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Into the Final Frontier, Part 5 - Choosing a Headquarters (4 of 4)

by Chris Heard; Updated by James Hoskin, Staff Writer

2nd March 2009

< continued from page 3

Qo'noS (Heart of the Empire). Qo'noS is found in the Klingon starter deck from the Second Edition Premiere set. You may play [Kli] Klingon cards, [NA] Non-Aligned cards, and equipment cards at Qo'noS.

The Klingon culture spans all of the Star Trek television series and feature films, and is one of the most popular non-Federation cultures in the Star Trek universe. The Star Trek CCG represents the Klingons' emphasis on tradition and honor by bestowing the Anthropology and Honor skills on a rather large number of Klingons. Not all Klingons are in fact honorable, however, and there is a fairly sizeable minority of Klingons - including the villainous Lursa (Sister of Duras) and B'Etor (Sister of Duras) - whose personnel cards bear the Treachery skill. This wide internal variety makes the Klingons a quite versatile affiliation for straightforward decks that complete missions. The Klingons are also well served in this capacity by their above-average Strength and their ability to use cards like The Promise, Shady Resources (if you are using Klingons with Treachery), and William T. Riker (Exchange Officer) to pick up necessary skills on the fly.

Of course, the Klingons are also known in the Star Trek CCG universe as an aggressive species, and the Star Trek CCG reflects this by enabling the Klingons to battle easily and by rewarding them for winning their battles. As noted above, Klingons have a relatively high average Strength, well-suited to personnel combat; their smaller ships are also reasonably inexpensive (in terms of your seven counters available for playing cards each turn) to play and better-armed than the average ship of the same cost. Whether you prefer ship-to-ship engagements or personnel combat, cards like A Chance for Glory offer you the ability to score points by winning your battles. If personnel combat is more to your liking, send a Bat'leth along with your assault team; when you win combat, you'll cause your opponent to discard a card from hand in addition to the other effects specified on the card that allowed you to begin combat. If you lean toward ship engagements, consider Cavalry Raid, an event that boosts your efficiency and speed considerably by allowing your Klingon ships and their crews to participate in engagements and attempt missions on the same turn.

Romulus (Seat of Power). Romulus is found in the Romulan starter deck from the Second Edition Premiere set. You may play [Rom] Romulan cards, [NA] Non-Aligned cards, and equipment cards at Romulus.

As in the Star Trek television series and feature films, the Romulans in the Star Trek CCG are sneaky and devious, capable of direct confrontation when required but much more given to guile and deception. In the game, the Romulans excel at examining and manipulating an opponent's cards. Romulan "intelligence gathering" can often net you extra points or other benefits. Since the beginning of the Star Trek CCG Second Edition, Prejudice and Politics - a card that cycles your opponent's non-personnel cards to the bottom of his or her draw deck, and gives you 5 points for doing so - has been a mainstay of Romulan manipulation decks. In the Necessary Evil expansion, Prejudice and Politics was joined by Getting Under Your Skin, another event that reveals the top card of an opponent's deck, and gives you 5 points if that card is a personnel card. The combination of Prejudice and Politics with Getting Under Your Skin is easy to set up and extremely popular, and could be a source of the points you might need to fund the very powerful Far-Seeing Eyes.

The Romulans are not quite as skilled as the Cardassians at capturing personnel, but once a Romulan player has a captive, he or she has a few options not available when using other affiliations. Any affiliation can use Condition Captive, but the Romulans can go this one better with Brainwashing by snatching a desired personnel straight out of an opponent's hand. With Imperfect Replacement in play as well, that opponent will then be unable to play another copy of that personnel.

U.S.S. Voyager (Home Away From Home). U.S.S. Voyager is a common card from the Captain's Log expansion. While the ship is at a [DQ] Delta Quadrant mission, you may play [Voy] Voyager cards, [NA] Non-Aligned cards, and equipment cards aboard U.S.S. Voyager. Note that U.S.S. Voyager isn't technically a headquarters, but it functions much like one for the purposes of this introduction.

In the Voyager television series, the U.S.S. Voyager and her crew were lost in the Delta Quadrant and they spent seven years trying to get home to Earth. In Star Trek CCG, this is represented by the ship becoming a "mobile" headquarters. You can only play the ship if you do not command a headquarters mission, and you can only play personnel aboard while the ship is at a [DQ] Delta Quadrant mission. This means that the ship and her crew have to do what they do best - complete missions - by themselves with little or no help from anybody else. Fortunately they are well suited to the job. For example, B'Elanna Torres (Straightforward Engineer) can repair the ship once each turn, Chakotay (Bridge Between Two Crews) can prevent personnel from being stopped by dilemmas during mission attempts and The Doctor (Emergency Medical Hologram) can prevent personnel from being killed by dilemmas costing 3 or more during mission attempts.

It is highly unlikely that you will draw U.S.S. Voyager in your opening hand, but there are certain cards designed to make sure that you can download (search your draw deck for the specified card to place in your hand) the ship on your first turn, and play it on your second turn. The mission Caretaker's Array lets you download Finding Our Way, which in turn lets you download U.S.S. Voyager. To make up for your wasted first turn where you are unable to play any personnel, U.S.S. Voyager lets you catch up by placing two Voyager personnel aboard the ship when you first play it. In the television series, Captain Janeway felt the need to break the rules from time to time. The event The Long Journey Home is an example of a card that does just that in the game: it allows you to win without completing a Planet mission - although you do have to complete at least four Space missions in the [DQ] Delta Quadrant instead.

Unicomplex (Root of the Hive Mind). Unicomplex is found in the Borg starter deck from the Call to Arms expansion. You may play [Bor] Borg cards and equipment cards at Unicomplex. Note that the Unicomplex is the only headquarters mission that does not allow you to play [NA] Non-Aligned personnel there. Moreover, unlike most other headquarters, Unicomplex prevents you from using any other headquarters in your deck.

"Lower your shields and prepare to be assimilated." These simple instructions introduced the threat of the Borg into the Star Trek universe - the threat of a relentless cyborg species that swallows up all resistance. The Star Trek CCG develops this Borg flavor by empowering the Borg to "assimilate" opposing personnel (the actual game terminology is that the Borg "take command" of those personnel). The Borg can use a Borg Cutting Beam to start a ship-to-ship engagement; if they win, they snatch a random personnel from the opposing ship, and leave a big hole in the ship itself in the process. Cards like Abduction and Targeted for Assimilation allow for more focused assimilation of your opponent's personnel. Assimilation benefits a Borg deck in two ways: it increases your own pool of personnel with whom to attempt missions, and denies your opponent the use of those same cards (although your opponent is probably playing with multiple copies of key personnel, and can somewhat recover from their assimilation in this way unless you play Imperfect Replacement). Moreover, cards like Knowledge and Experience turn assimilated personnel (the game terminology is "personnel you command but do not own") into assets for overcoming dilemmas, and other cards, such as One With the Borg, leverage assimilated personnel to score points for you.

In the Star Trek television series and feature films, the Borg's voracious appetite for assimilation is accompanied by a tremendous efficiency and adaptability. Accordingly, the Borg in the Star Trek CCG adapt easily to new threats and have a number of mechanisms for reusing spent resources. Adapt, Analyze, and Ascertain translate Borg adaptability into a robust set of options for dealing with recurring dilemmas. As for efficiency, a number of Borg abilities - such as the card-recycling capability of the Calibration Drone - require you to discard a drone, but if you are using Borg Queen (Guardian of the Hive), discarded drones can easily come back into play at just the right moment. The hive mind aspect of the Borg collective is well represented in the Star Trek CCG by "interlinking," a process by which one drone - for example, the Cartography Drone - can contribute a new skill to all Borg in play.

This brief overview of the headquarters missions currently available in the Star Trek CCG, and a few of the strategies that each of the headquarters enables, leaves unanswered one large question: Which of these will you choose to use in your own decks? Some players prefer to "specialize" in a particular headquarters, and they work on exploring all the intricate card interactions that their particular chosen headquarters supports. The majority of players, however, find great pleasure in working through the various headquarters and in trying to build decks that play to various headquarters' unique strengths. Experiment with the various headquarters to find out which ones are most to your liking.

For the remainder of this series, however, we do need to focus our attention more closely. The next few installments in this series will walk you through the process of selecting cards to go with your chosen headquarters. For this exercise, we've chosen to build a deck with Earth (Humanity's Home). In the next installment of Into the Final Frontier, Ron Oliver will help you choose missions and personnel for your first Starfleet deck.

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< Part 4 - Customizing Your Starter Decks � Into the Final Frontier Index � Part 6 - Choosing Missions and Personnel >

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