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Happy Earth Day

by Ross Fertel, Sol

22nd April 2022

There are several ways to celebrate Earth Day. Over the years, we have made several versions of our planet, primarily on missions. Today, we'll take a look back at those cards, indulge at the highlights and be amazed at the wonderful plant we all live on.

Espionage Mission

The first Earth ever came out in First Contact, one of the first sets after the PAQ era. Both the Klingon and Romulan homeworlds were featured in Premiere but First Contact gave us Earth in the form of Espionage Mission. It wasn't the first, but it followed the theme of already existing homeworlds by not being attemptable by the home affiliation. It was in the set to make the Borg shenanigans with time travel work. The coolest thing was that while it was attemptable it wasn't that viable as there was only one of the skills in the game and it was only on a unique personnel as a singular level. The other skills, and species, would come out in due time as the game grew out of the Next Generation property. There were not a lot of ways to create these broken links while using First Contact as the sole source, but Decipher laid the groundwork for three sets with this one card showing how the game would expand.

Earth, Cradle of the FederationEarth, Home of Starfleet Command

As amazing as the first Earth in First Edition was, the ones in Second Edition were a little more bland. When Decipher made Espionage Mission, it was the fourth full sized set and one that was specifically meant and designed to expand the game. Earth, Cradle of the Federation and Earth, Home of Starfleet Command are a little more basic coming out in the very first product of a new game. They are needed to play the faction and subfaction; and in fact was the only places to play one of them for a while. Still, they gave way to the Earth icon which would allow cards to be used in both decks, something that is a key to the game lasting through this day.

Earth, Humanity's Home

You can give Decipher a bit of slack for not going too wild with a headquarters at their first go around. Several sets later, they had fun with Earth, Humanity's Home. Coming out in a set introducing and focusing on a new affiliation, old hat by this time, the Starfleet headquarters had the standard reporting text but also a bonus if you solved the first space mission in the game. In the early days of the Starfleet affiliation, their theme was space first. While the meta has adjusted a bit since then, there was not a whole lot of incentive to solve space missions as opposed to planet ones, especially early in the game. The nastier dilemmas were space and it was riskier to attempt those missions. Building a whole affiliation around that danger added excitement, enticement and was one of the first big moves towards making space missions more enticing.

Earth, Lush and Beautiful

A few sets later, Decipher made their final Earth for Second Edition, ironically with the series introduced to the masses first in history with The Original Series. These are the Voyagers introduced the final faction to the game. Earth, Lush and Beautiful remains a favorite to this day to the point that if there is ever another headquarters made for this faction, it will have stiff competition. The headquarters doubles as a card drawing engine and is a strongly reliable one at that. Though limited to once per turn, several players use it mainly so that they can get a speed jump on their opponent by getting two card draws for one counter. If you can use the gametext seven times in a game, that is essentially an extra turn. The Original Series cards are entirely situational on whether you want to activate their gametext or not, but you are strongly encouraged to use this text for each turn you possibly can, presuming you do not have to go out of your way to do so.

Earth, Stop First Cotnact

The Continuing Committee made their first Earth in the set Legacy, celebrating fifteen years of the game and designers old and new to pitch cards, with Stop First Contact. This forty-point mission can be hard to complete but once you do you can get rid of five of your opponent's personnel at a headquarters mission. Granted, your opponent can just move them away, but they need to know about that ahead of time and if they get unlucky with their dilemmas, the sweet joy of removing a chunk of their most powerful personnel will be your wonderful reward.

Monitor Population

What is good for Second Edition is good for first as we found out with Monitor Population from The Terran Empire, part of the Mirror Block focusing on the Starfleet era. While technically not the planet we live on now, it is a second Earth. Initially meant to make Alliance decks more interesting, it expanded the scope of missions. It is worth a measly thirty points though that is not surprising when you look at the skills. As much as we love the planet, it has a different profile in the mirror universe resulting in something that is more of a footnote than a mission to build your strategy around though you can some neat things with it being a corresponding location.

Monitor Population

Soon after, First Edition got what is their final Earth as of this writing. Research Devastating Attack, from Broken Bow, the first set in the Enterprise Block, has much more reasonable requirements than the first one brought to the game. While that one became a lot easier in the interim, this latest version requires no exotic skills unique to an affiliation. The attemptable affiliations are different, though espionage can still be your friend, and the points are lower, more in line with what you would expect of a mission, though pumpable if you are into that sort of thing. It offers an alternative and is still a valid target for HQ cards.

Earth, Reject the Impuree

A Less Perfect Union would focus on and make Starfleet Dissidents a thing and they liked to play around the Sector 001 Region giving us Earth, Reject the Impure. The points are not the main draw nor are the skills insurmountable but the gametext allows you to fill up your brig. You will want to be sure to do that in enough time to fully make use of the text and with the card being titled Earth, it will not be in your traditional Starfleet deck. This sub faction likes to use disruption and deprivation; being able to put an unsuspecting personnel in your brig is an important part of that strategy but not required.

Earth, Conduct Espionage

The final Earth would appear in the landmark fiftieth set, The Omega Directive. Focusing on fifty-point missions, this set featured Earth, Conduct Espionage. Coming full circle to the first Earth in either game, this Dominion attemptable mission has a bult in incentive for you to not complete it too quickly. Your opponent discarding and you drawing for free may not be beneficial in the middle of your turn, but you can benefit from the net gain. It is also not limited to once per turn so as long as you have the personnel to throw at it you can have as much fun as you want.

Earth has a storied history in both games. It has formed the backbone of many decks and used for a variety of themes across many sets in both editions in both the Decipher and Committee eras. As we celebrate the joys of Earth Day, we hope you enjoyed this history lesson going through how this wonderous planet is represented in our games.

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