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Nothing That Happens is Truly Random

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

7th September 2014


With Rayva out now, we've seen most (but not all) of the ways that Terok Nor will wear your dilemma pile down - off the top, essentially at random. Now, Kira cared about the cost of the one dilemma she burned, but Untapped Influence cares about all the dilemmas you've removed. But if those dilemmas are random, how can you know what you'll get? Oh, sure, you scan them with Worf or Nog or Ptol, or even put them there with Tampering with Time, but that's cheating. There's a lot you can know without even looking.

Let's say, before your first mission, you've used Kira once, you've pulled off Founder Leader and Tenuous Alliance once, and another dilemma removed through some other means - I'd say seven dilemmas removed from the game to start with is not an unreasonable expectation for a dedicated Dilemma Pile Dismemberment deck. Well, you've got some copies of Untapped Influence; what do those dilemmas get you? If only there were some data to be found regarding dilemma popularity...

Oh right. Well, that's part of the puzzle. I also collected data on how often dilemmas showed up in multiple, and while I didn't collect data on Dual/Space/Planet distribution this year, I doubt that it has changed much since I did it a few years ago. So that will generate for us anĀ "Average Winning Dilemma Pile", but since attrition piles are by far the most common type of pile, that'll only give you information on that one type of pile. So, for the remaining types that we'll look at, I'll use piles that I consider archetypal from the Second Edition World Championships.

I consider Michael Van Breemen to be the pioneer of the modern Tragic Turn pile, so I'll use his. Mike Harrington is not only the first person to do well with a Chula pile, he ran the highest-placed Chula pile on day 1, so I'll use that one. Nobody defends Legacy more ardently than John Corbett, I'll pick that one. And Amber Van Breemen did better with Unfair Comparison than anybody else at worlds, so I'll use hers (though I think we can safely assume your eyes will turn to dollar signs if you're playing Terok Nor against an Unfair Comparison pile).

So, you've got seven random dilemmas from each of these piles. What do you get? Let's look at the cost first. We'll look at the odds that the highest cost dilemma you remove is at least...

Untapped Influence

So, most of the time, regardless of what type of pile you face, you'll be able to add at least three to someone's attributes. Against attrition piles, more than half the time, you'll be able to add five, nearly a whole extra personnel, to someone for the rest of the attempt - and that's just the attribute side of this card. You've also got the skills side to consider, and there's likely plenty to gain there too.

The math's harder here, so there are no charts, but let's look at the average winning pile. Now, once a dilemma has been removed, you won't be able to use that dilemma to meet the requirement on another copy of it unless it tends to appear in multiple. For the most part, that's Gomtuu Shock Wave - and the Diplomacy there also shows up on other common dilemmas like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? and Greater Needs. Unfortunately, the Honor and Treachery on An Issue of Trust are unlikely to be useful since they only appear on other copies of itself and on Back Room Dealings/Greater Needs, and a Terok Nor deck should be quite embarassed if it needs to cheat to get Treachery.

Unfair Comparison piles will again make you happy, since they tend to run more multiples of skill dilemmas, like Whisper in the Dark or Tsiolkovsky Infection or Formal Hearing - and those dilemmas share multiple skills (like Honor, Officer, and Programming) with each other. The Medical-related requirements also show up elsewhere, like on Where No One Has Gone Before. This time, the Honor on An Issue of Trust will help out with Whisper/Formal requirements.

However, Unfair Comparison is not the biggest payout on the skills side, that would be the Legacy pile. Even in John's pile, with few duplicates, many of the filter dilemmas can give you skills to help pass the non-Legacy big guns. Triage/Show Trial helps with Mugato/Tsiolkovsky, Pillage and Plunder helps with Captain's Holiday, Magnetic Field Disruptions helps with Where No One Has Gone Before, that sort of thing.

Now, neither the Tragic nor the Chula pile has much to offer on the skills side of Untapped Influence, but neither asks much of you in terms of skills - the attribute boost (though smaller) is more likely to help here. Actually, what's most likely to matter here is the fact that, with seven dilemmas gone, you're about a fourth of the way through those piles already. And you still have two Tenuous Alliances left. And Sybok. And some Ohhhh, Nothing Happened!s. Add TOS earth and Helen Noel to taste, and bon apetit!

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