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Strategy Articles

Dilemma Interaction

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

17th August 2020

Divisive Patron

When I run demos for Second Edition, I lean pretty hard into the mindset of "dilemmas are interaction." Trek is fundamentally different from most other CCGs, TCGs, or LCGs out there in that it isn't battle-focused, and I've always believed that to be one of the game's strengths. However, in a game between two solvers, I can't deny that, when dilemmas are the only form of interaction, the game can slide towards being the "Two Player Solitaire" that it is sometimes derided as. After all, you're still running your deck largely by the anticipated script, the dilemmas mostly just change how quickly that script plays out. You're still going to that space mission first, and then solve two planet mission, probably in the same order that you always do - it's just that the speed with which you do so depends on how effective you are at busting through your opponent's dilemmas.

With the Harbinger dilemmas, we set out to use dilemmas to try to flip that script. Each dilemma has a different take on the same basic principle: encourage your opponent to (at least consider) doing something they weren't planning to do when they built the deck. Will they fly off to another mission to stop a weapon? Will they abandon their current mission and go somewhere else? Or, with Divisive Patron, will they take the bait and go attempt the specific mission you want them to? This way, dilemmas can encourage the opponent to play the game out in an unanticipated way.

There are a lot of popular, powerful decks these days that run multiple missions that those decks never intend to complete. Reprimand's promotion of 50-point mission use is one of the latest examples, but decks have been throwing Alpha 5 Approach or a random 40-point mission to activate dilemmas for over a decade now. And there's not a lot of reason not to: at the cost of a mission slot (or two!) that you were never going to attempt anyways, you get to add some very powerful cards to your deck.

Well, not a lot of reason until now. Because, in addition to aiming to add a different flavor of interaction to the standard dilemma pile, these Harbinger dilemmas will add an element of risk to this popular strategy. Of course, you can still throw those 50-point missions in there to activate Reprimand, but you might want to be more careful to make that mission a viable attempting option for your deck. Otherwise, things could get pretty dicey for a turn or two.

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