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Conversions: An Analysis - The Next Generation (Part 1 of 6)

by James Cream, Staff Writer

5th April 2012

My favorite aspect of a new expansion release has become looking for all of the converted Second Edition cards, mostly because they each represent one fewer 2E card that I am likely to see appear across the table during a game. It should come as a surprise to no one that this expansion, which is the largest Virtual Expansion that the Continuing Committee has released thus far, also has more converted cards than any previous example.

In this article, I will be analyzing the three conversions revealed thus far and one new one.

Encounter at Farpoint

Of all the cards to be converted, I most like to see missions. I’ve always found 2E cards to be aesthetically displeasing but few things bother me more than 2E missions disrupting the 1E spaceline. It’s not so much that 2E missions are ugly as it is that 1E missions are breathtakingly designed. When I look at a row of 1E missions, I actually see a stretch of space where the images can appear to cross between cards (Note to Johnny: find the opportunity to put a single image on two missions such that they actually do bridge, preferably within a region.) Besides that, a 2E mission occurring in a 1E game is usually indicative of the mission’s easy requirements in the latter format.

Encounter at Farpoint is also an example of a mission which I have envied from 2E, the premiere mission of the Next Generation crew. This was one of only six BC missions in the 2E Premiere set.

In this case, the requirements are not particularly easy and remain the same on both the old and new versions. Acquisition and Empathy are rare skills in most affiliations making this mission quite deck specific. It would be poor deck building if the opponent only needed to capture one or two personnel in order to completely lock out a mission. The points have also remained the same.

Two things have changed: the span was increased by one and the number of affiliations that can attempt the mission was reduced from "anyone" to just Federation and Non-Aligned. This isn’t too unreasonable as I can only think of one other affiliation that would be able to come up with those requirements and most of my Ferengi builds have plenty of Non-Aligned personnel anyway.

Heart of Glory

This event from the Energize 2E set was on my short list of cards which must be converted before someone breaks them. Actually, Danny Nuttall and I were working on a deck to break this card not long ago.

It can be downloaded into play when not one but two different 2E Klingons are played. As an Assault event, it can be downloaded by 2E Koloth who can himself be downloaded by the 1E card Blood Oath making this event an exceptionally free play. The other personnel who can download it is 2E Kargan, who downloads any Maneuver card when played.

But so what? You get an extra event and it encourages a little interaction from the one species that most likes to shoot things. This event allows the player to kill two personnel (in addition to the one kill allotted per successful personnel battle) when used in First Edition. This means that, in addition to picking off all of the weak personnel in an attacked away team, the Klingon player can kill 3 more personnel who could very well be quite strong, while playing the event didn’t cost a thing.

The converted version is quite different in how it functions. First, it plays on a specific Klingon rather than on the table. This means that if the Klingon who holds it is ever killed, it goes to the discard pile as well (points disappear). Next, it doesn’t kill any personnel but rather scores bonus points for personnel killed in combat.

Now, I am of the opinion that it is still a very good card. It has the potential of netting the player 15 bonus points which could mean a two-mission win if they go after some big missions or it could mean recovery from a well-set-up The Higher… the Fewer. But I wouldn’t consider it to be overpowered simply because it requires at least three personnel battles to have occurred in order to net those points.

The Klingon who holds this event has to personally kill three personnel and the most he could kill in a single battle is one. What’s more, if the luck of the draw has him face off with one of the opponent’s stronger personnel, he likely won’t get his kill. However, one could better ensure this Klingon gets that kill by arming him with a Bat’leth or Kar’takin.

A final wise move was making this Event unique. This means a player cannot simply put a Heart of Glory on all of their Klingons and fight their way to victory. Rather, there is a limit of one of these cards in play by any player and therefore a limit of 15 possible points scored this way- and those points could disappear just as quickly as a life.

Geordi La Forge

I think that it is rather obvious from my articles that I am, in general, against new persona of existing characters. I’ve never been keen on the 2E mentality of "100 facets to every main" and I don’t think that every deck should have a recognizable face. It is, however, a good idea with this product for the designers to include the core cast as it has the function of drawing in new players to our very old game. The one thing that 1E is most in need of is players.

I have to say that I am quite impressed with how the designers managed to put the TNG mains into this set. These versions are truly different than the originals and each has a specific deck in mind for their use. Geordi is a great example of a distinct version of a character for whom we already have a few optional personae. This is the very young Season 1 Geordi, the Lt. (j.g.) who served at the Conn before someone trained Wesley to do it. He’s an Officer who only has a limited understanding of Engineering.

What’s more, he’s a conversion of a fairly hard-to-get Necessary Evil card. He was an Uncommon in an underprinted set and a card that was never re-printed at all.

Like his 2E version- and very much unlike his more mature 1E Premiere version- he only has a staff icon. He also has a set of skills which only exist under certain circumstances (it was a Necessary Evil TNG theme). This Geordi is a go-getter and always prepared for the mission at hand. He’ll brush up on his knowledge of Astrophysics, Navigation, or Stellar Chartography for an upcoming Space mission or he’ll study up on his Physics, Computer Skill, or Engineering (he’s particularly fond of this study) if he knows that he’ll be sent in an Away Team for a planet mission attempt.

In Geordi’s case, there are relatively few differences between the original 2E card and the conversion. All three attributes have been increased by 1 point in order to bring them more into line with First Edition and this makes him just as strong but not nearly as bright or integritous. Because Officer is now his classification, he no longer loses it when attempting a planet mission (he can boss the ensigns and cadets around at least) and instead has gained both Astrophysics and Stellar Chartography (the conversion of a 2E card would make the player have to pick one, which is tough because they’re both required to clear many space missions).

Koral

This is a personal favorite of mine simply because I was so disappointed in his 1E Premiere version. On the occasion I first pulled him, I only had enough money to buy two Starters and then the only card that I didn’t have in those was Koral - a Civilian with no Cunning or Integrity at all and mediocre skills but decent Strength; a personnel who pretty much personified all the weaknesses of the Klingons at that time. I do not think that I have ever played with that card. What really made it disappointing is that I had seen the episode and he seemed so much more important than only being some generic Klingon.

He made his second appearance in the 2E Energize set. This time, he had far more skills but was just as dim and had somehow forgotten how to pilot his own ship (he did command a ship in the episode, so a Command star seems reasonable).

But the new conversion is everything that Koral should have been and likely represents how he would have appeared if he had first occurred in a Golden Era First Edition expansion such as Rules of Acquisition or Blaze of Glory.

He’s a mercenary who has come by some archaeological booty. He has the Smuggling, Archaelogy, and Treachery which he exhibited in the show and also Navigation and a Command star so that he can get around on his own with a ship.

He is still a Civilian, which has always made sense but is actually useful in the modern version of the game, and he still has the same attributes as the original version which also makes sense.

But he also has three bonuses in this iteration: most importantly, he’s Non-Aligned, which is to say that he will work for anyone (consistent with his character), he has Stellar Chartography (odd but a rather rare skill, so I’ll take it), and he’s part of a whole new team (stay tuned for release day).


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