Siskoid's Rolodex.................Premiere (13)

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To see the cards themselves, check out this Card list for the Premiere set.
Some of the cards have been corrected in the Beta Set.

#2420-Raise the Stakes, Event

"Weekly poker game aboard the USS Enterprise honed the tactical and bluffing skills of many officers."

-Your opponent must forfeit the game OR agree the eventual winner may randomly select and keep one card from loser's 60-card deck. (Cumulative.)

PICTURE: A wonderful little picture. Poker became an integral part of the TNG crew's leisure activities, and this angle on the game is interesting, features nice colors, etc., though it tends to be a bit busy and cramped. The same kind of scene is mirrored on Lower Decks, tying Raise the Stakes (ironically) to the game more tangibly. And as an extra element of fun, you can see Riker and Data are holding STCCG cards in their hands (Worf too, possibly, it's too dark to tell). Just a fun little Easter egg. A very nice 4.2.

LORE: While I appreciate their justifying poker as a "tactical" training activity (after all, there's no money in the future, or so they say), there's something wrong with the syntax here. It should either say "The weekly poker game..." or "Weekly poker games..." (plural), but this makes no sense. That kind of mistake is difficult to forgive, so only 2.5.

TREK SENSE: It's all occurring outside the game, not even affecting cards during that game. Thematically, it plays with the idea of gambling, of winning or losing some kind of "ante". You have the option to fold, which is straight from poker (get it? straight? ok, never mind). The theme is well-handled, so as much as a 1.7.

STOCKABILITY: As the only card ever banned, it's a 0, isn't it? You can't use it. But let's say you could (there's no reason to obey that edict in a friendly game, right?). There's a very easy way to get out of the card's obligation: Build your deck with 61 cards (or any number of cards other than 60) and you're home free, no matter how cumulative this thing would be. A terrible leftover from the early days of CCGs (thanks for the gambling addiction, Magic: The Gathering!), yes, it does score a 0.

TOTAL: 8.4 (42%) I kind feel sorry for the cards that scored lower than this.

#2433-Rebel Encounter, Dilemma, planet

"Belligerent rebels from war-torn worlds often hide out on other planets and can endanger an Away Team."

-Kills one Away Team member (random selection) unless STRENGTH>44 OR you bribe rebels first by discarding an Equipment card, if present. Discard dilemma.

PICTURE: Premiere has a number of cards that should have come out bluish, but instead came out more purplish instead. This is one of them. It's not clear, adds a sickly green to the Hulk/Green Goblin color palette and on top of it all, isn't memorable in the slightest. Plenty of Rebels in the Trek canon, but I always have to double check before determining that the pic came from "Legacy". If I had to say something nice? Well, it's got some movement thanks to the pointed weapons. A pretty dull 1.5 overall.

LORE: Making it universal and generic is a good thing when it comes to planet dilemmas. Unfortunately, I can't agree with the capitalization of the words "Away Team", which really should be reserved for game text. A follow-up sentence going into more specific details would also have alleviated the unmemorable problem mentioned above. A couple mistakes take it down to 2.8.

TREK SENSE: You get in a firefight with some Rebels who probably think you're on the wrong side of their argument, and someone dies unless you combat them with higher firepower. On the other hand, you could make a show of support for their cause by giving them some much-needed supplies in the form of an Equipment card. Hand weapons would probably be appreciated more, but I'm sure a Medical Kit would too. Are we to expect them to care for Kukalaka though? Results may vary, I think, but the bribe works in most cases. The game text opens to the door to Bribery, but of course, being the card is several expansions down the line and can't be expected to be worked into the mechanics as such. I'd say this works, even if it is necessarily incomplete. A 4.

SEEDABILITY: Totally in the same vein as Chalnoth and Nausicaans, this is your standard STRENGTH-related planet dilemma. It requires more STRENGTH than Chalnoth to prevent a death, and the same as Nausicaans, which is good (though like them, it is bypassed by Interphase Generator), but also gives an alternative wherein an Equipment card is destroyed. It's probably a more potable option than losing a personnel, so this can be used to accomplish the same things as Common Thief. It's less of a sure shot than Common Thief, but you can still use it to set up Security Precautions and DNA Metamorphosis, for example, or seed it at missions that require equipment like Bat'leth Tournament. Of course, Common Thief remains the better card (just by being space/planet for starters), but there's no reason you couldn't use both at the same mission to attack large equipment stores. A strong 3.8.

TOTAL: 12.1 (60.5%) Pretty hum-drum, but still a solid seed against the weaker affiliations.

#2446-Red Alert!, Event

"The state of maximum crew and systems readiness aboard starships."

-Plays on table. In place of your normal card play, you may report for duty any number of Ship, Personnel and Equipment cards.

PICTURE: In an effort to give us something different from a flashing red stripe, the early designers came up with this CG design, blending the screen well enough into the console picture that it looks like a shot from the show, right down to making parts of it harder to read. The number in the corner is an inside joke - Decipher's zip code, but that's not very interesting to outsiders. An early classic, it's still a static shot not pulled from the show. I give it 2.9.

LORE: Oookay. A very brief description and nothing else. Likeable for what it is, but a little narrow (what about stations as per Spacedoor?). I guess I could give points for the exclamation mark. An average 3 then.

TREK SENSE: The idea is that when you call Red Alert, everyone goes to battle stations and thus reports all at once. The big problem is the card's scope. After all, does the entire Federation go on Red Alert at once? And if we're talking about a ship, why are most of the personnel reporting to an Outpost before boarding a ship? And speaking of ships, why are they included? It just doesn't work within the concept of what Red Alerts have always been on the show, and turned out to be a broken card to boot, requiring errata and a number of magic bullets over the years. I'd even say that as an Event, it's too permanent (all game long - the stress would eventually kill your crew) and not reactive enough (should have been an Interrupt). In fact, turn this into an Interrupt that reports all your personnel and equipment in hand to a ship facing a dilemma or starting a battle, and you've got something. As is, only a 1.

STOCKABILITY: In 2E, Cost regulates the speed at which you play cards. In 1E, the standard card play does that, and it's much more constraining. So any card that allows you to circumvent that standard card play and drop down more than one card per turn is an immense boost to a deck's speed. With Red Alert (say you have no bullets to dodge), you can theoretically play your entire hand on any given turn, as long as your cards are personnel, ships and equipment. Guess what, that's exactly was you need to attempt and complete missions. Massively overpowered, it doesn't leave play and can be used again and again. You can play a verb (event, objective, etc.) or you can play any number of noun cards. So of course there were going to be counters to this, so many that this "must" might well have become "dust". In no particular order then: Yellow Alert nullifies Red Alert and prevents its play (it is considered a Referee card to boot); Deactivation nullifies it too; Mirror Image (another new Ref card) makes your Red Alert work for your opponent as well; an opponent's Spacedoor also may mirror your Red Alert; and It's Only a Game (Ref card) limits it to 1 ship, 1 personnel and 1 equipment per turn; and that's without mentioning your regular counters like Uxbridge and Quinn! So where does that leave us? Players might still be tempted to use Red Alert, with the implication that the other player will also use it. I don't counter yours, you don't counter mine (and might even use mine). We keep it at 1 of each card type per turn (which really isn't as useful), and from time to time, Deactivation will come in and cancel my Alert. Is that something that seems worth it? Well, yes, but download chains are a better way to go for some affiliations, and the boost offered is always at risk and much less of an advantage if shared. I won't go above 2.5.

TOTAL: 9.4 (47%) Suffers from the Premiere blues.

#2459-Reginald Barclay, Personnel, Federation

"Lieutenant Reginald Barclay is a talented but socially shy systems diagnostics engineer. Former vicitm of holodiction. Has phobia of traveling by transporter."

-ENGINEER, Computer Skill; Staff icon


PICTURE: A great pic, showing Barclay at his most vulnerable, hiding behind some barrels. Maybe an important character like this should have had a little better exposure, but I think it really says something about his timidity. In a set that gave us mostly head and bust shots, this one took guts. One of the better personnel pics at 4.8. It really respects the character.

LORE: So which of Barclay's troubles were they going to mention? Holodiction and transporter phobia are in there, as is paralyzing shyness. Hypochondria has been left out and any mention of "The Nth Degree". "Former" victim has perhaps been disproved by Voyager, but that's not really a problem. I think they did a fair job of giving us information about the character, while still selling his strong points. Well... point. A 3.4.

TREK SENSE: Some might ask "what were they thinking?!" when looking at this card. After all, Barclay is a major recurring character, and making him a simple mission specialist seems to defy logic. You'd want the popular characters to be chase cards, wouldn't you? He's rare!!! But as far as Trek Sense goes, is it a fair evaluation of the character? Well, even the First Contact expansion couldn't find better skills than what are here (referencing cards based on his episodes to pad him up). A diagnostics guy wouldn't have much more than Engineer, Computer Skill and a Staff icon, it's true. A case could be made for Physics from "Hollow Pursuits", and 2E has made it. Still, its the lack of any color to his abilities that is a sore point. Attributes show an essentially good Starfleet officer that doesn't have much courage. Smart, but not overly forthcoming with his findings. Not great in the Strength department, it not being his field. But it just feels like he should have lower in all of these, or at least have to dig in to get a boost. He shouldn't be this useful attribute-wise unless the conditions are exactly right. A severely lackluster 3.

STOCKABILITY: A lot of cards mention him, but sadly, he doesn't interact with them in any way. So we're left with exactly what's on the card, and that's a Computer Skill mission specialist, a skill that is very common, with a good classification and some fair attributes, oh, and a Staff icon. The FC and TB Barclays have more tricks (the latter is definitely the better personnel), though you could download this guy with AMS, and switch them later. He's got generally better stats than the equivalent Narik, a better classification than Christopher Hobson, and Tahglio is CF and AU but rather differently distributed. As you can see, Barclay is far from the Federation's only choice for Computer Skill mission specialist, but he's a solid enough one when you need that skill to score those precious bonus points. Still, no call for him to be a rare (not really a consideration in these reviews, I'm just saying). Disappointing, but objectively, still a 3.3.

TOTAL: 14.5 (72.5%) Solid, memorable pic, but generally a let-down otherwise.

#2472-Relief Mission, Mission, planet, Klingon/Romulan

Penthara IV: Alleviate planet of Ice Age conditions following type-C asteroid impact.

-Geology OR Physics

-Span: 2; 20 points

PICTURE: No change from my earlier review of Relief Mission II from Enhanced Premiere. I mean, it's a simple mud ball, but it does its best. For example, the white glow at the bottom could indicate ice and snow. The asteroid impact could be indicated by the disturbances more up top. Sustains its 3.5.

LORE: A fair effort, without any sparks or problems. A 3.

TREK SENSE: A Premiere effort to give the Klingons and Romulans stuff to do, it just doesn't jibe with "A Matter of Time". Nothing in that episode gives any indication that we're even near those Empires' territories, and even less that they would be interested in helping the Pentharans. It's just not their style. This should have been a Federation mission. And then they don't do anything with the requirements. This is all too easy, and for stakes too small (points), compared to the episode. According to the show, this might well have been a planet/space mission (with Geordi down on the planet). Geology and Physics are both relevant, but pretty naked there. It was much more difficult than this. Nothing to say about the Span, really, except that the planet should be farther from the attempting affiliations, but that's just part of the initial problem. A terrible 1.2.

SEEDABILITY: You're better off using Relief Mission II, where you can at least make use of a Wormhole. Relief Mission is incredibly easy, but it also reaps few rewards. Mission specialists and Hero of the Empire (for the Klingons) stretch the points to 30, but is it really worth it? Maybe as a quick game ender, especially if you lose a lot of time waging battle. The true humiliation of beating your opponent by solving this thing, eh? The Geology allows for Forced-Labor Camp, and could just be used for that card's rewards. RM II does the same thing at 5 points less, but I guess if you don't want or need Wormholes in your deck, you could just use the older model for what it does. Pretty limited though. Generously giving it a 3.

TOTAL: 10.7 (53.5%) 5% above its sequel! (All about the Lore, really.)

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