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Strategy Articles

Dilemma Pile Customization

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

21st February 2020

Customizing Your Dilemma Pile

The basic beginner dilemma pile is designed to be as effective as it can be while requiring very little of its user. You'll get a bit more mileage out of it if you can half-heartedly keep track of your opponent's average personnel cost (In Development, Miner Revolt) and species diversity (Intimidation), but in general you can just spend the cost you have available to you and it will get the job done.

It's versatile, but you may find that it doesn't have much depth. So, if you're ready to progress to more advanced strategies, these dilemma pile articles are for you. I'll be reviewing some options for you in this series, and presenting some changes you could make. How far you want to go is up to you: some changes will be simple card substitutions or additions, some will be strategies you'd build an entire dilemma pile around.

Try Some Popular, Powerful Dilemmas

Some powerful dilemmas didn't make the cut for the beginner pile not because they're not good enough, but because they were either too complicated or required a bit too much tracking to be effective. Some of these dilemmas show up as one-ofs in the beginner piles, so you may already be familiar with them.

This dilemma has been a pile staple since set two, but I've had too many new players get confused by it to include it in the base pile. This card does nothing to stop the active attempt, that continues as normal, but Timescape prevents subsequent attempts at that mission that turn. This is an effective tool against decks that field enough personnel to split into multiple teams, which is basically all of the beginner decks.

Dereliction of Duty/Secret Identity/Caretaker's "Guests"
These dilemmas don't (usually) change the number of personnel attempting the mission, but can prevent the opponent from using powerful personnel to blast through a mission. Once you have a few games under your belt, you'll be a lot better at knowing when the opponent has some personnel that just can't be allowed to mess with your plans, and these dilemmas will become a lot more useful to you.

An Issue of Trust/Personal Duty
Once you're comfortable enough with your own deck, you'll be able to pay a bit more attention to what your opponent is doing. If you can keep a general idea of how many Honor/Treachery or Leadership/Officer personnel your opponent is using, these dilemmas can become effective far beyond their costs.

Necessary Execution/Neural Parasites/Distress Call
In the early days of the game, there wasn't much reason to go to a space mission first. They have bigger span numbers, so you often can't fly home and back until you have a second ship, and planets are more convenient since you don't have to send everyone on your ship into danger. The beginner decks have The Needs of the Few to gently discourage going to planets first, but these dilemmas are much more effective deterrents (which are used more often). Now you know: attempting planet missions before space missions carries significant risk.

Excalbian Drama/Outmatched/Vault of Tomorrow
Since players often go to their space mission first, by the time they're working on the planets, they've drawn more of their mission solving tools and are much tougher to stop. Low cost "wall" dilemmas like these (or Vault which can fetch them when needed) are very useful in buying yourself another turn. If you opt to use these dilemmas, consider stocking Uninvited in your draw deck, which can often buy you a whole turn.

Polywater Intoxication
Some decks have very high attributes, particularly Dominion strength decks or Bajoran Integrity decks, and can complete missions with four (or fewer!) personnel. A tool like Polywater (which only looks at the personnel currently facing it when determining its cost) can be necessary for stopping those decks from sneaking a mission from you with so few personnel.

Where No One Has Gone Before
No other dilemma in the game has quite as strong an effect as this one. It's a little harder to use effectively than Gomtuu Shock Wave, but if you can get it to hit you'll have a huge advantage.

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