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Into the Final Frontier, Part 8 - Dealing With Dilemmas (1 of 1)

by Nathan Miracle; Updated by James Hoskin, Staff Writer

11th March 2009

"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you had better go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous - with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross - but it is not for the timid." - Q, from the Next-Gen Episode "Q, Who?"

It is one of the things that makes Star Trek distinctively Star Trek. Every week, the crew faces new challenges, new difficulties... one might even say new dilemmas. In the Star Trek Customizable Card Game, you take control of the dangers of the galaxy for your opponent. The universe is vast, and so are the number of dilemmas to choose from, so before we talk about the list below, let's quickly review how dilemmas work.

When Jane attempts a mission, she declares how many personnel will be in the attempt. Bill then counts how many overcome dilemmas are beneath the mission. He subtracts that amount from the number of personnel in the attempt to determine how many dilemmas he may draw from his dilemma pile and how many counters he may spend on dilemmas for this mission attempt. Remember, when Jane attempts a planet mission, Bill may only play dual and/or planet dilemmas. Likewise, when Jane attempts a space mission, Bill may only play dual and/or space dilemmas.

Bill decides which dilemmas he wishes to play and places them face-down to create a dilemma stack for Jane to face. He places the remaining dilemmas face-up beneath his dilemma pile. Whenever Bill reaches a face-up card in his dilemma pile, he will shuffle the pile and place it face-down.

Alright... so now we're up to speed on dilemma usage. Since you've already built your draw deck, let's build a dilemma pile to go with it. Dilemma piles come in many different varieties. The dilemma pile in this particular article focuses on stopping personnel. This type of dilemma pile has several advantages. The primary advantage is reliability. Few of the dilemmas in this dilemma pile offer a way for your opponent to avoid their effects. Another advantage of this type of dilemma pile is its adaptability. Some dilemma piles require help from your deck, but this one may be attached to a variety of decks without hurting its performance. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this dilemma pile includes easy-to-obtain cards. The pile below requires no rare or premium cards, so you should have little trouble acquiring them.

You will find a couple of dilemmas in this dilemma pile, such as Pinned Down (pictured left), that begin with the phrase "randomly select a personnel to be stopped." Others, such as Triage and Cultural Differences, require your opponent to choose a personnel to be stopped (or, if he or she cannot, randomly select a personnel to be killed). Using these two types of dilemmas, you can choose how many of your opponent's personnel to remove from the mission attempt. With practice, you can prevent your opponent from completing any mission while at the same time allowing him or her to overcome only a minimum number of dilemmas.

Of course, there are other types of dilemmas in this pile as well. Chula: Echoes and Chula: Unfortunate Roll (pictured right) both have the ability to stop three personnel, but at the risk of not stopping any. Likewise, Racial Tension could stop two personnel, or it could stop none. Make sure to watch as your opponent plays personnel so you can see how risky using these cards would be. Alternately, if you don't like paying that much attention, you could use Secret Identity to take a peek at your opponent's personnel and plan for the future.

Crew Advancement and Outmatched (pictured left) both feature the keyword: Consume. If a dilemma your opponent is facing has this keyword on it, he or she will tell you to consume a number of dilemmas; you simply take the number of specified dilemmas from the top of your dilemma pile and place them beneath the mission being attempted. Crew Advancement consumes two dilemmas, a fixed number, so you therefore take the top two cards from your dilemma pile and place them beneath the mission. Outmatched, on the other hand, does not specify a specific number of dilemmas. You may choose any number of dilemmas to consume with this card. You won't be able to use these dilemmas later, though, so Outmatched is best used as a last-ditch effort to stop your opponent.

Another keyword that appears on dilemmas, such as Breaking the Ice (pictured right) and We'll Never Know, is Persistent. When your opponent's personnel complete a mission, you may discard a non-personnel card from hand to take a dilemma with this keyword from beneath that mission and place it back under your dilemma pile. In effect, you are paying for the opportunity to use it for a second time - something that is useful if you have a small dilemma pile.

This dilemma pile has the absolute minimum of 20 dilemma cards in it. When you start building your own dilemma piles, you may include as many as you wish, so long as there are at least 20 dilemmas and no more than three copies of any single dilemma. Having a larger dilemma pile will give you more options against your opponent, but it will also result in your dilemma pile being less consistent.

One final thing to watch out for is the ratio of dilemmas in your pile. You don't want to draw a handful of planet dilemmas when your opponent's personnel are attempting a space mission, and vice versa. Also, you don't want to have to play several low-cost dilemmas to stop your opponent's personnel when one-high cost dilemma will do the same job for you (because each overcome dilemma will subtract from the number of dilemmas you can draw and play on the following attempt.) Conversely, if your opponent only gives you a low number of dilemmas to draw from your dilemma pile, you don't want to just draw dilemmas that are too expensive to play. As a guideline, a good place to start would be a ratio of approximately 50% dual, 25% planet and 25% space dilemmas in your dilemma pile, with a fairly even mixture of low-cost and high-cost dilemmas. You can then try it out in a game or two and customize it to your preferences.

Now you've completed your deck entirely! Tune in next time, when James Hoskin tells you how to get plugged-in to your local gaming community in the final part of this series.

Have an opinion about this article? Post it here!

-djl-

< Part 7 - Provisioning Your Draw Deck � Into the Final Frontier Index � Part 9 - Joining the Interstellar Community >




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

Decklist

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Missions
Headquarters
8U55•Earth, Humanity's Home
Planet
8U60•Retrieve Materiel
12U42•Secure Strategic Base
Space
8U53•Automated Repair Station
14U53•Sphere 41, Eliminate Sphere Network


Draw Deck (35)
Equipment
4C322x Emergency Transport Unit
1C651x Engineering PADD
Event
8U371x Preeminent Precision
Interrupt
8U501x He Speaks in Shale
Personnel
Non-Aligned
5P341x •Daniels, Temporal Enforcer
1R3321x •Kamala, The Perfect Mate
4R1611x •Lore, The One
5P352x •Miles O'Brien, "Smiley"
14U1021x •Soval, Vulcan Ambassador
Starfleet
17V801x •A. G. Robinson, Prototype Captain
8U942x Callaghan
8C951x •Charles Tucker III, "Trip"
8C971x Dallas
10C1051x •Daniel Leonard, Cautious Admiral
8C991x •Elizabeth Cutler, Eager Entomologist
8U1003x •Emory Erickson, Father of the Transporter
10U1041x •Erika Hernandez, Comparable Captain
8C1021x Garrid
8U1071x •Kelby, Arrogant Engineer
8R1081x •Malcolm Reed, Weapons Expert
16V441x •Masaro, Idealistic Saboteur
8R1091x •Maxwell Forrest, Starfleet Executive
8R1111x •Phlox, Alien Physiologist
12C1151x Sean Hawkins
13R1141x •T'Pol, Not a Slave
8R1132x •Travis Mayweather, Space Boomer
Ship
Starfleet
10R1201x •Columbia, The Second Warp Five Ship
8R1171x •Enterprise, Finally Ready to Swim
8C1181x •Sarajevo, Starfleet Vessel
Dilemma Pile (20)
Dual
1C151x Chula: Echoes
1C161x Chula: Pick One to Save Two
16V51x Chula: Unfortunate Roll
13C51x Crew Advancement
13C81x Distraction
2U81x Exposed Power Relay
4C151x Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
1S431x Pinned Down
2C201x Racial Tension
3U261x Secret Identity
15V71x Show Trial
Planet
8C81x Cultural Differences
17V81x Miner Revolt
7C91x Outmatched
1C571x Triage
15V91x We'll Never Know
Space
15V11x Breaking the Ice
1S171x Command Decisions
1C361x Magnetic Field Disruptions
8C191x Warp Bubble Mishap


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