A Walk on the Neutral Side: Design Notes for Rogues and Scoundrels
We knew from the very beginning that we would eventually make a Star Wars TCG set with a strong neutral theme. There was some discussion as to exactly when this set should be released. Clearly, we didn't want it to come out too early, as there were plenty of Light and Dark Side themes to explore. Eventually the question answered itself: The neutral themed set would need to have all the cool bounty hunters from Episode V, so the natural time for it would be after the Episode V set. Of course, this affected our design for the Empire Strikes Back set, and also some of our design for A New Hope and Battle of Yavin. Whenever we had a really cool thought for a neutral character, we'd often push that idea off to the mythical neutral set coming later.
One of the great things about the Star Wars universe is the feeling of epic battle going on between the Rebels and the Empire, and that the whole time there are also all these planets and people that just don't care about it. Some of the best Star Wars Expanded Universe material is based around these "neutral" societies. From the very beginning, we knew that we wanted to explore this Expanded Universe content for the Rogues and Scoundrels set. Some of my favorite Star Wars novels from this time period are Shadows of the Empire and various Tales (especially Tales of the Bounty Hunters). I loved reading about these guys, and was exciting about coming up with cards to match their powers.
Since we knew the Episode V bounty hunters would be the marquee characters of the Rogues and Scoundrels set, we wanted card mechanics that worked well with bounty hunters. Well, what do bounty hunters do in the Star Wars universe? They search for individuals that someone wants found. They generally don't care who it is that hires them or who exactly is their prey. What they care most about is: "How much is the bounty?" From this idea, the Bounty mechanic was born. Whenever one of your bounty hunters takes out another character, you earn the bounty at the start of the next turn. Originally, we wanted the bounty to be earned right away; however, since many bounty hunters wound up earning build points, we decided it would be clearer if the bounty was earned at a time when you could actually spend the build points.
The other thing about bounty hunters is that they are not cheap. Well, at least the good ones shouldn't be--and to reflect this, we wanted to give bounty hunters a flavorful drawback. We decided to use Upkeep. Upkeep comes from Magic: the Gathering, but I felt the flavor fits very well here. The fact that anyone who has previously played Magic will recognize the term, and in general understand what it implies, was just a plus. Giving Upkeep to bounty hunters allowed me to cost them aggressively for their build cost. I wanted bounty hunters to be a slightly risky strategy, one where you would not want a deck full of a ton of them ('cause who could afford that? Well, other than Darth Vader that is!)--but also a strategy were bounty hunters could at least compete against Jedi. So when you explore the bounty hunters of this set, you'll find they have pretty big stats for their costs. Just be sure you can afford their Upkeep!
©1995-2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wizards is headquartered in Renton, Washington, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057.