To see the cards themselves, check out this Card list for the Call to Arms set.
PICTURE: A rather shocking picture of a dead Picard. The colors are dead on (pardon the pun), very pale and not unlike an episode of CSI. Composition keeps us coming back to the not-too-gory hole in his chest. A winner at 3.9.
LORE: Good title, and a good explanation of the game text. Nice to see Q hasn't gotten bored with lending his words to cards' lore. The word "quote" does start with a Q after all. Unfortunately, he's used those words on Picard's Artificial Heart. Practically the same. 3.2 here.
TREK SENSE: The idea behind this card is that something that would only
cause one person problems (therefore stopping that person) could theoretically
kill a person coping with a unique situation. In the presented example,
Picard would have lived (been stopped) through an energy discharge (dilemma)
if not for his artificial heart. Perfectly sensible, and I appreciate the
Cost of 0, since the dilemma that stopped the personnel is already paid
for, and this death is a result of that same dilemma. A Bad End is just
another effect of the previous dilemma, not really a new dilemma. Now,
Trek Sense certainly depends on the dilemma this is combined with. In cases
where death is also an option (Armus Roulette, to name the alphabetically
closest possibility), it's easy to include an extra death. In other cases,
you have to make up a little story: While Authenticating Artifacts, a personnel
is poisoned by an ancient needle-trap; a Blended personnel has a deadly
reaction to an alien drink; Failure to Communicate leads to a hasty and
unfortunate execution; etc. It's pretty easy to do, but is as easy for
space dilemmas, so why aren't they covered? Well, they've split the dilemma
into two this time, giving the same ability (but for space missions) to
Don't Let It End This Way. Unfortunately, I think A Bad End gives a better
example, one that should cover space situations just as well. Aside from
that unconvincing element, a good card worth its 3.6.
1E TREK SENSE: The same can be said for the card in the 1E environment, though it doesn't glean any bonus points from the Cost (in fact, it now costs something, a seed slot). I would also have to change the examples (except for Blended), but it works out to the same. A small adjustment brings it down to 3.5.
STOCKABILITY: At Cost 0, what do you have to lose? 2E has lots of dilemmas
that stop personnel, and any of them could lead to A Bad End. The most
appropriate dilemmas to follow with this card are those that insure one
stopped personnel, but don't stop the entire crew (thereby stopping the
mission attempt before A Bad End can be played). Planetary Survey, for
example, would be a dangerous choice because it either stops (then kills
with A Bad End) a Programming or Geology personnel or all personnel present
(ending the mission attempt without killing anyone). Mega-away team hosers
(like Exposed Power Relay) are better, they get a guaranteed kill on that
first stopped personnel. Stop-or-kill dilemmas become kill-or-kill. "Choose
3 personnel and if X present, stop them all" are excellent choices because
away teams will usually turn out to hold more than 3 personnel. The mission
attempt continues, so this card can be played. Simple walls are too quick
to end things and won't work as a lead-in. To answer my original question,
what you have to lose is a card slot from the dilemmas you get to draw.
One slot isn't bad, but you simply can't overload your dilemma deck with
Bad Ends for fear of being stuck with many of them during your opponent's
space mission attempts. Nor can you use more than one per attempt. That
said, used in moderation, it should be pretty useful. At that price, a
1E SEEDABILITY: In 1E, A Bad End costs the same as any dilemma - a card slot. So it's not as cost effective as in 2E. In actuality, why use a card like this when you can just seed a killer, of which there are more in that edition of the game anyway. More foolproof ones too. Still, turning a filter (not a wall) into a killer could be worth it when you configure your combo to weed out certain skills. You would usually filter a skill, then send your opponent into a dilemma that requires it. But for those skills that are just too important, or that actually match the mission requirements, why not kill the personnel and be done with it? No returning on a later turn. With many clear filters in 1E, this card can be a precise scalpel, but it's not as cost-effective, so only 3.6.
TOTAL: 14.7 (73.5%) A rather good end... and a good start for Call to
1E TOTAL: 14.2 (71%) Still a good end.
PICTURE: The white effect is really cool, and Picard's blue uniform is consistent with that "cool" palette. It also shows a "second life" in which Picard was an astrophysicist. A dramatic 4.
LORE: A Q-uote from Q, whiney and condescending as per his personality. What's to complain about IS in the game text, so I think it's a fairly good mariage here. Hits 3.3.
TREK SENSE: The Second Chance is given by Q, so the Q keyword (key-letter?)
is à propos. The execution gets pretty conceptual however. What
works: You select an opponent to play the role of Q. For a price - which
you just know you're going to complain about - you get to revive a lost
resource, in the best of cases, a personnel. Interrupts are right out,
since they have no staying power, or "life" to get back, but Q might just
as well "revive" a piece of lost Equipment, which would be a waste. Unlikely,
yes, but Q might indeed revive a ship, or even an Event (though many don't
really work here). By being so broad, it's not as Sensical. The price tag
is also dodgy. Q takes away something you have in exchange for the Second
Chance. For Picard, it was his ambition and captaincy (though in reality,
Jean-Luc got his life back with no strings attached at the end); for you,
it may be any card in your hand. It's not stuff you "have" yet though (Picard's
captaincy could be said to be "in play"), but making a player Q makes him
or her omnipotent for a second, giving them a peek at your hand. Not much
to say about Cost, though 2 seems slight for what amounts to resurrection.
There is the matter of the show'n'discard cost as well, so it comes out
at the right price, I think. But like I said, it can't help but get conceptual,
though a lot of elements do work out fairly well. I can finagle a 2.7.
1E TREK SENSE: Everything above applies, but there are further problems. A small one is that there are a lot more non-Interrupts in 1E, which makes the card even broader, and so, less sensical. A bigger problem is that the Q keyword does not make the card a Q-Event that can be stuck in the Q-Continuum side-deck, where it would have a very different effect. It's not meant to be that, but it IS a discrepency (though perhaps no more than Q2, Res-Q or Immortal Again). Goes down to 2.4.
STOCKABILITY: Q isn't as easy-going as he used to be. If you want to
resurrect a discarded card, you'll have to pay a Cost of 2, then show your
opponent your entire hand, then let that opponent pick a card to be discarded
in exchange for the rescue (which can't be an Interrupt). The saved card
must then be paid for to get into play on the next turn. Pricey. How does
it compare with other rescues? Feast of the Dying costs 4, and requires
you to draw the discard, sacrificing only one of your top two draw cards.
For the Sisko is mainly for the Bajorans, and only rescues personnel (again
by putting them on top of the draw deck). The Bajorans also have Peldar
Joi (Cost 3), again only for personnel, though it has a mirror effect.
Also at Cost 3, there's Salvaging the Wreckage. It works for both personnel
and ships, but sends them deep into the draw deck. Lasting Peace is an
Interrupt that's good for DS9 or Terok Nor decks, but again, only works
on personnel. The best for Bajorans though, is Souls of the Dead. It's
an Interrupt and it puts any discarded card on top of the draw deck. For
anyone else, A Second Chance at Life may be the best way to get ahold of
a discarded card, but only if you don't mind showing your hand and losing
part of it. It's a bit quicker than Feast of the Dying, and much cheaper
as far as points go, but it can be more costly in another sense. Maybe
you oughta leave recycling to the Bajorans? A difficult 2.7.
1E STOCKABILITY: In a world of Palor Toffs and Res-Qs, I don't see how Second Chance would get even a first chance. Even without the point Cost, it still exposes your hand and allows your opponent to make you discard a card of his or her choice. There's no value to leaving yourself vulnerable like this. A simple 0. Shouldn't have been backwards-compatible.
TOTAL: 12.7 (63.5%) I have strong reservations about invoking Q.
1E TOTAL: 9.7 (48.5%) Q was right about the complaining.
PICTURE: Some blur, and the colors are a little off, but that's not what draws my all-too critical eye. Rather, I'm "drawn" to the energy that looks to be coming out of Picard's nose. Not a flattering image. Also on my list of weird stuff is how the drone seems to be wearing a short-sleeved shirt. That's part of the Borg look in TNG, but really distracting here. Aside from all that, it's still a fair pic, a moment leading up to something big (Locutus). Enough drama for a 2.9 at any rate.
LORE: Jumping the gun, aren't we? The card shows an Abduction, and is called Abduction, but the lore is about assimilation. Well, so is the game text! If the title is misleading, that hurts the Lore score anyway, so this is the place to address it. If the card was called Assimilation, I could still take the picture, and then the lore and game text would better match. At least the lore itself hints at the idea that we're assimilating a specific personnel (or specific type). But the Lore does take a hit and drops to 1.5.
TREK SENSE: Seems to skip a step somewhere, but the basics feel right. In 2E, assimilation is represented as "taking command" of a card. Whatever euphemism they choose, it's a good enough way of seeing it. Abduction represents a personnel assimilation as was done to Picard, i.e. not en masse, but rather of a specific personnel to get specific knowledge and/or qualities from that personnel. You need 2 Borg with Security to carry out the Abduction, and with subcommands a thing of the past, that skill is the best solution. Two? Yes, while only one is needed to grab the personnel in question, another runs interference with any crew present (as was done on the show). This is their action for the turn, they are stopped afterwards. They have to be present with the Abductee, of course, and not at a HQ. This protects the sanctity of your reporting engines, but is nonetheless nonsensical. Homeworlds are not safe from the Borg, and Terok Nor/DS9 even less so. The Collective names a skill because it requires that skill be assimilated for some reason. The resultant random selection isn't as satisfying because it precludes the assimilation of a personnel important for something other than a skill. Picard was the definite target, not "any Leadership personnel", to name a pertinent example. The personnel is also assimilated too easily and/or too quickly. It doesn't have to be brought back to a Borg ship, no time passes, it is simply turned into a Borg. Well, the nano-tech they inject into a personnel would change them relatively quickly, but evidence suggest that's just the first step in becoming a drone. A series of implants then must be attached, etc. Well, "taking command" of a personnel doesn't change anything about their skills and attributes, so why is this a problem? No doubt, the personnel is "modified" on its next stay aboard a ship, and in the meantime, just goes pale and acts as the Collective would wish it. It works, though a little differently from the show. The Cost seems fine to me, same as that of Adding to Our Perfection, which is similar. A hit-and-run Abduction expends about the same effort as a combat that ends in assimilation. The card's limits limit its score here, and it gets a 2.7.
STOCKABILITY: The Borg have a handful of cards that allow them to take command of opposing personnel. This is fun to do because it gets you extra personnel at a conservative cost (only 2 while the personnel gotten often cost more), while at the same time taking away an opponent's personnel - no digging it out of the discard pile. Furthermore, only a couple of assimilated personnel are needed to make Acclimation Drones play for free, and they've got a nice skill list. One With the Borg will give you 5 points for each assimilated personnel, so Abduction can add to your round-the-corner strategy. Now, you do need 2 Security Borg to be present with opposing personnel, but since combat requires a card to initiate it, that doesn't make them that vulnerable to attack. Your Borg could indeed use Adding to Our Perfection to initiate combat, and if they win, they can take command of a personnel. Abduction costs the same to play, but requires fewer personnel to be mobilised AND allows you to select a specific skill to be assimilated. If you know opposing personnel well, you can increase your odds of assimilating a specific personnel. Who wants the lowly non-unique when you could grab a Cost 5 main? The selection process is still random, but among fewer personnel. More difficult to pull off against crew that remains on ships, you've gotta go for the ones stranded planetside. For space locations, you're better off with The Will of the Collective or Borg Cutting Beam. Abduction does rate a 4.
TOTAL: 11.1 (55.5%) "Picture, Lore and Trek Sense are irrelevant. You will be assimilated..."
PICTURE: That doorway is a little surreal, but surrealism lends itself well to this Borg with his huge lobster claw and smokey lighting. Not sure he's a PR kind of person when helping new drones acclimate, but all the fog does subtly play with the root word, climate ;-). A well done 4.1.
LORE: 2E Borg have lore not dissimilar to their 1E counterparts (hm, maybe I shouldn't use that word in a Borg context), but it's been pared down to a simple Task. That's fine since the Identification is now the card title (much simpler to remember, thanks), and Biological Distinctiveness was incongruous with Borg rules. All Tasks are written the same way: a fucntion followed by a subsequent one expressed only as one verb. A Borg feel is achieved pretty well this way. As far as the Acclimation Drone is concerned, the title's a little odd, the primary Task makes sense, and the finishing verb is again, an odd choice. A dry 3 should cover it.
TREK SENSE: What do you need to "acclimate" personnel to their new Borg identities? Well, an understanding of their former culture and biology seems important, so Anthropology and Exobiology are called for. Also, you need to give them their implants, so a combination of Engineer and Medical is also needed. Drones as Staffers is an excellent switch to more standard staffing needs. As for the standard Drone attributes of 5-5-5, they not only work, they make the Borg really colorless extras, which is what they basically are. They are by necessity "loyal", but at the same time have no regard for anything but themselves. Their collective intelligence is on par with other species, but individually, they come off as mindless zombies. They are stronger than humans, but ineffective fighters. For all those almost paradoxical reasons, the middling, neutral 5 is a great idea. Now, Drone costs are related to the number of skills they have. Makes sense. With as many as 4, an Acclimation Drone is Cost 2, but if you have lots of newly assimilated personnel, the Collective more easily supplies Acclimation Drones, driving the Cost down. It's great what a people can do when they think with one mind. Of course, Acclimation Drone costs are not linked to assimilated personnel present at their reporting location, so that's a little off, but generally, I think we have a winner here. Scores 4.5.
STOCKABILITY: There are cheaper Drones with the same skills, but not all in one place, and if you're running assimilation strategies (for points and/or for extra personnel), the Acclimation Drone may cost as little as 0 soon enough. No skill is particularly well represented in the Collective, though both Anthropology (rarer than the rest) and Exobiology have Interlinks. Engineer and Medical don't have Interlinks, but are nonetheless extremely important skills, especially Engineer when it comes to Borg missions. More common, but here found together along with a couple of rarer ones, and no Cost 2 Borg have as many standard skills. An excellent selection, and a mission solver that can definitely be had "on the cheap". Claws his way up to 3.5.
TOTAL: 15.1 (75.5%) Silly as that sounds, the Borg are off to a running start.
PICTURE: While not a perfect pic, I've always liked this shield effect. It's unique in Star Trek, though no doubt inspired by the personal shields in David Lynch's Dune. When I say it's not perfect, I mainly mean that the background compositions are somewhat haphazard, and that you can't take the Borg's pirate eye-patch seriously, but the card succeeds nonetheless. Hey, is that the Enterprise's dedication plaque in the background? A 3.5.
LORE: All well and good, but this reads more like lore for a "negate weapon" kind of Adaptation. The picture too, but it's at least vaguer, since phaser blasts might come from a dilemma. The lore's way too specific about this, but it's true that no card currently allows Borg to Adapt to hand weapons, so... Leaves off at an ok, but unfocused, 2.5.
TREK SENSE: The Borg have the ability to Adapt, they always have. Of course, to Adapt, they must have encountered that particular danger before, possibly even been defeated by it. That's what's missing from the interpretation here: the Borg must have overcome a dilemma somewhere before being able to Adapt to it with this card. They've made it in a way that could arguably be used by other affiliations. Wouldn't the Federation write reports on how to overcome a dilemma for future/other crews? Think "The Naked Now". For the Collective, this is more clear-cut of course, since each member of the affiliation has access to the memories of every other member. In other words, they have the required skills at the ready, pulling them from the Collective rather than the present crew. For the other part of the puzzle, we'll have to look at Analyze, which does allow the Borg to more spontaneously adapt to a dilemma. Out of context, this card suffers a little, but it is redeemed by the way it hooks up into Analyze and reaches 4.3 anyway.
STOCKABILITY: The Borg have a lot of scientific skills, but when it comes to more interpersonal and cultural skills, they are lacking. Diplomacy, Officer, Leadership and Treachery are very rare, for example, and Honor, Telepathy and Law completely absent (though one version of the Queen can approximate them). And yet, these skills do appear on dilemmas. Sometimes, the Borg will just have to take the hit. Other times however, they have a chance to Adapt. Take Drumhead, for example. Chances are, your Borg have neither Law nor a personnel with Integrity below 4. The dilemma dictates all your personnel would be stopped and the dilemma would return to the dilemma pile. Play Analyze at that point to actually overcome the dilemma. It still has its effect, but doesn't come back to haunt you on the next attempt, not that copy anyway. Now later on, when Drumhead comes up again as another copy, you can play Adapt to prevent and overcome it entirely. No effect, nothing. Aside from that little combo to get past "impossible" dilemmas, Adapt will work just as well with dilemmas you WERE once able to pass, but might not have the right skills handy at the moment. A real shortcut going through "duplicate" dilemmas. And they ARE to be expected, since creating combos on the fly means you must stock multiple copies in the hopes of getting appropriate dilemmas in your hand. For the increased speed and flexibility, especially in the later part of the game, it gets a 4.1. Still better to have the requirements than hope for an Adapt in your hand tough.
TOTAL: 14.4 (72%) And to think Adapt: Negate Obstruction is still the highest-scoring Interrupt in 1E.
PICTURE: All the Janeway haters must get a real kick from this card, and I must admit I do too. Assimilation of a universal mook is fine, but it really counts when it's a main character. The colors are filtered through an effective sallow filter, the action looks good, and the motion blur is kept at a minimum. Devilish fun worth its 4.3.
LORE: The Queen tells us why assimilation is a good thing from the point of view of the victim. Excellent, megalomaniacal stuff, tying in well with the effects of the card. "Assimilation is complete" already! Talk about arrogance. The evil poetry even leaks to the title. A strong 4.4.
TREK SENSE: A battle permit for the Borg, it's your standard Assault, except that it ends in the assimilation of a personnel. In fact, it's combat with that one goal in mind. The requirements don't ask for any specific skill, as all Borg are supposed to have nanoprobes in their systems. And the Cost isn't high either, since this comes naturally to the Collective. They do have to dedicate resources to this task, so a 2 works well here. That's what battle permits cost at this level of involvement. To make a comparison, Bred for Battle costs only 1 because the Jem'Hadar really have no other function except killing (the Borg have a little more to do). The number of assimilations in a battle shown in Trek would support the single random victim, so I'm confident in my 4.5.
STOCKABILITY: Yes, The Will of the Collective offers more flexibility, being both Assault and Maneuver, but costs 1 point more. So if you know you'll be in a position to do combat specifically, why not stock Adding to Our Perfection as well? Though they have the same effect, the limit on copies in your deck means an battle strategy will need a separate-title back-up. AtOP's effect is to assimilate (take command of) a random opposing personnel, which at once makes your ranks grow, and takes a personnel away from your opponent. Even discard pile manipulation can't bring that personnel back. Assimilation is a good side-strategy for the Borg in any case, since Once With the Borg gets you 5 points per personnel you command but do not own. (Acclimation Drones are cheaper with them too.) Of course, you have to be confident in your ability to win combats, and with the Borg's medium Strength, that's not always going to be obvious. Overwhelming your foe with numbers may be the way to go, since most Drones are weenies. Opposition Drones also help considerably. All in all though, it takes fewer personnel to use Abduction, and that card has more control over the choice of personnel, and at the same Cost. Furthermore, engagements are easier to win for the Borg because of their massive ships, so Borg Cutting Beam and The Will of the Collective are superior choices for your deck. Still good, of course, but not really playing into the Borg's strengths (so to speak). Hits 3.3.
TOTAL: 16.5 (82.5%) Interesting that its acronym is "ATOP", which is right where it comes up in the list of 2E cards at this point.
PICTURE: A very sharp picture of Worf's young'n, almost firelit in its Klingon colors. The composition is helped by a background that's colorful at his very back, but dark off to the side. And he does look like he's fessing up to a mess he's made. I think a good 4.1.
LORE: I like the subtitle, certainly, and the quote goes on to explain it. It doesn't really pay off in the game text, but what's here's good. 3.4, in fact.
TREK SENSE: Though Worf's son, Alexander is a very minor cog in the
Klingon war machine, so the low Cost is quite understandable. By this point
in his life, he's a Staffer on the Rotarran, and mans the sensors on the
bridge. Is that Officer? I guess, since his function seemed to be on par
with Data's role at ops on the Enterprise. At one point during "Sons and
Daughters", he goes below decks to fix a busted conduit, so he deserves
Engineer. Doing his duty despite below average warrior skills, and by the
time he's a Good Luck Charm having entered the House of Martok, he's got
Honor. Transporters though, has no basis with on-screen fact, though he
did use them when he was a kid in "Rascals". Too bad. As for the special
ability, the good luck he brings is translated as a card draw whenever
he wins an engagement. Aside from the fact that card draws are very mechanical/conceptual
in nature, it doesn't really play with the idea of his mess-ups encouraging
the crew he's with. I guess he's being given credit for the victory, with
attendant reward, but that's a little thin. Attributes are fair, though
his Strength should be lower than average. This is the guy that passed
out at Worf's bachelor party! His slight knowledge of Klingon culture and
propensity to screw up makes him a little dumb (4), and his Integrity puts
his heart in the right place (6). Those are fine. Oh yeah, still sore that
he counts neither as a Human or a Klingon when it comes to cards that require
a certain species. Unfortunately brings him down to a 2.5.
1E TREK SENSE: The Human/Klingon thing works fine in 1E, and his attributes seem fine. There's still the matter of his having no classification (a minor, and usual, point of conversion), and the idea that he probably should have Youth. Klingons grow quickly, but he's still just a teenager here (chronologically about 10 actually, if you can believe that). The rest reads pretty much the same. Still 2.5.
STOCKABILITY: The Klingons are good at battle, engagements as much as
combat, so a personnel that gets you a little extra when you successfully
do what you do best can't be a total loss, right? Alexander gives you a
free card draw every time you win an engagement. Good enough. He's also
got some good skills to contribute to mission attempts, including Officer,
which enables the high stakes engagement permission, We Will Not Surrender,
and the battle permission downloader, Coordinated Attack. Honor'll fit
right in with Klingon objectives, Engineer is always great, and Transporters
a bit rarer. Attributes could use some work, of course, and his dual-species
isn't as good as a "pure" one, but he's got something to offer. A 3.5.
1E STOCKABILITY: Actually better in 1E. Trouble using classification-related Equipment is offset by his being a Human Engineer to backup Jodmos and B'Elanna at Visit Cochrane Memorial. Here, his 2 species are useful. All good skills too, with Transporters (AKA Transporter Skill) rarer still, and Honor quite the Klingon skill. Two "classifications" round him out nicely. Attributes are again a low point. In addition to all that, he's a version of the Alexander persona. In a Federation/Klingon Treaty deck, the young brat is an easy to report support personnel that could be turned into this young man very easily. Card draws are a little harder to come by in 1E, but battle tends to be less interesting unless you also stock some 2E permission slips. If you do so, Alexander certainly sweetens the deal. Gets up to a 3.8.
TOTAL: 13.5 (67.5%) Hopefully this lukewarm score will still be lucky
for the affiliation.
1E TOTAL: 13.8 (69%) The original got a 5 in Picture, and a high score in Trek Sense, giving it a higher score than this BC Alexander.
PICTURE: A little dark, and the shoulder of another drone in the foreground (I assume) is distracting, but I like the rather chitinous armor he's wearing, and the earthy tones of the background go well with his Geology Interlink. Also good is the green "halo" off to the side, though the mix of colors is yucky in the extreme. Overall, I'd have to call it a 3.
LORE: 2E drones' lore feels even more bare-bones than their 1E counterparts. Allocation Drone is a fine designation, and its lore is ok too. Another 3.
TREK SENSE: 2E's solution to the Interlink question is, I think, rather elegant. We know the Collective is a hive mind, and that its members share knowledge. Now, instead of putting the entire weight of this element on a single drone (the Interlink drone in 1E), Decipher's gone another way: the Interlink keyword. The way it works now is that many drones are the repository of a single skill each, possibly assimilated experts in a single field. A hive can draw upon that drone's knowledge, with all members gaining the interlinkable skill. The cost for this, a discard from top of draw deck, is a mechanical idea and doesn't really have much Trek Sense. The point is that the sharing isn't automatic, and that a resource cost must be paid to initiate it. It's fine if you think of it as a form of adaptation. The Borg often seem unprepared for the dangers they face initially, and then suddenly draw upon the right information. Now, what DOESN'T work, is that the drone in question doesn't really have the Interlink skill! That's right, when he shares it, he has it. When he doesn't, he doesn't. So where does it come from initially? And we were doing so well. As for the Allocation Drone in particular, its actual skill is Science, the root of Geology, and probably a fuller skill to complete his task. Scanning is a scientific pursuit, and not all "material resources" are mineral in composition. Attributes, Cost and icon are standard for a drone. So really, we're looking at the Trek Sense of the Interlink keyword here, and it's only got one bug. I say 3.4.
STOCKABILITY: With generally fewer skills per personnel per point, Interlink drones are more or less necessary. It all really depends on the usefulness of the Interlink skill. Normally, the ol' Allocation Drone has little to contribute: a single skill (albeit the useful, if a little common, Science) and the standard 5-5-5 attributes. For the cost of a card from the top of your draw deck, all Borg personnel in a mission attempt gain the skill of Geology (including this one) until the end of that attempt. The Cost is easily paid, and the Borg have a couple of card manipulation deals that can alleviate some of the suffering here (Borg Queen/Guardian - more on that later - and Reclamation Drone, for example). Is Geology an important skill to the Borg? Well, take note that only the Calibration Drone has the skill proper, so your Interlink is really an important Geology resource. As far as missions go, it's required of Harness Omega Particle, but that's it, and not in multiples. It's all about dilemmas then, and you'll find multiple Geology requirements on Captain's Holiday and Dangerous Climb, so there's that. And in the absence of the Calibration Drone, you'll need someone to have the skill in a pinch, like when facing Planetary Survey or Picking Up the Pieces. Calibration Drone becomes a personnel with 2 Geology when Interlinking for the purposes of Microbrain. As you can see though, it's not the most commonly requested skill. I think we'll eventually see an Interlink for every skill except the ones that used to be classifications (and no doubt stuff like Telepathy), and new missions and dilemmas will eventually change how important any of these are. Now, the Interlinks can work with the Guardian of the Hive (Borg Queen) to get the right drone at the right time, and it doesn't matter what skill they can Interlink. Basically, the Interlinks keep discarding to share skills, and when you see a Drone you want hitting the discard pile, the Queen can switch a present Drone (perhaps a sacrificial Allocation Drone) with the needed Drone. A cute trick, I've gotta go with 3.3.
TOTAL: 12.7 (63.5%) That's what I'm allocating it anyway.
PICTURE: Bok in furs and the big pink bubble of the thought maker... Throw in some godly lighting, and you've got a pretty odd pic. Do I like it for its kitsch value or do I view it more as messy? Hmm, I'll have to go with "messy". A 2.5.
LORE: Bok's complaints are well explained, even if his means aren't. Good evocative title too. Hits 3.1.
TREK SENSE: An Old Debt could be collected by any villain from any Leadership personnel (a Leader is blamed even for the past actions of his or her crew), but from the requirements, I have a feeling that something like the Thought Maker is used to gain revenge in every instance. There are two ways to save your Leader from the effects of the thought maker, and in both cases, there's a strong "figuring it out" component. In the first instance, Biology studies the victim's headache and Physics the means by which the thought maker broadcasts. All you need then is enough Cunning to put 2 and 2 together. The other possibility has Intelligence get the goods on the villain and his methods, and 2 Medical treating the victim. Another point: the thought maker may be used remotely whether the victim is on a planet or a ship. So the dilemma is more about the Thought Maker than it is about Bok, and you may substitute him for any character that might come out of nowhere with a grudge against any particular Leader. It's too bad it's a random selection though (I guess you don't have control of the villain). The danger factor set at 3 is fine, just enough to merit its own episode, and only has one victim. I like it a lot, enough for a 4.3.
STOCKABILITY: This dilemma kills a Leadership personnel, personnel which are often unique and useful (and not just in combination with some battle permissions). Each set of requirements has its own problems. The first requires more personnel to reach the Cunning level (usually 5 or 6), though the skills are easily found. The second requires fewer personnel by far, but for some affiliations, the skills are harder to find. Well, Medical isn't, but when you have to double up on a skill, there's always the danger that another dilemma will have filtered too many out. And the Intelligence, well, that'll certainly be difficult for the Bajorans and Feds without Non-Aligned support. It's most deadly against the Borg who don't have Intelligence at all and can't use NAs, and they stand to lose Locutus or the Queen! The Cost isn't too much given the specifics, I don't think. A 3.7.
TOTAL: 13.6 (68%) I appreciate the thought that went into it.
PICTURE: Better than most screen shots, especially thanks to the split-screen effect and many graphic components that all infer analysis on many fronts. The only real flaw is that the right side of the image is wasted with an amorphous out-of-focus blob (the Queen). Reaches 3.4.
LORE: Likeable, with the Borg coordinate system used and a headcount on Voyager. The end calling for assimilation doesn't quite jibe with the card's function in dilemma encounters though. A 3.
TREK SENSE: When a dilemma returns to its owner's pile, it means that not only wasn't it overcome, it may come back to haunt the characters again. The Borg, however, have a knack for never letting the same thing bother them twice, usually by adapting to the problem. The first step in that adaptation is Analyzing the obstacle. It doesn't come back to haunt the Borg because they now know how to pass it. If it returns at another mission thanks to another copy, well, that one is slightly different (no two situations are identical), but the overcome (Analyzed) copy allows the Borg to now use Adapt thanks to the info supplied by the Analysis. An extremely elegant 4.5.
STOCKABILITY: The first part of a one-two punch that allows the Borg to adapt to dilemmas. The Collective is limited on certain skills (even if one version of the Queen can fake them), and will usually be caught with its implants down when a dilemma requires Law, Telepathy or Honor (for example). Often, a dilemma will return to its owner's dilemma pile after stopping your personnel. In such a case, you may play Analyze to make the dilemma overcome instead. Now, this doesn't void its effects on you, but it does remove that copy of the card from your opponent's pile and rotation. If it was the only copy, you're rid of it. If there are more, you'll have a chance to use Adapt to prevent and overcome that second copy at another mission. The Manheim Effect can reverse the good work done by Analyze, but otherwise, there's not much that can be done against it (well, Amanda Rogers). It's just a matter of getting Analyze and Adapt into your hand. Doesn't do very much alone, of course, and it's always better to manage the skill requirements instead of relying on this combo, but that may just not be possible. I've got to go with the same score as Adapt: a 4.1.
TOTAL: 15 (75%) Pulls ahead of Adapt by 3%.
PICTURE: I can't quite condone the washed-out background, but at the same time, it gives the pic an antique finish. The dusty drone with its almost medieval armor is good too. And that eyepiece certainly looks like a jeweler's - it's all about the appraising. An evocative, if technically flawed, 3.6.
LORE: Short and not-so-sweet, like all drones', and there's that mention of "exorelics" again (from the old Survey Drone). Note that artifacts are now examined for usefulness only, the Borg being so pragmatic. A good 3.5.
TREK SENSE: As per the Allocation Drone, Trek Sense mostly depends on what you think of the Interlink mechanic. To review, I think it's an elegant solution. Each Interlink drone acts as the repository for a single skill that the hive mind can share in, possibly because the assimilated person was an expert in that skill. The discard cost makes this a kind of adaptation, not altogether automatic/permanent. The Borg indeed tend to call up the right information only after having first been stymied. On the minus side, however, the drone doesn't have the shared skill normally. Only when it shares it. What gives? At least the one real skill the Appraisal Drone has is Science, the root skill for Archaeology. I suppose Science sort of includes Archaeology, but the game doesn't really agree with that. This is one bug of a nonetheless good mechanic, so I'll give Appraisal Drone the same score I gave Allocation Drone: 3.4.
STOCKABILITY: Borg personnel have fewer skills per personnel than do similar personnel from other affiliations. An Interlink then, can be important to supplying certain skills. Is Archaeology so important? Well, for now, only the Calibration Drone has the skill naturally, and the Queen can make it her own too. The question may then be: when do you need more than one instance of the skill? Well, there are currently no missions the Borg can attempt that would require it (so there's no reason to use the skill to play Artifacts either). Dilemmas then? Only two require 2 instances of the skill, so Interlink will help your Collective pass Captain's Holiday, and with Calibration Drone (or 2 discards), Authenticate Artifacts (it requires a personnel with 2 Archaeology). That's it though. Otherwise, the Appraisal Drone contributes only the usual attributes, the Staff icon and Science, all of which are common staples of the affiliation. He can be used for other purposes, such as creating discards to use in combination with Borg Queen/Guardian of the Hive to get the right discarded drone into play. As such, all Interlinks are useful, even if you don't need their skill. Not the best of the crop though, he gets a 3.1.
TOTAL: 13.6 (68%) Just my own appraisal.
PICTURE: Same as the original, but in a tighter close-up. The turbulent clouds (a sign of the Disputed nature of the planet) still look good. A 4.1.
LORE: This unequivocal speech from Gowron's lips is immediately recognizable and encapsulates very well the importance of this planet and mission. Nothing for the Dominion side though. Regardless, a good 3.6.
TREK SENSE: For the Klingons, this is an obvious mission. Their goal is to lay claim to Archanis, which will require some doing with the galactic community. A Leader must make the claim, I'm fine with that, but it'll be smarts (Cunning) that will rule the day here, not brute Strength. Indeed, the next requirements are Diplomacy and Law, which aren't about taking the planet, but rather about keeping it as the new borders are drawn up in the wake of the Klingon-Cardassian war. The Klingons may still opt for the other set of requirements, gaining the advantage through Intelligence and Treachery. In this scenario, the Feds get screwed through various shenanigans. These last options are supposed to cover the Dominion, however, whose mission isn't to lay claim to the planet, but rather to make sure the Feds don't get their hands on it. Infiltrators, informants and political operatives are the ones doing that, so the two last skills make more sense there. The Vorta style of Diplomacy and Law is just as good for them. An operation on this scale may well require a Leader to coordinate, though with the Dominion, that may mean a Jem'Hadar, which would sorely be out of place. Cunning, of course, still the order of the day. Basically, because the mission is essentially different for each attempting affiliation, the requirements lack the proper focus. Maybe this should have been a modal mission? Heck, shouldn't the Feds also have something to say about it? A few straggling details: Points have been adjusted down from the 1E version, but that's fine, since Archanis wasn't a point of contention for that long. Span seems fair for a planet on the edge of at least 3 territories. Overall, the lack of focus keeps it at a still fine 3.4.
SEEDABILITY: 30 points isn't that much for a mission that requires either Law or Intelligence, both much rarer than most skills. For the Klingons, it also means using Cunning, their least developped attribute. The Dominion will be more at ease, with enough Cunning to satisfy the requirements more easily than the Klingons, and no problems coming up with the skills (either set of requirements, in fact) since they do have 6 Intelligence personnel for now. All skills are covered by Weyoun/Loyal Subect, if you want to go with the Diplomacy&Law option. For the Klingons, not so much. How about 3.2?
TOTAL: 14.3 (71.5%) Very different from the 1E version (focus on Cunning rather than Strength, for example), but it works.
PICTURE: This drone's greatest enemy is a smoke machine! The haze really chokes this pic, especially considering the opaque foreground element. I do like the choice of drone however. The historian of the Borg looks like a teenager in an oversized football uniform, a nice contrast. The technical flaws keep it at 2.9.
LORE: Never really thought of it before, but this drone's function makes perfect sense. History serves one useful purpose, and that's helping you adapt. The Borg don't just learn from their mistakes, but from others' as well. And it makes sense for a drone to have the cataloguing and dissection of these histories as a function. Simple and dry, but interesting nonetheless. A good 3.5.
TREK SENSE: Another Interlink drone, this one sharing Anthropology, the skill associated with history. Anthropology is a Science, so the skill makes sense as its root, which isn't the same as saying the drone had the skill to share in the first place. Indeed, the Archival Drone doesn't have Anthropology unless he pays the cost and shares it with everyone. Very odd. It occured to me that Archaeology might have been a better root skill, since it could be seen as a skill that collects the information that is then known as Anthropology. If we look at Science on that exploratory basis, we start seeing a sequence of skills that makes the Interlink more natural. (I'd have liked a tighter sequence, myself.) The cost of the Interlink spells out the adaptive nature of sharing skills. Drones must expend energy to access the skills they need from the Collective. Still the elegant solution, this drone gets the usual 3.4.
STOCKABILITY: Because Borg personnel generally have fewer skills that similarly-priced personnel from other affiliations, the Interlink function can prove important. One discard, and all Borg anywhere in play gain a skill, or use multiple discards to give them a multiple of the skill. With Anthropology, that could mean passing Authenticate Artifacts, Antedean Assassins or Failure to Communicate, for example. The skill in fact appears on a lot of dilemmas, often as a double requirement (though rarely required of a single personnel). No Borg missions require it though. Is it common in the Collective to start with? Not too much, because although 3 other drones currently have the skill, all cost at least 2 counters. Even if you don't think you'll particularly need the skill, the Interlink can be useful for getting a discarded drone into play via Borg Queen/Guardian of the Hive. With the large number of Anthropology dilemmas though, I can see myself giving the Archival Drone 3.5.
TOTAL: 13.3 (66.5%) Interlink drones are generally doing better than average.
PICTURE: Fluidic space is pretty ugly, unfortunately, and this picture of it doesn't help matters. The two tones split about in the middle... well, let's just say I've seen better things on TOS (or Doctor Who, for that matter). At least it's distinctive. Yeah, at least that. Only 0.5.
LORE: I really like this! Mission lore that reads like someone is giving us a mission. Yes. Mighty big "if" in there, by the way. A strong 3.6.
TREK SENSE: Technically, Fluidic space isn't in the Delta Quadrant, it's not even in our universe, but we'll say the mission is at the intersection between our universe and 8472's. No doubt, you could cross over in the Alpha Quadrant, but wouldn't find the same hostile Species there. Or their space could be much smaller and only accessible from the DQ. In any case, this is a reaction to 8472 incursions into the DQ, so that's where the mission starts. At the least the Span makes this harder to reach than your usual planet or space phenomenon. Interested parties include the Borg, of course, since 8472 were decimating the Collective. The Feds have caught on to the situation and see 8472 as a future threat. The Klingons might just be in it for a good fight. I'm not sure if they're included on a philosophical basis, or because there was a Klingon ship in the DQ that had the potential of getting involved (would be a sign of things to come for other Voyager missions). The Assault would not be possible without the proper amount of Engineering and Physics, because you need to cross over into other-dimensional space and fly a ship in there. The fluid is organic in nature, and Species 8472 are 1) very alien and 2) use bio-technology, so Exobiology makes sense too. The controling attribute is Cunning, which is fine since you can't really defeat 8472 with diplomacy (Integrity) or brute force (Strength). You've got to find another way. Points are ok, but the danger posed by Species 8472 might warrant a little more. And it's too bad the mission doesn't have any special properties, like this space might've. Generally does a good job of answering my questions, so a 4.
SEEDABILITY: The long Span on this one means that your Feds and Klingons should think about spending more time in the Delta Quadrant than this lone mission. The Borg, on the other hand, start out in the DQ. This is a good addition to their stable of missions, requiring skills you'll find on other DQ Borg missions. The points aren't sky high, but as a companion to a big planet mission like Harness Omega Particle (50 points), its easy requirements will bring you within round-the-corner range of a victory. Since high Cunning is required (in both cases), might I suggest some Computation Drones to boost the attribute? The Feds have a number of personnel with 2 Engineer that can help with mission efficiency, so they're not bad here either. It's just a matter of getting there. Klingons aren't strong on Cunning, so I don't see this as a very viable mission for them. In all, a cool 3.4.
TOTAL: 11.5 (57.5%) A neat Borg theme deck could be made using only 8472-related missions.
PICTURE: The ceiling background adds nice motion, but the picture is much too hazy for its own good, going into graininess where it should go into blacks. Too bad, because it had the right urgency and energy. A 2.9 then.
LORE: A lot of Maquis have stories of how they quit Starfleet, some much sooner than later, and it's a great "origin story" for B'Elanna. The subtitle does her justice too. A strong 3.6.
TREK SENSE: The B'Elanna we got to know was almost always on Voyager,
but we did get glimpses of her life as a Maquis throughout the series (and
of course, at its very start). Unimpeachable is the fact that she's an
Engineer and a Maquis. The 2 Programming is from the fact she reprogrammed
the Cardassian dreadnought, a pretty complex task as we saw from its feature
episode. While Astrometrics would make sense on a Voyager version (she
helped build the Astrometrics Lab), it also works for her as a Maquis.
First, because they hide out in the Badlands, an astrometrics nightmare,
and second, because as soon as "Parallax", she was shown to be quite knowledgeable
in the field (and that episode directly follows the pilot). The Command
icon seems a bit much, since she's no chief engineer at this point, but
if the Maquis are relatively few, it might be easier to be considered a
leader. Then again, you wouldn't need as many leaders. Iffy, but okay.
As for the attributes, she's a good person, but still very aggressive,
making her Integrity average. She's smarter than the average bear, though
I'm not sure a 6 is enough to really call her Creative. She misses the
big picture a lot, so I'm not against the number. The above average Strength
fits the profile. The low amount of training she got may help explain her
low Cost. The special skill is incredibly mechanical, but let's see if
we can make sense of it. Your opponent is about to pay for an effect by
discarding a card (a sacrifice or reshuffling of resources to power the
effect), and she makes that discard random rather than opponent's choice
(but how?) by placing one of your own cards on top of your deck (delaying
a resource's use rather than losing access to it). Yeah, I'm stumped. There's
a little conceptual *something* about waste management, which is an engineering
thing, but it's slim, and the main effect remains opaque to me. It fits
the sabotage theme of the Maquis (they sabotage your hand, often as inside
agents), but relates poorly to B'Elanna herself. That's gonna sink an otherwise
reasonable card to 2.5.
1E TREK SENSE: Changes include points off for too-low attributes (especially Cunning), but no change for the choice of Astrophysics or Stellar Cartography when converting from Astrometrics. Either would be fine for her. The lack of an actual classification is, as usual, troubling, and we've got to wonder if her being a Fed is right for the first edition design ethos. Adjusts to a straight 2.
STOCKABILITY: Not all Maquis can be geared towards solving For the Cause,
and B'Elanna definitely isn't. She does help round out the Maquis skill
pool nicely though, especially for space missions. Few skills, but all
useful, and the 2 Programming in particular overcomes Bynars' Password
and DNA Security Scan. Just walls/filters, but still annoying. While the
other Maquis will be busy putting opponents' cards back to the top of their
draw decks, B'Elanna does something a little more "creative". She turns
the necessary discards required of card effects into random choices. A
lot of 2E cards have this "cost", and her special ability works passively.
She only needs be in play to make all such cards a burden on your opponents.
With very specific discards (like "discard a [Baj] personnel", for example),
it won't be so useful (your opponent might only keep one such card in hand),
but anything wider will be a risk. Good stuff. Can't complain about her
full-on staffing icon (all Maquis ships require Command), and her attributes
aren't weak, just ok. And the price is right at 2. The score, on the other
hand, is right at 3.8.
1E STOCKABILITY: In 1E, there are far fewer effects that require discards, so her special skill will be less solicited. I can think or Renewal Scroll, the 59th Rule, Kal-Toh, Meditation, Spacedoor, etc., so there are choices. A deck that uses Bajoran Shrine or Process Ore for recycling may well be upset by B'Elanna. Since you get to put a card on top of your deck, she could rig her own probes at Visit Cochrane Memorial, though at your opponent's pace. Skillwise, she's got the always useful Computer Skill x2, allowing her to be downloaded to hand by Quark's Isolinear Rods, and overcome Ferengi Ingenuity. Astrometrics gives you a choice when she's reported - you can give her either Astrophysics or Stellar Cartography (I suggest the latter since other versions of her have the former). She's a version of the B'elanna Torres persona, so can be switched for another. I wouldn't call her an improvement over the other B'Elannas, unless you really want to hose your opponent's discards, and will only work with the Feds. With that exact title though, she's all you need to Prevent Annihilation, and a good chunk of Investigate Quantum Singularity. Low attributes can be brought up by Maquis attribute boosters, but still sting, as does the lack of a true classification (but only a little). I'm gonna give her 3.5 here.
TOTAL: 12.8 (64%) Creative, but to the point of being obtuse.
1E TOTAL: 12 (60%) Actually still interesting.
PICTURE: Lots to like. The Founder is differentiated from the real Bashir by the dead eyes and the weapon in his hands, and I like the interesting sleek shapes contorting behind his head. Amounts to a good 3.8.
LORE: The line is from Bashir while a prisoner of the Dominion, and ties in smartly with the subtitle. What indeed? I do think the subtitle should have placed emphasis more on infiltration than sabotage though. A 3.5.
TREK SENSE: 1E impersonators followed a distinct pattern of conversion, using all skills save one to be turned into Treachery, and dropping the Integrity to 4, but not touching either of the other attributes. This caused some problems, but 2E tries to remedy many of them. Bashir Founder, for example, still has the Medical and Exobiology required to be the station doctor for a number of episodes (scrap Biology, all inhabitants except Odo are totally alien to him), but he also now has what it takes to carry out sabotage (Engineer), espionage (Intelligence) and blow up a star (Physics). That's a huge improvement. Destroying an entire system in cold blood (or protoplasm, whatever) indeed smacks of doubled Treachery and ultra-low Integrity, and implanting such a deep-cover, highly trained, operative is a high-Cost business (4 is acceptable). I do wonder at the Staff icon, since all Founders would be Command personnel in the Dominion. Cunning is much higher than average to competently mimic Bashir, plus do all the other stuff, though not QUITE as high as the genetically enhanced doctor. After all, Bashir was still holding back when he was caught, and the Dominion may not have known how smart he was. Strength is that of the Bashir body, and not too far off the Founder average. The special ability now... This guy infiltrated DS9 for a good number of episodes without our knowledge (or Alexander Siddig's for that matter), so you could say he's the ultimate Infiltrator. When he does something related to Infiltration, and really is infiltrating (present with an opposing personnel), he's usually got something else up his sleeve (draw a card). It's a bit mechanical, granted, but it shows the long-term nature of his assignment. An incredible improvement over the original as far as skills go, and though less related to specific storyline points, the special ability is potable. Infiltration not being affiliation-specific (he can infiltrate the Cardassians as much as the Feds, for example) is a problem with those cards, not Bashir Founder. A strong 4.4.
STOCKABILITY: A very strong personnel with a large pool of skills, as well as access to a number of cards through keywords. He covers Engineer-type stuff and Medical-type stuff, then throws in Intelligence and a double dose of Treachery. The last two are hugely important to Dominion missions, and though his Integrity is near-absent, his Cunning is high and in demand there too. The double Treachery gets you out of Inside Collaborators, but there are many more dilemmas he can take care of well (or help at greatly), like Damaged Reputation, Forsaken and Contamination. And let's not forget other tricks like Torture for Intelligence, etc. On top of that, although like all Founders, he's a Founder (duh!) and a Shape-Shifter, and like many of them, an Infiltrator too. You need Founders to access The Blight, share skills with The Founder Is Wise (boosts Weyoun/Instrument too), and protect them with The Order of Things. As a Shape-Shifter, he cannot be targted by Assassin's Blade (or Berzerk Changeling, for that matter), and can use the Morph card We're Everywhere (possibly to download him, or replace a just-killed copy of him). And he's an Infiltrator, which means he can be sent to an opposing ship or mission with Anything or Anyone or Enemy in Your Midst, damage a ship with Changeling Sabotage, reduce opposing attributes with Misdirection, choose targets of random selections with Set Up, draw and play more dilemmas with Under Suspicion, get more counters thanks to Undercover Resource, score points by having him at an HQ with Your Fear Will Destroy You, add skills to a mission's requirements with Founder Trap, and kill an opposing personnel with Pseudopod. As an incentive for using these Infiltration cards, Bashir Founder gives you a free card draw each time you use one (as long as he's present with opposing personnel, of course, but it doesn't have to be played on HIM). The draw might even yield another Infiltration card. I don't think the Cost of 4 is too much at all. Scores 4.5.
TOTAL: 16.2 (81%) The Dominion come out of the gate running strong.
PICTURE: Saturation levels are a little off on this pic, but if I remember correctly, that's because it's an "enhanced" image from Voyager's sensors. Even if it isn't, that's the look (like a satellite image), and it's appropriate to a Reconnaissance mission. The bio-ship reflects the colors of the nebula, and the wreckage is dramatic too. An interesting 3.5.
LORE: The line that would spark the mission, it's got the right mystery to it and some implied danger. Borg wreckage is in and of itself an ominous thing. 3.4 should do.
TREK SENSE: Anyone might come upon these readings and wonder what they
are, even the Borg, so this is truly a mission for everyone. Because a
danger to the Borg is involved, you go on a war footing. Security is very
important, and Strength might help you survive what will be a first encounter
with Speces 8472 (presumably). The bio-ship (and the Species that owns
it) should be studied with Exobiology, while the Borg wreckage might have
computer banks that explain what happened, accessible through Programming.
This is just a Reconaissance mission, so as soon as trouble starts, high-tail
it out of there using Transporters. The nature of space missions means
you don't actually beam to the wreckage or bio-ship, which isn't in keeping
with the mission parameters. Can't be avoided, I suppose, but troublesome
nonetheless. Span's fine (wreckage is found on your way to someplace),
and the points are too (important discovery). The limits of mission cards
in general are the only problem, and so a high 3.9.
1E TREK SENSE: Cosmetic changes (like skill names) and the fact the Borg can no longer attempt (they never would, by the rules) are the differences, but they don't really change the score. Again, 3.9.
SEEDABILITY: A mission for any affiliation, including the Borg, Battle
Reconaissance offers an appropriate number of points for its requirements,
and the Span puts the mission close enough to any other mission, not even
that far if starting from another quadrant. For the Borg (who start out
in the Delta Quadrant), Strength isn't necessarily a... well, a strength,
but easy play of cheap drones can make up for that, as can the Opposition
Drone. The mission might also be worthwhile for the Klingons or Dominion/Jem'Hadar,
since Strength IS one of their strengths. A DQ deck (Klingon or Borg) could
easily be made to take advantage of the various Species 8472 missions,
like Hunt Alien and Assault on Species 8472, since they have various skills/attributes
in common. Fair and flexible, I give it a 3.7.
1E SEEDABILITY: Sitting in the Delta Quadrant, Battle Reconnaissance is gonna be the likely target of the Kazon and Hirogen who really have little trouble coming up with the STRENGTH requirement (though Transporter Skill isn't a Kazon specialty). The hunters will enjoy adding it to Hunt Alien. Like other 2E missions, it's harder than missions without attribute requirements for those points, though at least it can be protected by Fair Play despite it open attemptability. A solid addition to at least the Hirogen's mission pool, it hits 3.3.
TOTAL: 14.5 (72.5%) Personally, I think it's fun the Borg can now attempt
1E TOTAL: 14.1 (70.5%) Fans of Species 8472 are still getting 1E cards.
PICTURE: The sleeping bodies of Sisko and O'Brien behind him are really creepy, as is Borath's expression, kind of like a crazed squirrel (harks to the Vorta's genetic origins). Symetric composition works well, good details too. A strong 4.1 that shows us a larger picture than usual.
LORE: Explains the bodies and Frankenstein tables, and tries to justify the special ability (often the lore's function in 2E). Somewhat interesting at 3.1.
TREK SENSE: Borath's gotten a major makeover since the old days, but he's still Exobiology/Medical so that he can experiment on aliens. The subtitle, "Psychological" Researcher might have allowed him a little Anthropology, but I'm ok with its absence - that's not really what he does. He uses a computer simulation (ah, finally Borath has Programming) to extract information to be used against the Dominion's enemies. Certainly smacks of Intelligence. Integrity's been adjusted to an appropriately deceitful level (matching his Treachery), and Strength down to Researcher level (this guy's not going into a fight willingly). He remains smarter than the average, which I imagine his techniques would require. The Command icon makes sense since 1) most Vorta can at the very least boss around Jem'Hadar, and 2) being in charge of such a project on the Founder Homeworld probably means he's pretty high-up. As for the special ability, it has a certain conceptual elegance: Personnel in hand aren't in play, so they could be considered to be on Borath's table (they'll be released by the time they need to be played). The act of selecting a card from opponent's hand represents that of nabbing the personnel for Borath's little experiment, and the information gained is represented in turn by a card draw (the strategy, personnel movement, etc. inspired by the information gained). I like it, but it does remain on a conceptual plane since Borath can be anywhere and still do this, even on a mission (he's running things remotely?). There are also no real consequences to the "kidnapping", such as a higher Cost to play the selected personnel, or the card draw being tailored to the opposing affiliation. As for Cost, Borath's little set-up in addition to himself deserves the 3. As for score, I'm suitably impressed, so a 4.2.
STOCKABILITY: Vorta enable a number of cards (like Pulling the Strings, The Founder Is Wise and Gunboat Diplomacy) and with his Treachery, Borath also enables Dispensing the White. But he's got much more going for him than that! He's got a large and varied skill list that includes both commonly required and rarer skills, and that makes him useful at many Dominion missions, in particular the bundle that requires Intelligence/Treachery. The special ability is actually two-fold. First, it gives you a peak at your opponent's hand, and that in itself is useful (for example, as a precursor to Yelgrun's special ability when you see something you REALLY don't want played). Second, if the card revealed is a personnel, you then get a card draw, saving you the counter cost of that draw. Not as potent as it would be in 2E, but still a perk. And you get to do this every single turn. Now that's what I call espionage. I don't think a Cost 3 is too much to ask for, but if you do, maybe use Hollow Pleasantries to lower his Cost (if you don't mind paying for a round of card draws). And you can always protect him with The Order of Things, or rescue him from the discard pile with Vorta Cloning. Hits 4.3.
TOTAL: 15.7 (77.5%) Another good showing for the Dominion.
PICTURE: A Borg Cube from the usual angle, it seems (i.e. domineering), but with the flashy bits on this side for a change. It glows with power, although it could be about to blow up ;-). Iconic, but we've all been here before. A fine 3.4.
LORE: I like that the Borg have dry text, and so I love the facts and figures here. There are shades of Kirk's opening monologue in the rest, but all subtle, and "perfection" has not been forgotten. The final lone verb matches the style of the personnel. Well set in the Borg style adopted for 2E, I give it a 3.5.
TREK SENSE: The 2nd Edition re-working of the Borg obviously necessitated big changes for their ships. Now, the Borg have staffing icons just like everyone else, which I embrace. Cubes are full of drones (all Staffers), and since they are remotely (or rather transcendently) run, they need no Command icon personnel aboard. The Queen's everywhere anyway. The staffing requirements are massive of course, though the 5 to 64,000 proprotion may seem out of whack. 5 is still a lot, and more would be unmanageable game-wise. Attributes have also been brought down a heck of a lot. Wow. Do they still work? Well, we have to keep a few things in mind. First, ships now have generally more reasonable stats and are harder to boost, which makes a 10-12-11 ship very fast, aggressive and tough compared to most. Second, it's now much harder to team up against one ship in an engagement, so lone ships will have the same problems making a dent in a Borg Cube they have on the show. You'll rarely, if ever, get to re-enact Wolf 359 or the beginning of First Contact. And since the Enterprise and Voyager each held their own against a Cube in the past, it's not impossible for ships to actually survive Borg attacks (more on this when we tackle their Maneuver cards), and for two ships to actually damage them. It works in this new environment, even if it means some stories are impossible (i.e. outside the game engine's focus). Some would still say that the drop in attributes is too much though. For the Borg, Cubes are business as usual, so the Cost is the same as for a generic Galaxy or other large non-unique ship. Fair enough. The redesign is fine, though it may seem jarring to 1E players. A 4.
STOCKABILITY: The only thing you can really compare a Borg ship to is another Borg ship. The non-unique Borg Cube costs a little less than the unique ones, though they all have the same sky-high attributes. The better Locutus' Borg Cube has an excellent Maneuver-downloading ability. The Queen's can battle even at HQs, which is a minor ability. This Cube is still better, unless you really care for Commander effects. The other Borg ship is the Sphere, which costs less, but is closer to the Defiant in strength. No, for sheer dominance of the skies, only the Romulan Scimitar might prove dangerous to the Borg Cube. Even in that case, the Cube has more of everything, making the Borg fast, strong and tough. Good thing too with those high staffing requirements! And yet, reporting drones is both cheap and easy. I dare say the Borg's standard ship isn't going to be easily bothered by would-be marauders. On the flip-side, it shouldn't be hard to win an engagement with one and succeed at Borg Cutting Beam, The Will of the Collective and other possible Maneuvers. If you're afraid of losing staffing, Regeneration Alcoves gets drones aboard the ship without returning to the HQ. A fine ship of the line, as it were, and a 4.
TOTAL: 14.9 (74.5%) A good sign for the rest of the "fleet".
PICTURE: The original (1E) Borg Cutting Beam Tactic had a very cool image, but it did have some blur problems. So it's a good thing they switched to a scene from the better-preserved DS9 episodes, specifically from the opening scene of the pilot when the Saratoga is destroyed. This isn't it here, of course, but rather an Excelsior earlier in the scene. The effect is far from as interesting visually, but it's at least clearer. A 3.
LORE: In 1E, you had card types that had no lore. In 2E, it sometimes happens when the game text gets too long. How should I handle that? Well, as if we've been robbed of the lore! Unless the title is really interesting (no such luck here), it's getting a 0.
TREK SENSE: A sensible Maneuver for the Borg, it allows them to do damage (-2 across the board is as good as it gets, so this powerful weapon should do as much) AND to assimilate ("take command of") personnel. No doubt more personnel than just one are tractored out of the hull breach for assimilation, but most are Ensign Bobs, and only one is known to the viewers (i.e. the players). The only thing I might take issue at here is the Cost, which is balanced, yes, but underestimates Borg resources. Then again, I can't say the Cutting Beam was specifically seen that often. A Cost of 5 for a Sphere to use it might be in order, but it's not scalable to Cubes. Aside from the small mechanical feature, it all makes sense. A 4.6.
STOCKABILITY: Costly, yes, but you tend to save counters on personnel with the Borg, and this Maneuver does a couple of things for you, the least important of which is -2 damage to each of the ship's attributes. With the Borg's high Weapons, you're likely to win your engagements (watch out from unwanted enemy assistance). The real boon is the assimilated personnel, which all at once takes away a personnel from your opponent's stable and adds one to yours. And with all the effects keyed to assimilated personnel (personnel you command but do not own), doing so can only be a good idea. You can use them to boost your other Borg (Biological Distinctiveness), score points (One With the Borg), overcome dilemmas (Knowledge and Experience), and more. There are cheaper ways to assimiliate personnel, but they have different requirements, and of course, you don't get to use your cybernetic muscle to blow an opposing ship out of the sky. The Assault card Adding to Our Perfection, for example, only costs 2, but Borg combat isn't as safe a bet as Borg engagements. If you don't care to do damage, just assimilate, then The Will of the Collective is what you want, but for +2 to Cost, you do get some good damage there. Good effects combo, though at that price, make sure you win. A 4.5.
TOTAL: 12.1 (60.5%) The Rolodex can't abide ignoring one of its 4 categories. It's like a card without a picture.
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