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Conversions: An Analysis - Resistance is Futile (Part 3 of 3)

by James Cream, Staff Writer

28th November 2011

This article series is an analysis of the conversions of Backwards Compatible Second Edition cards into proper First Edition cards. It was begun in the previous articles (seen here), and will continue for each of the upcoming First Edition expansions.

Today, we’ll look at the final two converted cards in the Resistance is Futile expansion.

Data of Borg

Hey look at that- a new counterpart. Many 1E players were envious of the other edition when What You Leave Behind was released and the latter group got the much-coveted Borg Data.

Of course, he was backwards-compatible, but that is not saying much. As a BC card, Borg Data was practically useless. He required a card play to get into play and, if you wanted to keep him in play, one would need to replay him every turn.

The newly converted Data softens that cost a bit. He only returns to hand when an objective is completed, which likely won’t be every turn (unless it is going to be a very short game). The attributes have been shifted to the more standard 1E Data numbers and the skills are, of course, converted. One interesting decision was swapping out SCIENCE for Exobiology, making him more similar to the 1E Premiere Data. Actually, he’s nearly identical to a Premiere Data that has been assimilated as a counterpart; the differences are the lack of the skill of Music and one less point of Integrity (and the built-in assimilation overlay).

The new Data has one surprise, though, in a special download. Unlike many special downloads on converted cards, this one has no corresponding text on the original card. He downloads Resistance is Futile which can be used to make him play directly to your Borg Sphere each subsequent time he enters play (function 3) OR as a bullet to the opponent’s broken strategy (function 2) OR simply to snag 10 bonus points off a rarely used objective (function 1).

Back to Basics

This was a solid choice for early conversion for two reasons: first, it is one of the most valuable and therefore hard-to-obtain 2E cards; second, its source material is First Contact. I surmise that this card was converted and perhaps being playtested already when someone noticed that it was perfect for this set.

The 2E version is one of the more powerful dilemmas in that game as it is able to stop an entire away team and the opponent can do nothing to prevent that (cheating aside). The requirements are something that the seeding player can set up: 14 ships or personnel in his discard pile. Once those have been discarded, the dilemma simply shuts the opponent’s away team out. This dilemma’s popularity in 2E was a bit of a mystery to me at first, as having 14 personnel or ships in the discard pile in no small task. But some affiliations, such as the Bajorans, Cardassians, and Borg are quite adept at filling their discard piles. It can also be included in any dilemma pile as a just-in-case card, to be used in the event that the opponent has killed/destroyed everything you own and you simply want to rebuild your deck (e.g., they are a First Edition player, and have a First Edition play style).

The newly converted version of this dilemma is all but identical to the original version. The key difference is the use of clear 1E wording rather than the original 2E wording. This indicates to me that the designers did not consider this dilemma overpowered or broken in 1E.

The question that I have, then, is this: "Is it under-powered?" My primary concern with using it, even in a deck that is adept at filling a discard pile, is what would happen if the opponent were to encounter this during their first or second turn. Unlike in Second Edition, where a player can choose not to use this dilemma until its requirements are established, in First Edition when a dilemma is encountered is up to the opponent and, in many ways, chance. So even if I were to seed a Back to Basics behind a Dead End, the opponent could still encounter it before there were 14 personnel or ships in my discard pile.

Another instance where this card could be useful is in the right deck, again like it is in Second Edition. The key here is Beyond the Subatomic. There are many ways to start the game with a key card, but for all the tricks in First Edition which allow certain cards to be obtained easily there are ten times as many cards which do not have an easy (or even convoluted-but-fast) trick for their acquisition. There are three ways to get any card out first turn:

Method 1: Stock a lot of copies of that card in your deck. One in six is usually considered sufficient, but there are certainly decks that were 70-90% of a single card. This method was primarily used in the "good old days" of Premiere but still sees use in many Borg decks that are only concerned with the opening hand (and probe results) and then simply download whatever they need in place of every subsequent card draw.

Method 2: Stock a lot of copies of Q’s Tent. In this example, the player only needs one copy of their key card, placed in the Q’s Tent. They then build the deck to have a high likelihood of drawing a Q’s Tent in the opening hand and then fetch the key card using that doorway. This method is superior to Method 1 in most non-Borg decks as the later copies of Q’s Tent can be used to fetch other useful cards from the Q’s Tent side deck. This method has variants in other Doorways and Interrupts that can fetch the key card of interest on the first turn and then be used to fetch other less useful card when drawn later (Holodeck Door, Ready Room Door, I’m a Doctor Not a Bartender, etc.).

Method 3: Burn it all down. This method requires that the player stock a high number of Beyond the Subatomic in their deck. Unlike Q’s Tent and its contemporaries, Beyond the Subatomic can’t get a certain card into the hand or download a card into play. Instead, the player names a card type and then turns their deck into the discard pile until that card type is encountered. At that point, the card of that type is placed in their hand. This method doesn’t cost the player a card play, so the acquired card can be played immediately; and it can be done during the opponent’s turn, meaning regardless of who goes first, the player has the key card in hand as well as a full discard pile.

This move requires just the right deck. It requires that the card the player wants is the only one of its type or at the least the most common card of its type. It requires that the player doesn’t mind that a good chunk of their deck is in their discard pile because a. the deck was huge and redundant and all those cards are still represented; b. they have a solid way of getting cards back from the discard pile such as Mutation, Dig, Diplomatic Contact, or Palor Toff - Alien Trader (format-specific); or, finally, c. their deck Processes Ore, Conducts Services, Observes Greatness or otherwise cycles cards back into the deck. (Note: Isomagnetic Disintegrator is printable.)

With these tricks, Back to Basics becomes much more likely to stop the opponent.

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