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Into the Final Frontier, Part 2 - Getting Oriented in the Galaxy (2 of 5)

by Chris Heard; Updated by Darren Lacoste, Editor in Chief

17th February 2009

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The third stage of each player's turn is the discard excess cards segment. At the end of each player's turn, if that player has more than seven cards in hand, that player must discard cards from hand until the hand size is down to seven. In this case, since she played three cards and did not draw any, Jane ends her turn with four cards in hand and does not need to discard anything. Therefore, she turns the game over to Bill.

Let's imagine that Bill's hand consists of Borg Queen (Bringer of Order), Seven of Nine (Representative of the Hive), Computation Drone, Research Drone, Acclimation Drone, Borg Cutting Beam, and a Borg Sphere. Several of these cards cost three counters or more, so Bill will have to choose carefully what to play. Bill doesn't want to get too far behind Jane in personnel and starships, so he chooses to play a Borg Sphere (five counters) and a Research Drone (one counter) at his headquarters, Unicomplex (Root of the Hive Mind). He's only spent six of his seven counters, but none of the cards in his hand cost just one counter to play. However, Bill knows that he can draw cards at a cost of one counter per card drawn, so he spends his seventh counter to draw one card from the top of his draw deck. This brings his hand size to six cards--too few to require him to discard anything. Now it's Jane's turn again.

In a typical game of the Star Trek CCG, the first three or four turns will mainly see each player playing personnel, equipment, and ships to his or her headquarters. Normally, by the fourth or fifth turn, each player will have enough personnel and ships in play to begin sending their personnel on mission attempts. Let's skip forward a few turns and pick up the game in turn four. Jane has just finished the play and draw cards segment of her turn, in which she played Jean-Luc Picard (Explorer) for four counters and spent three counters to draw cards. Jane now has a U.S.S. Nebula, seven personnel, and a Tricorder in play. She decides that she is ready to get out of spacedock and get some points for herself. Scanning her missions, Jane decides that Geological Survey looks like a good choice. It requires Geology, Physics, Science, and Cunning>30, and its special game text says that Jane can score an extra 5 points if the personnel completing it have 2 Geology (that is, two different personnel have the Geology skill, or one personnel has 2 Geology printed among his or her skills). With Davies, Pran Tainer (Atrean Seismologist), and a Tricorder in play, Jane has plenty of Geology, so she decides to go for it.

Normally, by the fourth or fifth turn, each player will have enough personnel and ships

By the way, notice that Jean-Luc Picard (Explorer) has a small dot at the beginning of his name, but the U.S.S. Nebula doesn't. Cards showing that small dot at the beginning of their names are unique cards. You may only have one copy of a unique card in play at any time. Since Jane now has one copy of Jean-Luc Picard (Explorer) in play, she can't play any more copies of Jean-Luc Picard as long as this Jean-Luc remains in play. Jane has another copy of Jean-Luc Picard in her deck, though, and if the Jean-Luc she just played were to die in a mission attempt or battle, Jane could play a new copy of Jean-Luc. On the other hand, cards that lack the uniqueness dot are non-unique, and you may have multiple copies of those in play simultaneously. Thus, if Jane drew another U.S.S. Nebula, she could play it and have two U.S.S. Nebulas flying around the galaxy.

(Many unique cards have subtitles to tell them apart from different versions of the same character. Jane's starter deck contains Jean-Luc Picard (Explorer), but she might have found a copy of Jean-Luc Picard (Argo Pilot) in a booster pack. In such cases, uniqueness is determined by the card title, ignoring the subtitle. Jane would not be allowed to have Jean-Luc Picard (Argo Pilot) and Jean-Luc Picard (Explorer) in play at the same time, as Jean-Luc Picard is a unique character. Note that the uniqueness rule affects each player individually. If Bill were also playing with a Next Generation deck that included any version of Jean-Luc Picard, Bill and Jane could each have his or her own copy of Jean-Luc Picard in play.)

Jane announces to Bill that she is beaming her cards from Earth (Cradle of the Federation) to the U.S.S. Nebula, then she stacks her personnel and equipment cards underneath it. Next, in order to move the Nebula to Geological Survey, Jane checks the span numbers centered at the bottom of each mission card. The Nebula starts each turn with eight Range, as shown at the bottom of the card. To move from any one mission to any other mission in the same quadrant, the ship must have unused Range equal to or greater than the sum of the span numbers on the two cards. Earth has a span of two, as does Geological Survey, so the Nebula must expend four of its Range to move from Earth to Geological Survey. Jane announces that she is doing this, and then physically moves the Nebula to a position just below Geological Survey. (The Nebula now has four Range left to use later in the turn, if possible.)

The icon in the upper left-hand corner of Geological Survey looks like a blue sphere, marking Geological Survey as a planet mission. In order for her personnel to attempt this mission, Jane must choose which of her personnel will beam down to the planet. Jane decides to send everyone on this mission, so she takes all the cards out from underneath the U.S.S. Nebula and places them face down, crosswise, on Geological Survey. Then she announces to Bill that she has seven personnel attempting the mission. (Jane actually has eight cards on the planet, but one of them is an equipment card.)

At this point, it looks like Jane could easily complete the mission and claim its 30-point payoff. Pran Tainer (Atrean Seismologist), one of the personnel Jane has sent to the planet, has 2 Geology, Physics, and Science printed in his game text box, and the total Cunning of all her personnel--as shown at the bottom of their personnel cards--adds up to 40, easily satisfying the Cunning>30 requirement on the mission. Moreover, since Pran Tainer has 2 Geology, Jane will be able to claim the extra 5 points granted in the mission's game text box. Before Jane can score those 35 points, however, Bill gets a chance to slow her down.

Since seven of Jane's personnel are attempting the mission, Bill gets to draw seven dilemmas from his dilemma pile. Like mission cards, dilemma cards have icons in the upper left-hand corner that define them as space dilemmas (a starfield icon), planet dilemmas (a blue sphere icon), or dual dilemmas (a small blue sphere on a starfield). Space dilemmas may only be used at space missions, and planet dilemmas may only be used at planet missions, but dual dilemmas may be used at either type of mission.

In this case, two of the seven dilemmas Bill drew have space icons. Since Jane's personnel are attempting a planet mission, Bill cannot use the space dilemmas, so he sets them aside and focuses on the other five. Also, in his seven dilemmas, Bill drew two copies of An Old Debt. Since Bill is only allowed to use one copy of any particular dilemma during a single mission attempt, he sets one copy of An Old Debt aside.

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< Part 1 - Deciding to Leave SpacedockInto the Final Frontier IndexPart 3 - Expanding Your Power in the Universe >

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