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Allegiance: Lots of Little Pieces

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

20th November 2009

Making Trek: Lots of Little Pieces

Welcome to the official start of the spoiler series for Allegiance, the fifth virtual expansion brought to you by The Continuing Committee. We're pretty sure that you'll find this expansion to be unlike any other. In fact, this expansion was born long before any files were put together or any play test reports were sent.

A little over a year and a half ago, we were working on the initial design ideas for Raise the Stakes. I had a cycle of cards that I'd pitched early and put a lot of time and revisions into, but before the expansion even hit play testers, Brad and I exchanged a series of text messages. It went a little something like this:

Brad: I'm going to cut the *name withheld* cards.
Charlie: Um, okay. Any particular reason?
Brad: They suck. You suck.
Charlie: *cry*
Brad: Just kidding. Really, it's two reasons. One, they don't really fit the "go big or go home" theme we're pushing. Two, they'll be perfect for the virtual expansion after the next one.
Charlie: *still crying*
Brad: Don't worry, I'll bring you back as a designer for that expansion. It's going to be all about teams.
Charlie: *sniffle* Can we name it after The A-Team?

And thus, Project Murdock was born - far, far earlier than we'd started work on any of the previous expansions. In fact, the eventual name for this expansion, Allegiance, was suggested as a name for Favor the Bold, and it's hung around all this time until now. This expansion that we're about to present to you has been in the works for almost two years!

Now, to answer what's probably the number one question we're asked: What exactly does "all about teams" mean, anyway? Well, let me give you an example: the [SF] MACO personnel from These Are the Voyages.

They all get better and more interesting when they are with each other. Sure, you can splash them in any old deck, but they won't be nearly as effective as if you kept them near each other. This means that - more often than not - you'll want to play them together. That's a team, and that's what we're talking about when we say teamwork.

So, what kinds of teams will you find in Allegiance? We've got five major teams for you, and a few teasers of each of them today. In addition, there are some team support cards. But as we've revealed with the Final Cut process, almost all of the other cards work to "create" a team of their own, too. You'll be digging for long lost cards as you scramble to build new decks to take advantage of the teamwork bonuses you'll find in Allegiance.

The Rash Aggressors

Let's start with some previews of each of the teams you'll find when December 25th rolls around. First, we've got a Deep Space Nine team that we nicknamed the "Rash Aggressors." Take a look at Benjamin Sisko, who we spoiled at the Grand Prix in October:

[Fed] 2 •Benjamin Sisko (Rash Aggressor)
[Cmd] [DS9] Human
•Diplomacy •Leadership •Navigation
When this personnel begins a mission attempt, if an opponent commands a Maneuver event, you may name a dilemma. This personnel and each [DS9] personnel present cannot be killed or stopped by that dilemma. This effect lasts until the end of turn.
[Integrity 6] [Cunning 6] [Strength 6]

Our art team is still working overtime to make sure these cards are as good or better looking as everything else The Continuing Committee has to offer. Also, we're waiting on the results of Final Cut to determine the final list of forty-five (45) cards... so we hope you don't mind some text spoilers (with a missing piece here or there) for now!

This Benjamin Sisko personnel, like all of his teammates in Allegiance, are taken from the three-part story arc that opened Deep Space Nine's second season. You may recall that the Bajoran box of Dangerous Missions was also taken from this trilogy, but that product focused on Kira and Dax trying to smuggle evidence to Bajor. Now, we take a look at the men and women that remained behind to stall the occupation of the station during the coup (which explains why neither Sisko nor any of his comrades have Officer).

But what good is an entire cycle of personnel that only work if an opponent happens to command an event? Worse than that, he or she has to command only a specific type of event. Well, not just one type:

[Baj] 3 •Li Nalas (Rash Aggressor)
[Cmd] [DS9] Bajoran
•Geology •2 Honor •Leadership •Security
While an opponent commands an Assault event, this personnel and each [DS9] personnel present is Strength +1.
[Integrity 8] [Cunning 5] [Strength 5]

So now you're thinking, "They only work if my opponent is going to shoot me or battle me? Lame!" Worry not, because Rash Aggressor Sisko and his team of loyal followers have a few tricks up their sleeves. But you'll have to wait a bit to find out!

The Transition Team

Next, let's segue to our second team with a story from my early days working with Mr. Brad DeFruiter. He and I were having a conversation about the game, when he mentioned that he'd felt he'd missed an opportunity with the [AU] [TOS] personnel he'd designed for In a Mirror, Darkly. He had realized too late that he should have made them expensive personnel with abilities that "downgraded" to ignore those abilities - which would have made them true opposites of the standard [TOS] personnel in These Are the Voyages.

Flash forward a few years as we're brainstorming ideas for teams to design for Project Murdock. Brad and I remembered our conversation from the past and realized that versions of the crew from Star Trek: The Motion Picture that downgraded would make excellent hybrids of the Original Series crew (with upgrades) and the movie-era crew (high cost with standard abilities). And, that's exactly what the crew from The Motion Pictures will do for you:

[Fed] 4 •Hikaru Sulu (TMP Helmsman)
[Stf] [TOS] [Pa] Human
•Astrometrics •Biology •2 Navigation •Officer
You may play this personnel at cost -2 to ignore his ability. When you play this personnel, you may place your [TOS] ship at your mission.
[Integrity 6] [Cunning 6] [Strength 6]

In fact, all of The Motion Pictures crew (including two new faces) will have a cost of 4 or more - which should help the Original Series decks when facing nasty dilemmas like The Dal'Rok and Distraction. But some of them will work really well with the upgrade versions:

[Fed] 4 •Leonard H. McCoy (TMP Doctor)
[Stf] [TOS] [Pa] Human
•Biology •Exobiology •Honor •Medical
You may play this personnel at cost -2 to ignore his ability. When you play this personnel, the next [TOS] personnel you play this turn is cost -3.
[Integrity 7] [Cunning 6] [Strength 5]

The Motion Pictures crew will work well together, or with their younger versions. Or, as you'll find out in a few weeks - even some of their older (movie) versions, too!

The Pirate Team

Members of our third team - one of two that is drawn from Enterprise - have three things in common: they're all Thieves, they all have the [Pa] icon, and they all love being around other personnel with the [Pa] icon. Did we mention they're Thieves? Well, pirates actually. Unidentified pirates:

[Fer] 3 •Muk (Unidentified Pirate)
[Stf] [Pa] Human
•Acquisition •Archaeology •2 Physics •Security •Treachery
Thief. When you play this personnel, if you command three [Pa] [Fer] personnel, you may download up to three equipment.
[Integrity 4] [Cunning 5] [Strength 5]

That's right, we've got a quartet of Ferengi Pirates (from the Enterprise episode "Acquisition"), plus their ship, to bring a new deck type to the table. These Ferengi join time-travelers Quark, Rom and Nog (Little Green Men) as [Fer] personnel with the [Pa] icon, so there should be no shortage of [Pa] [Fer] personnel around to help defeat your enemies!

The Future Team

The other team that appears from Enterprise is a crew from Captain Archer's past. Or his future, depending on how you look at it. Either way, the descendants of the crew of Enterprise will make their appearance, along with their own version of the famous starship:

[SF] 5 •Future Enterprise (E-Squared)
[Cmd]
[Pa] NX Class
When your non-Human [SF] personnel aboard is about to be killed or stopped by a dilemma, you may remove that personnel from the game instead.
[Range 8] [Weapons 5] [Shields 5]

A few really cool things to note about this team. First of all, since this is the Future Enterprise, it can coexist (and be in play with) its original self, which gives [SF] another NX-class ship to enjoy. But unlike the others, for one measly counter more you get a ship with a printed Range of 8, which is very useful for the boys and girls of the [SF] affiliation.

But what use is removing one of your own personnel from the game, you ask? Well, the crew of the Future Enterprise were willing to sacrifice everything -- even their existence -- to help "their ancestors" succeed in their mission to save Earth. This willingness to sacrifice themselves became the defining characteristic of this subgroup of personnel, and they grant big bonuses when they are "erased from existence" (removed from the game). We'll show you exactly what they can do in an upcoming article.

The Long-Awaited Team

Finally, we bring you the team that's been waiting over a year to be downloaded, printed and played: the crew of the ill-fated U.S.S. Equinox:

[Fed] 3 •Rudolph Ransom (Desperate Captain)
[Cmd] [Voy] Human
•Diplomacy •Exobiology •Leadership •Officer •Science •Transporters •Treachery
Commander: U.S.S. Equinox. While this personnel is attempting a mission, you may lose 5 points and stop this personnel to unstop two of your stopped [Voy] Treachery personnel present.
[Integrity 3] [Cunning 6] [Strength 6]

The crew of the Equinox are an interesting team. They all have the [Voy] icon and they are all [Fed] Treachery personnel as well, which means that you can use them on their own, or with the crew of Voyager, or as freedom fighters with the Maquis. But they won't work very well unless they're aboard their own ship, fighting their own fight:

[Fed] 4 •U.S.S. Equinox (Driving to Get Home)
[Cmd] [Stf] [Stf]
[Voy] Nova Class
While you do not command a headquarters mission, you may play this ship at Caretaker's Array. While this ship is at a [DQ] mission, you may play [Voy] Treachery personnel, [NA] personnel, and equipment aboard this ship. When you are about to lose 5 points to use the ability on one of your personnel, if you do not command U.S.S. Voyager, you may discard a Nucleogenic card from hand instead to pay that cost.
[Range 8] [Weapons 6] [Shields 7]

Did you notice the new keyword buried in all that text? Nucleogenic cards represent the alien "spirits of good fortune" that Ransom and his crew murdered in order to accelerate their way home. By "killing" these creatures (discarding the cards), they can keep their points and still use their abilities. But you'll have to wait to see exactly what Nucleogenic cards are and how they all interact until they are fully revealed.

No matter what part of the galaxy, or from which era you call home, there's a team waiting for you when Allegiance is released on December 25, 2009. Stay tuned for more articles, spoilers and deck lists as we show you the benefits of working as a team!

-djl-


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