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Patrol Bonus Zone - Essen 08

by Kevin Jaeger, Staff Writer

1st October 2008

No affiliation in Star Trek Second Edition generates and uses extra points as well as the Romulans. So when coming up with a deck idea for this article, I decided that I should try to come up with something that could generate lots of extra points quickly and put them to good use. With a little inspiration from my good friend and fellow member of the World Champ's club, Caleb Grace, I think I've got something entertaining for you to use. The best part: you can take it to Essen and try and win a shiny new Getting Under Your Skin foil!

The ideology behind this deck is simple: score at least 30 non-mission points while completing Collapse Anti-Time Anomaly and Iconia Investigation. If you generate any points beyond the 100 you need for a full win, feel free to use them to fuel Power Shift, skirt the rules with Outlining the Stakes, and/or disrupt your opponent's carefully-laid dilemma combos with Jean-Luc Picard (Bearer of Ill Tidings). While the overarching ideology of the deck is simple, the actual gameplay of the deck is not. In fact, in-game decision-making with this deck can be, shall we say, a [chairman's] challenge.

But let's not dive into the deep end of the pool just yet. First, let's talk about how you are going to generate 30 round-the-corner points in a short amount of time. For starters, there are the tried and [jolan] tru[e] methods of pairing Getting Under Your Skin with Prejudice and Politics, and playing an event nearly every turn for a virtually gauranteed five points. Do that three times and you are halfway there. That will not be difficult with cheap events like Astrometrics Lab, Power Shift and Engage Cloak played in multiple. The other half of your points will come from the combolicious pairing of Preventative Ritual and Security Sweep. Hold any of either you happen to draw in your hand until you have at least one copy of each in your hand. Check to make sure you have two Romulan Security personnel in play (half your personnel have Security), and then play Preventative Ritual to rig the top of your opponent's deck to contain three personnel. Afterwards, play the Security Sweep to score a quick-and-easy ten points. As a bonus, those cards go to the bottom of the opponent's deck! "What if I end up looking at two personnel and two non-personnel?" Simple. Place one of the non-personnel on the bottom of the deck, then place the remaining three on top with the non-personnel as the top card. Then, execute your Prejudice and Politics for a quick five points. Finally, get some testicular fortitude going and play Security Sweep anyway. You've probably got a good chance that third card is a personnel.

Another basic-level strategy involved in playing this deck includes the combination of numerous Astrometrics personnel (for completing missions) with the Astrometrics Lab to give those seven-Range ships a boost to get from space to home to planet or from planet to home to planet or to recover from some nasty Gomtuu Shock Wave damage. Another benefit of 'Astro Lab' is being able to pitch a personnel from hand before a mission attempt so that The Caretaker's "Guests" has a lessened chance of hurting you.

That was the easy stuff. On to the intermediate-level difficulty. The three copies of Engage Cloak are not in the deck just for pretty. They have a purpose, and that purpose is to abuse the Khazara. Once you have the Khazara in play and staffed, you can place it on Engage Cloak and execute its order. Ideally, you would place a non-personnel card from an opponent's hand on top of the deck to then Prejudice and Politics away. Sometimes, you'll place a personnel on top of the deck right after you just executed the Preventative Ritual trick mentioned above. Confused? This is how it goes down: You get the Khazara staffed and into play along with Engage Cloak. You play Preventative Ritual, placing one card under the deck and a non-peep on top with two peeps underneath that. You Prejudice and Politics-away that top card for five points. You then execute the Engage Cloak and put the Khazara on it. You then execute the Khazara's Order and place a peep from your opponent's hand on top of his or her deck. You then play Security Sweep, revealing three personnel for 10 points. That's 15 points without breaking a sweat. Let's get crazier. Say you played the Engage cloak that turn with Getting Under Your Skin in play already and reveal a peep. That would have been another five points, meaning you would have scored 20 round-the-corner points in one turn, and you haven't even attempted a mission! "But Kevin, what if they don't have a personnel in hand for that trick?" Simple, plan ahead by using Keras (Creature of Duty) to name a personnel you know (or think) they have in their deck to put into their hand. Better yet, name a personnel they have in play you think they have multiples of their deck. Someone like James T. Kirk. Speaking of which, if an opponent is using James T. Kirk (Original Thinker), he or she might have just put him in hand on the previous turn by using his ability. After your trick is complete, he will be on the bottom of the deck. That'll send a message.

That was the intermediate-level stuff. Now let's talk about the advanced strategy... the decisions that will separate the men from the boys. The advanced strategy with this deck is not with the events or interrupts as is usually the case, but with the personnel abilities and dilemma pile construction.

If you, the reader, take this deck to Essen, you can expect there will be a good chance that others will be vying for the Getting Uunder Your Skin foil, also. If so, you can expect to see Romulans, Next Generation "Feds" and Ferengi Bribery. So, plan accordingly! Romulan, Federation and Ferengi decks often contain copious amounts of Honor and/or Treachery, so play An Issue of Trust. Ferengi lack the Intelligence skill, so for them, you have Rogue Borg Ambush. Romulans and Ferengi have trouble with Integrity, so in go two copies of Excalbian Drama and Gomtuu Shock Wave. The Federation has Kirk, so two copies of The Caretaker's "Guests" become a necessity along with a Lawgivers, a Personal Duty, a pair of Moral Choices and an Unbelievable Emergency. Each of those affiliations has an attribute weakness, so play with The Clown: On His Throne. Each of those affiliations has a Headquarters, so play with A Royal Hunt. Lastly, your Romulan opponents also like to play with events. For them, you have a Shocking Betrayal and Zero Hour.

As for the personnel, the focus is heavily centered on just completing the two primary missions... lots of Archaeology and Programming which can be found on Mareth and Mullen. Astrometrics, Engineer, Leadership, and Physics are found in useful combinations on a good number of the personnel. Seldom-used personnel like T'Rul, Donatra, Parem, and Sirol are big winners for you here. There's nothing too advanced about all that, of course. The advanced level play comes in using their abilities. During playtesting of this deck, I found that if I used my instincts and experience, I could make good guesses as to what my opponent just placed in his or her dilemma stack. Sometimes, that meant planning ahead to use Navaar (Experienced Gift) to potentially gain three Geology for Breaking the Ice, or Intelligence for Rogue Borg Ambush, or even a second Diplomacy for Gomtuu. That's the other use for those events. If you look at the skill matrix for the deck, Geology and Biology are missing. That would be because the Romulan personnel with those skills often have Honor or Treachery. If you look again, you'll see a distinctly low amount of those skills for a Romulan deck. In four playtest games, An Issue of Trust only stopped one personnel each time. Who needs the new Neral?!?

Another wrinkle to the personnel is the "Stooge" Mareth. In playtesting, I could get a Mareth selected for a stop, check my personnel, make an educated guess as to the remaining dilemmas, and then decide to prevent the stop by discarding an event so that I could get his mission skills or an attribute to continue. That's not all, either. The fact is, I could talk for another half dozen paragraphs about the different "tricks" this deck has, but you'll just have to play the deck to see them. Most of them are obvious.

One final thought: I have not tagged any of the cards in this article for a reason: it wouldn't do any good. Most of the cards are already well known. Plus, in any game with this deck, the interaction of a host of different cards could be particularly relevant. I suggest you simply build the deck and play it out rather than just looking at any individual card.

I'll just leave you now with one final opinion, "First Edition card list style":

Easy-to-get points + skill cheating + attribute cheating/boosting + occasional disruption + metagame preparedness = a good deck.




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

Decklist

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Missions
Headquarters
1S195•Romulus, Seat of Power
Planet
1U174•Iconia Investigation
1U179•Investigate Massacre
Space
5P21•Collapse Anti-Time Anomaly
14U59•Patrol Neutral Zone


Draw Deck (47)
Event
1C752x Astrometrics Lab
1R873x Engage Cloak
4U553x •Getting Under Your Skin
4U672x Power Shift
1U1063x •Prejudice and Politics
Interrupt
4R942x Outlining the Stakes
10U413x Preventative Ritual
3U773x Security Sweep
Personnel
Non-Aligned
14C992x •Navaar, Experienced Gift
Romulan
0AP71x •Charvanek, Fleet Commander
1S3561x •Cretak, Supporter of the Alliance
1R3571x •Donatra, Compassionate Patriot
1U3591x •Hiren, Romulan Praetor
8R911x •Jean-Luc Picard, Bearer of Ill Tidings
12R1071x •Keras, Creature of Duty
4C1702x Mareth
3C1952x Mullen
14C1051x Nevala
2C1641x Palteth
4U1711x •Parem, Special Security
13U1001x •Rekar, Tool of the Tal'Shiar
2R1651x •Sirol, Diplomatic Adversary
7R1131x •Spock, Celebrated Ambassador
2U1661x •T'Rul, Curt Subcommander
12U1091x •Tal, Alert Subcommander
1U3741x •Taris, Deceitful Subcommander
13C1021x •Tomek, Displaced Alien
Ship
Romulan
2R1782x •Khazara
2R1791x •Terix
2R1801x •Trolarak
Dilemma Pile (40)
Dual
10C11x A Pattern of Lies
4C31x A Royal Hunt
8R11x Agonizing Encounter
10R22x An Issue of Trust
4C61x Back Room Dealings
1C161x Chula: Pick One to Save Two
14U42x Chula: The Chandra
16V51x Chula: Unfortunate Roll
15V21x Curt Reprimand
6P41x Final Adventure
6P51x Full Security Alert
4C151x Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
6P61x Hard Time
14C72x Moral Choice
14C101x Old Differences
1S431x Pinned Down
12R152x Psychokinetic Control
14U131x Shocking Betrayal
1U531x Temptation
11P62x The Caretaker's "Guests"
16V151x The Clown: On His Throne
13R201x The Dal'Rok
Planet
12C52x Excalbian Drama
12U91x Lawgivers
3U251x Rogue Borg Ambush
16V141x The Beast at El-Adrel
8R201x Zero Hour
Space
15V12x Breaking the Ice
12C61x Fesarius Bluff
3R122x Gomtuu Shock Wave
1R421x Personal Duty
11P71x Unbelievable Emergency


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