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Brace for Impact!

by Mark B. Frog, Guest Writer

16th April 2013

"Brace for Impact!" – William T. Riker, final commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D

Brace for Impact

This phrase recurs throughout the Star Trek series and movies. Often, as whichever vehicle our intrepid heroes happen to be on at the time gets bombarded by incoming weaponry or crashes into things like closing doors, opposing ships, or, as in this case, large planets.

As a player with extensive experience in having ships that are damaged, this card looks like it could be helpful. Another card in the defensive arsenal alongside Federation Flagship: Recovered and the shiny new Borg in Nebula mission. If you think you might be in trouble, or if you face a fleet of Zalkonian Vessels and Sunas in Block (or, to be fair, outside of it), then this card might be helpful. If you're running Federation Flagship: Draw Engine in a TNG Fed deck, it might just be worth running Generations Riker, who can download this bad boy – just in case.

Now, this card does have some limitations, particularly so if you are running TNG Feds and Flagship Recovered. You might want to start with Recovered and then move on to Brace for Impact with your second ship. That strategy might be helpful anyway, if you're stuck at a space mission and need that one extra turn to get to a planet. Perhaps if your ship is hit by The Cloud and then gets attacked while it can't do anything; this kind of strategy essentially means your ship can be put out-of-commission twice, which is thematic as the Enterprise crashed twice in Generations.

Support Ship: Recycled

If you are running Federation Flagship: Recovered as a partner to this card, you will likely need to use it first, as you may not be able to retrieve your ship from the planet's surface, leaving you two in play. There are some ways to make a crashed ship last that little bit longer.

Duj Saq is mostly not Continuing Mission-friendly. It allows B'rel-class ships to take off and land. It can be used by Classic Films Klingons with three ships (counting the Qel'Poh and the Bounty as a single ship). Classic Films Feds can also use the Bounty. The one TNG faction that can use it is the Ferengi; the universal B'rel is a TNG Ferengi ship from Rules of Acquisition. If you're using Ready Room Doors for TNG Ferengi, you're more likely to start out by using them to grab other cards. But if you manage to crash your B'rel on a planet in a last-ditch life-saving effort, Duj Saq could get your ship back in the game.

Kazon and certain Federation factions can benefit from the Intrepid benefits of Blue Alert. The three versions of Voyager have Matching Commanders, which (with Captain's Log) make them that much more likely to survive an initial encounter. Bio-Neural Gel Pack plays for free to either Federation version of Voyager, which can also help each last longer. The U.S.S. Intrepid and U.S.S. Bellerophon (ripe for conversion in the next Block) also get honourable mentions, but they are a bit harder to use at the moment.

OK, I'm crashed, now what?

At this point, we've about reached the end of what we can do with ships with a good chance of surviving an attack with a ship that can then take off again. It's not a very long list, which collapses to zero when you go looking through it for Continuing Mission compatibility. If you're running a Continuing Mission deck and you've crashed using Brace for Impact, it's probably with a ship that has at least one staffing icon. You're in luck! You can still report to the ship with Attention All Hands, if you report or already have an Engineer there, that's probably a good place to build an Outpost.

Duj Saq

As well as an Outpost, you can use your folk on the planet for something else. Run Hidden Fighter to download a ship with no staffing requirements, and grab Establish Landing Protocols to go with it. Blue Alert takes two Range to take off or land, Establish Landing Protocols only takes one. If you can run both and boost your Range a bit, you can take off, move along a mission or two, and land again in the same turn.

Outside of a Continuing Mission deck, the Bajorans do quite well in this regard with three ships (four if you count Yangtzee Kiang), two of which can take off or land once each turn (eliminating your need for Blue Alert). The Yangtzee Kiang is the best of the four Deep Space 9 Federation ships with no staffing requirements, and can be commanded by Kira Nerys (two of the others can be commanded by Benjamin Sisko).

The Delta Quadrant has a few good options, as well. The Feds have the Delta Flyer and the Type 9 Shuttlecraft, the Kazon have a Fighter and a Shuttle, and Non-Aligned (Equinox being popular in Delta decks) have the Baxial. One ship from each affiliation can get Matching Commander bonuses.

In TNG there are a few nice options:

For the Feds, the Runabout is better stats-wise than the Type VI Shuttlecraft (though the shuttlecraft could have more uses if your opponent is running Abduction Plot). A good Engineer for building the Outpost, but with some other benefits, is Exocomp.

The Ferengi also have a shuttle, with the benefit of a Matching Commander (Dr. Arridor). Non-Aligned have the Yridian Shuttle and Zibalian Transport. The Romulans have the best deal, however, with the Science Vessel, Scout Vessel, and the unique and Matching Commander-able Apnex and Pi. Even the Cardassians have a shuttle.

In addition to Establish Landing Protocols, Hidden Fighter can also download Engage Shuttle Operations. This is less useful in that it requires your total Range to take off from the planet, but it could have a place if you don't want to use Ready Room Door to grab a Blue Alert. Use ELP to take off your shuttle from the planet, land it on any ship with Tractor Beam that you reported to your Outpost, use that ship to move down the spaceline, launch the shuttle and take it further down the spaceline. This maneuver can give your crucial personnel that extra breathing room they need to stay clear of the enemy fleet for a turn or two.

W.T. Riker

"She went before her time"

The faction that benefits most from Brace for Impact is, of course, TNG Feds. Generations Riker can Special Download it at the moment you need it. You get points for using it with a Galaxy-class starship. There are currently two Galaxy-class ships that aren't TNG; the Odyssey (DS9-logo) and U.S.S. Enterprise-D (Battleship) (Second Edition backwards compatible). Either of those would give you 8 bonus points if you crashed them with this card. The U.S.S. Galaxy and the U.S.S. Enterprise from Chain Of Command (reprinted in TNG: Supplemental) will get you 7 points, the Yamato and the Premiere Enterprise will snag you 8 points, and the Future Enterprise will get you 9 points. As such, this card has the potential to turn a corner in a game. You never know, in that kind of a game, you might just go around trying to get damaged so you can use this card to push yourself into a win.

The Other Side of the Table

So you failed to obliterate your opponent's ship, and the Attention All Hands report location is sitting on a planet, and you can't get to it.

Well, you can.

If you're running Ferengi, you're in luck, the only TNG person the Breen CRM114 can report to is Omag. You attack the landed ship with him and the 114, that's some nice-lookin' Ferengi Military Operations benefits there. Or, if you're playing any non-Feds, you can use Orbital Bombardment to attack either the landed ship, or diminish the people on the planet through attrition.

Conclusion…

Brace for Impact can be a good choice in the right deck. Outside of Riker's download, as an Event you have to decide if it is worth the card play (Parallax Arguers can help, but then you have to decide if it worth two card draws); having said that, it can absolutely keep you in the game, under the right circumstances.

 

"All hands, brace for impact!"


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