There are various Premium Products for 2E. They are listed here in order of appearance. Each is linked to its appropriate card list:
Tenth Anniversary Collection:
PICTURE: While the foul expression matches the Mercenary Captain's quote better, I do like the prominent symbol on his left (our right). It looks like a stylized claw scooping up some kind of artifact, doesn't it? Great design on the part of the Star Trek creators, and nicely highlighted here. A good 3.5.
LORE: The subtitle sets him apart from his other self (Mercenary Captain), and the quote is in the right vein. Although knowing the show, we might remember there were more than two artifacts to find, so the "completed half" comment is a little odd. Still, a fair 3.1.
TREK SENSE: Baran should be proof that you can make separate versions of a personnel even if they appeared in only one story (albeit a two-parter). The first version focused on his running his ship, this second one, on his theft of artifacts. Oh, he's still an Officer with a Command icon, of course, and still the Commander of the Fortune, and he's still Treacherous (stealing artifacts isn't any better than torturing your crew with agonizers). Archaeology, Smuggler and Thief are all better fits to this card, even if they were on the other (their absence would have been glaring over there though, especially without the benefit of Treasure Seeker as a card at the time). Biology (used for implanting pain devices in the crew) has been converted into Security here, a skill that's often been used by criminals to EVADE security. It would also help keep an eye on his treacherous crew, for that matter. The real change to Treasure Seeker is in the special ability however. He can find an Artifact at every mission if he helps complete it. You do have to accept that the mission's stated goals can be subverted for Baran's (he's along for the mission because he knows there's an Artifact there, and grabs it when all dilemmas and mission requirements are passed). Easily done, especially given his skill list (attribute help does not count), which is tailored to stealing Artifacts anyway (just say the Security to be passed is security around the Artifact). Perhaps more difficult is the lack of distinction between planet and space missions, but there doesn't seem to be one with the Artifacts themselves either. If the Flute can be found in space, then it's all possible (that's where the Sword of Kahless is right now too). In 2E, attribute don't change between versions unless there's a real reason for it, which is sound. In Baran's case, there really should be no difference since the two are simultaneous, not spread over time. To recap: He's a very nasty individual with that 2 in Integrity; not stupid, but ultimately not very smart to have had three moles in his crew without noticing it; and remains a brute that nevertheless doesn't really use physicality to get what he wants. The Cost is the same too, making this mercenary relatively easy to contact (it's just good business). Finally, I'd just like the remind the powers that be that I hate those generic Alien species. Seems like they could at least have invented something somewhere (if only in the make-up department). A small blot on an otherwise excellent effort, for a total of 4.4.
STOCKABILITY: This Baran shares a number of tricks with the other Baran, such as those associated with Thief and Smuggler (Smuggling Run, Pickpocket, The Orion Underworld, Bank Heist), as well as an interesting skill pool (Security replacing Biology may actually be a bit more useful). Right there, a good mix of regular mission-solving ability and round-the-corner strategies. He still commands the Fortune, with every possible bonus that entails, but now has a choice as to which Fortune he will use. The original ship can download him, sure, but the second - Raider for Hire - works well with this Baran's special ability. That ability allows him to download Artifacts directly into play. That's great! All he needs to do is lend a skill to the mission attempt. Should be simple to make sure all your missions have one of his 4 skills, especially given the variety. You might want Archaeology missions anyway if you stock Artifacts in your deck (in case Baran isn't out). The Equipment Artifacts we have now are good for doing personnel battle, and though The Sword of Kahless works just on Klingons and Honor personnel, it does boost attributes more than just in battle. At Kressari Rendezvous, it makes for a very cheap 5-point discard! Cool! The Thought Maker manipulates the dilemma pile nicely, and Ressikan Flute can rescue an Event. In all cases, you save on a Cost of 2 (3 if you count the draw) and with the Equipment, can bypass the HQ. And in all cases, the Raider for Hire will add +1 to each of Baran's (and other Treachery personnel's) attributes to a maximum of +3. That's what I call working together. His own Cost is pretty low, which is great. Much better than the original, I think, at 4.4.
TOTAL: 15.4 (77%) A full 5% better, in fact.
PICTURE: The Bajoran sailing ship is majestic and beautifully depicted here, with the cabin remaining central and the sails unfurling from there. Seems like it also meshes particularly well with the ornate template designs. A very pretty 4.
LORE: The quote is didactic, but also tells us why we should believe the special ability. It's fine. I'm most interested in the names invented for the ship and its class however. "Baraka", I can find no mention of anywhere in Trek, but since it was named by Sisko, we can imagine it has terrestrial roots. Baraka is the ancient Sufi word for "blessing" or for "the breath from which the evolutionary process unfolds". So... the Breath of God? For a ship that is pushed by solar winds? That's brilliant. As for the class, Bajoran ships usually take their names from Bajor's geographical locations. Shabren, however, is one of the poets who wrote down Prophecies. His Fifth Prophecy was of the Bajoran Golden Age, the 1000 years of peace Winn prevented in "The Reckoning". I'm totally game given that these ancient ships certainly wouldn't follow the militia's naming scheme, being from a time more spiritual and less about reclaiming the land. Lore's fine, but I have to give immense props to the designers for the names. Jumps to 4.3.
TREK SENSE: The Baraka is the smallest ship in Second Edition, and certainly
warrants the low Staffing and attributes. A single Staff icon is all you
would need, despite the 2-man sailing maneuvers we saw the Siskos pull,
because evidently, there's a way around all that. Akorem Laan was alone,
for example. Jake certainly has no staffing icon. And Command wouldn't
be much use on a one-or-two-man ship. Brings up a point: There's no limit
on the number of crewmembers that can fit inside, pretty much the only
2E ship where it's an issue. As for the low attributes, it's pretty clear
that the ship had no Weapons and very minimal Shields (enough for structural
integrity, but that's pretty much it). Range has often been a sore point
when dealing with sublight vessels, but at 3, the Baraka is a convincing
one. It has little chance of making it to another mission except if in
the same region (thanks to the -2 to total Span). So that works for me.
The special ability neatly takes care of the jump to Cardassia, making
the sailing ship vulnerable to tachyon eddies (where bigger, non-sail ships
aren't) which might send the vessel almost anywhere. Anywhere? That's a
bit of a cheat (I don't think other quadrants should really be legal targets),
but that's also how we should see the -5 points "cost". It's one of the
things we have to interpret in 2E: What do the various costs mean? Discards
seem to mean that you allocate resources to an action. Points, however,
aren't resources, they're a measure of accomplished goals. Negative points
could thus be interpreted as "cheating". Those big plot devices that basically
do the work for the characters. So while getting to Cardassia on sailing
power would be quite an accomplishment, being tossed there by a tachyon
eddy isn't really. To me, that works, and we'll just have to see how well
it plays out on other cards. Cost is a bit low when you consider the ship
is an antique replica, but a "home project" can't possibly cost more than
a ship of the line. 2's ok. And the DS9 icon is good too, since the ship
was built there. It's Bajoran because of design, despite being built and
owned by a Starfleet officer. Sisko, in fact, is a man of both worlds,
and did not make his Baraka flight in Starfleet threads. The problems are
few and far between, and the card does a generally good job of expressing
something that's off the beaten path as far as its usual ship mechanics
go. A 4.2.
1E TREK SENSE: Everything I've said stands, except that a Range of 3 CAN get you off-system in 1E. That, and Regions don't work the same way, making some in-Region locations impossible to reach with the Baraka. At least, the eddies won't be sending you cross-quadrant. "No Weapons" would also have been preferable to boostable 0 Weapons (since the option exists in 1E). Small vessels don't usually require Staffing at all, but seeing as the sails are pretty complex (and archaic), I'm totally for it in this case. Range is a big issue, and so drops to 3.7.
STOCKABILITY: Would you really want to use such a weak ship? Well, I
guess it could be used as a quick ferry from the HQ (either Deep Space
9 or Bajor) to wherever your personnel are stranded. For example, maybe
they're far away and need some skill or attribute assistance, but don't
want to return all the way to the HQ. Put personnel aboard the Baraka (after
all, a very, very cheap ship, and you can even send help in the form of
a single personnel), pay the 5 points and off you go. With Range 13, you
can pretty much go anywhere, even to another quadrant. It DOES cost you
5 points though, which means you better have things under control when
it comes to missions and round-the-corner strategies. Normal Range won't
get you very far unless you use missions from the Bajor region. Benjamin
Sisko/Shipwright adds 1 to the Range which would make certain missions
more accessible (from DS9, anything up to a Span of 3). However, you don't
want the Baraka to get in a fight, cuz it'll lose every time. Then again,
in 2E, one engagement won't destroy the ship, because one damage card can't
destroy it alone. So the Baraka is a lot tougher here than it looks. Having
a Commander has its perks (aside from Sisko's Range boost), including playing
him for less directly on the ship, download either him to the ship or the
ship to him, adding even more to Range (Inspiring Leader makes it Range
6), win back the 5 points with Mission Accomplished, and fool around with
the number of dilemmas you encounter. The kind of ship that can work as
an Event/Interrupt of sorts to get you out of jams, but also one that comes
into its own when you use its Commander to full effect. Generously perhaps,
1E STOCKABILITY: 1E has many more ways to boost a ship, not the least of which is the ol' Plaque/Log trick, and thankfully, Benjamin Sisko/Shipwright is also backwards-compatible. The Baraka, then, can be made 6-3-6 right there. Not great, but more potable. It's much more in danger of being destroyed in battle though, since 1) direct hits are a definite possibility even with the boost, and 2) initiating a battle doesn't require a card. The one staffing icon here is disadvantageous when you compare it to other ships with low attributes. It's even locked out of Hidden Fighter (even the Delta Flyer is staffless!). The normal Range of 3 won't let you go anywhere unless you manage to string low Span missions together, which isn't always easy in 1E. Even within a Region, they're not all gonna be under 3 Span. Factor in that "DS9" isn't an affiliation here, and it seems like the Bajorans already have enough slow, weak ships. The massive boost to Range is nothing you couldn't get for free with Wormholes or something like that. Using Ready Room Door for Sisko/Shipwright, perhaps only to later turn him into The Emissary (or using his Engineer to download this ship in the first place), could be useful, but I gotta say it's much less interesting in this environment, and only worth 2.2.
TOTAL: 15.9 (79.5%) Good, old-fashioned workmanship still counts in
this day and age.
1E TOTAL: 14.2 (71%) Appreciated, but obviously not designed with 1E in mind.
PICTURE: The fake beard is a little ridiculous when we know how his real one turned out, but it does add to the nicely deep shadows in this pic. The earthy color palette helps sell the idea of an antique ship, the set and costume are wonderfully baroque, and Sisko has the right expression of wonder to match his quote. A strong 4.
LORE: A good quote from "Explorers", though of course, there indeed WAS a hum overlayed on the soundtrack (ooops!). Nevertheless a nice effort, with an appropriate antiquated subtitle. 3.4 here.
TREK SENSE: Bajoran because he commanded a ship of Bajoran design, and
apparently on vacation, took it out without wearing his usual Starfleet
fashions. This is Emissary business, more or less. Still, he's closer to
his Defiant Captain self than to the Emissary card, and after all, he's
not communing with the Prophets in this episode. He's got Navigation and
Astrophysics to use the solar winds to fly the Baraka. He's got Engineer
to build the thing in the first place. He also has Anthropology, as shown
by his simply being able to reproduce an antique ship, but also in the
history lessons he gave Jake. Sisko has demonstrated Honor again and again
(it's on all his cards but Man of Resolve - for obvious reasons). It's
not a huge part of "Explorers", but to me, his relationship with his son
IS marked by high Integrity, and I won't begrudge him his Honor here. Besides,
I don't see a skill missing. We had the room. The special ability is where
it gets muddy. Sure, he knows how to navigate even an ancient ship like
the Baraka, but Range +1 to all Bajoran ships? Why? An Interceptor? A Scout?
I'm sure the crews would want to do well for the Emissary, but that's not
the point of the card here. Feels thematic rather than sensical, even if
we CAN explain it. The attributes aren't Emissary-level, but they still
work. Integrity is a point higher than Defiant Captain, showing courage,
fatherly care and confidence in the ancient Bajorans. Cunning and Stength
are the same as that version. Cost is also the same as Defiant Captain,
which again makes sense, since they're basically from the same era. A muddled
special ability keeps the card at a still high 4.
1E TREK SENSE: As a DS9-icon Bajoran, I think an actual 1E version of Sisko Shipwright would have been dual-aligned (Baj/Fed). Evidence to support the contrary (i.e. Vedek Dax) are themselves wrong. That said, the same justification given above can still work. The usual personnel-conversion troubles are of course there, like the lack of a true classification and lower-than-normal attributes (Sisko might let his guard down as far as Strength goes, but doesn't deserve the low Integrity and Cunning). The rest reads the same way. Downsized to 2.9 (wrong attributes really are quite a bad thing).
STOCKABILITY: If you like the Baraka, well of course you'll want to
use Sisko/Shipwright. The ship can be moved almost anywhere with a simple
discard (not a big deal for the Bajorans), and even farther than that with
this Sisko aboard. Once he gets to wherever he's going, he's got plenty
of skills to offer his crew, some for space missions (where he's best),
some for planets. Expose Changeling Influence seems to jump out at me as
one of the best places to use his talents. Off the Baraka, he can be used
on another Bajoran vessel to up its usually lower-than-average Range. I
guess the biggest problem with using this card is that you must renounce
using The Emissary of the Prophets, which is the stronger card. In a DS9
deck, well, you might not use that many (weaker) Bajoran ships, and if
using the Defiant, you won't be using Shipwright as your Sisko of choice.
This version still has a distinct skill list and IS useful, at least as
much as his ship (Trip to Romulus can get you your full high-Range combo
more quickly). A 3.4.
1E STOCKABILITY: I already demonstrated that the Baraka wasn't nearly as useful in First Edition, and that spells trouble for its matching commander. Even Plaqued and Logged, the Baraka is no match for Bajoran ships with less staffing, and there are many more ways to get to the far-off corners of the spaceline(s) in 1E. So this Sisko, Bajoran-only, since there's no DS9 affiliation, can he really compete with The Emissary? He really can't. His Range-boosting skill could be interesting to the slower-than-average Bajoran ships, but there are far more effective ways of doing this. Only +1? Not very much. Excellent skill list, of course, and the Astrometrics can even be named as either Astrophysics or Stellar Cartography, but it just can't beat out The Emissary's crucial special skills. He's thus best used in persona-switching strategies, offering nice skill tonnage when you don't need to report Bajorans to his location, etc. In Treaty decks, he can even act as matching commander of a number of Federation ships. Attributes are lame, I should mention. An average 3.
TOTAL: 14.8 (74%) Of course not as much as The Emissary! But still good.
1E TOTAL: 13.3 (66.5%) I could say the same.
PICTURE: Alice Krige makes the best Borg Queen, smarmy, sexy and creepy all at the same time, and I thought I'd like this First Contact pic more than the Voyager ones, but the lack of color is a bit dull. Still nice and creepy, and the tube at her neck meshes right into the frame of the species box, but a little more flash to the background would have made it just a little bit cooler. A 3.5 as is.
LORE: An excellent contrast to Federation ideals, and almost poetic. Plus, the link to assimilated personnel is tangible. As for the subtitle, it's kind of funny to treat her like a simple workaholic ;-). A very good 3.6.
TREK SENSE: Well, we just discussed a Borg Queen only two reviews ago, so we'll just gloss over the details that are the same. Like I formerly said, while the Borg Collective cannot be properly said to have Leadership or Treachery, the Queen does have equivalents - she's the part of the Collective brain that makes decisions, and for a heck of a lot of bodies (not to use the term "individuals"), and though the Collective does not really have concepts of right and wrong, those decisions fall into the "evil" camp for everybody else. So that covers 3 Leadership, Treachery, the Command icon, and low Integrity. I think the Cunning is appropriate for a character that makes use of a collective mind (though can still be fooled), and the Strength is also good, representing her enhanced body. Ok, the new stuff. Taken from First Contact, I agree that she should be Commander of her Borg Cube, though again, we have to use Command in the Borg sense. She's in more direct control of this one, but after all, she's in control of all Borg Cubes everywhere. The special ability is more iffy however. How exactly does she make assimilated personnel "unstoppable"? As new drones, sometimes incomplete if we go with onscreen evidence, shouldn't they be easier to stop than other drones? It works thematically, since she's brought these people closer to perfection, but it doesn't hold up to scrutiny very well. While I suppose she could "push" personnel to get up and fight through a dilemma, there's no reason this would only work on newly assimilated drones. Can we explain why she Costs less than the other Queens? Not really. The good stuff is a repeat of Bringer of Order, and the new stuff isn't as sharp. A 3 is all that's left.
STOCKABILITY: This Queen has the same skills as the others, but I couldn't really demonstrate that they were that good before (Locutus being a better mission solver with similar, actually better, skills). Bringer of Order, of course, had an ability that worked outside mission solving, so she was better left at the HQ. Perfectionist's abilities call for her to be brought on missions. For one thing, she's the Commander of her own personal Cube, so you'd want her to be out and about in space to command it. What does that do? Well, she can report directly to that Cube at a Cost of only 2 (with Captain on the Bridge), score points at an opponent's HQ (Deploy the Fleet, with some incentive to be there on the Cube itself) or at a completed mission (Mission Accomplished), download to the Cube or vice-versa (Trip to Romulus), boost its already impressive Range (Inspiring Leader), reduce the number of dilemmas you might face (Running a Tight Ship), and keep your Maneuvers around after use (Standing Your Ground). Unfortunately, the ship's special ability isn't all that great or necessary, so that takes a bite out of her. But what about HER special ability? Good enough to be worth stocking instead of Bringer of Order's "select-a-skill Interlink" or Guardian of the Hive's drone cycling? In a deck heavy with assimilation cards, you might get a lot of extra personnel eligible for becoming unstoppable. But the ability only works where the Queen is present, so she must be put at risk on mission solving (fine, but you risk your ship's Commander), and you do own her, so SHE can still be stopped. Her ability might not cover those personnel that long. But while it does, it's certainly useful against filters. Then again, it turns dilemmas that stop the entire crew into filters, letting the assimilated personnel continue on to who knows what doom, without their pure Borg comrades. See, I don't think that beats out the other Queens, and you can only use one at a time. She costs less, yes, but either of the others is still a better deal. Not that this is useless if it's all you have access to. A 3.4.
TOTAL: 13.5 (67.5%) But then, I hate it when promos are too good ;-).
PICTURE: Stern Data won't take any guff from Christopher Hobson in this pic, which matches the quote to come, but as we'll see, it's got a lot more to do with being a Commander than with his special ability. Other than that, I'm unimpressed with the four screens behind him, which gives the image a very stiff composition. At least average, 3.
LORE: Again recounts how Data snapped at Hobson, but against type, the quote doesn't do much to explain the special ability. You've got to know the episode for that. Still, points for making it an order (as is the special ability). Subtitle's fair, but not very interesting. Hits 3.1.
TREK SENSE: Data could theoretically program himself with almost every skill in book, and he can compartmentalize to fill different niches well enough, so he's suited to the changes of abilities occasioned by the various personnel cards that represent him. As Commander of the Sutherland in "Redemption, Part II", he adds Leadership to his Officer status (he was Lt. Commander already, after all). Engineer and Physics, not surprises on the technically-minded Data, were used in this case to spot the cloaked Romulan warbirds coming through Starfleet's blockade (more on this later). As for Programming, it's a natural for ol' computer brain here, but as opposed to his baseline self (Aspirer), it's not doubled. That's fine, since as a Commander, he would have let the lower ranks do most of the computer stuff (and did). The special ability has little to do with his command style, and everything to do with his discovery of the Romulans. It goes wider, allowing him to anticipate an opponent's move. If he's right, you score 5 points. What's the point-giving goal? To prove that Data, though a machine, can make good decisions and be an able leader. If he hadn't been right about the Romulans, he would have proven Hobson right instead. It also creates a situation where, like the Romulans, your opponent might back down from his strategy to avoid giving anything away. Well played, that, though it is mutually exclusive with the points-scoring. Mileage may vary according to the card named, of course, but the stakes are there, in the form of a discard and a one-turn limit. If the TNG icon is reserved for personnel serving on the Enterprise (D or E), then Data deserves the Earth icon here, even if, you know, he's still been culled from the Enterprise. I would tend to believe that his Integrity is higher than a 6, since he has a strong ethical program, is very loyal, etc., but all his cards to date seem to find a reason to lower it by at least a point, so we've never seen higher than 6. In this case, how harsh he had to be with Hobson, and how he disobeyed Picard at the end. Cunning and Strength are at the maximum possible setting, since as an android, he's super-smart and super-strong. Now, Cunning should be more than booksmarts and computational skills, so Data might not have attained a 10 being so naive. I guess this tells us something about what Cunning means, though again, mileage may vary according to the character or requirement. A 4.4.
STOCKABILITY: The other two Federation Datas are basically skill horses that can dig a little deeper to gain more skills and boost their attributes, but Commanding Officer has a more interesting special ability. But is it useful enough that you'd use this Data over one of the others when mission solving decks are built on skills and attributes? Well, for non-TNG decks, this Data is the only way to go, so for DS9ers, he'll provide a good skill list and outrageously good attributes. Even in TNG decks, it's not like he won't bring sky-high Cunning and Strength and 5 useful skills (including Leadership, which allows for some battling cards). He's still good enough at mission solving that he's worth the 5 counters just for that, or at least as much as the other Datas. I doubt his special ability will often net a player the 5 points it promises, since naming a card would usually PREVENT a player from playing it for an entire turn... unless they really want to give you some free points. If he's really up against the wall, or somewhat arrogant, you might get the points anyway, so it's a win-win situation. Of course, this is only very good if you have an idea of what is in your opponent's hand, so keep an eye out for retrievals from the discard pile, hand or card reveals, etc. If you see a card you'd rather not see played at the moment, discard a card (a fair cost) and make sure it doesn't. As long as keep doing this, and your opponent has it in hand (i.e. he doesn't ever discard it), it's stuck there. This Data is also the Commander of a ship, the USS Sutherland. The Sutherland is a good Earth-icon ship with 8-8-8 attributes, and a special ability that manipulates dilemmas (not much and at great cost, but still). Its Cost isn't too high (6), though you normally couldn't play both it and its Commander on the same turn, nor much of anything else for the two turns you use to bring them together. All the usual Commander tricks, apply, of course, including Captain on the Bridge which could allow you to play Data for a mere 4 counters. And no matter what the Cost of theses cards, you'll always have some left over to play Trip to Romulus to get the other one in hand. So some nice options to go with his strong mission-solving ability, I have to give him a high 4.7.
TOTAL: 15.2 (76%) Do the other Datas aspire to do better?
PICTURE: A distinct atmosphere is created by the shadowier, redder lighting of the bird-of-prey. This is a dangerous Dukat, but one more determined and in control. The medals on his chest, ironic though they be now that he's been left behind by the new order, make him the patriotic Dukat, and he is that. If I have reservations, it's that the lighting is a bit too splotchy, but an easy 3.8 here.
LORE: I really like the subtitle, and his mission turns up in the quote. The great villain here shows courage. Brief, but cool. A 3.5.
TREK SENSE: At this point, Dukat had been relegated to commanding a freighter, so was out of favor with the Cardassian government, so when he captured the Naprem (the name of Ziyal's mother, never mentioned as the bird-of-prey's name on the show), he decided to go after the Klingons without their blessing. He was a renegade, but one fighting for a just cause. That explains the lack of a Gul keyword. He's still in Command and an Officer, but no longer has the perks, privileges and inside info available to that rank. His Integrity is up two points from any other version, because though ruthless, he's currently determined to save Cardassian lives. And you won't find his trademark double-Treachery here. Perhaps a little Treachery would have been in order though. It's still Dukat. Ah well, only the first strike, mitigated by the fact that he WAS an ally to Sisko and friends during this period. Also gone from any other versions is Diplomacy. They guy's gone to war. Security is the order of the day instead. Navigation helps travel into Klingon space, and Programming was no doubt instrumental in the holo-filter gambit used in "Apocalypse Rising" and the breaking of Klingon codes locked in the Naprem's computer banks. The special ability is fine, though it feels like something Kira taught him. Behind the lines as he is, he's got to conduct mostly hit and runs. The ability works just like that: You attack, but he's unstopped (though of course, he doesn't attack again). Cunning and Strength are the same level they've always been, equal to Sisko's, and that's fine. The Cost is at an ok level for a renegade. Always been a 3, but he's made himself so available through the years, even as a Legate, that it doesn't bother me. What would bother me is if you divorced him from the Naprem. Could he be a renegade anywhere else? Since he CAN be used without the ship, on normal Cardassian vessels, etc., it does seem odd that he keep his special ability, skill list, etc. As a Non-Aligned, I wouldn't have had then same trouble, but then, it wouldn't have fit as well the patriotic theme. A couple of kinks, but an excellent effort nonetheless at 3.7.
STOCKABILITY: When you have multiple versions of the same personnel in the same affiliation, choices have to be made. Now, Liberator and Protector has a mean special ability and Military Adviser, a thin card manipulation thing and command of the Prakesh. But let us consider True Cardassian's advantages. First of all, he's got better attributes (+2 Integrity). Though 2 Treachery is great, it's also a skill that can be hosed. Leave other Cardassians to take care of the Treachery (plenty of bad guys there), and pick up some fair skills instead. Security is excellent (Arrest Order), and the rest, though common, are all useful. He commands the Naprem, so can use the various cards that are useful to Commanders, including downloading him or the ship with Trip to Romulus. The Naprem costs the same as a Galor, but has slightly lower stats. Nothing disastrous, and his special ability can help overcome these deficiencies in battle. Normally, after you've fired on another ship, you'd be stopped. If your opponent had a Maneuver out, she could on her turn fire on YOU. Well, Dukat can blast out of there, possibly to his safe haven at the Cardassian HQ. If he's not that scared of that, he could just use the unstop to go off and attempt a mission. Still got time. You just can't start another engagement... though that doesn't mean you can't beam down to a planet and start a combat with the other half of a crew. The Naprem can also help you screw up your opponent's mission attempts, so it's simply interesting for that. Not to take anything away from the Prakesh, but its ability is pretty defensive and one-dimensional. The best Dukat? Depends on your purposes. But yeah, I dig him. A good 4.2.
TOTAL: 15.2 (76%) A fittingly high score for the (only?) True Cardassian.
PICTURE: Hard to beat the gorgeous Fortune from Energize, especially if the ship itself is gonna be that indistinct. I'm happy to see a different angle, but the resulting mess of gray lines fails to be interesting. The gaudy rainbow nebula barely helps matters, and we get a 2 and no more.
LORE: Though the subtitle is fun enough, the lore itself comes off as confused. I understand the link to the Artifact-related special ability, but it gets very specific, and if you're not familiar with "Gambit", you might feel lost. The last sentence finally mentions ships, but plural, which might have worked better on the Mercenary Ship, but here feels wrong. I respect its ties to the game text, but can't go over 2.4. Anyone know where the class name came from?
TREK SENSE: A second version of the Fortune, though I've yet to review
the original, Raider for Hire only differs in special ability, so we'll
discuss that last. The Fortune was a small ship with a small crew, so the
conservative Staffing is fine, though perhaps still a bit hefty for the
amount of crew we saw (2 icons maybe?). Mercenaries aren't big on authority
(Baran ran it by threatening pain), which explains why a Command icon isn't
particularly needed. The Cost may seem a bit high (same as the Enterprise-D,
for example), but we have to remember that this was a rare class of ship,
very fast in design (attested to by the Range), and probably difficult
to get access to by our Non-Aligned mercs. Not being provided for by an
affiliation per se, the NAs have to scrounge a bit more for their vessels.
for Weapons and Shields, they fit onscreen evidence. The ship has some
teeth, but probably would have trouble against larger starships. The special
ability ties in directly with the Fortune's mission during "Gambit", boosting
Treachery personnel for every Artifact you command. On one (good) hand,
this makes Treachery personnel into thieving, grave-robbing mercenaries.
On the other (the bad one), the Artifacts need not be "present" or even
have been played by virtue of an "Artifact mission" completed by this ship.
Or can they be boosted by Artifacts "not yet picked up"? That could work,
but it's hard to see how your drive (or sense of accomplishment) in these
matters can really boost all three attributes. Making a personnel more
content, confident and driven might give Strength, might even add to Cunning
a little bit (the +3 potential is rather massive however), but boost Integrity?
The more you steal, the more ethical you become? Also, why lose the feeling
when beaming to a planet? The baseline ship is relatively good, but the
special ability turns out to be rather thematic. Overall, a 2.9.
1E TREK SENE: The Fortune is a plausible unique version of the Mercenary Ship, complete with one heightened attribute, in the style of that game. It loses the Long-Range Scan Shielding, but I'm not very fussy about that minor ability. The added Staffing makes the ship inordinately hard to staff compared to similarly-sized vessels though. The 1E Baran is not its matching commander, which is an anomaly, even more important because no 2E Baran is backwards-compatible. Another such anomaly is brought on by the change in ship class from Unknown to Virayllan, which means the Fortune can't be Perignoned, for example. The above review works on other fronts, though now we might say it's odd the ship's crew doesn't personally ACQUIRE said Artiacts, and of course, Cost is meaningless here. Adjusted to 2.4.
STOCKABILITY: Attributes being what they are in 2E, boosting them is
a good ability. Two things are required, of course, one being that the
target personnel have Treachery (real easy in some affiliations), and the
other that you have Artifacts in play. They can only enter play after one
mission has already been completed, so no boost can help there, but once
that's done, any number of Artifacts can be played. Play three, and you
have a +3 boost across the board on all your Treachery personnel. So start
with your planet mission (which are more likely to require Archaeology,
et al. anyway), because the boost will only work aboard ship, for later
space missions. What's really nice is that Arctus Baran/Treasure Seeker,
its Commander, can download an Artifact into play if he used one of his
skills on the last mission, so you at least start out with +1 no matter
what's in hand at the moment. Baran has all the usual tricks at his disposal
(Trip to Romulus on down), and if you don't really care for Treasure Seeker,
Mercenary Captain is also Commander for the Fortune (but an inferior combo).
Special abilities aside, its relatively easy to staff and has fairly good
attributes (nothing game-breaking, of course). Cost is fine for the power
level. You can't use the other Fortune with this one in play, that's true,
but the special ability here is much more interesting. After all, you can
download an Archaeology personnel anyway using Trip to Romulus: Arctus
Baran. A great ship to use in an Artifact strategy, I give it a 3.7.
1E STOCKABILITY: No matching commander, higher staffing needs than are regular for these attributes, and a usual limit of one Artifact seeded per mission, makes this a less interesting ship in 1E. There are ways around it like Q's Planet (barring the use of Strategema), Orb missions (indeed, it may not be a bad choice for the Bajorans), Starry Night, or a guy like James Tiberius Kirk. Attributes not being as key here, I can't recommend it as much. Just a 3.
TOTAL: 11 (55%) Not much of a fortune when you look at it this way.
1E TOTAL: 9.8 (49%) Wouldn't hire it.
PICTURE: The expression is dead serious, but the lighting's a bit too stark for me, and the background uneven. Technical flaws take down a still appropriate image to a simple 3.
LORE: I like the long subtitle, which puts almost TOO fine a point on his being Leader of the Empire. This is the Civil War Gowron and his subtitle tries to convince itself that he is in full control. The lore repeats the words and gives justification for them. The last little sentence ties into the special ability nicely too. A strong overall 3.6.
TREK SENSE: Gowron, at this point, while still Chancellor, is involved
in a Civil War. His Cost is thus driven down from 4 (on Leader of the High
Council) to 3, because his authority is in dispute. That's why we'll also
find Security here and the Command of a ship (I worry about the missing
Officer). The leader becomes a soldier. He's still the real Leader of the
Empire, of course, which warrants him a double-dose of Leadership. He's
also the Law-maker (invokes Law in his lore, even), and is on the side
of right (Worf would fight for him), so has Honor. Integrity is likewise
above average, though betrays his ruthlessness. He's never been shown as
especially brilliant, so the average Cunning is fine, as is the high Klingon
Strength. The special ability has him basically sacrifice a Treachery Klingon
to save an Honor Klingon, and that might work really well if the Treachery
was in the crew ("you work for the Duras? let me throw you to the wolves
then"), but these sacrifices are in hand. Ok, that means that your Klingons
are killing traitors out there somewhere, and passing on some benefit to
you. How would that affect your mission attempt? Maybe the discarded Klingon
WAS at the dilemma site, causing or encouraging it, and Gowron had him
or her flung into harm's way (with a further shot in the back if it was
only a stopper). Thematically, it works, creating a war outside the game,
but otherwise, not so much. Still giving it 3.5.
1E STAR TREK: The only real problems are the missing classification (again, Officer might have been warranted) and the too-low attributes. The Cunning is just too low (the rest is fine, though the point drop for Strength is a bit puzzling for his warlike attitude). The rest of the card works in the same way, with Cost no longer being an issue. The drop takes us to 3.
STOCKABILITY: We currently have two Gowrons to choose from, but I think
this one may be superior, and for fewer counters. You still get the excellent
2 Leadership, the rare Law and high Strength (important when using Warrior's
Birthright, as well as for combat). Still a Chancellor, but we can't do
anything with that yet. Both work well in Honor decks, and not just by
virtue of having that skill. Leader of the High Council will download you
an extra Honor personnel, and that may prove efficient. But there are no
pure Honor decks that don't have at least SOME Treachery, since you do
need a full skill pool to face whatever dilemmas are thrown at you. Sole
Leader, then, has a more interesting ability. Your precious Honor personnel
can be saved (including Gowron himself) by discarding Treachery Klingons
in hand. Some you might want to play, some you reserve for this kind of
thing. Once in the discard pile, his or her skills can still be brought
against a later dilemma using The Promise. Even if that doesn't turn your
crank, his Command of the IKS Bortas should. It's a high-powered ship with
a good Maneuver-renewing ability, great for engagements. Trip to Romulus
gets it to Gowron or vice-versa, and there are plenty of other tricks a
Commander can pull, including Standing Your Ground, which keeps Maneuvers
around for longer, even as you download another with the Bortas. A very
1E STOCKABILITY: One of 3 Gowrons here, and persona-switching may make them stockable together. Well, maybe not the Premiere Gowron. You could start with Chancellor Gowron, use the special downloads, then switch to Sole Leader. After all, he's got the same high Leadership and the same rare Law. Attributes aren't as high, but they're not as important in 1E. Security is a better skill than VIP is a classification, and Honor, well, Honor is THE Klingon skill. In an Honor deck, you'll want to save your Honor personnel, either for the mission requirements or other effects. Gowron can save anyone through a simple discard. You have less need of Treachery in play in 1E anyway (fewer dilemmas require it). He can save himself, or Worf, or anyone else on those Honor missions. He serves as matching commander to the IKC Bortas, just like the Premiere Gowron does, and is able to bring up its attributes (Plaqued/Log of course) to 11-12-10! You know what? He can also command the huge Negh'Var (Plaqued/Logged value: 11-13-12). And here, being a Chancellor has uses: Download through Going to the Top, overcome Executive Authorization, and report for free to The Great Hall. Hey, he can still serve two missions well, Archanis Dispute and Investigate Disturbance, which ask for him specifically. A strong, flexible 4.3.
TOTAL: 14.3 (71.5%) Glory to him... and his house.
1E TOTAL: 13.9 (69.5%) Couldn't beat the very strong Chancellor Gowron, but Premiere's? Sure.
PICTURE: A beautiful shot of the Bortas in orbit above the Klingon homeworld (speaks of being a flagship). The color palette really works too. A strong 4.
LORE: Though sadly not a quote, it's still fine lore. The first sentence gives us a timeframe and doesn't exclude the later Negh'Var, while the second gives it some enemies and a true function. Ah yes, and I love it when the Trek creators go and grab an actual Klingon word to name a ship. Bortas, according to my trusty Klingon dictionary, means "Revenge". A good 3.3.
TREK SENSE: The Bortas follows the Vor'Cha model, with normal high number of Staffing icons, the same high attributes (skewed towards Weapons, as the Klingons are a warrior race), and the Cloaking Device. The Cost is identical to the Enterprise-D's, and that sounds about right. They are equivalent flagships. The difference, of course, lies in the special ability. This allows the ship to download a Maneuver after it wins an engagement, which is at least thematically sound when you consider that this ship was used during the Klingon Civil War. It participated in one battle after another. The cost of a discard to get the download is fine, representing resources spent on the next attack, be they minor repairs, refits or planning. That the trigger is winning an engagement, and not losing it, is likewise ok, since a loss would have to recoup rather than head for the next battle. Everything here is sound, so I give a high 4.5.
STOCKABILITY: Vor'Cha-class ships require a little more staffing than K'Vorts, but they have 1 point more in each attribute, which is excellent. The class is fast, tough, and powerful. Now, why the Bortas rather than the slightly cheaper generic Vor'Cha? Two reasons: a Commander and a special ability. That Commander is Gowron/Sole Leader of the Empire, who can use that keyword for a variety of effects, from boosting the ship to scoring points to downloading the ship in the first place. Of note to the Klingons is Standing Your Ground, which discards itself instead of a (possibly costly) Maneuver. The Klingons really are good battlers, and have a ton of options when it comes to Maneuvers. And that's where the special ability kicks in. Every time you win an engagement using the Bortas, you can discard a card to download one of those Maneuvers, and it's totally your choice as to which. It's not a bad way to get at specific Maneuvers in a deck that's possibly full of a variety of them. Think of it as a win-specific Coordinated Attack. Battle, win, move on to the next battle. And the Bortas can definitely win those engagements. A very good 4.2.
TOTAL: 16 (80%) The 1E version had only scored a 12.
#2117-Jean-Luc Picard - Starship Captain, Personnel, Federation, Cost: 3, unique, BC /X/
-Human; Diplomacy, Honor, Law, Leadership, Navigation, Officer; Command icon; TNG icon
-Commander: USS Enterprise-D; Order: This personnel loses Diplomacy, Law, and Navigation and gains Anthropology, Archaeology, and Science until the end of this turn. You may do this only once each turn.
"Let's see what's out there. ...Engage!"
-INTEGRITY: 8, CUNNING: 6, STRENGTH: 6
PICTURE: Thin, "young" Picard from "Encounter at
Farpoint", which more or less realizes an old dream of mine (for anyone
that remembers A Siskoid By Any Other Name) of having 1st season versions of the
TNG crew. This isn't really that (more under Trek Sense), but at least the image
is pulled from there. A fairly ordinary bust shot, sure, but it being from the
pilot, it has somehow become iconic. Thus, a nice 3.5.
LORE: The last line of the pilot, this would become the series motto AND uses one of the most famous of Picardisms. As a baseline Picard, the somewhat dull subtitle is forgivable. Thankfully, the quote introduces a real spirit of adventure and exploration, which will even pay off in the special ability. Game for a 4.
TREK SENSE: As I said, this isn't truly a 1st Season Picard, but rather represents Jean-Luc throughout the series, as opposed to the other Picards we have, which are from the movie era (specifically, Nemesis). So he's Commander of the Enterprise-D, not it's newer countepart. His Cost is also lower, not having yet had the incredible career taking him to the end of the series and through the films. Through the series, we saw two different sides to Picard, and both are on the card as alternate skill lists. No matter what, he's the ship's captain, so Leadership (and Command) and Officer are always there. As is Honor, a quintessential quality which made even the Klingons embrace him. The rest is interchangeable. Sometimes, he was portrayed as the stateman, using Diplomacy and Law to arbitrate disputes. That Navigation is part of this skill set is a bit strange to me. Yes, more Officer-ish and less Scientific, but not really linked to the other two, though we could say that skill set is all about the job, the alternate skills his hobby, and the fixed skills representative of his presence and personality. The Science set is for the armchair Archaeologist in him, with that skill plus the related Anthropology. Switching back and forth is ok, since episodes usually keep these two sides separate, but then you have shows like "Darmok" and "The Big Goodbye" where Diplomacy and Anthropology intermingle. Turns out to be an iffy proposition to split everything apart. To finish with the attributes. Integrity is as high as it should be for this most honorable of captains. Cunning and Strength are both above average, and I guess the norm for such characters (compare to Sisko). I'll accept the Cunning there, but for Strength, seems to me Picard wasn't quite the fighter Sisko was. He wouldn't really get into shape until First Contact. A 5 would have been just fine. Verdict? 3.5.
1E TREK SENSE: Cost was a good element that means nothing here. No classification to speak of, ruining some card interactions for him. Cunning is way too low, even if the rest is acceptable. Another anomaly is that there is no Enterprise-D in 1E, and so this Picard really has no ship to captain here (well, the Stargazer). Thing is, a baseline Picard already exists in 1E (the Premiere Picard), and it's difficult to see why there should be differences between the two. The point drop in Integrity, for example. It's not a big deal, and I do accept the skill lists. In fact, we might say that the lower level of Diplomacy, lower Integrity and lack of Music makes him an earlier version of the Starship Captain. The split skills would seem to point to "Qpid" era, but pre-Music would be pre-"Lessons". So no farther than the 4th Season. I'll buy that, I suppose. Conversion trouble lowers the score to 2.9.
STOCKABILITY: Picard's an excellent TNG personnel no matter the version, thanks to his high attributes (especially Integrity, which works well for Feds) and large skill list. But you can't use them all, you have to make a choice. Let me sell you on Starship Captain. He Costs one counter less than his Nemesis selves. He's also got more skills, even if you do have to switch them around depending on your needs. Law, for example, remains a rare skill. Switching to a more Scientific package opens up this whole other side to him, which really allows you to use him on different mission types. The others do have built-in Archaeology, but he would add Science and Anthropology to that. Missions don't frequently go in both these directions at once, so it's not a hard switch to make. He's Commander of the USS Enterprise-D, with all the tricks this entails, and is well-suited to use its special ability. He's got Diplomacy, and if that ship is at a space mission just completed using Diplomacy, you score 10 points. That's twice as much as the Enterprise-E's bonus points at planet missions. 45 points at Amnesty Talks, for example, or 55 at Wormhole Negotiations. +5 more with Mission Accomplished! All with fewer dilemmas if Running a Tight Ship. Oh and this also works with Personal Flagship, since he has both Honor and Leadership (with either skill package). Very, very solid. The price is definitely right: a 4.5.
1E STOCKABILITY: Classification blues aren't particularly terrible, but
losing the Enterprise-D definitely cramps his style. Is Starship Captain worth
including, even in a persona-switching strategy? Well, his Law is still quite
good (even if Drumhead made provisions for him already), and he can't work with
the Feds in SCIENCE mode, since that's his Galen version. So it's actually a
good skill list, the flexibility being useful, but attributes are generally not
as good, and in any case, the Feds have a lot of personnel to rely on already,
and the Premiere Picard is still the better deal. Still manages a high 3.6.
TOTAL: 15.5 (77.5%) Around the top where he deserves to be.
1E TOTAL: 14 (70%) Premiere Picard, you'll remember, still heads the Federation scores.
#2130-Kudak'Etan - Arrogant First, Personnel, Dominion, Cost: 3, unique, BC /X/
-Jem'Hadar; Astrometrics, Leadership, Navigation, Officer; Command icon
-Alpha; Commander: USS Defiant; Order: Discard a Vorta from hand to place this personnel and any number of your Jem'Hadar present aboard a ship at the same mission.
"I am the First. And I have declared victory."
-INTEGRITY: 5, CUNNING: 5, STRENGTH: 8
PICTURE: A mean look, which isn't unusual for a Jem'Hadar. He's on the bridge of the Defiant, of which he is Commander. His position as First is also helped by the Gamma in the background. Playing it straight, but all the elements fit. A 3.5.
LORE: Short and to the point, there's no arguing with this guy. It's also a good example of the arrogance mentioned in the subtitle. In fact, the whole thing is an illustration of it. Another 3.5.
TREK SENSE: The two skills I railed against on 1E's Kudak'Etan are gone (Engineer and Anthropology), replaced by Astrometrics, which sheds light on the Navigation. It reminds us that this Jem'Hadar captured the Defiant near a spatial anomaly, so both skills would be helpful in navigating the area. Officer, Leadership and the Command icon are, of course, a First's obligatory skills. Is he missing an icon? I know we met him after Terok Nor fell back into Federation hands, but I thought the Terok Nor affiliation was meant to represent the Alpha Quadrant Cardassian-Dominion alliance. Or are we supposed to be satisfied with an Alpha reporting in the Gamma Quadrant? Cuz that's what's happening here. I don't much like Commanders of captured ships since they can hardly equate with captains that have been on those ships for a significant number of years. Same available bonuses, and yet we say how little Kudak'Etan really understood of the ship compared to its actual crew. The special ability allows him and your other Jem'Hadar to board an opposing ship (what you do with it after that is your business), like some kind of built-in Invasive Transporters. My problem with this is that he's more likely than not to be found on the Dominion Defiant, and that ship is not so equipped even if we accept that from their other vessels. Anyway, he would already HAVE the commandeered ship, and wouldn't jump to another vessel. At least the Vorta discard need not be weird just because one wasn't part of the commandeering team, since it's from one's hand. This thematically represents how Gelnon just left them to it, but in the game, it remains more as a concept than anything. The Vorta gives the orders from afar, I suppose, and is a necessary cost. I like that part of it. Under attributes, we find average Integrity where other Jem'Hadar are usually stronger, but that's because he didn't honor the Jem'Hadar way of life of old, though he remained loyal to the Founders. Cunning is likewise average, having been bamboozled by a very small ship and crew. And Strength's quite high, in keeping with the best of his species. Cost is fair for an Alpha First, I think. Some quadrant and Commander issues hold him at 3.6.
1E TREK SENSE: A better fit than the original as far as skills go, he's actually another version of the persona, perhaps one before, or not long after, the commandeering attempt. See, Engineer and Anthropology would only start being useful after, while Navigation and Astrophysics/Stellar Cartography would be so before. The special ability also plays into that idea, although this boarding action is practically redundant in a deck with (we imagine) Invasive Beam-In. Here, the native quadrant is no problem, with
Kudak'Etan reporting just where he should. The lack of a proper classification and the low Strength (for him) are the true conversion problems. I take the lowered Integrity and Cunning readily, since he WAS short-sighted and mean-spirited. My other comments hold up the same, so 3.5.
STOCKABILITY: Kudak'Etan's skills are fairly common in the Dominion, but no less useful, and like all Jem'Hadar, the Strength's tip-top. Where he distinguishes himself from the pack is in his special ability. In an environment without Invasive Transporters, it allows you to take combat right into an opponent's ship, with as many Jem'Hadar as you need. And there are plenty of Jem'Hadar/Dominion Assault cards to choose from. It'll cost you a Vorta from your hand, but this may prove to be justification for stocking more than one copy of your best Vorta, with extras paying for boarding actions. Note that to get the your Jem'Hadar back will require another discard, either another Vorta or some other card while you also play Dimensional Shifting. Maybe you just stick around to win battle after battle ;-). Aside from that, Kudak'Etan is Commander of a really nice ship, one of only two Dominion vessels that have one. It's too bad he doesn't have the Engineer to enable its staffing though, but that was to be expected. All the usual tricks are open to him on this ship that has better attributes than anything else in the Dominion, plus a Cloaking Device (to help sneak up close to anyone you want to board). Nothing for Alphas yet. Another good personnel/ship combo provided by the Anniversary Collection, he gets a 4 from me.
1E STOCKABILITY: Here, his special skill is fairly redundant, though it could be used at times when you don't have either Transporter Skill or Invasive Transporters, as on the USS Defiant, which he may command. I suppose you'd use this guy to beam to an opposing ship (the USS Defiant if possible), then switch to the 1E version for the download of Commandeer Ship (make sure you have a Computer Skill Jem'Hadar beam with you). The commandeered ship can then act as if it HAD Invasive Transporters thanks to his
special skill. Still need to discard Vortas of course, but you could ride back on another ship's Invasive Transporters. The USS Defiant can, of course, be gotten through the Fed/Dominion Treaty, and its Cloaking Device can help you engineer other commandeering attempts (or simple smackdowns). Factor in such things as the flexibility of Astrometrics, much lower attributes, the loss of a true OFFICER classification, and you end up at a less arrogant 3.3.
TOTAL: 14.6 (73%) Maybe there's something to his boasting...
1E TOTAL: 13.8 (69%) ... but he shouldn't count his chickens before they're hatched.
#2143-Naprem, Ship, Cardassian, Cost: 5, unique /X/
-K'Vort Class [3 Staff] Cloaking Device; While this ship is at an opponent's planet mission, if your personnel is on that planet, he or she is an Infiltrator.
"Quite a prize we've taken. The first Klingon bird-of-prey ever to be captured by Cardassia."
-RANGE: 7, WEAPONS: 8, SHIELDS: 7
PICTURE: A gorgeous shot of this bird-of-prey flying in front of a
like-colored nebula, and I don't think it's actually from the show. CGI
superimposition? It really quite nice, and worthy of the Xth Anniversary
Collection. A 4.
LORE: A fine explanation of why the Cardassians have a Klingon ship, and it's a quote too! Good, if simple, stuff, and I've always been a fan of having named Dukat's ship after Ziyal's mother. He's got a sweet streak, that one (at least in the minds of the designers). A solid 3.3.
TREK SENSE: In every way identical to unique Klingon birds-of-prey, it's a small craft (3 Staff), it's an older and no-frills design (5 counters), it has a Cloak, and it prioritizes Weapons over other attributes. That's all fine, though a higher Cost to signify the ship had to be captured, would have been appreciated. What sets it apart, then, is the special ability. And it doesn't really make sense. Thematically, there's the idea of owning a ship that isn't yours, kind of being an Infiltrator in Klingon space, but that's not what the ability actually does. First, it doesn't only work on Klingons. Second, it doesn't make the SHIP an Infiltrator, but rather its crew. Aboard the ship, that would be fine (we can imagine a holo-filter for the viewscreen), but on planets? That's exactly where they would be caught. But then, it doesn't really do anything to have your Infiltrators tucked away aboard your own ship, does it? I suppose they derive the ability from "Apocalypse Rising" where Sisko and crew were made up like Klingons and were ferried there without being caught. The ship lends an air of legitimacy to their presence. Except again, this shouldn't work against any affiliation, and it's even a little unfair to give the Cardassian ship the ability, when it was a Federation plan. The card digs itself into a hole and doesn't come out again. Drops to 1.6.
STOCKABILITY: The Cardassians score a Cloaking Device with this ship, but that feature has yet to really take off in 2E. As far as comparing it to their other ships, it's got lower Range and Shields than a Galor, but lower Staffing needs (all Staff), is cheaper, and it may also be offset by Dukat/True Cardassian being Commander, with all the little tricks that represents. He's a walking Cavalry Raid, which will put this ship's Weapons to good use. In fact, you might use its special ability just after an engagement, since your crew would be unstopped. So what can you do with an unlimited number of Infiltrators limited to a planet the Naprem is orbiting? With Enemy in Your Midst, a party of strong Cardassians could be made to board an opposing ship to battle crew-to-crew (it's not an engagement, folks!), possibly to grab some captives (but how do you get back?). Misdirection would lower the attributes of your opponent's personnel during a mission attempt, and with a large number of personnel, radically so. Founder Trap will add to skill requirements instead. A lone Infiltrator could do damage too, with Set Up, for example, or even Pseudopod, but working in a group is better. Think of the number of dilemmas you could get to play with Under Suspicion! Without dogging your opponent's cards, there's always the free counters offered by Undercover Resource. In a dual-HQ deck, this might be a good ship to add to Terok Nor forces, seeing as you might more ably justify all the Infiltration cards. Anyway, enough cool tricks to warrant a high 4.
TOTAL: 12.9 (64.5%) You can fight the Klingons, but you can't fight Trek Sense.
#2156-Queen's Borg Cube, Ship, Borg, Cost: 7, unique /X/
-Cube [5 Staff]
You may use a card which begins an engagement to begin one involving this ship
even if it is at a headquarters mission.
"It's on a direct course for Earth. It will cross the Federation border in less than an hour."
-RANGE: 10, WEAPONS: 12, SHIELDS: 11
PICTURE: The other Cubes seem to glow from within, but not this one. Earth is there, but not as visible or beautiful as on Locutus' Borg Cube. What this Cube has going for it that the others do not is its sheer size. It's the same size as the others, of course, but the shot makes it look gigantic. Certainly too big to fit in the frame. Nice amount of detail as well. Can manage 3.4.
LORE: The dry, mathematical Borg lore is fine for drones and non-unique ships, but unique ones should get more personalized quotes. And they do. The direct threat here to a homeworld pays off in the game text. A good change of pace worth 3.4 as well.
TREK SENSE: The re-worked Cubes have not pleased everyone. While the ships' attributes are higher than anything found on other affiliations' ships, it is still possible to fend off their attacks, and even boost one's own ships to similar levels. Gone are the juggernauts that would cut through an entire fleet like butter. Two ships can now team up to damage and even destroy a Borg Cube. The attributes are still very high, since it's generally harder to significantly boost ships. Still, could be higher. The same might be said of the staffing, which is still massive in the context of the game, but still might fall short of the 64,000 drones supposedly aboard. All these changes were made to make ships less mechanically unwieldly. Referring to the non-unique Borg Cube, with these necessary(?) changes, Cubes would score a still-high 4. I understand the controversy, but making the Borg more like other affiliations in handling has a cost, and that cost takes certain Borg stories outside the scope of the CCG's engine. The Queen's Cube has a difference, of course: its special ability. We saw this Cube fight a whole armada of ships in Earth's vicinity, so there's no lie here. The lie is the rule that says no engagements can be started at HQs in the first place, when we've seen this happen again and again. Call it a fix of that particular problem, if you will, and we could also say that the Queen makes herself present whenever attacking an important homeworld. Of course, 4th-dimensional thinking makes me believe that ANY Cube can be the Queen's Cube, or perhaps that all of them are. But that's one of those paradoxes that doesn't transfer well to the game. Cost treats the Borg like anyone else, making a huge ship stay within a reasonable range. They just have the resources for bigger ships in general, that's all. Remains at 4.
STOCKABILITY: Fast, powerful and tough, but that can be said even of the non-unique Borg Cube, which costs 1 counter less, if that's all you're looking for. It's got Commander bonuses, but so does Locutus' Borg Cube, and in the Queen's case, it would mean using Perfectionist over either of the the other 2 Queens. These have excellent abilities, some might say crucial ones. Perfectionist is good, but nowhere near as strong as Bringer of Order or Guardian of the Hive. In any case, using Commander card effects with Locutus is the better deal when we consider both his and his ship's special abilities. The special ability on THIS ship, meanwhile, is minor. Very early in the game, you might be able to get the jump on an opponent who's played his ship, but doesn't yet have its staffing, but since the HQ is just a pick-up point for personnel, no ship is going to stay there for long. Especially if this ship is in play! All it really means is that opponent's ships can't take refuge at their HQ. Well, they can, or is the Cube going to sit on their doorstep for the entire game? You just can't dedicate so many resources to that doomed little endeavor. Though as poweful as any Cube, you don't get that much more for the extra counter. A 3.
TOTAL: 13.8 (69%) Queen needs a new ride.
#2170-Rovaran, Ship, Romulan, Cost: 6, unique, BC /X/
-D'deridex Class [1 Command, 3 Staff] Cloaking Device; When you win an engagement involving this ship, you may examine the loser's hand and choose a card to be removed from the game.
-Order: Discard a Maneuver card from hand to begin an engagement involving this ship.
"Flagship of the Romulan forces during the final battles of the Dominion War."
-RANGE: 7, WEAPONS: 9, SHIELDS: 9
PICTURE: The ship's coming right at us, at an angle so it can look a big as possible in the frame given, so it's really dynamic. I really like the glowing warp engines on the wingtips too. My only real complaint is with the patch of green to the left of the beak, which unbalances the composition. Still a very good 3.5.
LORE: Well this is rather dull, isn't it? It places the ship in a battle context (to set up its special ability), but not much else. Ergo, only a 2.8.
TREK SENSE: A few words about the D'deridex since this is our first Romulan ship review. They've made it a powerful, aggressive warship, so the last two 9s are appropriate, but much slower than a Galaxy-class, which is fair if you consider the evidence from "Tin Man" where the Enterprise-D managed to reach the alien before the Romulans did. But whenever we get a Neutral Zone episode, it seems like they're really quick to arrive, so I'm not entirely sure that's fair. Staffing is equivalent to a Galaxy, which I would agree with. Same Cost too, can't argue. And of course, the Cloaking Device. What makes this ship different is its special ability. Since it's a warship at war, and with the fleet commander aboard no less, how very appropriate that it contains a battle permission slip. No need to draw up some plans (play an Event), it's ready. So it can start an engagement at no extra Cost (just discard a Maneuver in hand, plans abandoned to improvise something else), and the effect? An odd one. Conceptually, it allows the ship to destroy a potential resource before it is used, but beyond the concept, it's not clear how that resource would be on the attacked ship. Personnel cards, for example, are played at the HQ, etc. Justifications might include personnel leaving the service to attend Ensign Bob's funeral, or a ship's construction being put on hold to install systems that would protect from such an attack, but I'm reaching, since going out of play is a lot more permanent than those ideas would suggest. What I can't justify at all is the peek at the entire hand in order to choose the card. The effect, then, is what sinks this ship: 2.1.
1E TREK SENSE: Everything I've said about the special ability stands, so it's the differences between the Rovaran and the universal D'deridex that have to be addressed here. For one thing, the Rovaran's higher staffing needs are an unwarranted anomaly. The Rovaran's Range is a point lower, and its Shields 2 points higher. Shields are at a premium in times of war, sure, and those systems might affect engines. That's all fine, with the Staffing being the only extra problem. Down to 2.
STOCKABILITY: The Rovaran allows you to begin an engagement without having to play and pay for an Event allowing you to do so. You still need the Maneuver, but you merely discard it, so only really paid to draw it. The effect is two-fold if you win: First, you get a peek at your opponent's hand (though this is hardly the only Romulan card with that side-effect), and second, you get to choose a card to remove from play. Not discard, remove from play! An interesting prospect, and at little cost compared to Cry Havok, Power to the Weapons, The Enterprise Incident, and even Nelvana Trap. Still play a cheap one to key off Velal's special ability to boost your dilemma power, but no need to ever really use it. Velal, by the way, is the ship's Commander, and a very cheap one at that (Cost: 2, 1 with Captain on the Bridge), so he's really worth it, bringing with him all the usual Commander tricks. Combine with the fact that Romulans don't have a whole lot of Maneuvers of their own, and this is a great addition. Hits a 4.1.
1E STOCKABILITY: A bit slow, harder-than-normal to staff, and without a matching commander, the Rovaran nonetheless may have something to offer. It's not the battle permission slip, of course, since none is needed in 1E, but the effect of a win could be interesting (on top of whatever damage you've caused normally or with Tactic cards). You get to look at opponent's hand (lots you can do with that information), and you select a card for going out-of-play. Very nice, especially against recycler decks. Staffing hurts it a lot though. A 3.4.
TOTAL: 12.5 (62.5%) First Romulan out of the gate... and it hobbles along.
1E TOTAL: 11.7 (58.5%) Not the first, but at least, not the last.
#2184-USS Defiant - Commandeered Warship, Ship, Dominion, Cost: 7, unique /X/
-Defiant Class [2 Command, 1 Staff] Cloaking Device; To staff this ship, you must have an Engineer personnel aboard.
-Order: If this ship is staffed and at your mission, stop this ship to take two overcome dilemmas from beneath that mission and place them face up beneath your [AQ] mission.
"The bridge is secure. ...The bridge officers are confined in the mess hall; other survivors in the cargo bay."
-RANGE: 8, WEAPONS: 10, SHIELDS: 10
PICTURE: The nice front-forward shot of the Defiant, and in this, case, it's
got damage along the hull to represent its Commandeered state. It didn't get
captured without a fight. Anyway, details show up readily and the angle is
unique. A cool 4.
LORE: The quote is totally about the ship being Commandeered, which secures its position as a Dominion possession. It works, so 3.4.
TREK SENSE: Defiant-class ships are small, so they don't require much staffing compared to, say, the Galaxy-class, but they ARE cutting-edge, and having sensitive technology aboard (like the Cloaking Device, in this case) does mean we need more high-level personnel aboard, ergo the 2 Command icons. In this case, however, the Dominion has commandeered it, and they require less? Well, this is just as sensitive a holding for them (so more Command icons than usual, and the Cost is definitely right), but they are a small force, not a full crew, so they pretty much have to be fewer. A further requirement is added in the form of an Engineer, since 1) this is alien technology that needs to be understood, and 2) the ship has been damaged in the commandeering attempt, so must be repaired. A fun link to the picture, at any rate. Speaking of the commandeering, this idea can come under fire rather easily. The Defiant was under Dominion control for the length of an episode, during which it was never able to move. In the alternate reality of the game, the Jem'Hadar were more successful, but there's still something strange about reporting a pre-commandeered ship to your HQ, especially if the real Defiant is out there flying around with your opponent's cards. But no stranger than 2 players using Jean-Luc Picard, so let's let that go. The attributes are good, showing a fast, nimble fighter with gonzo weapons and ablative armor. The damage and unfamiliar crew might have driven those down though. The special ability? I don't quite see it. Basically, it intimates that dilemmas overcome at one location make a mission elsewhere easier to complete. Is your mission tied to the Federation that you could fly under their radar with the ship? After all, it must be an Alpha Quadrant mission that's made easier. But the mechanics of it don't work within Trek Sense. Lastly, I think this ship should have had a Terok Nor icon since it was commanded by an Alpha and crewed by a number of Alphas. Only reporting it to the Gamma Quadrant makes less sense. I know "One Little Ship" occurs after the Feds have retaken the station, but the icon should have covered the entire Cardassian/Dominion alliance even once they were back to Cardassia Prime. Interesting staffing, but a lot of the rest is questionable. A 2.
STOCKABILITY: The Dominion has some of the lowest staffing needs around, efficiently never requiring more than 3 icons. With the USS Defiant, staffing gets as high as it gets for them: 2 Command, 1 Staff and 1 Engineer. Of course, the Engineer in question can provide one of the icons, so it'll usually still only need 3 personnel. Attributes are better than the other Cost 7 ship, the Tenak'talar, with sky-high Weapons and Shields, and Range that's not too bad either. The Cloaking Device hasn't yet come into its own in 2E, but it's there if you want to Engage it (for nasty surprise engagements, for example, or boarding actions). Its Commander is Kudak'Etan, which means the aforementioned boarding actions are quite possible, and the keyword opens up a whole realm of possibilities from downloads, to attribute boosts, points, and dilemma manipulation. And there's the dilemma manipulation found in the special ability as well. This is meant to be incentive for Dominion decks to visit the Alpha Quadrant, and it's a good enough one. You complete a mission in the Gamma Quadrant, then fly to the AQ for your next mission, one where there are magically already two overcome dilemmas. If you're Running a Tight Ship, your opponent gets even fewer dilemmas to play on you. And Inspiring Leader gives you the Range bonus that'll eat up the extra fare for crossing quadrants. So really, your only fee is stopping the ship in the GQ to transfer the dilemmas. Not that big a deal, as you save time later on. Hey, how about Mission Accomplished giving you 5 extra points for your trouble? An excellent addition to the Dominion fleet, it scores 4.4.
TOTAL: 13.8 (69%) Enjoy the review while you can. No other USS Defiants for a long while yet.
#2198-USS Enterprise-D - Explorer, Ship, Federation, Cost: 6, unique /X/
-Galaxy Class [1 Command, 3 Staff] When you complete a space mission requiring Diplomacy, if this ship is at that mission, score 10 points; TNG icon
"Just hoping this isn't the usual way our missions will go, sir." "Oh no, Number One. I'm sure most will be much more interesting."
-RANGE: 8, WEAPONS: 8, SHIELDS: 9
PICTURE: A very ordinary shot of the
Enterprise-D, but there's nothing wrong with that. It falls in easily with the
many Season 1 TNG bridge Personnel that have recently come out. An ordinary 3, I
LORE: Some of the last lines from "Encounter at Farpoint". They're ok, but I always found it strange that the episode would insult itself this way, calling attention to the fact that Farpoint isn't THAT interesting a mission. Still, a memorable piece of Trek dialogue. I do have an issue with the subtitle, however. Why would a ship that encourages Diplomacy missions be called "Explorer"? A couple of strange things put this one at 2.9.
TREK SENSE: The Galaxy-class isn't as cutting edge as it used to be, so a Cost of 6 is indicated rather than 7. It's still a huge and powerful ship, so the high staffing requirements are good, and protecting families being a priority explains that the Shields are higher than the rest of the attributes. With The Next Generation, we saw far more Diplomacy-based missions than in the Original Series, and indeed, it seemed to be a large part of the flagship's mission to host summits, ferry heads of state, and mediate disputes. The extra points the ship earns you at Diplomacy missions retrofits the mission - if the flaghip took it on, then it was more important than indicated on the card itself. It's also a useful storytelling tool for TNG Feds, because Federation missions are extremely varied, but it's true that TNG Feds more often dealt in Diplomacy. This is an incentive to put TNGers in the right situations. Why not planet missions? Because then the ship is simply in orbit and not part of that mission. In space, the Diplomacy is conducted aboard, using its many conference rooms, dining halls, etc. Well done in a number of ways, I give it a high 4.5.
STOCKABILITY: Diplomacy isn't a rarity among TNG and Earth Feds, and it appears on a number of their missions. This USS Enterprise-D, then, will have little trouble adding 10 points to one of those missions. It doesn't really affect the selection of your required planet mission directly (you may still wish to make it Diplomacy-based for the sake of skill redundancy), but as far as space missions go, Diplomacy is the way to go. Amnesty Talks, for example, would be worth 45 points, as would Host Metaphasic Shield Test and Peaceful Contact. Instruct Advanced Drone is a 50-point mission, and Wormhole Negotiations a whopping 55 points! You may not even need to complete two space missions at this rate. Along with this immense bonus, the Enterprise-D has high attributes, and a Commander. Jean-Luc Picard/Starship Captain can use the wide variety of cards that downloads the ship (or himself), boosts its Range, affects the dilemmas its crew faces, adds points (a further +5 points with Mission Accomplished, plus maybe Deploy the Fleet), and more. And affordable too. Focuses a TNG deck and sets up a 2-mission win. Deserves the 4.5.
TOTAL: 14.9 (74.5%) This classic ship's rightful place.
#2212-USS Sutherland, Ship, Federation, Cost: 6, unique /X/
-Nebula Class [1 Command, 2 Staff] When you fail a mission attempt at a space mission, if this ship is at that mission, you may discard three cards from hand to place the top card of an opponent's dilemma pile face up beneath this mission. If you do this, you cannot attempt this mission again this turn; Earth icon
"Part of the fleet that blockaded the Romulan border during the Klingon civil war. Was pivotal in exposing the conspiracy to aid the Duras."
-RANGE: 8, WEAPONS: 8, SHIELDS: 8
PICTURE: A bit small, a bit blurry, but I like the glow of the nacelles on the engineering section. Good lighting overall, in fact. Keeps the score afloat at 3.2.
LORE: No quote available, unfortunately. We get something that feels a lot more like 1E. Bah, a dull, if functional, 2.5.
TREK SENSE: Ok, so here you have a Nebula-class ship, the first to be reviewed for 2E, and it's similar to the Galaxy-class (as it should be). It's slightly smaller and older, so one less staffing icon (placing it in between the Excelsior and Galaxy in that respect), and with one less point in Shields. The rest is all the same, including Cost, that's fine. I think we can debate whether the Sutherland should give its Earth icon to its commanding Data, or if Data's TNG icon should have crossed over here. I suppose a case can be made for both options. If Data isn't aboard, then yes, it should be an Earth ship, so I guess that's its default icon. The special ability is something of a headache. It places the Sutherland in space to use it, because the blockade was in space. In the story, the blockade mission had failed when the perimeter collapsed and was breached. The special ability starts by giving us a superficially similar scenario. What happens next is more muddled: Data makes one dilemma moot (the Romulans withdrew without so much as an exchange of fire) through some cost mechanic (discards). The time this takes in the game makes it impossible to also re-attempt the mission this turn. Well, how is the Sutherland doing any of this without Data? It's more his ability. The discards aren't clearly analogous to anything on the show either (he risked things, but didn't lose them). And how would this apply to situations other than the blockade? And as for not attempting the mission immediately, on the show, destroying the dilemma actually solved the mission, so it doesn't even quite work thematically. Result? A score no higher than 2.3, but a valiant effort.
STOCKABILITY: The Nebula class offers good attributes for pretty easy staffing, and at reasonable Cost. As an Earth vessel, it may be fit into either TNG or DS9 decks whose HQ is Earth, and its special ability is generic enough to fit either of deck type. The ability allows you to overcome a dilemma without actually overcoming it, placing it under a space mission. That's one less you'll have to go through next time. Now, it HAS to be a space mission (no problem, you must at least complete one), and you have to have failed at it already (so as long as your personnel are stopped anyway, it's not like the one-turn delay hurts that much). And there's a cost, namely 3 discards. A bit hefty, but nothing that can't be recouped. It's better than losing personnel to a dilemma. Ideally, you'd know what was the next card in your opponent's dilemma pile, so that you wouldn't waste the ability on something easily passable (even if dilemma attrition is essentially useful). Field Studies could work, but they do cost 5 points. Tampering With Time is more interesting if you have Future personnel. Placing personnel aboard is probably easier and more cost-effective, so how about Nog's ability to look at, and alter, the dilemma pile? Lauren could be an interesting alternative, but she has a very similar ability to the ship's. Additionally, the Sutherland has a Commander, an excellent one in the form of Data/Commanding Officer, with lots of skills, high attributes... and a high Cost. Perfect! Captain on the Bridge lowers it and has him report directly to the ship. That's one of a good number of Commander-related abilities, including more dilemma attrition tricks, such as Running a Tight Ship (which he was!). I think the special ability might get used twice at most, and perhaps not at all if you never fail (which should be your ambition), but you might fail on purpose too... Anyway, there's enough in the rest of the card to recommend it even without that. A strong 4.1.
TOTAL: 12.1 (60.5%) I have less confidence in the ship than in its commander (unlike its crew).
#2225-Velal - Reluctant Aggressor, Personnel, Romulan, Cost: 2, unique /X/
-Romulan; Archaeology, Leadership, Officer, Security; Command icon
-Commander: Rovaran; General; When the player on your right attempts this mission, if you command a Maneuver event, you may draw an extra dilemma and spend one extra in total cost on dilemmas.
"Romulan tactician who advocated a more cautious, long-term strategy of containment in dealing with the Dominion."
-INTEGRITY: 5, CUNNING: 6, STRENGTH: 6
PICTURE: Well, the same as in 1E, which is always a disappointment, even if we get a bigger take on it. Velal, as ever, gets a pleasant, colorful image, with the display in the back selling him as a tactician. Background remains a little unbalanced otherwise. I'm gonna score it slightly better than 1E because the colors and lighting show up more sharply here, giving me new appreciation for the card. A 3.4.
LORE: Aww, no quote? In 1E, he "committed" to the attack. Here, he's more reticent. In fact, the subtitle can almost be considered an oxymoron. It's a more truthful take on the character, though nothing too interesting. Another 3.4.
TREK SENSE: A General is an Officer with a Command icon, yes, and I advocated Leadership for his 1E card. Glad to see it here. Security is a tactician's skill (especially one with his take on the situation). Archaeology, as far as I know, made its first appearance in 1E, not on the show anywhere. I fail to see how it was justified then, and I fail to do so now. Transporter Skill at least had a possible justification, but it's not the extra skill that made it here. We'll accept his command of the Rovaran, though that's invention. There's nothing wrong with putting him in the battle with a ship. All the other commanders present at his meeting were there. Adding to dilemmas (both in counters and choices) is an odd special ability for him, since dilemmas do not really relate to their player's affiliation in play. The Maneuver you have in play is one of his plans/tactics, though not yet implemented. He's ready to do so at the mission being attempted, but holds off. His long-term strategy (if I go by the lore) is to let the opposing crew get shrunk down by the dilemmas. So in that sense, and perhaps Velal encourages or initiates one of the dilemmas (some are more relevant than others). There's a certain sense to it, but the mechanics of it get in the way. Attributes? We've got average Integrity, because he was deprecating to his allies, but did collaborate with them against the more dangerous enemy. He's as smart as a Sisko, which is fine. And as strong - Romulan biology being brought down by age. Cost is too low for a General, though I imagine he's less useful because of his reluctance. Overall, the Archaeology is a bigger sin in my book than the special skill (which I can see a source for), but Velal still gets a pretty good 3.2.
STOCKABILITY: Velal has some ok skills, all useful of course, with no flaws in the attributes (though nothing great either). Being a General overcomes Dignitaries and Witnesses, but does nothing else at the moment. Being a Commander is more interesting, as it opens up plenty of card strategies, including reporting him for only 1 counter (he's already quite cheap) and more. His ship has an ability that acts as a Maneuver, so you can keep a Maneuver in your core to trigger his own (if used, it may be kept with Standing Your Ground anyway). So Velal can add to the amount of dilemma piled on your rightmost opponent, but you have to follow his ship around right? Not so. If you have more events in play than your opponents and a Cloaking Device (there's one of the Rovaran), Escaping Detection will put him at every mission location in the quadrant simultaneously. A must for the Romulans who have a lot of these interfering abilities. With the right cards, Velal is a cheap thorn in your opponent's side. Not a must, but given the low number of Romulan Maneuvers, his ship is useful enough to warrant his inclusion. A 3.6.
TOTAL: 13.6 (68%) At least I finished the Anniversary cards before the anniversary year ended.
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