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Strategy Articles

The Romulan Art of War

by Michael van Breemen, Freelance Writer

9th February 2009

The Romulan Star Empire does not like it when others oppose them. They do not appreciate it when you criticize them, disagree with them, or worse, attempt to beat them at anything. They do not like to lose, so they alter the situations involving them towards more favorable circumstances, leading to a more inevitable resolution. They cheat. Unlike Klingons whom will battle you, or Cardassians whom will capture you, the Romulans will simply take your resources away before you can ever get them... and without the need to interact with you whatsoever. "To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." – Sun Tzu

The idea of this deck is simple: to lock your opponent out from completing enough missions for the win, while still leaving you enough time to complete your missions as well. In this particular deck design, the target skills for removal are Telepathy and either Biology or Exobiology, depending on which skill is less prevalent in an opponent’s deck. The focal dilemma of the deck, Telepathic Deception requires Cunning and Telepathy, a skill that shows up less frequently than once per deck (129 Telepathy personnel in 242 total decks, according to the skill listing in all public decks). Failing that, the other option is Biology, Exobiology and Security. With Biology and Exobiology personnel in almost identical amounts overall (1,109 Biology and 1,119 Exobiology respectively), you’re looking to take out about five personnel or so, statistically speaking. That isn’t taking into account any skill-increasing cards, but that’s where your dilemma pile and draw deck come into play.

The dilemma pile is exclusively of dual-dilemmas, so no matter what, you’re going to be able to play something. The most important thing about this dilemma pile is that you have to track not only how many Telepathy and Biology/Exobiology personnel are in play, but also who has the skills to begin with. Your dilemmas are limited, so make every one of them count. The pile is broken down into three parts – The killers/filters, the walls, and the limits. The killers and filters are rather basic – The Caretaker’s "Guests" to take someone of my choice out of the mission attempt (which is always played first, especially if my opponent hasn’t gotten anyone in the discard pile currently), Secret Identity for the same reason (which is why The Caretaker’s Guests is played first), though the opponent will probably get a personnel in their place and He Wasn’t Nice (which is better than Kelvan Show of Force because of the potential to kill multiple personnel of the same card title, the ability to pick the person you want killed, and the immunity from nullification by Reyga’s ability.) Coupling these dilemmas with Dukat (Pah-Wraith Puppet) will help make sure that your opponent stays down for the count. Next, are my two walls, the aforementioned Telepathic Deception and Counterinsurgency Program. All of the opponent’s choice dilemmas can help to remind you what skills your opponent doesn’t have in play to make this dilemma a one-discard all-stop. Lastly, Timescape and Skeleton Crew help prevent multiple mission teams and small mission teams at the same mission (respectively) each turn. Inferiority gives assistance with possible (future) bad shuffles, and spending for future dilemmas. This is especially important as this deck has no dilemma manipulation of any kind, another reason why the dilemma pile is as small as it is. The only other dilemma that could also be useful in the deck is Swashbuckler at Heart. It removes potential skill-adding interrupts from the opponent's hand, places them back into the deck where they’re vulnerable to your tactics, and nets you two card draws.

The most important thing to accomplish on your first turn is to have three Romulans in play and either Getting Under Your Skin or Prejudice and Politics. That is the fuel for the deck, providing the extra points necessary for your Far-Seeing Eyes to create havoc within your opponent’s draw deck. The initial targets would be any cards that would help your opponent bypass your dilemmas, followed by the secondary target of personnel. Dilemmas are your back-up for dealing with your opponent’s personnel, but they do very little against cards like Ascertain, The Rite of Emergence, or even Medical equipment. The other additional benefit of going after non-personnel cards first is that it adds to the different types of cards that are placed out of play, increasing the attributes on Taibak. Once both Getting Under Your Skin and Prejudice and Politics are in play, you’re (practically) guaranteed five points each turn you play an event, but you can get five points from both events with Preventative Ritual. Simply play the interrupt before you use Prejudice and Politics. That way, not only do you place one of your opponent's top four cards on the bottom of his or her deck, but you can make sure that the next card that you see using Prejudice and Politics scores you five points before placing that card on the bottom of his or her deck. Lastly, it can be used in conjunction with Posturing to remove the top card of your opponent’s deck for the most attributes for your mission attempts. It can also remove a ship out from play, something that Far-Seeing Eyes is unable to do.

As stated before, having three personnel in play on your opening turn is most important. This is helped if you go second, thanks to Historical Research, allowing you to choose a personnel to download. Hiren makes a good choice if you don’t have Prejudice and Politics in your opening hand. The Viceroy makes for another choice, helping to get your events into your hand faster. Sabrun has a double purpose in the deck – both to be a low-cost Romulan Senator to be in play, and to be a target for Alternate Identity, swapping places with Data, Spock, and Taibak respectively (if possible). Rekar gets a one-counter reduction once Data gets in play, which is why Data comes first (not to mention Data’s five-counter cost) and Ptol gets a counter reduction for each dual-icon dilemma you reveal from your opponent’s top four dilemmas. Once your opponent is locked out, it’s now all about completing your missions. The three missions you’re going to attempt can be completed with your core group of Data, Spock, Taibak and Rekar. Data is the attribute beast, Spock is the +1 attribute source for the Romulan species since he’s with Data, Rekar reduces one card from what your opponent can draw and Taibak supplies the rest of the skills along with some significant attribute levels by this point. If you’ve only removed three different card types (a low assumption), Taibak is at seven Cunning and Strength with Spock which isn’t bad at all. Since they are all four-cost or greater, they can all take advantage of Wariness to avoid random selections for any mission that they attempt, making it that much easier to complete missions. After all, you just spent half the game preventing your opponent from winning the game; you should spend the other half getting through your missions as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Sun Tzu said, "What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy." This deck accomplishes that without firing a single shot.


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


Print DecklistPrint ChecklistCopy DeckDownload Into DeckPADD

1S195•Romulus, Seat of Power
13U45•Gateway, Historical Research
8U62•Survey New World
1U204•Uncover DNA Clues
14U54•Elude Federation Forces

Draw Deck (42)
4R513x Far-Seeing Eyes
1C882x Feast on the Dying
4U553x •Getting Under Your Skin
1U1062x •Prejudice and Politics
17V381x •Wariness
1R1203x Alternate Identity
17V432x Posturing
10U413x Preventative Ritual
12R983x •Dukat, Pah-Wraith Puppet
13R992x •Data, From the City of Rateg
1U3592x •Hiren, Romulan Praetor
17V771x Ptol
13U1002x •Rekar, Tool of the Tal'Shiar
1C3663x Sabrun
7R1132x •Spock, Celebrated Ambassador
17V782x •Taibak, Prodigious Conditioner
1C3732x Talvin
10R1022x •The Viceroy, Advisor to the Praetor
17V892x Bird-of-Prey
Dilemma Pile (20)
4R112x Counterinsurgency Program
17V62x He Wasn't Nice
14U52x Inferiority
3U263x Secret Identity
3U282x Skeleton Crew
2C243x Telepathic Deception
11P63x The Caretaker's "Guests"
2C253x Timescape

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