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Conversions: An Analysis - Bloody Cardies!

by James Cream, Staff Writer

8th April 2013

During the spoiler release schedule of a few previous First Edition expansions, I penned analysis articles for each of the converted Second Edition cards found in those expansions. However, there are still many converted Second Edition cards that I have yet to analyze, and as Mark pointed out to me: I missed the Homefront III and Engage releases entirely.

With the analysis of The Sky’s the Limit’s conversions, I will include analyses of cards from previous First Edition virtual expansions as a bonus.

Because it fits with today’s spoiled card, this article will focus on converted cards for the Cardassian affiliation. I had my team of assistant analysts (Mark) compile a list of all the converted cards for the Cardassian affiliation released prior to The Sky’s the Limit and he found ten. As that is a rather large number, I focused this article down further to those cards which have been converted and originated in the Second Edition Premiere or Energize sets.

Emok

Emok and the Vetar

The very first virtual expansion for First Edition to feature new cards, Life from Lifelessness, was also the first to include converted Second Edition cards for the Cardassian affiliation. In a previous article, I derived a formula for converting Second Edition personnel to the First Edition:

Formula A: Look for the 2E skill which can be a Classification in 1E. Make it the Classification and adjust the stats to better fit the former game (increase by a total of three). Send to Johnny for artwork.

Using this, Emok is a textbook conversion. His Second Edition form had three skills: Exobiology, Intelligence, and Medical. Of these, Medical is the only Classification skill, so his 1E form is a MEDICAL classification personnel with the skills of Exobiology and the Cardassian form of Intelligence; Obsidian Order.

He also had a Staffing Icon and stats of Triple 5. The converted card retains the Staffing Icon and increases the Cunning and Strength by one. Interestingly, the Integrity remains at 5. This means that his total attributes only increased by two, but it was the first full expansion and perhaps they hadn’t a chance to read my article yet.

Emok is one of the first virtual cards that I used in a deck. Once converted, he is a Support Personnel and is therefore an additional option for the excellent Assign Support Personnel + Dominion War Efforts play engine. With that play engine, I like to include eight support personnel, though it should be noted that most other players only run six or seven. This is because this Download of a Support Personnel can only be used once per turn and First Edition games rarely last longer than eight turns. This play engine is further limited by General Quarters as it now competes with all of the other options for Personnel Downloads in the game (like Defend Homeworld) and needs even fewer support personnel in the deck. Emok was the eleventh Cardassian Support Personnel in First Edition and is perfect for an Obsidian Order deck (to help staff the Keldon Advanced), but more often than not he has been cut from my Cardie decks as the HQ allows a number of Guls with Medical to report for free. Also, Derell already covers Medical and Exobiology while having the slightly more useful skill of Anthropology.

I expect that Emok will become a key personnel in a Deep Space Nine themed deck once the block DS9 expansions give his Property Logo a boost.

Vetar

The conversion of the Vetar seems to have been far less straight forward than that of Emok. One complicating measure is that ship attributes have fairly defined parameters in First Edition. The general rule being that an uncommon ship has one total attributes greater than it’s common classification mate, and a rare has two greater in total attributes compared to the common.

As the Vetar is a Galor class ship, its attributes are relative to the common Galor.  That common ship from the Deep Space 9 expansion had total attributes of 22. Since the Vetar was a rare in Second Edition, we would expect it’s attributes to total 24. Given that it was a Second Edition ship and 2E ships are well renowned for their low attributes and high staffing requirements relative to their 1E counterparts, it is not surprising that the Second Edition version of the Vetar has a measly 24 total attributes and a staffing requirement of one Command and two Staff icon.

As such, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see that the converted version has been brought into line with pre-existing Galor class ships. Its staffing requirements were reduced to one Command and one Staff icon while the total attributes were cranked up to a whopping 24, distributed as 8 Range, 8 Weapons, and 8 Shields.

Interestingly, this puts it on par with the Reklar but ahead of all other Rare Galor class ships in total attributes.

Although the Second Edition version of the card does not have Tractor Beam, it does gain that ship enhancement via the Conversion Rules. This is one of the differences between the two games, in First Edition, all ships list having a Tractor Beam unless they don’t have one. In Second Edition, it is assumed that many ships have a Tractor Beam, but it has no effect on gameplay and is therefore irrelevant.

The special ability that appeared on the 2E version of the Vetar had the possibility for abuse. When this ship is played in a Second Edition game, the player can chose to download a Pursuit card to hand. Prior to conversion, that ability allowed a First Edition player to download a Pursuit card directly into play. By using a card such as Spacedoor to return the empty Vetar to hand, a player could then replay the Vetar on subsequent turns to collect a decent number of Pursuit cards. Not surprisingly, the conversion makes this ability a once per game Special Download. This has an added benefit though, as the player no longer needs to perform this download when the ship is played but could save it for a more opportune time, such as during the opponent’s turn. This also means that the opponent will not expect the Pursuit card until it shows up.

The second special ability of the Vetar is completely unique to the converted First Edition card. It gets an attribute boost when it battles Maquis cards. This bonus ability was one of a few nods toward a Maquis faction in Life from Lifelessness and I eagerly await a time when I might choose to stock this ship as a meta choice against all the rampant Maquis decks. I especially like this added ability as it fits with the Property Logo on the card, Evek can hunt down that dangerous rebel, Chakotay.

Evek

Evek and Ocett

Both Evek and Ocett made their first appearance in First Edition (template) as Cardassian affiliated cards in the Homefront II expansion, and in both cases I was absolutely stoked. Since both had incarnations in First Edition Premiere, they have spent 16 years in my collection and 13 of those years in Cardassian Decks as Yellow Template personnel. 

Evek is a fairly straight forward conversion per the formula above. His Energize version has four skills; Officer, Security, Diplomacy, and Leadership. Of those, the first two are possible Classifications. Upon conversion, he is an OFFICER classification personnel with three skills: Security, Diplomacy, and Leadership.

His two keywords; Gul and Matching Commander: Vetar, have moved into the lore and he retains his Command Star. His special ability also remains the same, although the wording has been subtly altered to fit the older game. The only real change beyond the card layout is the attributes.

Per the formula, we would expect Evek’s attributed to increase by a total of three. In Second Edition, he has an Integrity of 4, a Cunning of 5, and a Strength of 6. The converted version has a surprising Integrity = 6, Cunning = 6, Strength = 7. I assume that he picked up the extra Integrity from Emok, likely by coercion.  

Ocett

Ocett’s conversion is also fairly straight forward. Her Second Edition version had an impressive six skills, of those Officer was promoted to Classification and all five other skills remain unchanged. Like Evek, she has retained her Command Icon and her two keywords; Gul and Commander: Bralek, have moved into her lore.

The conversion of Ocett’s stats is more similar to that of Emok than Evek. The Integrity on both the First and Second Edition versions is 4, while the Cunning and Strength have both increased by one.

The only not straight forward part about Ocett’s conversion is her special ability. She has long been an auto include in any Second Edition Cardassian build that I have made since her special ability allows a player to recur any card from the discard pile. This move can be absolutely clutch in a game of Second Edition. But like the Vetar, above, it has the possibility of abuse in First Edition. Ocett plays for free at the Central Command, due to being a Gul, and when she is played the player can recur a card from the discard pile. Then, all one would have to do is offer her up to Crell Moset (to get a few card draws and a free play of a Cardassian, say – Evek) for some dastardly experimentation and play a new copy on the next turn in order to get yet another card from the discard pile. A good move would be to recur Ocett from the graveyard to the top of deck in order to free play her and continue the most excellent draw engine cycle (or rig an end of turn probe).

To bring this ability down in power, it has been converted into a once per game Special Download (like that of the Vetar). Her former ability can be found on the card Dig as its second function. As an added benefit, the converted Ocett can now use her special download for Dig’s first or third function as well, for extra variability. The other benefit is that this ability can be used at any time, not just when she is played, making Ocett a clutch card in both games.

Bralek

Bralek

Another aspect which Ocett and Evek have in common is that both have had their matching ships converted. While both Ocett and her ship, the Bralek, were released in the same Second Edition set, she had to wait a few more expansions before it joined her in the older game.

The Bralek burst onto the scene in the Homefront III expansion last September, and it was one of the highlights of that release. At this point we know how to convert a Galor class warship from the Second Edition to the First:

The Bralek was an 8-8-8 ship which required one Command and two Staff icons to fully staff. Because it was a Rare from Second Edition, we know that it should have total attributes of 2 higher than the common Galor. It does, so we are done there -just drop a Staff Icon and add Tractor Beam and we should be … not even close.

Upon conversion, the Bralek has 8 Range, 7 Weapons, and 7 Shields. That’s a total of just 22 attributes putting it lower than any other Galor except the common. We were at least right about the Tractor Beam and staffing.

But where did those extra stats go, exactly? Looking at the ship, it is apparent that they went toward the cost of a brand new and absolutely spectacular special ability. Previously, the Galor had the ability to force the opponent to discard a card to use the skill of Archaeology IF this ship was at the same mission and IF the opponent actually had any reason to want to use that skill. I’d use a bigger font, but I think you all get how big those ifs really are.

Instead, that incredibly lackluster ability was replaced with a Special Download of any TNG Cardassian personnel. This is huge. A special download can be used during an engagement to add Ocett herself to the mix and change the outcome of the battle. But even better, that special download can be used during a mission attempt to bring in a personnel with just the right skills to bust a killer dilemma.

Given, in order for this to work one needs to be playing Continuing Mission so that all The Next Generation property logo Cardassians qualify as TNG icon for the download to work. But what other reason do we have to make an all The Next Generation Cardassian deck:

TP

Taken Prisoner

When I first saw this card, I thought that the BC (backwards converted) icon was a mistake. Certainly I remember there being a Second Edition card with that image but what could it have been that was converted into the TNG Cardassian Warp Core!

Well it wasn’t in the system yet, so I couldn’t just click on the card to find out what set it came from. Instead, I had to do a search by card title, and a partly suspected that that was changed as well (it wasn’t). Turns out that the original card came from all the way back in Second Edition Premiere and I wouldn’t be surprised if it has never been used in a First Edition deck.

While cards like Evek, Ocett, and their respective ships would have been high on my list of cards that I’d like to see converted, this one would have fallen way down the list toward the ‘if it never gets converted I won’t even mind’ range. But what we got is essentially Life from Lifelessness – something spectacular from nothing.

The original card was an Assault/Capture event. This is an interesting concept for 1E players, but in 2E you actually need a card to allow you to begin a personnel battle (which is called an Assault in that game). This is a card which allows a Second Edition player to begin a personnel battle between their Cardassians and the opponent’s personnel and then Capture a personnel if they win. This latter part is the second function of the card, it gives the Second Edition player a result of the battle. If a card doesn’t give a result in Second Edition, then nothing happens.

But when used in the older game, it functions quite differently. First, the gametext which states that it allows the battle to begin means nothing, as any player can begin any battles at just about any time as long as they have a leader present. The latter part of the gametext adds a second reward to the battle. If you win, you still get to kill someone (random selection), but you also get to capture someone (your selection). But then, I could already do that with Captured  (which can seed and cannot be countered) or Transporter Drones (which can be acquired for free), so why bother? I personally would be much more likely to run one of the Second Edition Assault events that scores points from the battle.

Upon conversion, Taken Prisoner is an Incident which means that, like Captured, it cannot be destroyed – but it still doesn’t seed. Instead, it will need to be either played or acquired as the downloaded Warp Core using Continuing Mission (which, if you will recall we were already running for the Bralek’s ability).

It takes a little searching and perhaps some head tilting and squinting at the card to find the original function but it is actually the second function on the newly converted form. It now allows a player to replace a kill of the opponent’s personnel with a capture if your TNG Cardassian is present. You know, like if the opponent’s personnel just lost an Assault to your personnel and now you are randomly selecting the kill. But the ability also extends to dilemmas which would kill the opponent’s personnel as long as you manage to have a TNG Cardassian personnel present at the time of the kill. That really isn’t too hard to pull off with great dilemmas like Scout Encounter, or Sleeper Trap, and especially Extradition. Let me tell you: capturing is much better than killing, as dead people can be recurred and replayed (instantly and for free if the opponent is running Nanoprobe Resuscitation). A captured unique person is one person that the opponent can forget about using again for a long while.

But this won’t be the reason that people will be running Taken Prisoner. The second function is just an added bonus, the first is where it is at. In the first function, we get a new Cardassian play engine, one that works specifically for TNG Cardassian decks. But it is significantly superior to the other Warp Cores that we have seen as there are no limits. Actually the only limit is the number of TNG Cardassian personnel available. One could build a deck with free reports at the Central Command, Attention All Hands free reports, and even if one wanted to: Dominion War Efforts + Assign Support Personnel, and any of those personnel would also be able to play for free with Taken Prisoner. Although the who is not limited, there is a limit on the where. To get the free play for Taken Prisoner, the player will need to have their Cardassian Outpost or TNG Cardassian at an opponent's mission. You know, if they happen to be hanging out waiting for someone to die by dilemma or to extradite an unfortunate target. This also means that the card works well with the Let's See What's Out There draw engine. But if you are afraid of battle, say because one of your local players is Hosp, one could always seed the outpost at a 40 point mission to get the same benefit. But if you're playing against Hosp, you probably already had it there with a Strategic Base for good measure.

The question now becomes, how many skill holes will I need to cover with TNG Non-aligned personnel to make this happen for our local The Sky’s the Limit release event.

 


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