Greetings Star Wars Players!
It is my great honor to be here today writing my first Design Blog as the newly appointed Design Advocate. Words cannot describe how humbled I am at this opportunity. Like every one of you who became obsessed with this incredible card game from the first time you opened a pack, I have always wanted to design my own cards. I started designing cards when I was just about 13 or 14, probably around the time that Reflections II came out. Those are lost in a notebook somewhere, probably in the attic at my parents’ house.
Apart from a short hiatus I took while in college, this game has been possibly the only constant in my life since I started playing it. I can never get enough of it. Eventually I started volunteering for the Players Committee as a Playtester (which is the perfect place to start if you have always considered volunteering but haven’t take the leap yet — it’s the most important aspect of the Design & Development (D&D) process, and the one team that literally cannot have too many people). From there, I placed second in the 10th Anniversary Design Contest, which was good enough to get me noticed by the Design team and Advocates, and I started designing cards shortly after. I have learned a lot from my colleagues on D&D, and now have the ultimate privilege of having ascended to the position of Design Advocate.
As Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah understand, it’s a tall order to replace the irreplaceable. Shewski set the bar high for Design Advocate, and if I can come remotely close to achieving what he did during his time, the game will remain in an incredible place for years to come. I’m ready and energized to do everything I can to make sure Shewski would be proud of me.
I have plenty of fresh ideas to pick up right where Shewski left off, but the process and personnel are largely the same. Our full time design team (http://www.starwarsccg.org/wp/interns-no-more/) is hard at work on future sets, and we are keeping the door open for adding more interns in the future. Most of the Development roster is the same, but with the addition of Jonny Chu to the ranks, our development team now has 6 World Championships among them (the full roster is Jonny, Justin Desai, Emil Wallin, Matt Harrison-Trainor, and Tom Kelly). This group’s knowledge of the game, its history, and its balance is unmatched in any Development team before, and we’re lucky to have such passionate volunteers.
As for new ideas, I am prioritizing designs based on material from the Star Wars universe that is not currently in our game. As you all know, we have a sizable gap in Episodes II, III, and VII material. I hope to eventually fill those gaps, as well as add in flavor from new movies and the Rebels and Clone Wars TV shows. I am also focusing on streamlining our internal processes, which will result in a better product for the players. Finally, I’ll be working closely with Chris Menzel, the new Marketing Advocate, on ways to engage the playing community and keep lively discussions going among the player base.
I know you all came here for an update on the next set, so I will not disappoint you. Set 5 is primarily a player card set, with some Design-based Episode VII cards sprinkled in, and possibly a few cards to address metagame issues. All in all, I do not expect it to shake up the meta drastically. There will be no new themes, but we might see the return of an old friend for the Dark Side. It will mostly be new characters and starships, and other exciting things that the player creators have come up with. It’s too soon to say exactly what will and will not make the cut with regards to spoilers, but we do expect it to be released around Thanksgiving, which will give ample time for everybody’s preparations for the MPC.
Going forward, I would not expect more than 2 sets per year. We will do our best to keep up with all of the new, exciting material that comes out from Lucasfilm, but our priority is on maintaining a balanced, fun, and thematic game, and to continue to grow the game through diligence in the D&D process.
That’s all I have today, but there is so much more that I am excited to share in due time. I have to go dig through my parents’ attic now and see if I can find that notebook.
May The Force Be With You,
Matt “quickdraw3457” Carulli