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Watch the Wheel, Not the Girl!

by Johannes Klarhauser, Staff Writer

16th January 2008

One of the things I like most about STCCG is that it is not only a fantastic card game, but also a great way to bring to life the atmosphere of the Star Trek TV shows. With the release of What You Leave Behind, it is now finally possible to simulate one of my favourite places in the Star Trek Universe ? Quark's Bar.

Thanks to What You Leave Behind's Nog (Little Green Man), we now have three Ferengi-affiliation personnel that can be played to Mouth of the Wormhole (Deep Space Nine) without any trickery. Of course, I couldn't resist building a deck around Quark's Bar and the people you can meet there, including the gorgeous Dabo Girls. These ladies are necessary to keep the Dabo wheels spinning, which brings us right to the centerpiece of this deck: Dabo!

This event from To Boldly Go gives you the chance to put dilemmas beneath one of your missions without facing them. As the deck has very limited dilemma-busting abilities, bypassing your opponent's dilemma pile is vital to the success of this deck, and getting your Dabo-engine running should therefore be your top priority.

In order to be able to play Dabo!, you have to command three Ferengi-affiliation personnel. But how can we make sure we draw our Ferengi early on? Well, first of all, there are three copies each of Quark, Rom and Nog in the deck, so you should have at least one of them in your starting hand. Next, any personnel can be downloaded by Bustling With Activity, as long as you play a personnel of the same affiliation and have a card to discard. If you go second, you will also get an additional download of a personnel of your choice provided by Historical Research. And finally, Quark (True Ferengi) allows you to download any card if you play him to Mouth of the Wormhole, so you have plenty of ways to get your Ferengi out sufficiently fast.

If you find neither a Quark nor Bustling with Activity in your starting hand, feel free to draw cards like mad ? getting your three Ferengi out as soon as possible is just that important. Besides, the deck contains multiple copies of unique personnel that you can discard without hesitation at the end of your turn anyway. Actually, you want to discard as many personnel as you can, but more on that later. Once Quark, Rom and Nog are in play, you can play Dabo! and start executing its order as often as possible. With the exception of Mardah, all the Dabo Girls only cost one, so you should be able to play them quickly. Also, don't forget about Martia (Duplicitous Chameloid) who can be used as a fifth Dabo Girl.

The other personnel in the deck provide the much needed skills and attributes for your missions: Tolian Soran (who covers Acquire Illicit Explosives) and Ezri Tigan both cost zero and give you Cunning of seven and six, respectively. Loyal bar patron Morn (Barfly) is a bit more expensive, but his seven Cunning and Command icon are also crucial to the deck.

As soon as your Dabo-engine is running, the bulk of the work is done. While the Dabo Girls are busy putting dilemmas under your missions (Expand Business Opportunities should be your first choice), the other personnel won't leave their headquarters until there are four dilemmas beneath Expand Business Opportunities, because it is just too risky. An unlucky kill can easily destaff you and lock you out of the game. Be sure to use Worth the Price to destroy any dilemma manipulation events your opponent might have in play, then use Dabo! to look at the top card of your opponent's dilemma pile. If it is safe to attempt, fly over, complete, fly back home.

A brief note on playing Dabo: If you are not sure what number to call, name two or three. Of the 292 dilemmas in STCCG Second Edition, about two thirds cost two (87 dilemmas, ~30%) or three (106 dilemmas, ~36%). About the same ratio appears in most competitive decks. For example, the winning decks of five major events in 2007 ? Australian Continentals, North American Continentals, European Continentals, World Championship, Grand Prix Germany ? had an average of 28% two-cost dilemmas, and 32% three-cost dilemmas. Of course, you should also take the peculiarities of your local metagame into consideration.

Once Expand Business Opportunities is completed, you will be able to play Artifacts. Enter Tox Uthat. If your opponent has a lucky draw and is able to play dilemmas that might hurt you (either by killing one of your personnel, or by stopping your team and leaving your crew an easy prey to battle, capture, assassination or assimilation), simply put the Tox Uthat under your deck, fly home to safety, and try again next turn (or, make another attempt, and pray that your opponent won't draw into anything useful this time?).

Also, don't forget to make use of the various Orders and other abilities of your cards: Miss Sarda and Aluura give you a chance to draw a card. Mardah (Quite a Writer) allows you to retrieve cards from your discard pile if you can guess the card type of the top card of your deck. This is especially useful to get your copies of Worth the Price back in case your opponent is running an event-heavy deck. If Morn is present with Ezri, he gives you another additional card draw at the start of each turn. Finally, Optimism allows you to discard all your multiple copies of your unique cards in play in exchange for a card draw. And remember, we want to have a big discard pile. Why? Because we want to go Back to Basics!

The dilemma pile is built around several walls that try to stop a mission team with only one overcome dilemma, for example, Counterinsurgency Program or Fesarius Bluff. The latter two also allow you to discard cards you don't need. Combined with the discards generated by Optimism or Bustling with Activity, this should keep your discard pile big enough to use Back to Basics. Ideally, you will discard your multiples of unique cards with Optimism and get a one-card hard stop with Back to Basics. Next turn, simply redraw a couple of the cards you just shuffled back into your deck, then ditch them again to set-up the next Back to Basics. Once you have a copy of all of your personnel in play, it is often possible to draw through the entire remaining deck every turn, thanks to Optimism. If you can get this synergy between your draw deck and dilemma pile running, you should be able to delay your opponent long enough to set-up your own missions for a safe attempt and walk away with the win. Often you will be able to stop an entire mission team with only one dilemma, so don't hesitate to use your remaining counters to play Bre'Nan Ritual or Inferiority along with a Back to Basics; they will help you to get stops on subsequent attempts.

At the end of the day, the deck is, of course, a big gamble, but no risk, no profit, remember?




This deck is currently eligible for the following family or families of achievements:

Decklist

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Missions
Headquarters
1S188•Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Planet
14U55•Expand Business Opportunities
13U45•Gateway, Historical Research
8U62•Survey New World
Space
1U150•Acquire Illicit Explosives


Draw Deck (44)
Equipment
12R212x •Tox Uthat
Event
6P163x Bustling with Activity
8R283x Dabo!
12U282x •Optimism
7C352x Worth the Price
Personnel
Bajoran
2R1083x •Leeta, Dabo Girl
8C633x •Mardah, Quite a Writer
Ferengi
14U883x •Nog, Little Green Man
7R893x •Quark, True Ferengi
14U893x •Rom, Little Green Man
Non-Aligned
8C803x •Aluura, Nice to Everyone
13C922x •Ezri Tigan, Soldier of Fortune
10U952x •Martia, Duplicitous Chameloid
8C853x •Miss Sarda, Not a Legal Expert
1R3372x •Morn, Barfly
7R1092x •Tolian Soran, Renegade Scientist
Ship
Non-Aligned
12C1213x •Kumari, A Fine Ship
Dilemma Pile (30)
Dual
10R21x An Issue of Trust
14R13x Back to Basics
8R42x Bre'Nan Ritual
1C161x Chula: Pick One to Save Two
14U41x Chula: The Chandra
4R112x Counterinsurgency Program
6P21x Dignitaries and Witnesses
4C151x Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
6P62x Hard Time
14U52x Inferiority
14C71x Moral Choice
14C101x Old Differences
1U531x Temptation
13R201x The Dal'Rok
Planet
12C52x Excalbian Drama
12R141x No Kill I
3U251x Rogue Borg Ambush
12U191x Vault of Tomorrow
Space
12C62x Fesarius Bluff
3R121x Gomtuu Shock Wave
11P71x Unbelievable Emergency
7R151x Where No One Has Gone Before


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