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The Virtues of Pugnacity

by Michael Shea, Staff Writer

15th August 2020

Star Trek: The Motion Picture opens with our first look at Klingons since the end of he Original Series. You've already seen Krase, and he exemplifies what Star Trek fans would recognize as "Klingon" for the next several decades. Today, we'll be taking a look at his ship, the I.K.S. Amar, Pugnacious Responder. While we only saw her on screen for a few minutes, she and her bellicose commander made a lasting impression. I have a feeling that her Star Trek CCG Second Edition incarnation from All Our Yesterdays stands to make a similar lasting impression.

I.K.S. Amar

At first glance, she seems quite similar to Kronos One. Her staffing and stats are the same, but the Amar costs 1 greater. The Amar's range isn't as good as the TOS Era D-7 Battlecruiser, and again she's one counter more expensive. However, it's much easier to increase this ship's attributes than her unique K't'inga Class counterpart: as an order you may destroy any number of your Hand Weapons aboard to make her a 9-9-9 until the end of the turn. When you consider how common it is to encounter a Klingon player using Hand Weapons, the utility of this ability should become obvious.

I asked Richard New (The Guardian, and Lead Designer on this set) to give me some insight into the design intent behind this card. Here is a bit of what he had to say:

"An interesting tidbit about the Amar is that after batting around ideas for Klingons [for] quite a while, we settled on the bartering mechanic. ... It seems easier to activate than Kronos One. If someone is just planning to use the ship for movement, the D-7 is probably better, but the Amar can make early battle a much easier prospect. Hand Weapons work either way. If the opponent goes space first, Weapons of 9 (as a base before any other pumps) are nothing to sneeze at. And if the opponent goes planet first, you'll probably already have Hand Weapons out to enhance your combat and you can burn them later for back-and-forth [trips] to your headquarters."

What's interesting to me is that this card can be used to encourage more tactical thinking in-game. Suppose you find yourself facing an opponent counting on that two-mission-win from the Cardassian Outskirts, Kressari Rendezvous weapons-discard text. Or, suppose you're facing a Bajoran Resistance combat deck that relies on the Varon-T to make you sorry you ever left home. With the ability on the I.K.S Amar, you can make that opponent choose whether to stick to their original plan, or whether preventing your increase in attributes is more important. Perhaps your opponent will choose to discard their Varon-T to stop you from getting the increased weapons you need to hit their Assault Vessel and trigger your chance to use Ja'chuq three times to get four dilemmas under your Delta Pavonis, Secure Expansion. Or, maybe your opponent will have to choose between sticking to their two-mission strategy or facing certain death from your 9-9-9 ship and your All-Out War.

Similarly, let us suppose it is you who intend to do battle, using your Heart of Glory and your Ferocity to inflict carnage on an opponent's stopped away team. But, you find yourself up against a control deck and you can't keep your events in play or your opponent is playing with Jem'Hadar and Hand Weapons to complete their Vandros IV, Restore Iconian Gateway. Suddenly, combat doesn't seem like such a winning strategy. Normally, those Hand Weapons would turn out to be useless, unless your opponent forgets you have them and carelessly throws a Rogue Borg Ambush without setting it up first. Now, with the text on the Amar, you can still get some good use out of those weapons. So, while you might not be able to force your opponent to rethink their tactics, you can reconsider yours.

The point is that this card, more than containing a simple attribute pump, encourages more dynamic play in-game. This card is part of a new cycle of cards, hinted at with her Commander, that forces players to make choices that alter the way they play. These sorts of tactical decisions can change the course of an otherwise predictable game, or even result in subtle shifts to the meta. In other words, this sort of interplay can make games more exciting, or at the very least more interesting.

The I.K.S Amar rewards players who come eager to fight and willing to adapt. Stay tuned to see what else All Our Yesterdays has in store. Qapla'!

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