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Strategy Articles

Becoming One With the Borg: Three of Nine

by Niall Matthew, Speaking for the Borg

24th February 2015

Good day to you all folks.

Welcome to the third part of this special article series which looks, in detail, at the most complex affiliation of Star Trek Customizable Card Game: First Edition.

For those of you who are fairly new to the Continuing Committee, I began to publish this series a wee while back. As a lot of you may know by now, I am very much a dedicated Borg player, mainly due to how different this affiliation is, compared to all the others. I have tried to develop as many varied ways of playing this affiliation as possible, and my plan is to share all the experience I have gained over the years with all of you.

Now I have time in my life to complete this article series, remember that Part 1 and Part 2 are available to read. Soon, I will be updating these articles with updated strategies that I have learned over the past year or two.

I plan to leave no stone unturned in my analysis of the Borg. Everything I know will be detailed here.

And for all of you who dread facing the Collective, do not fret. One of my future articles will describe all the different anti-Borg cards and strategies out there to ensure you evade assimilation.

So to recap….

Part 1: Introduction to Objectives, Develop your strategy

Part 2: The seed phase; How to set up the spaceline

Welcome to part Three of Nine: Play Engines

Please note, before we begin, that I am only detailing the basic play engines. Cards like the Borg Queen and many Borg Drones allow cards to play in place of a card draw. There will be a future article on all the downloading tricks for the Borg. For now, we are only looking at cards which directly ‘download xxx’ or ‘play xxx’.

Believe it or not, despite all the horror stories you may have heard about Borg and their complex play/draw/download combinations; they do have the ability to simply play normally like all the other affiliations. They have Outposts, Incident play engines, and Events which allow for Personnel or ships to enter play during the play phase. There are also cards which allow you to access Borg Personnel during the action phase of your turn (and perhaps even during the opponents turn).

Borg Outpost

As with all other affiliations, one of the first things we need to look at are the Facilities. Currently, the Borg have three Facilities at their disposal, each with very different game text. Let us look at the most basic one first.

Borg Outpost

Introduced in the First Contact expansion, this is the most basic of Borg facilities. It simply allows you to report one Personnel, Ship, or Equipment to it per turn in the Delta Quadrant. You can use Spacedoor, Call for Reinforcements, or Construct Starship to download a variety of Ships to it. Also note that Quadrant restrictions do apply, so you cannot play personnel like Locutus of Borg or any of the ready-made counterparts to the Borg Outpost or any of the other Borg Facilities. Once I describe the other two Facilities, you will no doubt be asking yourself “why would I include this in my deck?” The answer to that will be explained later on.

Now we shall look at the two most commonly used Outposts for the Borg; Unicomplex and Transwarp Hub.

Unicomplex is essentially the Borg equivalent of a Headquarters. Not only can you report normally there, it also allows certain Personnel and Ships to report for free (again, obeying quadrant restrictions). The primary play will no doubt be any one of the three versions of the Borg Queen, each with varied powerful abilities depending on your strategy. Unique Drones can also report for free here. Currently, there are nine First Edition unique Drones that can report for free. Seven of Nine, Third and Forth and Three of Nine are among some of the Drones with handy special skills that can report without using your card play. The final reporting function allows you to report a unique ship for free. There are currently five unique First Edition Borg Ships which can take advantage of this ability, like Locutus’ Borg Cube, the two versions of the Queens Borg Sphere, and of course; the Borg Queens Ship, which has attributes of 9-14-14 and can be staffed by the Queen alone, not bad for a free play. Also remember that despite the Headquarters-like reporting ability of the Unicomplex, it is still classed as an Outpost, which means you can repair your ships there, or use Spacedoor on it.

The final Borg Facility is yet another Outpost, but this one is very different from the other two. The Transwarp Hub can do all the things a regular Outpost can do, plus more. It allows Borg Ships to travel instantaneously from the Transwarp Hub to a Transwarp Network Gateway or vice versa (but that is a topic for a future article).

Now that we have had an introduction to the three Borg Facilities you can use, let us now look at another method of reporting Personnel; Incidents.

The most recent Incident to arrive is New Arrivals. This works with any affiliation and allows one free universal personnel to report per turn. However, if you report more than one personnel for free per turn, this Incident is instantly discarded.

The most popular reporting method for the Borg to use is They Will Be Coming, An Incident which seeds on table and allows you to download any Borg Ship to the end of the Alpha Quadrant spaceline. This incident also allows the Borg player to report a universal personnel for free directly to the ship. Note that this Incident does not allow you to card play a Personnel, it only allows one free report, which brings us to another way of playing Borg….

Borg T. Cube

Borg Cubes are the most deadly ships in the game. Wielding impressive attributes of anything between 7-10 RANGE and 24-28 SHIELDS, these are used as mobile bases to quickly get your Borgfrom point A to point B. They have a built in reporting function as well. You may card play Borg Spheres, any Borg Personnel, and any equipment directly to any Cube. In fact, the Borg Tactical Cube allows you to report any defense subcommand Borg for free (this includes Counterparts, as Cubes do not obey quadrant restrictions). So by using They Will Be Coming to download a Borg Cube, you can get between two or three reports per turn. Also remember that the Borg Queen's Ship allows direct reports.

We have looked at all the cards which enter play during the seed phase. The play engines, however, do not stop there. The Borg have multiple ways to report cards without Outposts or Incidents.

Let us look at cards which allow reporting during the card play phase. Most of these will typically cost a card play, but can be downloaded by other cards.

We Are The Borg is a staple card in any Borg Deck, this allows you to play any card with the Borg affiliation icon for free, this includes both personnel and ships, unique, universal, or enigma. If you choose not to use the reporting function, you must draw an additional card at the end of your turn. The other function of this card allows you to download two defense drones to a place where they would normally report. There are three ways you can get We Are The Borg to enter play. You can draw into it and use it as a card play, you can download it in place of a card play with the Borg Queen from The Borg expansion, or you can download it twice per game with the Borg Queen from the Shades of Grey expansion (this method is the most popular way to get We Are The Borg into play.)

Activate Subcommands is a Borg only Event. This allows you to report three Borg drones to the table. These can be any Borg drones, as long as they have all three subcommands between them; the blue one (communication), the green one (navigation), and the red one (defense). They are not restricted to universal Drones. The restriction to using this Event is that you cannot draw any cards for the remainder of the turn, and because this is a card play, this means that you are denied any critical mid turn draws.

If there is a Borg Ship Dilemma in play and the opponent has forgotten to bring out a Q The Referee, you will have a great opportunity to play Retask. This is another Event which costs a card play. It allows you to discard the Borg Ship dilemma and replace with a universal Borg Cube with crew (3 Borg affiliation Personnel, one communication, two navigation and one defense Borg). So, if timed right, you can card play this and gain seven Personnel and a big ship directly onto the spaceline. Remember that you cannot draw any cards for the remainder of your turn after you play this.

"It looks like the Borg keep cybernetic babies in boxes" - William T. Riker, whilst straddling a chair

The Maturation Chamber is an Equipment which can be special downloaded by Third and Fourth or played as a standard card play. This allows the report of a universal Drone directly to the Equipment. So if you can get the maturation Chamber out early enough in the game, then you can combine it with the reporting functions mentioned above to get even more Borg out on the table.


Another card play, and perhaps my favourite method of reporting, is the Borg Scout Vessel. This ship has the lowest attributes of all Borg Ships. However, it more than makes up for it in its ability to report to any spaceline end (to a Transwarp Network Gateway). Don’t worry, if you forgot to seed a gateway during the seed phase, this ship will allow you to download one to the spaceline end you are reporting to. The Scout Vessels abilities do not end there; this ship allows you to report with crew. This means that you can report any Personnel and any Equipment you desire with the Scout vessel, and more importantly, Borg are immune to the effects of the Referee card It’s Only A Game, which restricts non-Borg report with crews to four personnel and/or equipment. Tip: Download a Scout vessel with Spacedoor, return it to hand with Space-Time Portal, and then report it to the spaceline end with whatever personnel or equipment you have in your hand.

The above cards are methods of getting your cards out in play via card plays. Let’s now look at the more unusual methods of unleashing Borg.

Awaken is an Interrupt which can be played at any time during either players turn. This allows a download of a communication or navigation drone to anywhere you can normally report to. It also allows you to download a defense drone to a battle just initiated, and if the opponent initiated the battle, you get to download two defense drones to help your forces in play.

Dilemmas are a very unusual way of getting Borg out to play. Would you believe there are four Dilemmas which can get you personnel (and even a ship) out into play?

"AAAAAAAARRRRRGGHH" - Inge Eiger's last words whilst sporting a very undignified face

Undetected Beam-In is the obvious first choice for increasing your collective. If the opponent fails to meet the conditions of this dilemma (4 SECURITY or Shelby present), then the Borg player may download to that location up to four Borg Drones. These can be unique or universal and may report anywhere at the location. This can include the planet itself, your ship, the opponent’s ships, the opponent's facility; it all depends on your strategy. Tip: If reporting to an opponent’s ship, don’t forget to report a communication drone as well to protect your Borg from Reactor Overload.

Another common Dilemma is Scout Encounter. When the opponent encounters this, you may download a scout vessel along with two universal Drones to that mission. You then get the option of either attacking the ship (if you have an appropriate objective in play) or moving away.

The next dilemma is Sleeper Trap. This allows up to three different Cardassians to download directly to the planet or site at that location. Now remember the thing with Borg is that they are considered Borg species and the species they formally were as per game text. Currently, there is only one universal Cardassian Borg in the game; the Interlink Drone. Fun fact: this drone was used for the promotional material for the First Contact movie and, as far as I’m aware, did not actually appear in the film. If he did, someone please say. Now, you may download him with a hand weapon (which the Borg cannot use in any way) and attack the opponent (again, if the appropriate objective is in play, like Assimilate Species).

There is another dilemma which works the same way, Ferengi Infestation. Now I did check up on the rulings for this one, and sadly it does not allow Brunt of Borg to download to the opponent's facility. Counterparts can only use their gender for Borg only cards. So this dilemma sadly does not qualify for such an amazingly funny move.

4 of 9

The final one is not exactly playing a card, but you increase your drone compliment by one. Borg Servo is a popular Borg only dilemma due to its difficult requirements of Cybernetics and MEDICAL. If the opponent fails to meet the dilemmas requirements, then one personnel is randomly selected to be assimilated and under your control.

Here are more unusual ways to report Borg onto the spaceline which are not dilemma related:

Four of Nine

Like I mentioned above, I will be saving the complex downloading strategies for another article, but I believe this personnel warrants a mention here. He allows you to place a drone present with him beneath the draw deck and download another. So if you need a skill mid turn, Four of Nine is great to use. Remember that the downloaded drone cannot report to Four of Nine, unless he is at a place which allows reporting.

Sphere Encounter

This a tricky one. This is a strategy I have not delved into much yet. This card allows you to report an unlimited number of Borg spheres, with crew, to a spaceline location. The downside to this is you need to complete scouting of a mission using objectives like Establish Gateway or Salvage Starship, it also requires the opponent to attempt the mission that you already scouted. So in order for this to work, you need to have a mission worth over 35 points for the opponent to attempt to steal. Thankfully, this incident is a hidden agenda, so it seeds face down. That way, you can at least hide your evil masterplan to empty your deck of all personnel and spheres until it is too late for the opponent.

"Captain. Earth. It looks pretty bad ass now that the Borg gotten rid of those pesky trees" - As said by Worf while getting beaten up by Deanna Troi.

Population 9 Billion: All Borg

Remember at the start of this article when I mentioned a viable use of the Borg Outpost? Well here it is. Later in the game, when you complete the Stop First Contact objective, you can flip this hidden agenda to download a Borg outpost to Earth. It also allows you to report Borg personnel and ships directly to Earth or the outpost, ignoring those pesky quadrant restrictions. (It also provides a haven for repairing any ships that were damaged during your battle for Earth.)

So, that concludes all the different basic play engines which the Borg wield in their arsenal. There is so much more about Borg to go through, hence the ‘of nine’ gimmick of this series. I plan to release these in more regular intervals than before. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me, as I am more than happy to help people develop their first Borg deck, or enhance their current one. So until next time, I’ll no doubt see you on Lackey, or the forums where I’ll likely post nonsense. 

Next time: In order to fuel such a vast array of play engines, you need to draw cards. Join me in the next article, which will look at all the available draw engines for the Borg. There will even be a starter deck included, utilizing everything that I have covered so far from parts one through four.

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