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Strategy Articles

Mixing Up the Matrix

by Charlie Plaine, Assistant Designer

4th April 2008

How much do you know about the skills on dilemmas? That was one of the questions asked by the design team for The Undiscovered Country early on in the process. As the "computer guy," it fell to me to crunch some numbers and find out what I could about skills on dilemmas.

For example, did you know that five most common skills on dilemmas are Security, Diplomacy, Leadership, Medical, and Officer? That's probably not surprising to anyone with dilemmas like Personal Duty, Gomtuu Shock Wave, and Unknown Microorganism being popular. But what about the lesser known skills?

Did you know - as of What You Leave Behind - that Archaeology only appears on four (4) dilemmas? That Geology and Transporters - often considered "common" skills - appear on just eleven (11) dilemmas each? But what was of real interest to the design team was the skills that appear on planet and space dilemmas. We found that there were skills that rarely - if ever appeared on these dilemmas and we decided to change that.

Ask yourself honestly - when was the last time you cared about taking Geology on a space mission? We all know that Astrometrics, Engineer and Navigation are far more important when adventuring aboard a starship. Breaking the Ice changes that forever, and what better reason to need Geology in space than the study of a comet. This new Persistent dilemma will radically mix things up for space mission attempts. Personnel like Pran Tainer (Atrean Seismologist) become considerably more useful, no longer left behind when the planet mission is done. Of course, you could always play more equipment like a Tricorder to help you pass this nasty dilemma.

Likewise, the need for Physics on planetary away missions has never been that essential. Prior to The Undiscovered Country, only two dilemmas required Physics on a planet: A Devil Scorned and Whisper in the Dark. Now there's a deadly new reason to bring this rare skill on your away teams with We'll Never Know.

This pair of new, deadly, Persistent dilemmas will make you rethink your personnel, both when you build your decks and when you're selecting your away teams. No longer can you leave behind your Geology personnel when your planets are complete, nor your space-heavy personnel behind at your space missions. The skill matrix is being shaken up in The Undiscovered Country, and not just by these two new dilemmas. Stay tuned...

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