

I contacted Doug Taylor with a simple request: Open up the playtester vault and give players a look at what happens during the creation, and shakedown, of a virtual set. I knew this would be a huge request and due to the complexity of the issue, I was fully expecting a refusal. Not trying to say Doug?s a bad guy or anything, but everyone knows the fervor that abounds when a V card is spoiled and the feeding frenzy starts. Adding one more person to the mix can be disastrous at times.

Since I was asking for the moon, I decided it couldn?t hurt to ask for a few stars too. In my initial request I even sent him a card idea for consideration. I felt it would be interesting to throw a card in and see how it was torn to shreds. I even looked at several different cards for use with the idea. I had long thought that a Squadron Assignments type card for the LS would be interesting and we got it in the release of the matching pilot card for combat vehicles Maneuvering Flaps (V). Speeders got a good boost and the Rebels were zipping around.

If the LS received a boost for ground, why not go the other route for DS: Matching pilots for Star Destroyers? I sent Doug this basic idea:

"Deploy on table. Once per deploy phase, if you have a named Star Destroyer (or use the wording "unique Star Destroyer") at a system you may(either:"take into hand" or "deploy from reserve deck", possibly deploy -2 or deploys for free if ability less than three/four??)a character with that ship's name in its lore or game text to that Star Destroyer. Immune to alter."

Okay, maybe it?s ?basic? in a convoluted/train-wreck kind of way, but you get the idea. I thought it would make a great card idea for Flagship, Field Promotion or I Want That Ship. Doug liked the idea and admitted that he had considered making a matching pilot effect for DS before. He was welcome to the idea of me being the proverbial ?fly on the wall? during the testing period. He tightened up the language for the effect and even decided on a card for use. He had considered using one of my suggested cards, but felt with this type of effect, it might be more beneficial to use a more common card, as then more players will have access to the original for use. Thus Alert My Star Destroyer! (V) was born:

Alert My Star Destroyer! (V)
Deploy on table. During your deploy phase, you may reveal one capital starship from hand to /\ its matching pilot character (or vice versa) and then deploy both. (Immune to Alter.)

Now the fun part begins. Doug and Eric Olson initially create about 25 cards and then send them to each other. After reviewing each other?s work, they shore up any oddities and then submit the cards to the playtesters to go over. Oddly enough, Doug and Eric do not consult with each other about which specific cards they each are virtualizing. Might seem odd, especially considering that they may end up virtualizing many of the same cards, but in the initial batch there was only one card in common Starship Levitation. Since Eric had a theme running with the Jedi Levitation card as well, his idea won out.

Some cards never made it to the playtesters. Lost Relay and Millennium Falcon were cut from the initial list. Many cards were tweaked as well. Corporal Derdram would have text added dealing with Spies and Jar Jar. Due to this addition, the last line of his text would be added to Corporal Vandolay to help flesh out his text box (and no, it does not have anything to do with Latex salesmen). Desilijic Tattoo had additional text added to help out those greedy Bounty Hunters even more.

Encampment received a boost by adding some free character deployment, while Shoo Shoo was souped up with a little rat poison. Reegesk better keep his hands in his own pockets from now on. One other last change dealt with Yoda?s Hope. I know, I know. Yoda?s Hope is not listed on any of the spoiler lists. That?s because the text that was originally intended for this card was transferred to our favorite little Muppet. Yes, Yoda will get the virtual treatment and provide one additional wrinkle to new Jedi Testing decks.

After these minor adjustments were made, the cards were sent to all of the playtesters for the once over. Initial language corrections were made and first impressions were voiced. Many people liked the way Jedi Testing was boosted, but had concerns of the great speed that it could obtain. Others had concerns about the ?Magic Bullets? that had been created for some of the more dominating deck types on the circuit right now. Would DS Senate and Watto survive? Were smugglers going down for the count?

And how would my idea fare with the playtest process?

Hate to disappoint you all, but it came out fine. No real issues or changes to the DS matching Star Destroyer card. So was this all for naught? No, I still got plenty of dirt to spread. Stay tuned for my follow up article where we will discuss the breaking of cards and determine whether it is a good thing to make your opponent ?Stop Frikken? Cheating?.

Previous Articles:
Interview with Doug Taylor (PC Advocate - Virtual Card Designer)
Interview with Eric Olson (PC Advocate - Virtual Card Designer)
Interview with Andrew Howard (PC Advocate - Tournaments)

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