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Strategy Articles

Vulcan Scheming of a White Christmas

by Charlie Plaine, Live Long and Prosper Lead Designer

17th September 2017

The Scheme concept (cards marked with the [Sch] icon or granted it by Cautionary Tale) began as a pipe dream. A few years ago (I can't recall exactly when), I was perusing old cards and came upon the "spaceline pollution" cards from the PAQ era. I thought it would be really fun to find ways to make those relevant again. In the modern era of "go go go," the thought of some cards that made you slow down felt like a good direction to go. It took awhile to find a fit for them, but I'm happy that they feel so nice in a Vulcan deck.

I've put together a Scheme deck as a starting point. I am not a great First Edition deck builder, so this isn't optimized or streamlined. But I did play a lot of Scheme decks during development of Live Long and Prosper, so I have experience with them. Playing Schemes (and the High Command) is about slowing the opponent down while you plow through dilemmas and missions at a steady pace. Hopefully, your interference will slow the opponent down enough to make sure you get to 100 points first.

The High Concept
The basic premise of your deck is to slow the opponent the "F" down. Schemes provide irritating obstacles for the opponent to deal with, your dilemmas should require them to attempt multiple times at each mission, and Temper Advancements should buy you "one last turn" if you need it. You have lots of mission skills, good card drawing, and solid personnel to help you get through your own missions. If the opportunity presents itself, you can take a shot at an opponent's ship or Away Team and set them back even more.

Building the Spaceline
You can't just throw Schemes into your deck and play; you need to start paying attention as soon as you start building the spaceline. Because Schemes are going to be playing in between missions, you'll want to carefully think about how to place your missions to provide an irritating spaceline for the opponent. Here are some things to think about for the deck as built:

  1. Ideally, you'll want to put two of the opponent's missions next to each other, in at least two different spots. This makes it easier to maximize the value of Thorough Debriefing and You're Not Ready.
  2. Put your missions next to opponent's "pairs" of missions. This way, you can have your [Sch] Incidents hit them and not you. Additionally, you'll make them use more RANGE to move around.
  3. Mind your facilities. You can't control where Vulcan comes up, but do your best to make sure that Vulcan and a mission for your Outpost are spread out. Ideally, you want to be at about 1/4 and 3/4 along the spaceline.
  4. Other than the two groups of two, split up their missions as best you can. If you can't get groups of two, make sure to get in their way as much as possible.

The dilemmas in this deck are skill heavy, stall-based combos. I've put together two planet, two space, and two dual combos; your mileage may vary, and it's not too difficult to shift the balance around based on your local play group. You can put the combos almost anywhere you like, but ideally you'll have two opponent's missions next to each other two times on the spaceline. Put the dual combos under one pair, and the appropriate space/planet combos under the other. You'll want to use You're Not Ready between the missions with the dual combos, and Thorough Debriefing between the other two.

Here are the combos I've put together:

Space #1Space #2
The Ghost of Cyrus RamseyImplication
Male's Love Interest & Plague ShipGomtuu Shock Wave
Difficult DisposalFaux Pas
Planet #1Planet #2
Encased in CrystalHorta
Seismic QuakeA Miner Confrontation
Rock PeopleCrisis
Dual #1Dual #2
Rules of ObedienceRules of Obedience
Ferengi InfestationFerengi Infestation
The Higher... The FewerThe Higher... The Fewer

You have one copy of almost every Scheme in the deck, and you'll need to draw into them. I avoided using Cautionary Tale in the draw deck, because IDIC: Power of the High Command rewards you for playing them, not downloading them. You'll want to play them as they come, even if it's in an inconvenient order; you want to start annoying the opponent immediately.

Your draws come from four places:

On the first turn, if you have either [Sch] Incident in hand, you should play it. Use this card play to trigger IDIC: Power of the High Command to grab a ship and her captain. If you have another Scheme, you can play it, but you might also consider using Call for Reinforcements to get your D'Kyr from the tent instead. If you went first, use your Finally Ready to Swim card draw to download Q the Referee; if you went second, you can grab it with Tribunal of Q.

After you've played cards on turn 1, use Quark's Isolinear Rods to get Charles Tucker III out of the tent; he'll be played next turn. Then use your Q the Referee to get Defend Homeworld, and use that to get Stel - he's your way to get Thorough Debriefing if your deck isn't cooperating. If you don't trust your opponent, you can use your end of turn draw to get your Q the Referee back.

Turn two, you should play Tucker and get Neuropressure Massage out of the tent. Now, you should be getting two card draws a turn as fuel for your deck. If you didn't play a Scheme or get a ship on turn 1, make sure you do so on turn 2. You'll want to get two ships out as soon as you can to maximize Vulcan Database. Speaking of Vulcan Database, if you're set on card draws, feel free to add more skills to your ships.

From this point on, you want to play Schemes when you can in order to maximize the annoyance of the opponent. Make sure you're putting them right in their way. If you haven't seen any of your [Sch] cards, and in particular neither incident, you should fly Stel out to their mission pairs and download Thorough Debriefing. Other than that, just get people out and start hammering on missions. If the opponent gives you an opening, fly over and hit them with a ship or personnel battle.

Your ace in the hole is Temper Advancements, which you can download with Talma. Use it when your opponent is playing reinforcements to solve their last mission, and buy yourself at least one more turn.

Changing It Up
I'm torn on using Cautionary Tale as a download card in the deck. The extra card draws for playing [Sch] cards as card plays are really nice; but, I think you only really need to do it once for the ship/commander download. Using Cautionary Tale gives you more control over the order in which you pull out your Schemes, which could be valuable.

I've found in less and less necessary to include Tribunal of Q and any [Ref] cards in my games. Removing that would free up a seed slot and allow you to use the original Q's Tent, which enables red-shirting space missions. I've included the [Ref] package here because it's still got some uses, and you should use it if your meta calls for it.

There is a lot you can do with the card drawing package in this deck. I didn't lean too heavily on Minister Kurak, but you could splash in some copies of Alien Probe and really maximize his utility. Likewise, Vulcans have several valid Computer Skill x2 targers for Quark's Isolinear Rods, so if you don't want to rely on Tucker and Neuropressure, you don't have to. After all, grabbing Subcommander T'Pol for her double special downloads is never a bad decision.

The dilemmas are probably the place you can customize the deck the most. For example, it doesn't take much to turn this into a much more aggressive version of the deck. Using extra damage dilemmas, forced movement cards, and more can have you run the opponent into your nasty [Sch] cards over and over. Adding in some [Self] dilemmas could really make for a problematic game for the opponent.

Conclusion However you decide to mix it up, I hope you'll give the Vulcans and the Scheme cards a chance. It's not a deck for everyone, as it won't be fast enough for speed players and it won't be aggressive enough for battle/interference players. But there's a wide space in the middle between those two deck types, and players that fall in that space will hopefully enjoy this hybrid-style deck.

Take some time to play with the deck, add your versions into the deckbuilder, and let us know what your experiences were. Design is always reading tournament reports and forum posts on the Gameplay and Deck Design boards. Your feedback helps us decide how to maneuver the game in future expansions. We can't wait to read what you do with the Vulcans!

Discuss this article in this thread.


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

Mission (6)
19 V1x Assemble Fleet
22 V1x Deliver Ancient Artifact
79 P1x Excite Dark Matter
23 V1x Intercept Dignitary
13 V1x Investigate Derelict
36 V1x Research Devastating Attack

Seed Deck (30)
1 V1x A Miner Confrontation
7 S1x Crisis
4 V1x Difficult Disposal
5 V1x Encased in Crystal
5 V1x Faux Pas
94 VP2x Ferengi Infestation
110 VP1x Gomtuu Shock Wave
111 VP1x Horta
14 C1x Implication
12 P1x Male's Love Interest & Plague Ship
9 V1x Rock People
14 V2x Rules of Obedience
17 V1x Seismic Quake
13 V1x The Ghost of Cyrus Ramsey
125 VP2x The Higher... The Fewer
1 V1x Battle Bridge Door
93 VP1x Q's Tent: Civil War
15 V1x Temporal Conduit
13 V1x Finally Ready to Swim
76 P1x Vulcan Outpost
43 V1x Call for Reinforcements
9 V1x Cautionary Tale
4 V1x Make It So
20 V1x Protect the Timeline
61 VP1x Quark's Isolinear Rods
2 VP1x Tribunal of Q
Time Location
61 V1x 22nd-Century ShiKahr

Draw Deck (45)
2 V2x Ready Room Door
R1x Abandon Mission
U1x Gaps in Normal Space
C1x Q-Net
7 V1x Strange New Worlds
16 V1x Thorough Debriefing
78 P4x Vulcan Database
17 V1x You're Not Ready
39 VP1x HQ: Secure Homeworld
31 V1x Ambassador V'Lar
80 P1x Delvok
34 V1x Koss
36 V1x Minister T'Pau
81 P1x Sanye
38 V2x Sedis
39 V1x Sinam
40 V1x Smolek
41 V1x Sodor
82 P2x Sopek
42 V1x Soval (Live Long and Prosper)
43 V1x Stel
84 P1x Strom
46 V1x Syrran
85 P1x T'Lam
47 V1x T'Les
48 V1x T'Mer
49 V1x T'Mik
86 P1x T'Pol (Pre-Warp Pack)
50 V1x Talma
51 V1x Tavek
53 V1x V'Tal
87 P2x Valrik
54 V1x Vanik
52 V1x V'Las
33 V1x Jonathan Archer (Live Long and Prosper)
56 V1x Ni'Var
57 V1x Sh'Raan
58 V1x Ti'Mur

Q-Tent Side Deck (13)
71 P1x Vulcan PADD
8 V1x Vulcan Tricorder
47 U1x Captain's Log
55 VP1x Defiant Dedication Plaque
50 U1x Lower Decks
6 V1x Neuropressure Massage
8 V1x Temper Advancements
26 V1x Reed Alert!
78 P1x Vulcan Database
29 V1x Combat-Ready: Tactical Reserve
U1x Vulcan Mindmeld
32 V1x Charles Tucker III (Live Long and Prosper)
88 P1x D'kyr

Battle-Bridge Side Deck (12)
60 V12x Vulcan Particle Beam

Q the Referee Side Deck (13)
5 V1x Mirror Image
8 V1x Villagers With Torches
10 V1x Containment Field
11 V1x Feedback Surge
15 V1x It's Only a Game
16 V1x Obelisk of Masaka
17 V1x Panel Overload
18 V1x Q the Referee
19 V1x Reactor Overload
21 V1x Strategema
24 V1x Oof!
25 V1x Scorched Hand
28 V1x Defend Homeworld

"Outside the Game" and/or Seed-Phase Downloads (1)
11 V1x IDIC: Power of the High Command

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