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Iconic Iconians

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

16th December 2019

Donald Varley

My first rare Federation ship in First Edition was the U.S.S. Yamato. I didn't actually get a U.S.S. Enterprise until much, much later, so for a long time my beloved Federation decks relied on the Yamato for transportation.

Looking back, there wasn't even much reason to use it over the universal U.S.S. Galaxy - unlike many other unique First Edition ships it didn't have any extra attribute points over the universal version. In all likelihood, it would be better for a Federation ship to have higher shields than weapons, since they wouldn't be on the attack anyways. It wasn't even like I had to limit myself to three copies of the U.S.S. Galaxy, since First Edition has no card limits in the draw deck. And forget about matching commander benefits - its matching commander, Donald Varley, wouldn't be released until the Blaze of Glory expansion - and I wouldn't end up getting my hands on a copy until a couple years ago.

U.S.S. Yamato

All those points against it just made me love the ship all the more. It was the underdog. Rare, with no great reason to use it. I always appreciated that it broadened the Federation fleet, and added a bit of flavor, without making the fleet stronger necessarily. While its image wasn't as crisp as the Galaxy or the Enterprise, it was definitely more dynamic, flying right out of the card. I was rooting for it, even if no one else was.

So, when given the opportunity to bring some First Edition cards into Second Edition, it would have been hard to resist the temptation for me to pick the Yamato and Varley. But I know that not everyone has the same emotional attachment to the pair, so I needed to find a good gameplay reason to bring them to life. After all, in Second Edition, ships and personnel are usually more than just their numbers and skills. If I couldn't find a good gameplay reason, I would probably have had to (sadly) let them go.

Regions that don't include a headquarters mission are perennially under-used. Most ship movement (at least in headquarters-based decks) is between a headquarters mission and a non-headquarters mission. After all, you're playing personnel on most of your turns, and if you're not flying home, then you just wasted those counters. As a result, you're rarely getting the range reduction bonus that's built-in to the region keyword. You'd need some other reason to venture out into, say, the Neutral Zone.

We don't see a lot of the Yamato in the show. Nagilum makes an illusion that looks like it once, and then there's the time that Captain Varley takes it out into the Neutral Zone on an important mission (and yes, then it almost immediately blows up). Well, if an important mission can get the Yamato into the story of the show, maybe it can get the card into the game. The Yamato grants a good chunk of extra points at a Neutral Zone mission (in a style similar to her sister ship), and Varley will improve the attributes of the ship significantly in order to get you there. Hopefully, even if you're not as nostalgic for the Yamato as I am, you'll at least be glad to have a reason to care about the Neutral Zone in Second Edition.

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