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Conversions: An Analysis - The Next Generation (Part 6 of 6)

by James Cream, Staff Writer

15th June 2012

In this, the final part of my long-running analysis of the converted Second Edition cards found in The Next Generation expansion, we will be looking at the seven cards which I have not covered yet.

As such, it is a bit of an odds and sods assortment of cards. Some of these are amongst my favorite cards in The Next Generation while others fall quite on the other end of the spectrum.

Vash

This is already the third version of Vash for First Edition, a fairly high number considering that she only appeared in three episodes.

The question then becomes, ‘Do we really need a new Vash?’ While I certainly understood the appearance of a Vash in the first full virtual 1E expansion, as that personae represents her appearance on Deep Space 9, I didn’t initially see the need for a new TNG Vash. However, having seen the new Vash I now see the benefit of a new version and not only because she kicks ass.

The Premiere version was certainly flawed in that Vash, as a character, is a mercenary for hire but appeared in the initial First Edition release as a Federation Civilian. It seems to me that, were she released a bit later in the 1E run, she would have been Non-Aligned or, even more likely, a dual-affiliation personnel. Since that did not happen, we now have both Federation and Non-Aligned TNG versions of her.

This Vash is the next in a series of archaeologists who can download Dig. That’s where she gains top marks in my book as I love that card. Previous archaeologists with the training to Dig include Ranjen Koral, Nu’Daq, and Ocett. But what sets Vash apart from each of those fine personnel is that she is Non-Aligned and can therefore be used in any deck (except Borg) or, better yet, a deck which also contains Ranjen Koral, Nu’Daq, and/or Ocett.

The non-converted 2E BC version of this card was quite similar to the new version. Her special ability, to cycle a card from the discard pile under the deck and then draw a card, is now the first function on Dig. She gains a once-per-game limit on the ability (it is now a special download) but also the optional use of the other two Dig functions.

Upon conversion, Vash gained 1 on all three of her attributes, gained the skills of Acquisition and Smuggling (which do not exist in 2E), and retained all of her other skills. Overall, she is a fairly textbook conversion.

Compared to the two former versions of Vash, this one has the highest Strength and the most skills. I can’t see her competing for use with the Deep Space 9 version of Vash from the Life from Lifelessness expansion as they are designed for different decks, but I might be surprised to see the original, Premiere Vash chosen over this one, even though that one can pick up some draws via Continuing Mission.

Rata and Mordoc

The two remaining Ferengi conversions are quite similar: both lost their special ability during transfer, for the better. In Second Edition, special abilities can have both positive and negative effects which counterbalance and are counterbalanced by the cost of the card. As there is no cost system in First Edition, this often does not translate well.

Mordoc’s ability in Second Edition was to gain the skill of Transporters (that’s the 2E version of Transporter Skill, not a sweet built in site-to-site transporter) and +1 to each attribute when the player has a larger hand than the opponent. In First Edition, where there is no limit to the hand size, it is quite easy for a player to always ensure that theirs is larger. Yet this ability also adds the hassle of constantly checking hand size to confirm Mordoc’s ability to operate a transporter.

The conversion of Mordoc was simple; Design made wrote his ability as "always on." He picked up Transporter Skill and +1 to each attribute in the conversion.

There is one rather interesting effect of converting Mordoc. Since he already existed as a Personnel in First Edition and both versions are universal, he is now the first personnel to have two persona which can be in play in multiple copies at the same time.

Rata’s ability was far less easy to transfer. Originally, he allowed the player to draw two cards when he was played if the top card of the player's deck was an Event. Certainly that is an ability which is not hard to set up, however there is little reason to bother as the Ferengi have never had an issue with drawing cards.

The designers went a very different direction with the conversion of Rata. They tossed out his ability entirely and replaced it with three skills (skills! That’s what the Ferengi need). His attributes were also all increased by 1, to bring them into line with First Edition attributes, and there was one more change: he was made universal.

This last change I certainly have no issue with as this character was a background one. It seems likely that his original ability had forced him to be unique in Second Edition, and now that it is gone there is no reason for him to be universal. Also, it allows all of those great skills to be duplicated in play, ad infinitum.

Kosinski

The conversion of Kosinski is quite similar to that of Mordoc (above) in that he also had an ability which altered his attribute levels and number of skills. However, in this case the designers opted to toss out the ability without giving him any additional skills.

The Second Edition version of Kosinski is a skill monster with seven total skill dots all for the reasonable cost of 3. But his ability balances this low cost by having two of his skills, Astrometrics and Navigation, disappear when he is facing a dilemma while also knocking his Cunning down by two.

The converted version drops the skill of Navigation altogether and then drops Transporter Skill, rather than Stellar Cartography (the converted form of his Astrometrics skill). The only vestige of his original ability is a fluctuating Cunning that is lower when he is facing a dilemma than when he is not. His starting Cunning has been increased from 7 to 9, but the change in intelligence under stress has also been increased from 2 to 4. Unfortunately, that fight-or-flight self-defense mechanism won’t protect him from the Rape Gangs.

I.K.S. Pagh

The Next Generation is certainly the most impressive expansion that the Continuing Committee has released thus far, for any game. It completely alters the meta, introduces some great new strategies, and best of all brings some old cards out of the binder.

But for all the great cards in this set, there are bound to be a few duds and one of those is certainly the I.K.S. Pagh. One of my favorite aspects of this game, even from the beginning, is all the different ships. In particular, there are quite a number of different unique K’Vort class ships which differ only in their matching commanders and distribution of stats. One of my favorite deck types is the K’Vort armada simply because it looks so cool to have a fleet of different ships traversing the beautiful 1E spaceline.

It is far less impressive to have a fleet of universal K’Vorts.

I just don’t see why we need another version of the Pagh, and an inferior one at that. I.K.C. Ki’tang, I.K.C. Hegh’ta, Alliance K’Vort, Naprem, and I.K.C. Rotarran all have a total attributes of 22. The I.K.C. Koraga, I.K.C. Buruk, I.K.C. Lukara, I.K.C. Ning’tao, I.K.C. Vorn, and the original I.K.C. Pagh all have a total attributes of 21. But the sorry nu-Pagh only has comparable attributes to the two weakest K’Vorts at 20; the common from Premiere and the common from Alternate Universe.

One would assume, then, that the special ability of this ship makes up for that detriment. But no, it only allows the player to draw an extra Tactic card and gives no added benefit in a fight. If you can’t get the desired Tactic with two draws, it might be time to rebuild your Battle Bridge side deck.

What’s more, in order to battle my opponent’s ship I am going to need to get to them, so the fact that the decreased attribute is Range just hits that much harder. What is actually hilarious is that the original 2E card had better attributes than the conversion. Although it had a crazy 2E staffing requirement of three background warriors, it had stats comparable to the I.K.C. Hegh’ta while still being able to benefit from a matching commander.

The original ability might have been a bit on the abusive side. It caused all of the opponent’s ships to be reduced in Range by 1 while it was on an Engage Cloak. This could potentially be combined with other Range-reducing cards such as Birth of “Junior”, Baryon Buildup, a few solid Tactic cards, or the I.K.C. Qam-chee to prevent the opponent’s ship from traveling to that 5 or 6 Range mission. I can certainly see why it was reined in.

The real benefits of this ship are the corresponding Incident, Officer Exchange Program, and the two different matching commanders including the new ‘Best Image on a Personnel’ title holder: William T. Riker. Of course, these also work with the original Premiere Pagh.

Personally, I would have preferred the inclusion of the original Pagh in the Next Generation Supplemental expansion so that another card could fill the final slot for the main expansion, perhaps a converted version of the Fortune for my Mercenary Raiders team.

Data and Troi

Like Geordi (discussed in part 1), the Data and Deanna Troi personae that appear in The Next Generation expansion were part of the Season 1 TNG team from the Necessary Evil 2E set. While I might not be eager to get new personae for all of the TNG bridge crew, I am hopeful that this precedent means that we will get the Valiant crew in the Deep Space 9 block base set.

The 2E version of this Data was a fairly good representative of the character from Season 1 of the show. He was still developing and was always ready to study up on whatever subject the mission required. His ability allowed the player to choose his sixth skill from Navigation, Physics, or Anthropology. Otherwise, he was just as powerful as the other versions of the character seen in Second Edition, as he retained the same high attributes and high number of skills.

When converted, this Data didn’t change much. His skill of Officer was promoted to a classification and he retained three of his four regular skills. His ability is also the same, with only the wording changed to fit the older game.

There are two real changes: he lost Exobiology (likely a result of card space limitations) and his attributes were altered. With regards to the loss of Exobiology, I rather like it as that is just the sort of specialized skill that Season 1 Data might have yet to learn. The attribute change is also rather reasonable as they were brought on par with other First Edition Datas. One distinction though: where Necessary Evil Data has the same attributes as 2E Premiere Data, the new TNG Data has one less Integrity as compared to 1E Premiere Data. I am also quite fond of this change as it seems unlikely that he would have much loyalty to people he had only met. But where the TNG version of Data represents an inferior, early version of the persona, the TNG Deanna Troi is quite the opposite. This is the seventh persona of Troi, and the earliest version (by series chronology) but it has the highest number of skills. It would seem that she became progressively less useful as the seasons progressed.

This strikes me as a bit odd as I only remember Season 1 Troi exhibiting one skill: the ability to state the obvious. But then, maybe that’s what Intuition does.

The conversion stayed reasonably true to the original 2E card. She originally had four skills, but none of those was a classification so she has retained all four and picked up the Officer classification. Both the original and converted versions have only a staff star, which accurately represents her early character as she trained to command later on in the series.

As with most 2E cards, her attributes were much lower than her First Edition variants. Not unreasonably, these were rectified upon conversion. Like most of the conversions we have looked at in this series, her total attributes were increased by three. These were distributed to Integrity and Cunning, leaving her Strength at 4. As a result of this, she is just one Integrity point lower than her Premiere version attributes and one Cunning behind her First Contact version. This distinction is a good representation of her in development.

Troi’s 2E special ability was offloaded onto two verbs. The original ability allowed the player to look at the opponent’s hand and place one card under their deck if Troi was present with one of the opponent’s personnel. That requirement is quite easily to accomplish in both games, but it is particularly easy in First Edition. What’s more, the ability could be used every turn.

This has been significantly neutered upon conversion. The first half of the ability, looking at the opponent’s hand, has been changed into a Special Download of Life-form Scan. As such, it has become a once-per-game ability. One could assume, then, that Intuition would allow a player to make some prediction based on that knowledge and benefit from said prediction.

Then again, it could just as easily allow you to dictate all of your opponent’s actions for the audience.

Captain Picard, Hosp just flew his fleet of K’Vort-class ships to this location. I think that he intends to battle us. He has played an Outgunned and now commands this ship. We will be transported to his brig.


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