Decisive Action, Decisive Victory!

Leaders take action. The greatest leaders, no matter what they’re thinking, show strength… not always through raw physical strength but through strength of determination, through strength of character and conviction. They take…Decisive Action. For today’s spoiler we’re going to look at the decisive, but absolutely insane, Shattered Glass Optimus Prime!

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Double The Trouble, Double The Fun!

Reality can be weird can’t it? Make one decision, you’re a noble leader guiding your world to peace; make another and you’re a megalomaniacal dictator bent on universal domination. The pieces need to fall just the right way to give us what we have around us now…

Since last summer, when Wizards of the Coast pulled the plug on our beloved Transformers TCG, independent developers and media teams have been hard at work producing new cards, sets, and tournament formats dedicated to keeping the game we all know and love alive.

As an interconnected but still largely independent fandom we’ve seen concurrent development, various personal takes on characters and mechanics, and more. In the last couple weeks, two developers separate of each other announced their own projects based on a relatively recent and beloved, if little supported, corner of the Transformers Universe: the alternate, inverted, reality Shattered Glass!

Today, for a first announcement of several to come, both Nate Petersen of Edge of Iacon, developer of the MSE Template and designer of “Timelines: Shattered Glass” box set, and Kaleb Adams, designer of Wave X and Shattered Glass release, are stoked to announce joint collaboration on our respective projects!

Announced days apart and both having spent several months in stages of development, the projects bore a lot of surface similarities of course. The developers had a chance to sit down, hash out some notes and ideas, and sorted out some fun and exciting ways to proceed with our respective projects and helping to improve each other’s as well!

Each release is still that of the given developer, but both will feature interrelated themes and mechanics to produce fun, thematically appropriate, and interesting new cards and characters to explore! By working along side one another, we can make a more cohesive, shared-world, feeling so that players can enjoy the best of everything the mirrored universe has to offer!

Timelines: Shattered Glass is a “boxed set” featuring 7 new character cards on two opposing teams, 7 new battle cards, 2 stratagems, and alternate art battle cards for the preconstructed deck lists! The release also features brand new art courtesy of WotC artist and Transformers fan Harvey Nazareno Bunda!

Kaleb Adams’ Shattered Glass is a “full set” release featuring 32 new character cards, 15 new battle cards, and 10 stratagems, expanding the Shattered Glass universe with an army of alternate takes on classic characters including a classic combiner and a terrifying titan!


Q: Are the releases merged?
A: No, each release is still the project of the respective developer.

Q: What elements do the releases share?
A: The releases share mostly thematic elements, ensuring that SG Autobots and SG Decepticons have a somewhat distinctive flavor that resembles their traditional play but also represent both the SG universe and the respective releases.
Mechanically, both releases will designate their universes with an addition to the subtype byline, denoting “Shattered Glass” as a way to call out a Shattered Glass Autobot from a (normal) Autobot, and an instance of Shattered Glass Starscream from the traditional Starscream. If we might humbly suggest to other developers, this would make a reasonable and consistent way to call out very unique iterations of characters as well from other major brands & timelines!
Lastly, some mechanical concepts and newly developed keyword(s) will be seen across the two sets, further embracing the shared universe.

Q: Are the developers working on both sets together?
A: Not precisely. We have compared notes to ensure we’re on the same page and are sharing initial card designs for input, feedback, and tweaking, but each developer is largely responsible for their own release with the other offering another set of eyes and insight!

Q: Can the releases be played together?
A: That’s the dream! When we’re through with the releases, general balance, team mechanics and focuses, and abilities should align well that cards can be shared between the releases with little concern.

Design – Real Estate and Intent

When Transformers hit the scene in August of 2018, I was pretty pscyhed. I was at GenCon for my software company, running a booth and hosting demos, and I was ITCHING to get out of the hall and into a demo event, and snag my own starter and packs. I’ve been in the industry for almost twenty years now, and spent a good deal of time before that as a player. I’ve seen a TON of games come and go (and written a few myself) and everyone seemed to operate on a gimmick. The granddaddy, Magic the Gathering, was your most straightforward game, and YuGiOh and Pokemon largely built on those. Future games would add plastic swords, slotted stat trackers, webcams, transparent cards…a TON of ancillary, unneeded stuff, and all it did was clutter the table. If I see a gimmick, it usually turns me off pretty solidly. But Transformers was doing something…fun.

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Design – Welcome To Flavortown!

I must confess; I’m a sucker for flavor. Good food sure, but especially flavor in my game design. My favorite sets in Magic? Pretty much anything steeped in it; Mirage, Tempest, the OG Ravnica sets, OG Innistrad. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the set in the larger context of the game, the Kamigawa block was STOCKED with flavor…unfortunately that was to the detriment of it I think since MtG is heavily rooted in Western fantasy, and the Asian flair they were filling it with just didn’t jive well mechanically. My favorite D&D setting? Ravenloft, or as the cool kids know it today “Curse of Strahd.” And Transformers. Ahhhh Transformers; I LOVED the Devastator and the Blaster vs Soundwave 35th Anniversary decks, especially the convention pack with classic artwork. The Omnibots as a convention (or mail order!) exclusive!

Mechanics are cool and all, but flavor, for me, are where its at!

For my own custom TF TCG projects, I’m aiming to emulate as much as I can. For my first official foray into something, I’m riffing on the darkly awesome “Shattered Glass” universe; the mirror world where good is bad, bad is good, and there are evil mustaches abound! AND, what really kick started my thinking on it all, was…flavor!

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Design – Traits, Keywords, Factions Oh My!

This originally started out as a FB post after series of points of contact in the last week or two but I figured I could turn it into a fuller design discussion post, so here we are! In the last few days I have had several folks hit me up requesting new traits be added to the MSE template. Being honest, I’m going to be something of an arbiter and gatekeeper here, partially by necessity partially by choice and I want to elaborate on that a bit here.

Traits, also called keywords, factions, and a few other colloquial terms, are the identifiers of a character’s skills, modes, and sub-affiliations. They are the icon + text line just below the name, in the black-backed fields. The cards have 1-3 traits, but all bots have some and no one has more than 3 on a face. These play an important role in the game in terms of flagging the character for the benefit of various card abilities; they are a kind of “hook” on which to hang mechanical hats.

So, why am I advocating gatekeeping on this? Seems kinda silly yea?

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MSE Template 1.02 Released

Small quick update went up today, fixing some bugs and what not.

  • Corrects an issue with the Junkion icon introduced in 1.01 where in the text box Leadership used instead.
  • Adds a filter to the Cybertronian text to filter out non alphanumeric characters so that there are no stray cubes or empty glyphs.
  • Further refinement of the background/faction selection script so it behaves better. Now mixed cards require the “Hybrid” selection to be made in order to select multiple factions at once.
  • Missing note from 1.01: Under “Set Info” you can turn off “Automatic Numbering” and manually assign IDs to the cards. This is enabled by default, so no existing set will be impacted but those hoping to be creative with their design and numbering have that capability now!

As always, the downloads are live at the Downloads page; this time, the only download required is the “Game” installer for those who already have the whole package.

Stratagems & Spoilers!

I’m cheating today, like a dirty rat! As an aside, no matter what, whenever I hear the word “Stratagem,” I want to break out in song as from “The Great Mouse Detective” and “Ratigan”…”TO STRATAGEMS (TO STRATAGEMS!)! OH STRATAGEMS!”

Hear “Stratagem,” start singing…

With the custom cards folks are designing, Stratagems, which debuted in Wave 5 “Titan Masters Attack,” are getting a lot of attention. For typically 1 Star, you get a boost to an existing card or for making a deck design choice. Custom Stratagems have been turning up, including here at Edge of Iacon, with no star cost to them which adjust minor aspects of the card.Today, I want to talk not just about Stratagem design, but I have the opportunity to spoil one of the fantastic Alpha Trion Protocol Stratagems as well!

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MSE Template 1.01 Released

As the title says!~

Version 1.01 of the MSE Template is uploaded; the documentation will be updated shortly as well to reflect some new elements as well.

Included in the update:

Updates to the “card_fields,” “set_fields,” “keywords,” and “scripts” files to:

  • Bot 1 Mode, Bot 2 Mode, Character Mode and Unit Mode are added as acceptable modes
  • “Stratagem” reminder text has been generisized to “name card or trait” and added
  • “Mode” is now a keyword group and can be disabled, eliminating automatic text for Battle Masters, Minicons, Weaponizers, Stratagems and battle cards with stars.
  • Cleaner blending script for card backgrounds
  • Quintesson and Junkion now factions in the trait drop down and symbol fonts
  • Adjustments for later features and functions (IE Custom card factions)

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a missing mask for the “character-head” style.
  • Adjusted the Normal Character trait placement
  • Adjusted the Traits so that “Titan Master” will properly select

Go to the Downloads page to redownload the installers or the complete ZIP file!

Format – Drones, or “Are We Alone In The Universe?”

Transformers TCG has been a fantastic vehicle for bringing people together, bringing people to the trading card game world, for introducing people to Transformers who may have never picked up a toy before. In the “before times,” while it was difficult there were valient efforts to bring groups together in local game stores to play and support the game that were largely successful!

Alas, thanks to COVID-19 first and then the cancellation of the game second, this is becoming harder and harder. Online game play via OCTGN has some steam, but even there’s not always an opponent and sometimes you don’t want to hop online. So what’s a lonely Cybertronian to do?

Plenty of modern board games have acknowledged this problem and have worked hard to develop solutions which include single-player modes. And today, we’re going to take a stab at one for Transformers TCG!

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