This article is the second in a series where we look at the converted Second Edition cards found in The Next Generation. Today we will be looking at the Klingons.
The Tyrant Molor himself, Kitrik originally appeared in 2E Premeire where he bore a close resemblance to his Q-Continuum persona. The original version was a rare breed amongst TNG era Klingons: he actually had some specialized skills. Medical, Science, and Exobiology were fairly hard to come by for the red team while Music and Cybernetics were unheard of. The 2E version traded up Cybernetics for Programming (which was then back-converted as Computer Skill) and forgot Music altogether. He still only had a Staff icon and his attributes were the same except he had somehow lost 2 Cunning (presumably from having hung around average Klingons during the intervening six years).
The 2E version did have an interesting special ability, though. He would net the player one card draw when he came into play if that player had a mission requiring Science. You see, in the latter edition Science is a rare skill and the utilization of Science missions is encouraged.
The newly converted version is less similar to either of the previous two than they are to each other. He still has Medical, Science, and a Staff icon. Like the 2E BC version, he has Computer Skill but now he thinks he knows a thing or two about rocks.
Oddly, his attributes are quite distinct from the previous versions. His Integrity has increased by one and his Strength by 2 (I have to say that Strength 8 is pretty odd for an old man, even if he is Klingon) while his Cunning now falls between the two previous versions at 6.
Interestingly, his ability is gone altogether, which is probably for the better as in First Edition it is quite easy to eliminate and replay a personnel turn after turn to net the bonus draw. This could best be abused in a Space-Time Portal + I.K.C. T’Ong deck where the former would return the ship and Kitrik to hand each turn such that he could be replayed the subsequent turn for a free draw.
Kahless falls into the category of "weak Premiere cards for rather major characters." In his original incarnation, Kahless was a VIP with just one skill (double Honor), but pretty great attributes with Integrity of 10, Strength of 8, and Cunning of 6 (fairly high for a Klingon). Oddly, he had a Command star even though we never saw him fly a ship in the episode and I am fairly certain that the original Kahless, from which this one was cloned, never had the opportunity to do so (assuming genetic memory).
He made his second appearance in the Energize set for Second Edition. There he had much the same attributes as his Premiere form, with just 1 less Cunning. However, he has considerably more skills. Obviously missing is VIP (which doesn’t exist in 2E), with the addition of Leadership (x3!) and Anthropology to his previous Honor x2.
But what makes the card useful in 2E is his ability. Kahless allows a player to meet Cunning or Integrity requirements on Dilemmas with Strength instead. As we all know, Klingons are good at anything that requires a little elbow grease. Imagine if you could simply complete your tax forms by punching a guy! The price for this hefty ability is a high cost - 5 - which is to say that it’s absolutely free in First Edition.
This allows for a particularly broken strategy when used in the wrong game. A player could build a deck which used 2E Kahless and a good number of cards which increase their personnel’s Strength in order to bust all attribute Dilemmas. It’s rather easy, in First Edition, to boost attribute numbers, especially if you only need to focus on one attribute. As an example, the Klingons could commandeer Empok Nor to get a Klingon Disruptor, a Bat’leth, a D’k Tahg, a Klingon Disruptor Rifle, and a Mek’leth to get Strength +10 on all Klingons present. Then they could also play HQ: War Room (for free to The Great Hall) to add another 2 Strength to every Klingon with Leadership, Officer, or Security and go Dilemma busting.
Looking at the converted version of 2E Kahless, we see that little has changed. He has the same attributes and skills but gains a classification of VIP (like his Premiere counterpart). Also like the 2E version, and more in line with the story, he has no ability to staff a ship. The only real change from the 2E card to the conversion is the special ability, which has been offloaded onto another card as a special download.
So far, we have yet to see a 1E version of Warrior’s Birthright. But the 2E version is almost identical to Kahless’ special ability. The only difference is that it is an Event and therefore can only be played on one mission. A second copy could be played on a new Mission, but that costs a card play. The converted Kahless essentially nets the player one free Warrior’s Birthright.
I suspect that the Event hasn’t been converted yet because the 1E design team wants to find out if the ability has been successfully weakened enough prior to the formal conversion. That is, if Warrior’s Birthright is now at a proper power level, it will be converted to a 1E template as-is. If it proves to still be a little too powerful, then it will gain "(Unique)." Until then, the 2E card can be special-downloaded by the new TNG Kahless.
There are very distinct reasons to play each Kahless. The original version is great in a deck which scores bonus points from Assign Mission Specialists, as it is easy to find many missions which require Honor (or more than one Honor). However, there is something to be said about being able to bust Dilemmas using Strength rather than Cunning (especially for Klingons). What’s more, since the new Kahless can net Warrior’s Birthright as a special download one doesn’t even have to spend that once-per-game bonus until they have seen the problem Dilemma. It could get a player past "God" or Ankari "Spirits", but only once. The next time it would need to be paid for and prior to beginning the mission attempt.
The self-proclaimed high cleric of Boreth is another conversion found in The Next Generation. Like the previous two he already had a First Edition version, though he is actually one of the better Klingons from Premiere. He was a Scientist, which was rare enough, and also had Biology, Archaeology, and Anthropology; all of which fit his on-screen persona. He had a solid Integrity of 8, and reasonable Strength and Cunning (note: elderly Klingons often have Strength 6).
His 2E version came from Second Edition Premiere and similarly had rather hard-to-find skills. He retained Science, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Biology from his 1E version while losing 3 Integrity and gaining 1 Cunning.
There are two other differences between the 2E Premiere Koroth and the 1E Premiere version. The second has Leadership and a neat special ability: when he is played he downloads Kahless (see above). That’s a rather useful ability in 2E where a downloaded card goes to hand but it is a downright amazing one in 1E as it brings 2 personnel into play with 1 card play. Plus, they’re both great personnel. Usually a personnel who can be downloaded by another is rather weak (or the one doing the downloading is weak).
But at least it makes sense: after all, Koroth did make Kahless.
The converted Koroth from the TNG expansion is a bit of a mash-up of the two preceeding ones. His attributes are more like the 1E version, with 1 Integrity lost and 1 Cunning gained. He has Science as his classification and 3 further skills, though Anthropology has been traded up for Medical (which is oddly not found on either previous version).
The only remaining aspect of the 2E card is the ability. Previously he could download Kahless but now he can download Kahless or the Clone Machine.
Wait… that’s better.
The real change is the addition of a cost to the ability. It is now a once-per-game ability which requires the Investigate Disturbance mission to be in play and Koroth to be standing on it. This means the card stays as intended without having potential for abuse (or apparently less abuse as Clone Machine is banned in OTF). Personally, I’m going to choose to download Clone Machine so that I can get an extra Jadzia Dax. (Don’t say Design doesn’t have you in mind, Open players: there is an AI Dax for a reason!)
Losta is the kind of card I really like to see. I’d even say that he is the best of the Klingon personnel conversions in the new expansion. First, we don’t have a version of him in First Edition and there are many personnel (especially Klingons) which are unique to the second version of the game. Better than that, he can net a free copy of Lower Decks, which can pair well with Attention All Hands and HQ: War Room for some sweet Dilemma busting.
He does require that the player seed Investigate Disturbance or include Kahless in the deck, but my Klingon deck already does both. The mission is one of the easiest for Klingons and is worth a decent 35 points (pre-mission specialist bonuses). In other words, neither requirement is an issue.
What’s interesting is that he is far better than the the 2E version he was converted from. All of his attributes have been increased by one, he retained all of his skills while gaining the 1E-specific skill of Youth, and still has a Staff star. But previously his attribute bonus was specific to him and required Kahless to hold his hand the whole game. Now, he only needs to meet Kahless once and he’ll spend the rest of the game bragging about it to every mook he encounters (even non-Klingons).
So why not put a few copies of Losta in your Klingon Block, Open, or OTF deck? All of them would get bonuses from HQ: War Room and Lower Decks while playing for free with Attention All Hands. Ooby Dooby draws, here we come.
Much like Kahless, this card is an upgrade from his Mission Specialist Premiere version, but this time I can’t exactly think of a reason to choose the original over the new. There are four other Klingon Mission Specialists with Honor (plus Kahless, above, with Honor x 2). Each is a better choice than Korris as three can get bonuses from HQ: War Room and Lower Decks and the other is a female Klingon with Medical (both quite rare for the red team). So in this case, the new card makes the old card binder fodder (but then it was already).
Second Edition Korris is also from the Energize set (it was a great expansion for the Empire). He had Honor PLUS enough classifications to qualify as a Voyager bridge crew member (Officer, Engineer, and Security- Neelix was still training him in Medicine).
The attributes on the 2E card were quite low, being more in line with a standard Second Edition Klingon than a 1E Klingon, with 6 Integrity, 7 Strength, and a measly 4 Cunning. This was rectified upon conversion where he was given his 1E Premiere attribute numbers (what happened to Kitrik again?). Otherwise the conversion resembles the 2E card with all the same skills (with Officer bumped up to the classification box), though all three versions have a Command Star.
That leaves just the special ability, which has completely changed. The 2E version had a Strength bonus of +3 each time one of his Klingon allies died in a mission attempt Korris was involved in (until the end of that attempt). There is no real issue with this ability except it is too wordy to put on a 1E card. Instead, the converted card has a wholly different ability: he can volunteer for random selections he is a valid target for. Quite distinct from going all Incredible Hulk when a Dilemma kills one of his buddies, this Korris might choose to be the one to die in glorious battle.
Stay tuned for the next installment.