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Known Throughout the Galaxy as the Alien’s Graveyard

by Paddy Tye, Broken Bow designer and very camp commandant

21st March 2017

“It is the judgment of this court, that without possibility of reprieve or parole, you be taken from this place to the dilithium mines on the penal asteroid of Rura Penthe, there to spend the rest of your natural lives.”

Escape Gulag

Klingon justice is a unique point of view. Sarek first mentioned this in The Voyage Home, and we got to see this for ourselves in The Undiscovered Country, which featured both a Klingon trial and the frozen wasteland of Rura Penthe. But for a culture where the expectation of a death sentence is so high, a lot of prisoners of the Klingon Empire do seem to find that the traditional death sentence gets commuted (Kirk, McCoy, and Archer to name a few) and they are instead consigned to the icy wastes of Rura Penthe. Must be some sort of undisclosed directive to ensure sufficient dilithium gets mined to fuel the mighty Klingon military.

While we first saw it on screen in 1991, Enterprise re-visited those iconic scenes in “Judgment” – a season two episode set in the heart of Klingon territory at a colony called Narendra III (where have we heard that name before?) and at everyone’s favourite gulag – Rura Penthe – tugging on the old nostalgia heartstrings as we saw those now familiar Alaskan landscapes appearing in Trek again, 10 years later. At the time, as the future designers of Broken Bow, little did we realise how important this episode would become for developing the 22nd century Klingons!

The Starfleet part of this set already had some clear paths to follow. Earth was already established as a reporting location, and the MACO conversions (started in The Terran Empire) needed to continue. The Klingon part was fairly wide open however. Although a small number of Klingons had been released focusing on the Augment storyline from season four, it wasn’t large enough as a standalone faction. The next most consistent appearance of the Klingons in Enterprise was during season two – Archer’s trial, recapture and subsequent pursuit at the end of the season as the NX-01 headed off into the Delphic Expanse. As such, Klingon justice (or Klingon capture) became a focus for this sub-faction.

While I’ll look at how this will work for reporting in another article, my focus today is punishment and everyone's favourite Gulag, Rura Penthe!

You’ll have already seen the new Klingon-based objective Search and Seize which gives a handy point boost to Rura Penthe and also a handy method for acquiring some captives to mine that Dilithium. So it’s surprising to look at the conversion of Escape Gulag and not see the Klingon icon on there. On first inspection, the mission appears to be better suited to Federation, Romulan, and Non-aligned decks – with skills like Geology, ENGINEER, and Transporter Skill well suited to an escape plan. It’s the opponent’s side – with a SECURITY and Law focus that seems to fit better in your Klingon deck.

Operate Dilithium Gulag

But that is where Operate Dilithium Gulag gives it an extra twist. Literally.

Once you seed (or play) Operate Dilithium Gulag the whole mission rotates 180 degrees, making it attemptable by your Klingons! While we’ve all seen objectives changing mission requirements, this is an alternate twist on that approach. The original 2E version had two sets of requirements, which we captured through the asymmetric mission – using an objective to change to a third set of mission requirements seemed redundant, so instead we developed a Trilithium Weapon style alternative!

Operate Dilithium Gulag also lets you download (to hand) a personnel with Rura Penthe in lore (another feature for Maelwys to add to the database). Maybe this will allow you to capitalise on the card draw this objective offers, if you have a captive or a personnel with “Prisoner” in title. Is this a spoiler for later in this set perhaps? Or maybe something in the Motion Picture block? Who knows…

Inevitably the objective also means that solving the mission gives you an extra reward (and a fairly predictable one) – boosting RANGE (not to be sniffed at for 22nd Century ships) which fits thematically with all that dilithium you’ve just been mining to fuel your ships! So, a bit of 22nd Century Klingon justice can provide some good rewards for you, while you punish your opponent's personnel!

Long live the Empire!

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