Answers from the special Q&A session with Warren Holland

[President, Decipher, Inc.]

as held on Nov 27, 1996 on the Decipher BBS

Will DS9 and Voyager be separate expansions and when will they come out? [Tom McCarty]
I'm not sure yet. Other than First Contact, I expect 1997 will be a TNG year. Remember, although we have been working on the details of this agreement with Paramount for about six months, the contract was just signed on Thursday (November 22nd).

We are thinking that DS9 and Voyager will be a series of separate expansions but we really need to give this some more thought. One thing we do know is that all the cards will work together in the same overall game. This is sooooooooo cool.

Will Decipher seek to also gain rights to characters, situations, etc. from Star Trek: Generations? [Dave Hines]
Not at present. Our movie license begins with First Contact.

How was the fan base instrumental in this process, if at all? [Mark Tuttle]
Actually, quite a bit. Paramount specifically mentioned in our negotiations that they read those letters and it helped them realize how important the game was to many people. There were also some recent attempts by fans on the internet to form groups aimed at pressuring Paramount to extend the license with Decipher. This enthusiasm for the game added to the mix, but the negotiations with Paramount have been going on secretly for a long time.

Have the shipping dates for Holodeck Adventures and All Good Things been changed? [Allen Gould]
Yes. I expect First Contact will effect this. Holodeck Adventures will ship in 1997, but we are putting together a new timeline covering all the new properties. We will have plenty of stuff coming next year, but our original intention to make All Good Things in 1997 to "end the game" has obviously changed. Perhaps you will see All Good Things in a few years time. ;-)

Will the new DS9, Voyager, First Contact, and other new sets be playable with the Next Generation sets already out? [Mike Jensen]
Yes. ;-)

What is the strategy to get new players into the game at such a late stage of the product cycle, as AU and original set are becoming harder to obtain? [Stuart Ball]
Welllllll.... this is all new, but we have a number of products planned to help entry into the game.

Will the new expansion sets be released every 4 months like Star Wars? If not, how often? [Andrew Giuliano]
We have so many choices at the moment. We don't want to overwhelm the marketplace with cards, but you won't have to wait so long for expansions in the future. ;-) We plan to keep the product constantly fresh and changing.

We have already designed a big portion of Holodeck Adventures and All Good Things. We also have a product called, "The Fajo Collection" which is almost completely finished. Most of our past delays were caused by the uncertainties in our relationship with Paramount, and those have now been cleared up.

What is Decipher's strategy towards players in the UK? [Stuart Ball]
Our distribution territory is the United States and Canada, but we will be doing exclusive distributor deals in other territories and Decipher will manufacture all of this product, including possible foreign language translations as we are presently doing with Star Wars. We expect to select an exclusive distributor in the U.K. Of course, we will support all of our fans on our web site.

How will you put Voyager in the game since they're in the middle of nowhere? [Ben Day]
I guess we'll have to find a way to get your other ships to the middle of nowhere! ;-) That shouldn't be so hard. ;-)

How can I tell everybody about the chat we're going to have on AOL at 5:00 pm EST tonight? [Jason Winter]
I will do that here. On AOL select keyword "chat" and go the private room STCCG. Jason and Tom will be there.

Why did Decipher wait so long to announce a new contract for STCCG? Wouldn't it been better to get the news out asap, for all the fans of STCCG, who thought the game was coming to an end? [Craig Janssen]
We didn't want to get people's hopes up unnecessarily. We only wanted to do this if we were completely satisfied that Decipher and Paramount would be on the same team. We weren't sure if a deal would ever go through. In the last few weeks, as a deal was in it's final stages, it was often difficult to avoid saying something. ;-)

Will you be able to do character cards of Kirk and the other original members who appeared on DS9? [Steve Perry]
We do not have rights to the Original Series. However, when original series characters and events take place in the shows covered by our license, we can make cards based on them (as we have in the past). Of course, we still have to get actor approvals, so there are no guarantees on this point. ;-)

Will the DS9 expansion be held back until the series is over? [Derek Giromini]
No. We can start making cards at any time.

There are advantages to "getting into a show a bit" before making cards. For example, on Voyager there was a character named Seska who in the first season was a member of the Maquis. In a later episode she turned out to be a Cardassian spy. Hmmmmmmm? Good thing we waited so long to do this deal with Paramount, huh? (grin)

Is the contract set and final or is it a "deal memo" to be sent letter? [Sean W. Coate]
It's signed and delivered. ;-) (And thank you for asking. ;-))

Thanks for "smoking the peace pipe", Warren! [Phil Konigsberg]
Sorry, I'm soooooo high at the moment (no, not on drugs). Is that question? ;-)

How does this news affect the two-player release date, and the distribution method of that set? [Tim Ellington]
We hope to have it out before the end of the year. We are presently working with Paramount on the final approvals for the new packaging. And don't worry... we've packed them with plenty of surprises. You already know Spock is there... but a cantankerous old character will show up as well. Also, our exclusive deal with Brady Publishing for the Data Laughing card is up so you will see Data Laughing in each box. Kinda brings a smile to your face. Wow.

There's more. We are releasing the two-player game in two editions. One in a blue box will feature three new Federation premium cards (just wait and see). The second box is red and will feature three special Klingon premium cards. I must admit, the Klingon cards are unbelievable. Just unbelievable. Characters you have heard of but never seen before. With Paramount's blessing (yes, the cards are approved already), Decipher artist, using state of the art morphing techniques and talent found nowhere else in this universe... the father of Worf. And there is more. It will blow your mind.

Is there any chance of eventually taking over the ST:TOS license? [Joe Giannuzzi]
That would be wonderful, but Skybox has that property under contract. Certainly that is not something that could happen in the foreseeable future. However, as I mentioned in another post, when original series characters and events take place in the shows covered by our license, we can make cards based on them.

Does this new agreement mean that there will be more STTNG:CCG expansion sets after AGT and HA? [Mark Giffin]
Yes. But the order of introductions will change. There are certainly plenty of opportunities for cards. At one point, Decipher had about a thousand TNG cards in development. I have no idea how many we will make. With all this material to choose from we clearly cannot overwhelm the marketplace. I expect we will be doing the best of the best. It's just not clear yet.

Just think you can see cards from the 1999-2000 season of Voyager. Who knows what the future holds. ;-)

Will the new expansions be available in the UK? If so, how long after the US release will they be released here? [Alan Plant]
Once our distribution deals are in place, we expect international releases to happen at the same time as U.S. introductions.

Does this mean that Paramount's business practices have changed considerably, i.e. you have a contract with specific guarantees this time? [David Walker]
Yes. They have with us. Paramount has pledged a new attitude in this regard. Last summer, for example, we enjoyed a very good relationship with them in the approval process on Q-Continuum.

Yes... the new contract is enormously innovative and very complete. It is unusual for Paramount to do an "umbrella" license like this? The fact that they were willing to do this shows the renewed respect they have for this game, and their intentions to support it.

Will there be new persona's characters? Will there be, for example, new Worf from DS9? [Andrew Giuliano]
Possibly... but only if justified by the storyline. Of course, we have already made Alternate Universe versions of main characters, so one can expect more of those if the design team finds them interesting. (At 3 a.m. a lot of things SEEM interesting. ;-))

In Q-Continuum we opened the possibility of doing different "persona" for characters (i.e., Picard as his alter-ego Galen). We created rules to cover that, so this would be another possibility. To have another "real-universe" version of a main character would have gameplay ramifications that would have to be discussed, and certainly we would have to look closely at how collectors would feel about that. One thing is certain, if we do create new main characters, we will do so in a manner that does not make the original versions diminished in value or become obsolete.

Will this mean a possible Borg affiliation, with Locutus and the Queen? [Jason Frderick Roberts]
Yes. Actually, we have been working on a Borg affiliation for some time.

Do you intend to release Collector's Tins for the differents expansions? [Jean-Luc Simard]
I expect we will, but Iím not sure. We expect to release a number of products like uncut sheets. When we introduced the first set in late 1994, we had many plans. When the relationship with Paramount hit tough times, those plans were indefinitely delayed. Now they are all possibile. We shall see. ;-)

What changes or enhancements (if any) have you considered to the overall play of the game? [Heath Scheiman]
The basic structure of the game will stay the same but we will continue to enhance it and modify it to reflect the nature of these new properties. New types of side-decks, new types of cards, many new affiliations... all are possible. The development team is salivating. They already have a ton of cool ideas. Be sure to have your Parallax Arguers ready!

How long have these re-negotiations (with Paramount) been going on? [Brian Luk]
A very long time, but we made great progress at the 30th anniversary convention in Huntsville where we held our 1996 national championship.

Will the set size with each expansion remain at 121 cards or will it expand? [Mark Tuttle]
The current plan is to keep that standard format for full expansions like Holodeck Adventures. However, we have many other ideas in mind. For example, we might choose a format that has fewer overall cards thus insuring that each card in the set packs a punch. First Contact is an example of this. I expect it will be a smaller expansion.

We have a very special expansion set called, "The Fajo Collection" that will introduce a new format. We expect to ship this product in the first half of 1997. We have been working on this for a long time (independent of the new contact with Paramount). In fact, the cards for this set have been designed and almost all of them have already been approved by Paramount.

Since Voyager and DS9 are ongoing series, will you concentrate on First Contact before them? [David Walker]
My intention is to launch an expansion based on this film sometime in early 1997. I expect to push this ahead of other expansions that were previously announced. However, the exact nature of the First Contact expansion and the number of cards it will contain has not decided. Believe me... our designers were sitting at the movie with their notebooks in hand!

Does the recent DS9 episode "Trials and Tribbleations" give you the licensing "right" to create cards based on the TOS characters in that episode? [John Walchle]
Yes... and isn't that going to be great! What a fantastic episode. You can be sure our designers already have their eyes on it.

How will Decipher distribute the information of STTNG: CCG's survival? [Richard Suchenski]
Every way we can! You want to help us out? ;-)

Could you tell us something really cool before you leave? [Jer Commandeur]
You brought a stack of Parallax Arguers, didn't you? ;-)

Hey, are you gonna let me start designing some Voyager cards right away? [Bill Martinson]
Hmmmmm. Do you have any scripts for the 1999 season of Voyager I could see first? ;-)

Actually, I don't know yet. I would expect that DS9 stuff would likely come before Voyager, but that isn't carved in stone.

Boy, you guys are gonna make a lot of dough on us. Is there a way we can become favoured customers, getting rebates for buying boxes, etc? Personally, I plan to keep collecting and playing this game, so far I've spent over $500 Canadian on the 3 sets! [Phil Konigsberg]
Phil... is that all? (toying grin)

Will you be making an attempt to improve the interctions of players and the current complete predictability of battles? These seem to be the biggest reasons in my area for declining interest in the game. [Thorfinn Tait]
Yes. We have many ideas for enhancing battles. The new properties allow us even more options on how we might accomplish this.

Which card is that in the background with you and the Paramount rep shaking hands? :) [Frank Buckley]
Lemon-Aid from the Q expansion set. Itís nice that Q was there to toast us, donít you think? ;-)

By the way... Decipher would like to toast all of our friends at Viacom Consumer products. Thanks and appreciation go to Andrea Hein, Michael Goldman, Terri Helton, Ken Abrams, Tom Flinn, Beth D'Ambriunas, Craig Walsey, Pam Newton, Paula Block, Paul Ruditis, Neil Newman and Jeanne Redlin.