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Strategy Articles

Star Trek @ 51

by Paddy Tye, First Edition Creative Manager

30th September 2017

I loved the 50th Anniversary set. Well, I really should given I was part of the design team for it! The set was fairly unique, with no personnel or ships - focusing instead on story elements like Missions, Dilemmas and Objectives – and the images the Art team produced were brilliant. But how have those individual cards fared in the 12 months since release? How have subsequent expansions effected things?

A Passionate Vulcan - Usage: Minimal

Ah, Sybok! Ever since the release of Decipher's The Motion Pictures players have struggled to get this decktype to work. This dilemma was an attempt to allow players to "splash in" some Sybok - while saving a full fix for a later block. With a tough Mindmeld requirement making this a likely stop, and the potential to steal two personnel from the opponent, this seems like it should be seeing more use. However, adding Sybok will immediately break mechanics like Continuing Mission or Reshape the Quadrant, or force you to discard a card if using Starfleet or 22nd century Klingons or Vulcans. Also, the Release This Pain dowload (and Sybok's own download of it) means maybe 2 slots in the tent used and one dead card you need to draw into. Is that too high a cost for people to stock it? Perhaps so.

Attack of the Drones - Usage: Low

While being another dilemma which downloads cards from the deck/tent, this one is seeing more use – possibly due to the strong synergy with the 22nd Century Klingon capture deck. Combined with Scout Encounter for the I.K.S. Raptor, 2 Security personnel and the download of Klingon Bounty, this could net you as many as 4 captives across 2 dilemmas. Add in the potential use of Temporal Conduit, which could cycle any Transporter Drones drawn to back under the deck for later download, then this is looking like a pretty good strategy to get you those 15 points available on Klingon Imperial Court. This is definitely a card that has been helped by recent expansions.

Exact Change - Usage: Medium

The odds of having the exact CUNNING of 50 are pretty low, so this essentially forces a choice: stop everyone and re-attempt next time, or filter out two people ahead of whatever is dilemma is next. Removing two people (opponent’s choice) is a pretty strong option – you could almost guarantee a Friendly Fire or Linguistic Legerdemain hitting by taking out certain skills. A conservative player would take the auto-stop, and a more gung-ho player will likely trigger the follow-up – so both are fairly good outcomes!

Jol Yichu'! - Usage: High

By far the winner of the four dilemmas in the set. Requiring a staffed ship in orbit (“God” anyone?) and potentially killing two personnel of opponent’s choice, this was one of the strongest dilemmas the Continuing Committee had released in the Virtual era, second only to “mock-dilemma” Quantum Incursions. It also serves as a Transporter Skill wall – an area where you could previously accept being low on in your deck, knowing the punishment wouldn’t result in a lock-out. I think I’m yet to play in a tournament where either I’ve not used this or one of my opponents hasn’t used it.

Amargosa Observatory and Conduct Stellar Research - Usage: Minimal

This pair of cards was one of the harder ones to balance. The free download of the station should justify the “lower than usually desired” 30 points on the mission – but then the gametext of the station itself requires the triggering of The Nexus (which if self-seeded is no real difference versus solving a mission, and if seeded for an opponent to hit is not guaranteed) before you get that download of a Trilithium Weapon. Is that cost still too much effort? Perhaps so. If you’re goal is to use the Trilithium Weapon to solve Redirect Energy Weapon on Veridian III, then the need to include a space mission bypasses the normal advantage (forcing opponent to mis-seed some dilemmas due to your 6-planet set up). On the whole, it feels like the elements are all there, but maybe there’s one final push needed to get this deck to work. I suspect the fact that the Observatory can end up on the far side of the spaceline from Veridian III is the biggest issue…

Combined Task Force - Usage: Low

We always knew in designing this card that it would need help in the future – more DS9 personnel that can also report to a Headquarters. Despite that, several people have tried it in its current state – and it is tempting to go flying around in the Defiant with a bunch of Klingons in tow blowing up your opponent. Right now, this almost feels like a preview card for a “Dominion War block” (if such a thing ever happens) and I expect this card will become a more attractive option in the future.

The Warp Five Program - Usage: Low

Twelve months ago, Starfleet had many drawbacks – and this card was proposed as a way to mitigate many of them. The “one ship” restriction was true to the show, but a challenge to pull off until Shuttlepods were introduced – something I expected would see a reversal in fortune for this card. Alas no. With MACOs getting a similar relocation trick and more likely to seed an Outpost for the UFP: One Small Step download, the uptake on using this card has been lower than I expected. I suspect over time, as more people play the different variations of Starfleet (as well as Vulcans and new flavours of Klingons), and the appearance of this card in Earth-based Starfleet decks will see steady growth. Being able to relocate personnel straight to the ship and not needing to seed an outpost for Assign Mission Specialists is still worth a seed card.

Khan! - Usage: Medium

Despite the strong ability to nullify bonus points, this card hasn’t featured as strongly in people’s decks as previously feared when it was released. A late addition to the set (another card hadn’t been working and a conversion of this iconic Star Trek moment was suggested) there had been concerns if it was too powerful – but my own attempts to break this after release (combining with Hero of the Empire and point loss dilemmas) failed to prove there were any problems with this card. And any excuse to shout “KHHHAAAAANNNN!!!!” loudly in my opponent’s face just adds more flavour to the game!

Battle of Sector 001 - Usage: Low

First Contact has been heavily mined for images over the years: 178 cards with the First Contact property logo drawn from just 111 minutes of cinema. However, the Enterprise-E faction saw a re-birth in the virtual ages thanks to Federation Flagship: Relaunched and the Resistance is Futile set and remain a popular faction thanks to their strong skills and downloads. Keeping this new mission specific to that faction has given then a handy launching point, but has the ever-present danger of mission theft AND the threat of an encounter with a Borg Ship dilemma. In addition, building up sufficient WEAPONS to score the extra 25 points is not an easy task. It might require a little more incentive to pull Enterprise-E decks out of the Briar Patch!

Investigate Probe Origin and The Inner Light - Usage: Minimal

I love how this pair of cards ties together the themes we’d seen from TNG’s “The Inner Light”, such as Investigate Alien Probe, Ressikan Flute and Drought Tree, and creates a viable 2-mission win strategy using these cards. I think the initial version of The Inner Light (which also allowed an opponent to steal Investigate Alien Probe resulted in a high barrier to entry, however now that the Errata team have corrected that oversight, I’m optimistic that this strategy will see more play. Interestingly, this was never intended as a conversion during the design process, it was just a coincidence discovered later on that there was a 2E card with the right title and a good image, so it was decided to declare it a conversion!

Supervise Dilithium Mine - Usage: Low

When trying to create a card for Nemesis, there was a desire to not step on the toes of the future design team who work on the Remans. Originally the Remans had been scheduled for the third set of the TNG Block: The Sky’s The Limit. However, that plan changed during testing, so the whole Reman cycle of cards got pushed back to a later block. Making our Nemesis card a conversion of Remus (one of the more popular 2EBC missions) seemed like the best way to not hamper future design space – and the timely release of “Process Ore: Mining” in Crossover seemed like a good thematic fit with the card, providing a handy draw engine for Headquarters based Romulan decks. While it lost 5 points in value and one Geology requirement in conversion, the free Objective then adds those points and the additional Geology requirement back on – and the low span addition to the Romulus System Region helps with controlling the spaceline. Although this hasn’t seen much uptake in the last 12 months, Romulans haven’t featured strongly in new sets – but that may all change once Project Wisdom comes along…

Vanquish Enemy - Usage: Low

Possibly my favourite image from the set, the iconic battle in the Mutara Nebula bears both high risk and high reward. Being able to damage an opponent there is a tempting prize – and certainly offputting for those who want to steal it! However, the flip side that your opponent can damage you (assuming they’ve stocked a battle bridge) and the fact it can be stolen (and not protected by HQ: Defensive Measures) is probably what’s keeping this from seeing more use. We’ve seen a less battle-oriented meta since the last errata to the Kazon – but as the meta shifts this may change.

Facilitate Peace Talks - Usage: Medium

Ever since the release of The Motion Pictures, fans of the Classic Film era Feds have complained about Khitomer being a poor matching location, often favouring the Classic Film era Klingons instead. Now players can raise a toast to the Undiscovered Country and see their favourite affiliations working together in harmony (unless Admiral Cartwright interferes). In addition, the altered requirements are a better fit for the Treachery-scarce Federation elements of the alliance, and solving that mission provides a strong reward (two personnel of different affiliations). I’m not surprised that with the additional free play from Protect the Timeline, several players have tried out this revived deck. With a Movie era block on the horizon, I expect to see this card rise in popularity!

Prepare Landing Party - Usage: Minimal

The thing we really wanted to capture on this card was the weekly process of beaming down to mysterious-planet-of-the-week with a bunch of phasers and tricorders, killing a red-shirt, and the whole thing being solved by a trio of senior officers who really should be on the ship rather than risking their lives from the dangers of polystyrene rocks and deadly plant spores. That, I think we did. Admittedly, TOS decks still have a relatively small personnel pool and the caveat on this card (no non-TOS personnel) does limit its use. However, with TOS block due sometime next year, I again expect to see the popularity of this card grow.

Reunite Legends - Usage: High

A free ship? Yes please! Not costing a card play to download, this card has slotted into many decks, not just those revolving around Classic Film personnel – from supplementing a Klingon armada or IKC T’Ong drop deck, to the Admiral Kirk (TMP) / Jean-Luc / Nanoprobe Resuscitation combo, or easy access to Genesis Effect, and maybe just to access Crew Reassignment, this has proven to be one of the most diverse cards found in this set. It can even be used in Continuing Mission decks, should you fancy using the ship that won’t be ready til Tuesday!

Set A Course For Home - Usage: Minimal

Ironically, this was the first card I turned to once Broken Bow released and gave us a new version of Earth that wasn’t stealable! Voyager decks have only seen sporadic support over the years, and something which let us tie up the loose ends of the Voyager story and finally bring the ship home seemed like a great card to represent the series! Unfortunately I’ve found the Voyager Shuttle deck to be quite seed and draw intensive, and this just adds one more seed card into the mix, and they were surprisingly low on non-OFFICER Archaeology to get past Quantum Leap (need some 2EBC personnel to get converted!) so the low usage probably doesn’t surprise me right now. But as Voyager-love grows, I look forward to seeing more players get the lost ship back home!

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