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Banditry and Grave-Robbin'!

by James Heaney, Assistant Designer

4th June 2024

I like interrupts.

People are finally starting to stock interrupts again (or so it seems to me). There was a long time when they were deemed sub-optimal, because why waste a draw on a situational card you might not even use, when you could instead draw into a free play who can help you solve missions?

However, late in the game, what's really going to swing the game against your opponent: a second copy of Taitt or some other universal chump... or a well-chosen interrupt? Also, what's going to be more fun? What will make the game memorable? Obviously, the answer will almost always be the interrupt. Whether it's a Transwarp Conduit, a Khan!, a Renewed Spirit, an Escape, or some deck-specific magic fairy dust like Reman Sacrifice or He Put Creatures In Our Bodies, a well-timed interrupt can send the entire game in a new direction. That's why I always try to make room for 2-3 situational interrupts in my decks.

There are two new interrupts in Lifesigns. They are restricted to [Vid] Vidiian players, in large part because that allowed us to make them more powerful. In your Vidiian decks, you're probably going to want to save a couple slots for these new cards!


Herd and Harvest

The first one is Herd and Harvest. You've already seen this one, and Ross Fertel has a fun video about it on his YouTube channel, so I won't dwell on it for too long. Herd and Harvest plays as a response to the end of a mission attempt (whether successful or unsuccessful):

Plays on a mission that your opponent just finished attempting. Move one of your [Vid] ships towards this mission (using its RANGE), then opponent's cards here are stopped.

Vidiians in Lifesigns are a looming threat. You're often going to want to trade your first turn to drop a crewed Organ Bank onto your opponent's spaceline using The Search for Spares. Do they attack right away? 'course not. They've only got 10 WEAPONS. But their presence in the quadrant turns on Telemedicine, their WEAPONS make them a serious threat to any small ships that duck away from their outpost without escort, and their Boarding Claw access plays merry hell with everything opponent might have been planning to do. A good battle can be a big deal, since Hyper-Thermic Charges can give you an extra personnel even while Superior Surgical Techniques suppresses your opponent's pace.

However, your opponent gets a vote, too, and might just fly out to smack you silly as soon as he can. If he kills your only ship in the quadrant, all that juice goes away.

Herd and Harvest means you get to lurk juuuuust out of reach of your opponent's WEAPONS. When he finishes a mission attempt -- whether he solved it or biffed it -- boom, you can play Herd and Harvest to freeze him and move your Organ Bank (or some other ship on the same spaceline) in his direction, using up to your full RANGE. Then ALL his cards at the location are stopped -- ships, equipment, personnel. That includes cards that participated in the mission attempt and cards that didn't. This guarantees that there will be some nice juicy organs around on your turn, when you can move in for the kill. Once you've drawn into Herd and Harvest, you don't really have to worry about whether your opponent is going to try to juke out to a mission where you can't follow him; a lonely Organ Bank will be able to move 20 RANGE (10 RANGE on his turn and 10 RANGE on your turn). Unless your opponent happens to be playing in the same quadrant as you are, that means you can probably reach any mission on his spaceline! Powerful stuff -- assuming you draw it at the right time.

(Note that, if you can't move a [Vid] ship toward your opponent, Herd and Harvest fizzles. You don't get the stop without the move. This is one reason why one of my playtest opponents, playing TNG Movie [Fed], said "Screw it" and, immediately, on Turn 1, launched his staffed and fully armed Enterprise-E on a search-and-destroy mission to kill my Organ Bank. He just wanted the pressure to go away... and, after all, The Search for Spares makes it okay for even Feds to shoot an Organ Bank on sight.)

...and Grave-Robbin'!


The second (and final) interrupt in Lifesigns is called Honatta. Revealed for the first time today, it's my personal favorite card in the set.

Once every turn, place a personnel from opponent's discard pile out-of-play to add one [SD] or [DL] from that personnel to your [Vid] personnel (two if that [Vid] is Dereth) until end of turn.

Above all else, Vidiians in Lifesigns are resource siphoners. They love your deck's many resources -- its play engines, its draw engines, its right lung. The Vidiians just know, deep down, that they can use your resourcesmuch betterthan you can! And the terrible thing is, they're right!

Honatta gets downder and dirtier than the other resource siphoners. Honatta goes straight into your discard pile, digs up the graves of your dead personnel, and steals their organs -- quite possibly before you manage to Regenerate or Nanoprobe Resuscitate them back into play.

You might look at this and think, "Oh, it's Fitting In but for graverobbers!" You're not wrong about that. The simplest and most common use of Honatta is to steal a dead personnel's regular skill. Suppose your Away Team faces The Ghost of Cyrus Ramsey, but you're one Transporter Skill short of passing. You can play Honatta next turn to steal Transporter Skill from your opponent's dead Seska. Boom, now you can pass The Ghost of Cyrus Ramsey. (However, note that Honatta does not let you steal classifications, only [SD] .)

However, Honatta goes one bonkers step further.

InFirst Edition, nearly all skill-cheat cards say that your card "adds a skill" or "gains a skill." By rule (Rule 10.1), this means onlyregular skills, like Diplomacy or MEDICAL. Vidiians are advanced medical technologists, though, so they're going much further than that. You'll notice that Honatta doesn't say "add a skill." It says "add an [SD] ". That means, yes: you can use Honatta to steal special skills.

Is your opponent playing Deanna Troi (First Contact)? Is she in the discard pile? Well, guess who can now unstop your Away Team once per game? Once you Honatta poor dead Deanna away, the target of your Honatta can do that for you! Want to capture an opposing personnel without harvesting his organs on the spot? Well, if opponent's Investigator Odo has died, you can grab the ability to do that for this turn! This isn't always useful, but, when it is, katy bar the door! (For the purposes of "once per game" limits on special skills and special downloads, treat the special skill as if it were printed on the target Vidiian; uses by the original personnel are irrelevant.)

You can even use Honatta to steal a [DL] special download! If you desperately need emergency access to a tricorder buried in your draw deck, and your opponent's Charles Tucker III is dead in the discard pile, you can Honatta him to give one of your personnel his " [DL] any Tricorder" for the rest of the turn. Of course, stealing a [DL] only works if, by coincidence, you happen to have a valid target in your deck. This works very rarely, but, when it does, it's a real "whoa" moment.

Honatta shapes play in several interesting ways:

First, it turns Dereth from Skill Monkey #7 into a celebrity Vidiian. He becomes the Vidiians' favorite personnel to play... and your opponent's favorite personnel to kill. Quite honestly, they're all a bunch of bumpy-headed weirdos, and, as a person who's already natively bad with faces, I used to have a lot of trouble keeping them separated in my head. Making Dereth feelspecial was a great moment for me.

Second, if you are using Honatta, you canand should start planning your kills around it. When you get an "opponent's choice" kill from Rules of Obedience or Gold!, you no longer care exclusively about hindering your opponent. You also start looking at what kills willhelp you when Dereth goes a-rummaging in your opponent's graveyard for [SD] to steal. Once, I ran into a wall I couldn't pass, but I knew Jean-Luc Picard had the skill I needed, so I launched a suicide strike to kill Picard specifically (using Organ Theft), immediately played Honatta after he died, and, boom, passed the wall. All my Alpha Quadrant Vidiians were killed off shortly thereafter, but I solved the mission I needed.

Third, don't sleep on Honatta's destructive power. Honatta is mainly there to help you, but it also genuinely hurts your opponent by removing a card in his discard pile from the game. It's essentially a Fire Sculptor for personnel. If your opponent has a crucial personnel in his discard pile that he's trying to cycle back -- say, a Borg Queen who's rotating back with Two of Nine... well, you might not need her Treachery, but it might throw a huge spanner into your opponent's works if the Queen were suddenly sent outside the game by a Honatta.

I love these cards, and I can't wait to see what imaginatively horrible things you're going to do to me with them!

Save a Life
Modern Medicine allows many of us to donate our organs to others and save lives. Across the globe, signing up as an organ donor is one of the most helpful things any of us can do. Along side our release of Lifesigns, we want to promote organ donation to highlight this essential lifesaving option. Please take a moment to read over Helping Save Lives With Organ Donation by Andreas Rheinländer and consider becoming an organ donor.

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