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

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

17th February 2009

< continued from Page 4

An engagement is a ship-to-ship battle, resolved by comparing the attacker's Weapons to the target's Shields.

This turn, instead of having his personnel attempt Assault on Species 8472 again, Bill decides to get aggressive. He wants to move his Borg Sphere so that he can attack Jane's Nebula! To do this, Bill must first be sure that he has enough Range. Assault on Species 8472 has a span of four, and Host Metaphasic Shielding Test has a span of three. Since the two missions are in different quadrants--Assault on Species 8472 has a Delta Quadrant icon, and Host Metaphasic Shielding Test has an Alpha Quadrant icon--Bill must add two more to the total Range required. Four plus three plus two equals nine, and the Borg Sphere has a Range of nine, so Bill's ship can just make it over to Jane's mission.

Bill physically moves his Borg Sphere and the personnel stacked beneath it over to Jane's Host Metaphasic Shielding Test mission, placing it across the mission from Jane's ship. Now Bill executes the Order on Borg Cutting Beam, which begins: "Begin an engagement involving your [Borg] ship." An engagement is a ship-to-ship battle, resolved by comparing the attacker's Weapons to the target's Shields.

Looking at the bottom of his Borg Sphere card, Bill sees that it has a Weapons rating of ten; when Jane checks the bottom of her U.S.S. Nebula, she finds that it has only eight Shields. Since Bill's Weapons are greater than Jane's Shields, Bill wins the engagement and goes on to the next line in Borg Cutting Beam's game text: "If you win, randomly select an opponent's personnel involved, take command of that personnel, place him or her on that [Borg] ship, then place this event on an opponent's ship involved."

In keeping with this text, Jane fans out the personnel cards from her Nebula (face down), and Bill chooses one at random. Getting lucky, Bill snags Jean-Luc Picard! Following the directions on the Borg Cutting Beam card, Bill puts Jean-Luc Picard aboard his Borg Sphere, where Jean-Luc will now work alongside the Borg Queen and Seven of Nine. Bill also places the Borg Cutting Beam card itself on top of Jane's Nebula.

The bottom line of the Borg Cutting Beam's game text reads "Damage - This ship is attributes -2." At the beginning of Bill's turn, Jane's Nebula had 8 Range, 8 Weapons, and 8 Shields. As long as the Borg Cutting Beam remains on Jane's ship, though, it will have only 6 Range, 6 Weapons, and 6 Shields. The Borg have assimilated Jean-Luc Picard, and damaged his ship in the process!

Bill's personnel are now stopped because they participated in an engagement they initiated. (The same thing would be true if they had initiated a combat, which is battle between personnel who are all together on a planet or ship.) Even if they weren't, his ship is out of Range, so it's Jane's turn again.

Jane would love to stay and have her personnel attempt Host Metaphasic Shielding Test again, but for all she knows, Bill may have another Borg Cutting Beam in his hand. (In fact, he does.) Therefore, she decides to cut and run. The damaged Nebula has a current Range of six, which is enough to get it back from Host Metaphasic Shield Testing to Earth. After she plays and draws cards, Jane moves the Nebula back to Earth and leaves it there.

Whenever a player's turn ends, he or she is allowed to remove one damage card from each of his or her ships that are at his or her headquarters. At the end of her turn, then, Jane removes the Borg Cutting Beam from the U.S.S. Nebula and hands it back to Bill, who places it in his discard pile. (If the card causing the damage had been one of his dilemmas, Bill would have placed it face up beneath his dilemma pile when Jane removed it from her ship.)

Whenever a player's turn ends, he or she is allowed to remove one damage card from each of his or her ships that are at his or her headquarters.

Jane and Bill will continue in this vein for several more turns until one of them completes both a planet mission and a space mission and reaches 100 points. But enough of their game.

By watching over their shoulders, you've learned the basics of the Star Trek Customizable Card Game. You know how to set up a game, by shuffling your dilemma pile and draw deck and laying out your five missions. You know that each player draws seven cards to begin the game. You know that each player's turn starts with the play and draw cards segment, in which a player has a budget of seven counters to spend playing cards (according to the cost shown in the upper left-hand corner) or drawing cards (at a cost of one counter per card drawn). You know that players must spend all seven counters if possible.

You know that the second part of each player's turn is the execute orders segment, in which you can move your ships around, have your personnel attempt missions, and use any card abilities that are signaled with the word "Order" in the game text box.

You know that when any player's personnel attempt a mission, that player tells his or her opponent how many personnel are involved. The opponent subtracts the number of dilemmas that are face up underneath the mission from the number of personnel involved, draws that many cards from the top of his or her dilemma pile, and has a budget to spend on dilemmas equal to the number of cards drawn. You know that the dilemmas a player chooses to use against his or her opponent are placed on the table face down as a dilemma stack, and that the personnel who are attempting the mission face those dilemmas in order from top to bottom. You know that dilemmas that have been overcome are stacked face up beneath the mission at which they were faced, and that unused dilemmas, or dilemmas that say they return to their owner's dilemma pile, are stacked face up at the bottom of the dilemma pile. You know that if you need to draw a dilemma and the top card of your dilemma pile is face up, you shuffle all those face-up cards, replace them face down, and continue drawing.

You know what it means to play events in your core, and how to use them to start engagements (ship-to-ship battles; person-to-person battles, called combats, work basically the same way). You're ready to leave Jane and Bill to their own devices and try your hand at the Star Trek Customizable Card Game!

So over the next few days, spend some time playing with the starter decks you've purchased. Sit down with a friend and play a game or two, swapping starters back and forth so that you get to see a variety of cards. Then, come back here for the third installment of Into the Final Frontier, in which we'll explore ways to expand your deck possibilities by adding cards to your collection.

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