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Friday, April 22, 2005

I feel dirty

I’ve put it off and put it off, but today I finally took the plunge and went crawling back to Decipher.

Decipher is the company that manufactures the Star Trek card and role-playing games. Like many other gaming companies, they have a program that allows players to become official representatives of the company in their areas.

I originally signed up for Decipher’s one a couple of years ago. In those days it was called the Product Champion program, and you were able to choose precisely which game you wanted to represent. Naturally, I chose to represent Star Trek CCG.

It’s not a job… as a Product Champion you don’t get paid, but since you’re essentially performing the function of a sales rep, selling the game to players and retailers, it’s necessary for Decipher to compensate you… which they do in the form of a box or two of free cards every time a new expansion set comes out.

I was a good Ambassador (that’s what the Star Trek Product Champions were called). I ran regular tournaments and demo games, and built relationships with the local gaming retailers, as well as made an effort to show the game to other retailers around the town. I wasn’t particularly successful, but that was due largely to the fact that the South African gaming community is very small, and somewhat strapped for cash. Few of them are interested in taking on a new game. But it wasn’t for lack of effort on my part.

Then Decipher decided to move the goal-posts. They renamed it the dAgent (Decipher Agent) Program. They also insisted that we start representing all Decipher games (as if I have any interest in BeyBlade or Megaman) and we were restricted to only one store. Plus, they decided to make our compensation performance based… so if our retailer sold lots of stock, we would get more free cards. This obviously gave the US dAgents a considerable advantage.

When the change came about, there was an exodus of former PCs leaving the program in disgust, and I was one of them. I no longer felt that it was in my interests to devote my energy to it. My whole reason for getting involved in the first place was so that I could use Star Trek CCG as a vehicle for spreading the gospel of Star Trek through the gaming community. If I suddenly had to devote my energy to Lord of the Rings and .hack//ENEMY there wouldn’t be much left for Trek. So I quit. That was about a year ago.

It was a difficult decision... I'm not the kind of person that quits. But it seemed like the logical thing to do.

However, upon reviewing my financial situation this week, I’ve come to realize I don’t actually have the disposable income available to support 2 games along with the rest of my lifestyle… something has to give.

It seemed the only way out was to organize a way of getting free cards again… and the only way to do that is by signing up with the dAgent program again. How embarrassing. Especially after the long, nasty resignation letter I wrote.

I am a Star Trek whore.