The Escalation kickstarter is almost over. I got some finished card art from the artist and thought I'd share it with you here in case any of you are still wondering what to expect in the expansion...
There are 6 Double Time cards, 2 in each tech stack. They have an unusual planet requirement: 1 specific planet, and 1 planet of any other type. Note that Utopian planets (from the Bonus Planets mini-expansion), with their ability to count as any planet type you already have, never help with this requirement.
In the upper left corner, along with that Trade icon, there's also a Silicon icon. What does that mean? Well, it means this card can be discarded from hand just as if you were discarding a Silicon resource from a resource slot in your empire!
In the lower left you can see a new cost icon. All tech cards in Escalation can be purchased the usual way, or they can be paid for with ships. Level 1 (3-cost) tech can be paid for with 3 Fighters as an alternate cost.
There are 3 cards in Escalation which provide direct player interaction. Annex is the first of those, allowing you to attack planets that other player's have Surveyed up.
Each directly interactive card comes with a new thing called Reparations, which is a consolation for having your planet attacked. In Escalation all of the Reparations are 2vp from the supply. In future sets there may be other cards with different types of Reparations, such as drawing cards for example.
In the upper left you can see that Annex can be discarded as any resource, OR as a Fighter, for example when paying a Warfare cost!
In the Planet Requirement section of the card you can see that it requires 3 planets - one each of Advanced, Fertile, and Metallic. This is referred to as Diverse technology. You can see as well that level L (5-cost) tech can be paid for with 2 Destroyers as an alternate cost.
Military Campaign is the next directly interactive card. This permanent tech allows you to attack planets other players have already flipped! You still have to use a regular "Attack a Planet" action, this card simply allows you to choose target planets that would otherwise be unavailable. If you do so, the Warfare cost is 1 Battlecruiser plus Fighters equal to the Influence (vp) value of the target planet. Of course, your opponent gets Reparations: 2vp from the supply.
Natural Order is the third and final directly interactive card. It allows you to remove a pesky permanent technology from the game. Did an opponent with a jump on research get Adaptability or Productivity into play? Now you might be able to cancel that out with Natural Order. Of course, the opponent will receive Reparations of 2vp. You can even use Natural Order on your own Level 1 permanent techs in the late game to score a few additional points!
Natural Order is a Level 3 (7-cost) tech, and you can see the alternate ship cost is 1 Battlecruiser. In addition, Natural Order can be discarded from hand as a Battlecruiser as well. Handy, because you're only allowed 1 Battlecruiser mini in play at a time, and those are fairly pricey to replace.