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Quantum of Thirty-Four

by James Cream, Staff Writer

26th June 2015

Since the very beginning of Second Edition, the game designers have been punishing the mega-team. Micro- and mega-teaming was often an issue in First Edition, so it was decided to limit these strategies. Limiting micro-teaming was a bit more straight forward: they simply added an attribute requirement to every mission, thereby defining how few personnel would be required to solve each. Mega-teaming was detered by introducing Dilemmas which punished a bountiful mission attempt. 

There are currently 12 such dilemmas in the game, and they vary in strength and effectiveness.

Explosive Decom

Explosive Decompression and Pursuit Just Behind

These dilemmas are a matching pair, where the former is a space specific Dilemma and the latter is planet specific. Other than that, they both do the same thing: kill people. These will kill a single person (randomly) if the mission attempt has 10 or less personnel in it, two if the attempt has 11, and three if it has 12 or more. On the plus side, they always kill one personnel (assuming that the opponent can't prevent the kill) but both have big limitations in a cost of 4 and a limited use (only planet missions or only space missions). They also both go under the mission, meaning that they can only be used once (without doing extra work to recur them).

Limited Welcome and Pinned Down

The other two dilemmas from the first Second Edition set which punish mega-teams, these are both dual dilemmas (allowing them to be played during any mission attempt) and both cost just 2. As compared to the first two, these are more likely to be useful when drawn and also will leave more counters to spend on further dilemmas in order to prevent the mission solve. However, these dilemmas only stop the extra personnel instead of murdering them, so neither is really much of a punishment.

The big benefit of Pinned Down is that it is still a useful dilemma if the opponent never chooses to attempt with greater than 9 personnel. In a regular attempt, it is just a 2 cost dilemma that randomly stops one personnel. Limited Welcome is more useful if you actually expect the opponent to attempt with >9 personnel, as it plays on the mission and can be reused in subsequent attempts at that mission - effectively preventing further mega-teaming while not adding to the number of overcome dilemmas. However, it is still limited to the one mission where it is initially played.  

Exposed Power Relay

The second expansion for the game ramped up the punishment for mega-teaming slightly. This one works a lot like Pinned Down. It will always stop at least one personnel, making it never a dead dilemma draw. However, a mission attempt including >9 personnel will trigger its punishment effect. If the number of personnel attempting the mission was 10 when they hit this, then the first randomly selected personnel will be killed rather than stopped and then a second personnel will be randomly killed. This brings a mission attempt of 10 down to 8. If the mission attempt had more than 10 personnel initially, it straight up murders three personnel but that third personnel is the opponent's choice (and happens after the first two are killed). Like Pinned Down, this is a dual dilemma. Though slightly more powerful, it has the higher cost of 3. 

A Royal Hunt

Restricted Area

Well players must not have been getting the hint, because the third set also included a mega-team punishing dilemma. Restricted Area works a lot like Exposed Power Relay with the big difference being that the punishment for having >9 personnel in the attempt is to have those extra personnel captured, instead of killed. If the attempt has 9 or less, it costs 3 and does a single random stop. But at 10 personnel, that first personnel is captured and so is one of their friends. Beyond 10 personnel attempting, this dilemma suddenly costs 3 and captures 3 (all randomly).

A Royal Hunt

The fourth set in the game also included a mega-team punishing dilemma, but this one changes up the formula considerably. For the first time, the dilemma returns to the dilemma pile, such that it can be used again on a future attempt (and even at a different mission). What's more, it costs 0, meaning that there are still a lot of counters to spend on the mission attempt at hand. To make up for the low cost and not going under the mission, this card consumes two. Finally, it steps back the power a bit by just stopping the extra personnel in the attempt. If 9 or fewer personnel encounter this, then one is stopped. If 10 or more encounter it, two are stopped. Another downside of this dilemma is that it does nothing at all against a no Headquarters deck (though it does slightly more to a double HQ deck). Because it is neither the most useful nor the must punishing, I expect to only see this dilemma in a pile which likes to consume dilemmas (i.e. benefits from the cost).

Bioneural Computer Core

It wasn't until set 9 that Second Edition introduced another mega-team punishing dilemma, and this one was likely included due to the draft nature of the set it was in - to ensure that every player had access to at least one anti-mega-teaming dilemma. Like the previous 4 dilemmas, this is a dual and is guaranteed to stop at least one personnel, but at the inflated cost of 4. But to bring novelty to the punishment, this dilemma not only removes personnel in excess of 9 from the attempt but gives them to the opponent to command. The opponent will get one new personnel at their HQ if 10 personnel encounter this dilemma and two new characters to play with if there are 11 or more. One big downside to this dilemma, in addition to its cost, is that it relocates the personnel to an HQ, so one might want to include a Headquarters mission in their deck if they plan to stock this.

Mark of Gideon

Another dilemma which mimics the effect of Exposed Power Relay while bringing something novel in terms of punishment. This again costs 3 and is again a dual dilemma. It isn't completely a dead draw, as it will at least stop one personnel. But when there are >9 personnel in the attempt, they start getting returned to hand - making the offending player have to replay them and repay for them. When 10 personnel encounter this dilemma, the first randomly selected personnel is stopped and then bounced to hand and a second is chosen by the opponent to return to hand - allowing them to pick off the most expensive or most useful crewman. If 11 or more personnel encounter this dilemma, then three total personnel are returned to hand - two of those opponent's choice.

Fractured Time

Fractured Time

A personal favorite of mine, this anti-mega-teaming dilemma released in the In a Mirror, Darkly set (the thirteenth) flat out caps the mission attempt at 9 personnel. Every additional personnel beyond the nine (determined by random selection) is removed from the game. The Worf just don't mess around. This dilemma has just two downsides, it costs 4 and it goes under the mission (i.e. can only be used once without extra work).

Setting the Stage

This dilemma works a lot like Fractured Time, in that it hard caps the mission attempt at 9 personnel. On the downside, the extra ones are ony stopped. But the real strengths of this card are that it is dual, costs just 2, and returns to the dilemma pile to put that hard cap on future attempts at other missions.

Infatuation

The final anti-mega-team dilemma released so far, this one has a very specific purpose of naming skills, so that it can be used in a Legacy pile and also doesn't cause the player using it to be punished by Legacy. This one also only stops personnel, but again it is a cost 2 dilemma which can be used to pick of key skills even when the attempt is using a reasonable number of bodies. This one stops a Secuirty personnel if 9 or fewer personnel encounter it; one Security and one Medical if 10 encounter it; and one Secuirty, one Medical, and one Officer if 11 or more encounter it. 

So, why am I reminding you of all this just now? Just thought you might like to reconsider these fine dilemma pile options before next Friday.

Though all your efforts are irrelevent to the Borg. 


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