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The Front Line

by James Cream, Staff Writer

13th December 2014

When The Enterprise Collection was released in the summer of 2006, I wasn’t too pleased with the idea. I had been hoping that more First Edition cards would be made, but this was almost too little to matter. An expansion of just eighteen cards which were supposed to introduce a whole new affiliation seemed pretty pointless, and of course the purpose was to try to draw more First Edition (1E) players into buying Second Edition (2E) product in order to fill out this new affiliation using Backwards Compatible (BC) cards. But I bought it anyway, as I had to maintain my complete collection of 1E and these were certainly 1E cards.  

Gannet Brooks

For years, these cards sat in the closet with no use other than aesthetic. I had bought two sets but only opened one, to admire the art, and that is where The Enterprise Collection really shines. In stark contrast to the shoddy images given to To Boldly Go cards, every image on a TEC card is outstanding.

This all changed when the virtual set, Straight and Steady, was released. It brought Starfleet from an unrealized pipe dream into a playable and enjoyable deck type. Since then, the Starfleet affiliation has seen cards released in various products which have slowly increased their card pool and playability. I wrote about a Starfleet deck that I built back in February of 2011, but as recently as last August I set out to try and make a competitive deck that used Starfleet as the sole affiliation. In this article, I update my Ready to Die deck to include the newest member of Starfleet: Gannet Brooks.

I could definitely see Gannet added to the original Enterprise-themed expansion. The art is amazing and she is an absolute skill monster, with a wide array of useful skills. Computer Skill, Biology, and SECURITY all fall into the ‘can never have quite enough’ category. Diplomacy isn’t one of the most common Starfleet skills, especially if you limit yourself to just 1E template cards. As for Treachery, this is the first time that it has appeared on a Starfleet personnel on the 1E template. All other Starfleet Treachery occurs on Mirror Universe sourced 2EBC versions of the existing Starfleet persona, meaning that once they are converted the skill could be much harder to come by, unless you care to seed Crossover.

Gannet Brooks is only the second Starfleet personnel to have the CIVILIAN classification, though as of yet it’s not the most useful. What really makes her interesting is the brand new Infiltration icon. Never before have we seen someone who can infiltrate the Starfleet affiliation, and at the moment, I don’t really see much use for it. But it has got me quite intrigued as to what mischief she might be able to cause once Infiltration, as an in game mechanism of interaction, is fleshed out.  

Well, Mr. Archer, Are You Ready to Die?

This version of my Starfleet deck, like the one before it, has the goal of making the affiliation stand on its own. Previously, I had always coupled them with 22nd Century era Klingons or Orions. When approaching a Starfleet deck build, it becomes immediately obvious that they are wealthy in draws but not so much in free plays. In some ways this is not an issue, both Star Trek : Enterprise and Star Trek : Voyager presented to us a small group of highly skilled main characters who often solve the problems on their own. This is reflected in the gameplay for the Delta Quadrant decks (Voyager) and Starfleet decks (Enterprise), where just a few personnel have a lot of skills and powerful abilities. When it comes to 1E gameplay, the Starfleet deck is at the opposite side of the spectrum from a TNG one, in that the former plays a few very powerful personnel and the latter plays many rather weak personnel – and I think this is exactly how it should be.

VCM

However, I have mitigated this ‘slow play’ weakness to some extent in the deck design. First, we have Visit Cochrane Memorial, which has recently had errata to allow Starfleet to use it. This deck is built with a very high number of human Engineers in order to increase the number of turns were the famous memorial can be visited. In particular, Defend Homeworld (for Malcolm Reed going Commando) and Quark’s Isolinear Rods (for Emory Erickson) should ensure that the early turns have a few opportunities to probe. With this deck, the most likely results are a Starfleet icon, netting one card draw, or an Event or Interrupt, netting a free personnel play to Earth. There are only two cards in the deck which do not net one of these results, making the odds of a card draw about 50% and those of a personnel free play at about 45% (depending on how many Ready Room Doors you’ve been lucky enough to draw).

Next, we will discuss the ability to download key personnel out of the deck. In the seed portion of the deck, it has: Assign Mission Specialists, Assign Support Personnel, Quark’s Isolinear Rods, and Tribunal of Q (to get Defend Homeworld). In the draw deck, it has: Going to the Top, I’m a Doctor Not a Bricklayer, and M.A.C.O.

Both Assign Support Personnel and I’m a Doctor Not a Bricklayer have very specific targets, which are hidden in the Q’s Tent side deck. Neither Garrid nor Elizabeth Cutler are particularly useful to the deck, but they do fill skill holes. Going to the Top has just two possible targets in Jonathan Archer and Maxwell Forest. Military Assault Command Operations, on the other hand, is in the deck in a high number of copies and has an array of targets with a wide variety of skills. Because they work so well together, the MACOs are perfect for dilemma busting and mission clearing. Amanda Cole, Hideaki Chang, and Nelson Kemper – in addition to Lower Decks – all increase personnel attributes, which helps make up for the fact that they have yet to be converted. Sascha Money and Sean Hawkins help prevent death and capture of personnel. While Jeremiah Hayes is just an all-around solid cheater, though the requirement of completing a space mission before his ability can be used makes it unlikely to be useful in every game. The ability to simply dial a target skill heavy personnel out of the deck is pretty useful, but it unfortunately costs a card play and will use up your one personnel download per turn limit enforced by General Quarters. Still, not everything is free.

How to Get What You Want for Free

Unless, of course, it played for free and during your opponent’s turn. Enter Parallax Arguers, the card that offers two great ways to win every time that it is played. This Interrupt gives the opponent the option of giving you 5 points OR allowing you to play an Event for free. Neither of these results is bad, and in most games I have seen a bit of both. If they give you too many points, the deck might just be able to pull off a two mission win, or at the very least it can mitigate any point loss incurred during the game and give you the liberty to red shirt missions with just MACOs while the key mission solvers get drinks in the safety of the Starfleet HQ bar.

MACO

Always, always, always play Parallax Arguers when you have an event in hand. The deck only has two types of events: draw more cards (Temporal Shifting) and download sweet personnel (MACO). But there is also another reason to use Parallax Arguers in a Starfleet deck: Jonathan Archer’s special gametext adds 1 to every X, meaning that a choice of Points will actually get you six points on the board and a choice of Event will get you 1. All Parallax Arguers go to the Point Area and are instantly increased in value once the Captain finds his way to the bridge.

But What’s the Point of Playing If I Can’t Cheat?

I completely agree, and luckily Starfleet are one of the best cheater affiliations in the game. Tucker’s special download of Mr. Tricorder obliterates the popular Access Denied + Ferengi Ingenuity + Dejaren dilemma combo. But he also has the option of bringing in the Vulcan Tricorder for added Biology, Geology, or Science. Jeremy Lucas can bring in the Medical PADD, which not only passes Executive Authorization but also upgrades all those extra ENGINEER classification personnel into M.D.s.

T’Pol’s special download of Vulcan Mindmeld can add another copy of a key skill to the mission attempt. This can be especially useful for busting the popular Personal Duty + Friendly Fire dilemma combo.

But the best is certainly Daniels' special download of Out of Time. This play suspending move can remove your personnel from a mission attempt, at Earth, right in the middle of a dilemma combo and/or right before they are all about to perish horribly. Then you can simply bring in a new crew or away team to bust the final dilemma(s) and solve.

Conclusion:

It’s always great to see Starfleet get new cards and Gannet Brooks is a fine (pun intended) addition to the team. I am personally looking forward to bringing out this Starfleet deck build once again in an upcoming tournament.

Welcome aboard, Ms. Brooks.

 

 


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Decklist

Print DecklistCopy Deck



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


Mission (6)
Mission
P1x Cargo Rendezvous
R1x Espionage Mission
R1x Fissure Research
U1x Protect Shipment
17 V1x Renovate Starbase
12 U 421x Secure Strategic Base

Seed Deck (30)
Dilemma
R1x Cytherians
U1x Dead End
5 R1x Denevan Neural Parasites
60 VP1x Denevan Neural Parasites
U1x Edo Probe
R1x Founder Secret
C1x Friendly Fire
7 V1x Friendly Fire
8 V1x Gomtuu Shock Wave
6 C1x Linguistic Legerdemain
13 C 172x Reflections
C1x Scientific Method
2 C 241x Telepathic Deception
U1x The Higher... The Fewer
18 V1x The Whale Probe
10 R1x V'Ger
97 VP1x V'Ger
Doorway
C1x Alternate Universe Door
93 VP1x Q's Tent: Civil War
10 V1x Temporal Micro-Wormhole
Event
9 V1x Finally Ready to Swim
Facility
Neutral
C1x Neutral Outpost
Incident
R1x Quark's Isolinear Rods
2 VP1x Tribunal of Q
Objective
C1x Assign Mission Specialists
39 C1x Assign Support Personnel
21 V1x File Annual Report
R1x Visit Cochrane Memorial
Time Location
36 V1x 22nd-Century San Francisco

Draw Deck (59)
Doorway
31 U1x Ready Room Door
2 V1x Ready Room Door
34 VP1x Space-Time Portal
Event
14 R 355x Military Assault Command Operations
43 P5x Temporal Shifting
37 VP5x Temporal Shifting
Facility
Starfleet
44 P1x Seat of Starfleet
Interrupt
R1x Going to the Top
39 U1x I'm a Doctor, Not a Bricklayer
C8x Parallax Arguers
Personnel
Starfleet
12 C 1101x Amanda Cole
8 U 941x Callaghan
45 P1x Charles Tucker III
13 R 1111x Chief Surgeon Phlox
14 C 1081x Crewman D'Vela
39 V1x Dallas
49 V1x Danica Erickson
40 V1x Daniel Leonard
42 V1x Erika Hernandez
48 P1x Ethan Novakovich
15 V1x Gannet Brooks
12 C 1111x Hideaki Chang
12 R 1121x Jeremiah Hayes
50 P1x Jeremy Lucas
51 P1x Jonathan Archer
13 C 1091x Major Reed
53 P1x Maxwell Forrest
12 C 1132x Nelson Kemper
12 C 1142x Sascha Money
12 C 1151x Sean Hawkins
55 P1x T'Pol
56 P1x Travis Mayweather
Starfleet/Non-Aligned
41 V2x Daniels
Ship
Starfleet
51 V1x Columbia
57 P1x Enterprise
13 U 1211x I.S.S. Avenger
53 V1x Sarajevo

Q-Tent Side Deck (13)
Equipment
U1x Medical PADD
5 V1x Mr. Tricorder
8 V1x Vulcan Tricorder
Event
U1x Captain's Log
R1x Defiant Dedication Plaque
50 U1x Lower Decks
Facility
Starfleet
21 V1x Starbase One
Incident
13 V1x Out of Time
Interrupt
U1x Vulcan Mindmeld
Objective
23 V1x Straight and Steady
Personnel
Starfleet
46 P1x Elizabeth Cutler
47 P1x Emory Erickson
43 V1x Garrid

Q the Referee Side Deck (13)
Doorway
U1x Temporal Vortex
Event
17 V1x General Quarters
U1x Mirror Image
20 V1x You Are a Monument
Incident
U1x Access Denied
60 C1x Containment Field
31 C1x In the Zone
29 U1x Q the Referee
34 C1x White Deprivation
Interrupt
U1x Oof!
U1x Scorched Hand
U1x The Juggler
Objective
41 U1x Defend Homeworld



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