Siskoid's Rolodex..........Rules of Acquisition

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To see the cards themselves, check out this Card list for the First Contact expansion set.

#460-1st Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], RoA
"Once you have their money, you never give it back."
-Seeds or plays on your freighter, transport or [Fer] facility or ship. Gold-Pressed Latinum you download may come from your discard pile. Once per game, you may download to hand one Gold-Pressed Latinum and/or one Ferengi VIP.

PICTURE: Why not start out a set with a big stack of gold-pressed latinum? Quark's earnings are a sight to behold, with the lighting just right to make the bars glitter. The varying colors in the background are just that - background - and don't distract the eye TOO much. A little, though. A quick word about the Rules icon which makes its first appearance here: it took me a little while to look at it from the right angle to see it was two bars of latinum stacked on top of one another, and they really look like the two bars on the end of the stack on this picture. The 1st Rule is the source for the icon that will cover all the Rules. Very nice, and boosts the score to a 3.8.

LORE: What can I say about the lore on the Rules? They're always the Rule itself, quoted (I'm quite happy with the Rules spealing for itself). The titles are always Xth Rule of Acquisition, also making it impossible to really comment. Are these all average then (in the absence of any mistakes of course)? Maybe modify the score based on the Rule's pertinence? Oh, but that's a job for Trek Sense... a 3 here.

TREK SENSE: Well, these things are all going to be conceptual, aren't they? Not always, I dare say. A commercial philosophy DOES affect how business is conducted, and when you deal with mercenaries and Ferengi (same thing?), and with money (Latinum), following a specific Rule WILL affect the outcome of things. That said, let's look at the 1st Rule... Starts off badly, with the Rule playing on a ship or facility and then having a general effect, not an effect on that ship or facility. It makes it sound as if only said ship could download the Latinum, but that's not the case. And if your Zibalian Transport is destroyed, your personnel conveniently forget about the 1st Rule? As for the effect itself, it's a little backwards. The discard pile would represent the people you're buying your Equipment from (Gold-Pressed Latinum's main function). If that's so, shouldn't THEY have your money and not want to give it back? Yet, that's exactly what happens: you get back your money! Where's the rhyme? Where's the reason? The once-per-game function has even less to do with the rule. Maybe as the First Rule, a Ferengi VIP is warranted. Whatever. Looks like a 1.4 to me.

STOCKABILITY: If the Cardassians became the card managers of the universe, the Ferengi are no doubt the kings of early starts. Multiple reporting and downloads which can all be achieved in the shortest time span possible. The 1st Rule helps a great deal with that as we'll see. But the Ferengi aren't the only ones who can make use of this card: Any player using a freighter or transport ship (and since there are Non-Aligned vessels of these classes, that means anybody but the Borg) can play it (if not seed it). The Ferengi CAN seed it since it plays on their facilities (or even their ships, and the universal D'Kora do seed at the Trading Post). Once in play, your downloaded Latinum can come from the discard pile instead of the draw deck. That means your Latinum becomes a perpetually renewable resource! Latinum downloads may be given by a cargo run, Dabo, the 1st, 34th and 75th Rules, Vacuum-Dessication and Morn. And since Gold-Pressed Latinum is MADE to be discarded (its own buying power, Purchase Moon, Bribery, etc.), the recycling ability can be useful. The only problem is that if you play this on a freighter, the ship can be destroyed (usually easily), and the event with it. Once per game, you get to make one or more downloads which will help you with that head-start. One Gold-Pressed Latinum and/or a Ferengi VIP. Hmmm. What can be done with this? Well, since the Rule can be seeded by the Ferengi, you can, at the start of the game, immediately use your "once per game" ability to get yourself Grand Nagus Gint (it's all to hand so make sure you can report him somewhere). Don't use your card play, get him to the Tower of Commerce for free. He can grab you any other Rule card, including the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition entire which can, in the presence of your Nagus, download more Rules cards, most of which allow for downloads and card plays. Or better yet, make Gint get his Scepter which allows for free plays on the Rules with the Gold-Pressed Latinum that was also downloaded! See what I mean? But don't limit yourself to this. Your VIP may come later in the game, and can be made to suit whatever startegy you've got cooking. Zek and Brunt are both powerful personnel, and Krax can also be used as a Nagus. Don't forget Hanok can also download a Rule, and that he has his own Freighter to download it to, so the 1st could be it. The 1st Rule is the basis for the rest of the Rules, in the game as much as in Ferengi philosophy I suppose. A cool 4.3.

TOTAL: 13.5 (67.5%) These cards are going to have trouble passing the Trek Sense competition.

#469-6th Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], RoA
"Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity."
-Plays on your Ferengi who has Greed or Treachery; place beneath draw deck another Ferengi present who names (or is named by) this one in lore. Download two Equipment cards or one [Fer] ship here OR draw up to three cards. Discard event.

PICTURE: Pretty bad. Though the family of Ferengi is center stage, and the in-fighting is evident from the poses, the entire thing is ruined by the fact that the picture is too dark, has too little contrast, and is quite blurry. Everything's got a beige filter! Drops what could have been a good card to a measly 2.3.

LORE: Well, I've already said that I like the fact the Rules speak for themselves, with no added blabla, but also nothing to really blow the top off the score card. This one's not especially clever, so the standard 3 is warranted.

TREK SENSE: Nicely done! It takes a particularly Greedy (they all are, only the best have the Greed skill) or Treacherous Ferengi to apply this Rule. Seeing an opportunity, that Ferengi gets rid of a family member present (as family mambers are almost always mentioned in each lore) to get at an opportunity (in this case, the purchase of two pieces of equipment, one ship or up to three miscellaneous "resources" (cards off the top of the draw deck). I say "get rid of" because the personnel is not killed, it's placed under the draw deck. Sent away, let's say. It might have been possible to get the family member killed instead (it's been known to happen), but it's not. The other hole in reasoning is that personnel mentioned in each other's lore are not necessarily family, or even on the same side, which sorta makes the Rule moot. For example, Brunt can use this Rule against Quark, and they're certainly not family. Worse, most of the related personnel don't mention that fact (like, Quark's lore doesn't mention Rom, Nog or Ishka).  Except for those few objections, I really like this card. A 4.

STOCKABILITY: Well, are there that many personnel who can use it (i.e. have the appropriate skills and lore)? Let's see, there are plenty of possibilities, but Lurin and Quark come out on top with the number of personnel referencing them in their lores. Though both can get rid of a large number of personnel, Lurin is probably a better choice because his list doesn't have the power-hitters that Quark's does. You don't really want to get rid of Quark's powerful "family". Your little sacrifice yields two equipment cards (hand weapons are always useful, as are other trinkets, like Gold-Pressed Latinum, etc.), one Ferengi ship (to that location, not the outpost), or three card draws. All good options, depending on your needs. The nice thing about the download options is that it pretty much guarantees your sacrificed personnel won't stay on the bottom of the draw deck - there's a shuffle after every download. The card draw option is just like Kivas Fajo's (so why?), but it's immune to cards that specifically target Kivas (like Mirror Image). In multiples, the 6th Rule (on Lurin, for example) can download you an armada or combination hand weapons/ship WEAPONS. And as with all Rules of Acquisition, it can be downloaded by Gint (he gets rid of Quark or Rom), Hanok (useless) and The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, and plays for free where Scepter of the Grand Nagus is present. Pretty flexible and worth its 4.1.

TOTAL: 13.4 (67%) Only an okay score, but it's the picture's fault.

#478-33rd Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], 5 points, RoA
"It never hurts to suck up to the boss."
-Plays on your Greed personnel at a mission or [Borg use only] objective opponent completed. Compliment opponent's score. If they say "thank you", score points. If not, draw up to four cards. Discard event. (Limit two per location.)

PICTURE: A competent image as the two main figures are quite clear in front of the blurrier background. A little small perhaps, but you can still see Brunt avidly kissing Quark's hand. Quark's suit holds some interest for the eyes... a 3.3.

LORE: The Rule itself, which makes the score here average. Note however that it won't get past Decipher's own language filters. It's another card that sucks. A 3.

TREK SENSE: This one's a bit of a toss-up. Your Greedy personnel can flatter the "boss", which is represented by the one who completed the present mission/objective. This is fine, since whoever did was in charge of the situation - the boss. "Job well done" your Greedy personnel says (complimenting the score). Now it gets a little difficult to evaluate. If Greedo gets thanked for the compliment, you score points. Here, we could say he succeeded in getting the favor of the boss. If the boss is an ingrate, you can draw up to four resources. Huh? Why? I understand that "it never hurts to suck up to the boss", but this seems to be a dip in the conceptual pool. Unless instead of being thanked with words, you are thanked with material goods? Could be. Is it enough to satisfy? Not entirely, but close. The rest of the game text is pretty much play balance/mechanics, but it's interesting to note that the Event may not be used more than twice on the same mission/objective. The "boss" would call it pushing one's luck. The other Trek Sense problems are minor (is the boss really the mission solver, and what if no solving personnel is present?), but do keep this one at 3.9.

STOCKABILITY: Aside from the fact that I don't much care for the game mechanic, it's an okay card. Any affiliation may use it (except Borg who would always be thanked since they can't score bonus points) if they have Greed personnel (and there are plenty of NAs even for the Feds to use). Obviously, if things are going well, your opponent shouldn't have been able to complete any missions or objectives ;-), but that is required before you can use the card. The effect is simple, you either get 5 bonus points OR get to draw 1-4 cards, and it's your opponent's choice. Four is a LARGE amount of cards to allow to be drawn, but points are what measure success in the game, so... what will it be? This card might stay in the binder for several reasons. One, bonus points are vulnerable to a number of hosers, and there are a lot of easier, faster ways to acquire them. Two, it leaves things under your opponent's control. He might let you draw four cards only to slap you with a Scorched Hand he was hiding. He might let you have the points, knowing full well he had a hoser he could flip over any time, or that it didn't matter anyway, since he was about to win the game with a bold move. But if you can make it work, it may put your opponent in a dilemma, especially if you're using it in multiples. 10 points or 8 cards per mission? I'd never use my card play for this, but that's what Scepter of the Grand Nagus is for. Unfortunately, that'll only work for the Ferengi. Limited to a 3.4.

TOTAL: 13.6 (68%) Maybe I should have followed the card's advice? Oh Bill....

#487-34th Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], RoA
"War is good for business."
-Plays on your arms dealer or Acquisition personnel. Once every turn, if a non-Borg battle was just initiated or opponent's ship was just damaged, download two Gold-Pressed Latinum here (three if an arms dealer) OR draw two cards.

PICTURE: Ooooh. Aaaah. One of those impressive ship battle shots produced by the Dominion War arc. The destruction of the Miranda-class USS Majestic is one of the coolest of those shots too. We've come a long way from cutaways to exploding flashpowder, haven't we? No we can see specific parts of a ship burning, and its revealed entrails. A good choice for this card since it reveals WHY war is good for business: multiple ships (we need more!) and destroyed ships (we need new ones!). A very nice 4.7.

LORE: Just the rule and nothing else. Good decision, but not that interesting, especially with a title like that. As usual, I'll be giving this a 3.

TREK SENSE: This particular business ethic is followed by Acquisition personnel (what many used to call MERCHANT classification) and arms dealers, of course. When they do, no matter where they are (using communication systems possibly), they jump on any financial opportunity they find out about. These opportunities occur when a) a battle is initiated, and b) when a ship is damaged. Those opportunities are thus: a) when war breaks out, they try to sell weapons and resources to the highest bidder; b) when a ship is damaged, they offer a new ship, repairs or upgrades to the wounded party. When "the highest bidder" is your side of the table, you draw cards (those are the resources you acquired from the arms dealer/Acquisition personnel). If the highest bidder is your opponent (all conceptually, you understand, there are no bids), you download Latinum (money for your wares), more Latinum if the personnel is in the correct line of business, namely, arms dealing. And the money does "appear" at the dealer's location. That all works, but a problem does exist. Put simply, whenever you choose Latinum over cards, the dealer simply never gave anything for that money. Your opponent (or even if we say the money's from your personnel who bought from your other personnel) doesn't benefit with appropriate cards. Fraud? Similary, when a ship gets damaged, what are you selling there? The ship isn't repaired, so it makes no sense. I also don't see any real reason why Rogue Borg battles should be excluded (except for play balance), since arms dealers could easily sell weapons to get rid of that nasty Rogue Borg problem. A good conceptual base, which breaks down after a while. Still a 3.7.

STOCKABILITY: Target personnel exist for most affiliations (just not the Borg or the Romulans, but the latter can benefit from Non-Aligned help), and you don't need them to be "present" anywhere to use this card. Pallra could just sit at home and rack up the Latinum and cards while your Bajoran armada wreaks havoc down the spaceline. You don't even have to destroy or even damage any ships to make this work, as just initiating the battle will get you cards/Latinum. Unfortunate that it only works once per turn, or else you could have double-wammied your opponent (initate, THEN damage). But you don't even have to initiate any battles, you know. Simply make some damaging dilemma combos, or send a Calamarain down the table, or something. You'll still get the prizes. Two cards is always good (and doesn't force you to use a Latinum-based strategy), and 2 Latinum can be converted into an Equipment card or used for some more nefarious purpose. As with all Rules, it has certain advantages, such as being playable for free with Scepter of the Grand Nagus, downloadable to hand through The Ferengi Rules, and downloadable to two personnel with Acquisition, Gint and Hanok (and the Dominion is always initiating battle). The Ferengi will find this card easier to use than others, but even the Feds might use it as a deterrent (since they can't normally initiate battle themselves). Mot mentions a cute combo in the card extra - sending a Ferengi Shuttle into battle with only Evasive Maneuvers in the Battle Bridge side-deck, making it close to impervious to counterattack. It'll never damage anything, but that just keeps its target alive while in gets draws and downloads every turn if it wants to. A cool 3.9.

TOTAL: 15.3 (76.5%) I like it more than I do war anyway.

#496-47th Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], RoA
"Don't trust a man wearing a better suit than your own."
-Plays on your Acquisition or Greed personnel. Nullifies all Palor Toff cards. Whenever at same location as any Garak or a personnel who has more [skill dot] icons than this one, may place that personnel atop owner's draw deck; discard event.

PICTURE: Garak in his shop seems to disappear in the background, so I don't know if his suit is necessarily "better". Not a bad pic, but not too dramatic at the same time. He's a great choice for the image though, since he IS a tailor AND a man you can't really trust. Gets a 3.4 from me.

LORE: I would never have thought this particular Rule would get a card, but here it is! As with other Rules, the lore is just the rule itself, and the title is partial to numbering. As with other cards of this ilk, it gets a middle-of-the-road 3.

TREK SENSE: Acquisition personnel should know the Rules of Acquisition well (at least intuitively) and are always good targets for these cards. Greed personnel however, might be more prone, in this instance, to trust a man with a better suit. Their Greed makes them careless. So there's a slight problem there. The card purports that your target personnel can send away someone with a better "suit" than theirs. The effect is too strong, though it works conceptually. By not trusting a personnel, you make it ineffective. In this case, it leaves and has to report again, having failed once. Normally, you could "stop" such a personnel and that would be enough, but not enough to warrant a card. And how do you know the person is wearing a better suit? The number of skill dot icons is the thing (buttons on you vest?). This is fun since maybe highly-skilled personnel have more money for their clothes than do less-skilled personnel. Of course, a lot of personnel are in uniform, so that doesn't work too well. And is Razka Karn better dressed than, say, Deanna Troi (Premiere)? It would appear so... Garak is always the best dressed man in any crowd, since he is a tailor and does wear his own creations. I like that. As for nullifying all Palor Toff cards, his lore says he's a "snappy dresser", so that's the root of that particular effect. He's the best dressed interrupt in the game! Very creative, and that's worth something in my book, so even with a lot of misgivings as to how this card works, still a 3.9.

STOCKABILITY: The idea is to play it on your least-skilled Acquisition or Greed personnel and then head straight for a big mission solver with lots of skill dots for immediate relocation to the top of the draw deck. Nasty if your opponent plays with multiple quadrants and/or doesn't have a reporting mechanism such as The Emissary. To tell you the truth, there aren't a lot of Acquisition personnel who have "bad suits". In fact, a lot of target personnel have upward of 3 skills and often much more. That's why Dr. Farek remains your best bet. He's a mission specialist that can report early through AMS. He's Non-Aligned and'll work with anybody. AND all he has is that lone Greed. Noone has a worse suit than his, and only mission specialists will be immune to his powers of relocation. Other badly dressed personnel include the Federation's only Greed personnel, Lisa Azar, and Klingon loser Morag. The Borg Queen (and K'chiQ) could always be made Greedy too. Getting big personnel out of the way (or that selection manipulator, Garak) isn't the only way to use this to good effect. It's good insurance against some special skills (like Leck's killing skill, or any capture skill), and in personnel battle, can get rid of that high-STRENGTH personnel that puts the other Away Team over the top. Also, given that the Vorta are all well-clothed, you can get rid of the one guy rationing the white! Don't forget that if you don't surround that Farek with an Away Team escort, the opposing personnel may not take kindly to seeing that Founder poof away like that. While you wait to use it, it counters Palor Toff very nicely (though it keeps you from using it too), and you could force your opponent to use his more precious Res-Qs in case of emergency, or indeed, keep some cards in the discard pile while you draw that Fire Sculptor or Oof! A nice card, but too bad it gets discarded after every use. Still, being a [Rule] icon card has its uses, including downloads (Hanok is too well dressed though) and free plays with the right equipment. A nuisance worth 4.2.

TOTAL: 14.5 (72.5%) Shows the importance of being well-dressed!

#505-59th Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], Coutdown: 3, RoA
"Free advice is seldom cheap."
-Plays on your Nagus. At any time, advise opponent to attempt a specific mission. If opponent does so voluntarily, opponent must first discard two cards from hand and/or top of draw deck and you may draw up to two; discard event.

PICTURE: While the composition is very well balanced, with that circle in the center, the two piggy banks on each side and the pose taken by the Ferengi, it's not a particulary engaging pic. The subject is too small, the color palette rather unattractive and limited, and the central composition basically boring. A 2.9.

LORE: One of the shorter rules, we only get the one quote, as usual, and a lackluster title, again, as usual. A 3, as usual.

TREK SENSE: While the rule states that advice is seldom cheap, only the Grand Nagus seems to actually charge for it. It only plays on him. Iffy, because if Ferengi follow this rule, then all of them should charge for their advice. The advice is whether to attempt a certain mission next. Invariably. Well, the card can only support so much game text. If the advice is taken (in actuality, if your opponent was going to do that anyway... those Ferengi can make you pay for your own ideas), your opponent must pay for it. Two cards (i.e. "resources"), either in hand or from the draw deck (the near future, in both cases) are that payment, which you convert for cash to buy your own resources (up to two cards from your own deck). I think it works quite well. The countdown is there for game balance and hurts the score a little. It has no Trek Sense function. A 4.2 here.

STOCKABILITY: A simple card drawing mechanism that can turn into a slow-down strategy. The goal here would be to advise your opponent to attempt the mission he was going to attempt anyway. When he does, you get a couple of extra cards, while he loses two to the discard pile (nasty, hehehe). So either he waits for the countdown to end, slowing him down considerably, or he goes ahead with a transaction which is only advantageous to you. To make sure this works, keep tabs on your opponent's personnel (is there only one mission they can safely attempt?) or call it just as a ship arrives at a mission location (there's a good chance there's a mission attempt in the works). Stalling has some good uses if you're planning on completing the same mission, or if you just want to pull ahead. The card draws are usually useful, and your opponent's discards are always detrimental. Won't work on the Borg, of course, but everyone else is at the mercy of your Ferengi. This Rule must be played on a Nagus (good personnel, all and all), so you're limited that way, but Gint can download it to himself, so don't worry too much. The countdown is the other limitation, without which the Event would be too powerful, but it'll buy you time. Add the usual advantages afforded to Rules (by Scepter and Ferengi Rules) and you get a card worth its 4.3.

TOTAL: 14.4 (72%) I'll send a bill to each reader...

#514-75th Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], 10 points, RoA
"Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum."
-Plays on your Acquisition personnel in their native quadrant. If that personnel helps solve a mission in another quadrant, score points OR download up to five Gold-Pressed Latinum there; discard event. (Once per mission.)

PICTURE: A flashy pic, but real messy at the same time. It's hard to make out the Ferengi shuttle amid the wormhole special effects. Rich, not gaudy, as Polonius would say. Though not a bad choice for the picture, the execution keeps this one at 2.9.

LORE: Your basic Rule of Acquisition nowhere title and simple lore. As per my habit, this gets an average 3.

TREK SENSE: Personnel who follow the ethos of the 75th Rule of Acquisition (only Acquisition personnel, quite sensibly), recognize the importance of their home (and so must start out in their native quadrant), but also see that there's money to be had elsewhere - in this case, in another quadrant. Now, I realize the galaxy's a smaller place in the 24th century, but this interpretation of the rule is a little exagerated. The rule existed before any gateway to other quadrants ever did, yet there's no alternate ("smaller") way to use the Rule. In any case, since there's latinum in the "stars", there's money to be made there, in the form of points (no real reason for this) or latinum (a whopping 5 cards if you want!). Whenever is see points, I want to see a kind of "mission" or "objective", a goal, that goes right along with it. Acquisition personnel simply solving a mission does not warrant extra points, whether they follow this Rule or not. Making a profit on the side however, works quite well. The limit of once per mission also makes sense, since 10 points/5 Latinum is quite a large profit, depleting the planet's reserves already. A 3.3 here.

STOCKABILITY: At its most simple, this card allows a mission specialist-like bonus, coupled with an Explore Gamma Quadrant-like one. Play this Event on your Acquisition personnel (the Naguses can use this to better effect thanks to the Scepter or their own downloading abilities) while they're home, and fly to the Gamma quadrant to solve one of your missions there (the Ferengi have three, plus any "Any may attempt" missions) to nab either up to 5 (5!) Gold-Pressed Latinum (to turn into equipment or bribery, etc) or 10 points. +10 on a mission? That's great. (50 point for Quest for the Sword, for example.) Add Explore Gamma Quadrant on the ship that gets you there, and you could score another 5 points later on. Make a cargo run at the same time for more advantages still. And don't limit yourself to the Ferengi: Everyone but the Romulans has at least one Acquisition personnel, and a few NAs will help even the Rommies. Similarly, the Dominion has a couple of Acquisitors themselves (including Hanok who will download the Rule to himself), and since Explore Gamma Quadrant isn't usually an option for them, you can play the Wormhole game using this card instead. The Ferengi remain the best users though, especially with Ferengi Conference which allows your Nagus to download one copy for each Acquisition personnel present at Quark's. And with the number of Acquisitors that can report there... You could get 10 points (or 5 Latinum) for every mission in the Gamma quadrant. Chances are, you won't need that many to hit 100 points at this rate. Real easy to use once you figure out the order of reporting and downloading. Work it out in your head before the game, then go for a fast victory. More when I discuss all those other cards centering around Quark's Bar. Just watch out for anything that would kill your Acquisition personnel on its mission attempt. That would discard the event too. This one gets a 4.1.

TOTAL: 13.3 (66.5%) Lowest score on a Rule yet, but not a bad card.

#523-211th Rule of Acquisition, Event, [Rule], RoA
"Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success - don't hesitate to step on them."
-Plays on Quark's Bar or Ferengi Trading Post. Each time opponent wishes to play a card during your turn, opponent must first discard X cards, where X = (your dabo girls and Ferengi waiters present) - (opponent's personnel present).

PICTURE: There are some likeable things here, such as how tall and heroic Leeta looks, and the way her blue leotard stands out. It's also a wonder to see Quark has so many employees. Unfortunately, I appreciated less the darker shades (made dark by the background lighting) and the smallness of the figures. Maybe cut out Quark altogether and go in for a close-up? The biggest problem though, is that the picture doesn't really go with the Rule. Sure, Quark is stepping on his employees, but seeing them rebel against his rule defeats the purpose a little bit. Only a 2.9 I'm afraid.

LORE: The usual Rule of Acquisition trappings - no real title and nothing extra in the lore. I'll give the usual 3.

TREK SENSE: It plays where you are most likely to find Ferengi "employees", Quark's and the Trading Post. From there, I'm not entirely sure how the presence of those employees (dabo girls and waiters) actually affects your opponent. If your employees are somehow swindling your opponent out of cards (the discards), then the card should be reversed and having personnel present with your employees should make for a greater number of discards. But when no opposing personnel are present... how is this achieved? And what relationship exists between playing a card during another player's turn and this Rule? Indeed, there isn't even much *conceptual* relevance here. Except for the use of employees to benefit you, it's hard to see how abusing waiters and dabo girls should have ANY of these effects. I DO like that a mathematical formula (even a simple one) made its way onto a Ferengi card. They're probably all good at math. A wash: even if I try to think of the card in terms of the strike (which would be wrong in the context of the rule), I still don't come up with any answers. For what little is there, a 1.4.

STOCKABILITY: If you're willing to spend resources on this rule, it makes a good defensive card. Think about it, with enough waiters and dabo girls at Quark's or your Trading Post, you can pretty much stop your opponent from playing ANY cards during your turn. Usually, that means 7 personnel can stop your opponent from playing a card altogether (not enough cards in hand), but less employees will still have an effect (opponent doesn't want to discard 3-4 cards just to play one). And what gets played during your turn? Well, annoying Wormholes and Rogue Borg, Sleeper Trap and Scout Encounter downloads, nullifyer cards for things played on your turn, and any reactionary card in a battle you initiated (not Tactics though, but any card allowing for more Tactics to be drawn). So you CAN use the Rule in an offensive/defensive fashion after all. You can even force a fight with your opponent by making him come after your employees (since the Trading Post and Nor are accessible to all with a minimum of fuss). Of course, at Quark's, any employees killed will cost him discards anyway so... make sure your Nausicaan bodyguard starts a fight ;-). His personnel being present may mimimize this card's usefulness, but they'll always be in danger. But loading your site or Post with waiters and dabo girls (hey, they're useful with Dabo) may seem like a waste. Not for the Ferengi! They can so easily report/download personnel and cards in the early turns that stacking your deck with waiters and dabo girls isn't that big a deal. The fast start isn't totally sacrificed in favor of your not being delayed later. Employees actually play for free at Quark's (one per turn) and Frool for free in any number at the Trading Post. The usual extra decimals for being a Rule (downloadable, protectable, etc.). A good defensive card for Ferengi, harder to use for other affiliations (who have access to some dabo girls). A 4.1.

TOTAL: 11.4 (57%) Unfortunate Trek Sense score, since this is an otherwise likeable card (well... Leeta's in the picture!).

#532-Aluura, Personnel, Non-Aligned/Ferengi, RoA
"Humanoid dabo girl. In three months she didn't spill a drink, mix up a food order or short-change a bill. Actually liked by other dabo girls - and even the Ferengi waiters."
-CIVILIAN; Your other dabo girls and Ferengi waiters here are attributes all +2; Youth, Honor, Diplomacy

PICTURE: Aluura is pretty enough and well-lighted in pink. The bar to the right of the image is certainly a colorful background (note also Morn to the left) and not distracting except for that bright red blotch. My first reflex was also to think that glitter on her face was a defect in the card, but it isn't. There's just that ugly red blotch on an other wise fine record. A 3.7.

LORE: Quark's glowing praise makes it almost in its entirety in the lore, and it's fun information. I don't really understand why she was "liked by other dabo girls, and EVEN by Ferengi waiters" though. It's a certainty that Ferengi males would like a beautiful young humanoid girl. It should have been "EVEN by the other dabo girls", since it would be a natural thing for jealousy to exist between people in the same profession, especially where tips are concerned. (This is a problem with the show's dialogue, by the way.) The lore also makes her a dabo girl (a plus), but settles for the lamer "humanoid" as for species. Good, but slighty askew at 3.4.

TREK SENSE: First off, it seems that Quark's dabo girls are always dual-aligned - they've got their true affiliation (in this case, NON-alignment) AND are part of the Ferengi as employees. Working for the Ferengi is enough to be included? I don't really have a problem with that per se, though Krozh, Brunt's Nausicaan bodyguard, is a Ferengi employee, but NOT Ferengi aligned. Not as loyal? The real reason is that the Ferengi don't have enough females to carry them through dilemmas. However, I've decided Krozh will get the point loss, not the dabo girls. Once you've signed a Ferengi contract, you might as well be Ferengi. They own you. Now, Aluura is a Civilian, of course, and has Youth (or else she'd be a dabo WOMAN). Her Honor is due to her total honesty, though there is a difference between honesty (high Integrity, which she has) and honor. For example, as she was about to be fired with Quark, she liked the idea of giving him sexual favors in exchange for keeping her job. Honor?  Similarly, Diplomacy might not be the right skill for her. She's certainly entitled to some sort of negotiation skill, but job-related negotiations aren't really governed by Diplomacy. Maybe Acquisition? Even Greed? Diplomacy works, but seems a stretch. She's not in the same line of work as somebody like Riva is. Her special skill goes with her ability to be liked by other employees. She gives Ferengi waiters and dabo girls +2 to all attributes. She creates such a nice working environment that everybody works harder (Strength), more efficiently (Cunning) and honestly (Integrity). It's good. Cunning's fine. Strength is low, but she's just a sweet young woman. Problems with the regular skill get this one to a simple 3.3.

STOCKABILITY: Aluura adds to the roster of Ferengi females, sure, but she can also be used by other affiliations. Of course, her main use is as a dabo girl. She'll get you card draws with Dabo, cost your opponent discards with the 211th Rule and Quark's Bar, and report to Quark's for free. Aluura will also protect your other dabo girls and your waiters even more than Quark's Bar's discard penalty for killing them, by increasing their STRENGTHs (her own is pitiful though, and killing her kills the enhancement). They're not as protected if they're on a Trading Post, for example. As for the skills, Youth has never been that useful, and Honor and Diplomacy are found on lots of other personnel, depending on the affiliation. They ARE rarer (all three of them) on Ferengi though, so she might act as backup there. A good boost to INTEGRITY as well. Support personnel, but nothing too powerful. A 3.4.

TOTAL: 13.8 (69%) I wouldn't fire her, but she isn't my most useful employee.

#541-Ambassador Krajensky, Personnel, Federation, RoA
"Starfleet dignitary. Scoffs at rumors of his inability to form lasting relationships. Spends much of his free time on Risa."
-VIP, Diplomacy, Leadership, ENGINEER, Law; May report on Risa; Command icon

PICTURE: It's a FAAAAAKE! I understand that the real Krajensky never actually appeared in an episode, and that all shots of him are really of Krajensky Founder, but placing him "on Risa", in front of an obvious bluescreen, looks incredibly hokey and fake-looking. Especially since the whole Risan thing is mostly invention. And his expression is all wrong for being on a pleasure planet. No more than a 1.9.

LORE: The title makes him an ambassador, which reports him for free at the Office of the President. The lore itself is mostly invention. Yes, he was on his way to Risa when he was replaced by the Founder, but that hardly proves he was habitually there. And it certainly doesn't mean he can't form lasting relationships. I'm afraid this one isn't as humorous as it was undoubtedly meant to be, perhaps because the context that makes this joke possible (the last sentence) was invented expressly to make the joke possible in the first place. That's cheating. Also, the two last sentences are inversed as far as comedic timing goes. Punchline before build-up. A 2.6.

TREK SENSE: Ambassadors are obvious VIPs and Diplomats, that's a given. Law is also a reasonable possibility for this profession. Leadership? He was empowered to give Sisko orders (would also explain the Command icon). The Engineer however, is totally unproven. I know we've never met the real Krajensky, but still... it's not a skill that fits on an ambassador. Maybe the lore could have helped here. It didn't. The special skill is okay thematically - he supposedly spent a lot of time there - though it's easy to impeach using the canon information. No problem with the attributes. It's the Engineer that brings this one down to 3.

STOCKABILITY: While this personnel has a fairly good mix of skills, with Diplomacy to work in Diplo-decks, Leadership to initiate battle, rare Law to pass those nasty dilemmas and ENGINEER for just about every situation under the sun, Decipher's card extra is right on the money as to Krajensky's special game function - if you ever lose your outpost, he can still report (to Risa) AND build a new outpost with his ENGINEER skill. A great backup in case an armada gets the best of you. Reporting on Risa doesn't yield much else since he'll only supply one requirement for the mission (the Male). He also reports for free at your Federation HQ (reporting is what he does best, I guess) and can expose Krajensky Founder (hey, you never know). Good overall attributes, and the Command icon too. He can certainly find his way into your Diplomacy or ENGINEER deck, plus has some other cool features. A 3.8.

TOTAL: 11.3 (56.5%) Pretty useful, but I had problems with the design.

#550-Apnex, Ship, Romulan, RoA
"Named for a sea on Romulus. Has a cloaking device prototype based on a phase inverter. Commanded by Mirok after the death of the ship's captain."
-Science Class[] Cloaking Device; Phasing Cloak (RANGE +4 while phased)

PICTURE: A really odd shot of a science vessel showing its back to the camera. You don't necessarily know that, so the orientation of the ship leads the unpracticed viewer to think that flat piece is the front. Less than attractive at 2.2.

LORE: Decipher's getting pretty good at giving names to hitherto nameless ships, as the Apnex and Naprem testify. The Apnex IS a sea on Romulus as mentioned by Alidar Jarok in "The Defector". Cool. The story is also told here, and a matching commander is given, in the form of Mirok. Extra points there. An extra good 3.8 then.

TREK SENSE: Ships are pretty simple, though this one has some special equipment for us to discuss. Ok, first, the basics. The Range is a point less than the baseline model. Why? Well, the phase cloak gives a speed boost, so I guess it's game balance, though it could better be explained by the amount of power probably required to run a phase cloak. It would drain the engines. The Shields are 1 point higher, and when running dangerous experiments that could be a good idea. Now, on to the cloaks. Mechanically, the phasing cloak gives the Apnex the same abilities the Phased Cloaking Device artifact provides. Should I wait for the artifact to discuss them? I think I will. But I will say this: There is some confusion as to whether a phasing cloak is responsible for the ship's abilities, or an Interphase Generator is. Plus, while it's understandable that a phase cloak would also have a regular cloak (special equipment the standard Science Vessel doesn't have), there is no evidence that the Apnex has either in working order. The phase cloak certainly didn't work like it should, and Mirok's mention of a cloaking device raises questions about the cloakless Science Vessel. So... an idealized Apnex? Given that the phase cloak now isn't on every Romulan ship, and that, in the game, it's a rare artifact, makes me doubt any ship ever actually had a safe and steady phase cloak. The artifact itself is pretty good Trek Sense-wise, and that carries over here, but the ship may be stretching the facts a little. A 3.7.

STOCKABILITY: Hey, it comes with its very own artifact!!! The Apnex may not be as fast as the less-used Science Vessel, but it can be faster by engaging its phasing cloak (total RANGE: 11), and with two types of cloaking technologies going for it, who cares if the SHIELDS are low? (Still a point higher than a regular Sci Vessel.) Not only does that protect the ship from attack, it also makes spaceline pollution moot! So that RANGE is pretty actual. It also has a fairly decent matching commander, making it a potential (Plaqued and Logged) 9(13)-7-8 (alternate RANGE while phased). Mirok has dual-classification and fits great in your Romulan space deck anyway, so why not use him and his ride? Add to that the zero staffing that'll make the ship compatible with Establish Landing Protocols, Hidden Fighter (download this thing!!!) and a Romulan-controlled Docking Pads, and you have something MUCH better than the ol' Science Vessel. Lame in battle situations (except for hiding from them), it'll work quite well in mission solving. An excellent 4.2.

TOTAL: 13.9 (69.5%) I didn't think much of the picture, but the rest of the card flies.

#559-Arandis, Personnel, Non-Aligned, RoA
"Chief facilitator of entire Temtibi Lagoon. Welcomes all to Risa. Curzon Dax's last romantic encounter."
-CIVILIAN, Youth, Music; While on Risa, adds [NA]; May use opponent's Horga'hn to take double turns; May seed (face up) or report on Risa; SD Jamaharon

PICTURE: Any female pictures from Risa are bound to be pretty, and Arandis is no different though the pose is standard fare. This card made me realize how far we've come in printing methods. I doubt a card in Premiere could match the fine detail of her forehead jewelry. The somewhat ugly background keeps this one at 3.6.

LORE: Shortened to allow for more game text, the lore manages to hit a couple of good notes. Her title is just standard stuff, but the two other sentences are better. The first explains some of the game text, and the second understates her killing Curzon by jamaharon. Understatement is frequently used in STCCG as a form of dry humor, and I think it works, while also avoiding the legal entanglements of talking about sex in a G-rated game. A good 3.9.

TREK SENSE: Lots of stuff here, so there's a good chance I'm gonna shoot this one down - hold on to your horga'hn. Civilian? Sure, even though it could have been argued she was a VIP, I don't think "chief facilitator" is on the same level as "first minister" or anything. Youth? Hold on. You can call yourself a Youth up to what age now? At first, I thought 20-21 (the ridiculous Sakkath aside). But judging by the timeline, that would have made Arandis around 15 when she killed Curzon with too much loving. Kinda creepy. So, is it anybody under 25? 30? I don't see Tasha Yar with Youth... I'll accept Youth on Arandis, but it did make me think. Music is unproven at this point, but such artistic skills are probably very common on Risa, so okay. (And it's something of an Easter Egg, since she's played by Vanessa Williams, a singer.) Since she welcomes all to Risa, she can make the mission itself attemptable by Non-Aligned (which means all affiliations can use it if accompanied by the right person - namely, her). She even welcomes your opponent there. This is all okay, since Risa is a peacful planet which could easily admit tourists from other regions (we've seen Klingons, Bajorans and Ferengi there in any case). Arandis "facilitates" mission solving alright, though this is a somewhat conceptual ability (there are no other facilitators on the planet or what? and would the Romulans and Dominion REALLY be welcome here?). The fact that she can report here, or even seed face up is because she comes from here. She's not the starship type, she's from a place and she wouldn't want to leave it. Downloading Jamaharon is a natural: it's how she killed Curzon! The thing with the Horga'hn though... that artifact is so lame on Trek Sense, it's gonna carry over into Arandis. The only way I can make peace with Horga'hn's double turns, is to think of it as making personnel so excited at the prospect of this kind of vacation, they work doubly hard to get things done so they can go. If Arandis may make use of your opponent's artifact, it's because she shares in this excitement? She lives for jamaharon? Maybe. Or it could be that she's not the one "making use" of it, but rather the other personnel who, knowing Arandis is in play, want their vacations as badly as anyone high on Horga'hn fumes. I find no real fault in the attributes, but I see that I almost passed by one of the biggest flaws on the card: she's Non-Aligned?!? I know she welcomes everyone, but still, Risa is a Federated planet and she's a Federation citizen. Let her make the planet NA is she wants (Feds often have open arms), but she's still a blue, not a gold. Other than that, I really though she deserved Leadership from the episode, though she really shouldn't be able to initiate battle, so... fine. Tallying it up, I get a 3.4.

STOCKABILITY: Risa Shore Leave can become an important mission thanks to Arandis. Her CIVILIAN, Youth, Music and gender makes it half-solved already, and all you need to complete it is a male CIVILIAN. Since she can seed there, just get yourself another seeding phase/early reporting personnel (like a mission specialist - Mot I guess; or a Young Jem'Hadar that just came out of a quadrant-less Birthing Chamber). One of the problems with laying her down on the mission early, is that she's vulnerable to both attacks and Thine Own Self. Maybe you'll want to seed your outpost here are well, so that she can beam aboard as soon as the game starts. Either that, or get her reinforcements via Ambassador Krajensky's reporting skill, or Jamaharoning your male on a planet (another way to get that CIVILIAN). You'll note that this'll work - with variable efficiency - with any non-Borg affiliation. If you need an outpost here and you ain't Fed, just go for the Husnock now that the planet is Non-Aligned. Arandis' other ability is as a Horga'hn mirror (rather than counter), though I'm sure this artifact isn't as widely used as it used to be since Writ came out. Still, if your opponent is using it, you can take advantage of it for a couple turns (before it becomes Writable). And once you're done using it, you can always use your special download to nullify it. Getting Writ in play isn't always possible, so she's a good alternative. With few standard skills and no attributes she can write home about, Arandis isn't much of a mission solver. She'll help you get Risa Shore Leave's 30 points early or just when you're ready since she doesn't have to be seeded (maybe just use her to make the planet NA while mission specialists like Amarie and Simon Tarses boost them to 40), but not that much more. Cool, but limited. A 3.4.

TOTAL: 14.3 (71.5%) Easy on the eyes, lots of game text and interesting skills, but it's the truncated lore that gets the high score. Figures.

#568-Benil, Personnel, Cardassian, RoA
"Cardassian Gul of the Eighth Order. Intercepted the USS Defiant en route to Cardassia Prime. Covert arms dealer with suspected Kressari connections."
-OFFICER, Leadership, Biology, Greed, Smuggling; Command icon

PICTURE: Interestingly lighted, with a haphazard background that is nonetheless colorful and attractive. I could say the back of the chair being off to the side is distracting, or that the armor looks like plastic in this one, but that would be catty. I'll let the score of 3.3 be my final comment.

LORE: Well, being a Gul is good in the game, but naming the Order is always cooler. The little story we have on this guy is there, and the rest is invention. I'm not sure how plausible it is, but this is a point-winner more than a loser since "arms dealer" on a card has a lot of value now. The Kressari mention is a good one since he can solve Kressari Rendezvous alone. Great idea working the strategy note into the lore! A good 4.1.

TREK SENSE: From the show, we get his Officer, Command icon and Leadership. That was a given. From the invention that he's an arms dealer, we get the Greed and Smuggling. After all, this is an operation he would have to conduct on the side. Makes you wonder why he doesn't have Treachery as well. Now, Biology? At first, I thought this was an unwarranted skill, but then I remembered the Kressari traded in botanical DNA (okay okay, I looked it up) and it clicked. His connection with them may be through that kind of business (at least, officially). Tenuous? Maybe, but well thought-out. Or it could be the other way around. His irrelevant knowledge of Biology has made people SUSPECT he has Kressari connections. Too bad there isn't anything to reflect his intercepting the Defiant in "Second Skin". Navigation and/or Security would have been pertinent. The Integrity is on the high side for a smuggling arms dealer, though it would have fit on a Gul of the Eight Order without that particular bent. The Cunning doesn't seem high enough on the other hand. He is a Gul after all, and one that ostensibly deceives his own government (or does he?). The Strength, I have no problem with. A good effort at 3.7.

STOCKABILITY: The Cardassians have their own arms dealer for use with the 34th Rule and the Breenzooka. Hagath does the same you say? Sure, but he doesn't report for free at your Central Command like Benil does. Look at it this way: Report Benil for free, then report the Breen CRM114 to him directly at any point and start blowing up Rogue Borg, landed ships and planet facilities. Like I said before, he can easily solve Kressari Rendezvous by himself (with OFFICER and Smuggling) and maybe boost its points with one or more CRM114s he reported on the way there (each is worth +5 point if discarded there). Let's look at that Smuggling again: This allows him to report to your Nor's Cargo Bay (or even download there) for cargo runs. Skill-wise, Benil's Leadership is okay, though it mimics OFFICER's ability to initiate battle. Greed and Smuggling (he's one of three Cardassians for each) are getting more and more uses, including such cards as Bribery, if you're in such a mood. Biology's also good for dilemma-solving, and this one can't be filtered out by killing off MEDICALs. His INTEGRITY's immune to Firestorm, and though none of the attributes are stellar, they're competent. A lot of nice tricks have been added to the Cardassian repertoire with the arrival of this one. An even 4.

TOTAL: 15.1 (75.5%) I was more impressed with this guy than I was planning to be.

#577-Berik, Personnel, Ferengi, RoA
"Officer serving Lurin. Participated in the failed takeover attempt of the USS Enterprise. Blamed Morta for failing to seize control of the main computer."
-OFFICER, Leadership, SECURITY, Physics, Stellar Cartography; Staff icon

PICTURE: TNG Ferengi are uglier (if that's possible) than DS9 ones, and Berik is a good example. The grey suit on a grey background is pretty weak. The tatoo on his forehead looks smudged, like some kind of printing defect. The one good element is his pose. From his lore, he's apparently one to lay blame, or "pass the buck" as it were, and in the pic, he looks like he's passing that disruptor. Actually looks familiar: whenever someone doesn't want to take responsability for what's on television in my household, one is often seen "passing the buck" (actually, the remote control) in much the same way. Only gets it to 2.5.

LORE: Gives us quick elements of his story, including one that shows once again how petty the Ferengi can be (that last part). Has some personality, but averagely written. A 3.1.

TREK SENSE: Touch-and-go. His tatoo seems to make him higher up in the hierarchy (though the Staff icon doesn't place him TOO high), so Officer is okay, but his waving around a disruptor like that also includes Security. In a larger affiliation, only one of those would have appeared, but the Ferengi needed quick building to be a balanced affiliation, so a lot of these skills were added for no Trek Sense reason. The Leadership goes with Officer, but not with "serving Lurin". Physics? Stellar Cartography? I don't discount the possibility that Ferengi in the military are trained in all manner of skills, but these don't even coincide with his classifications. Odd that these stupid Ferengi, who were beaten by a bunch of kids in what basically remains a comic relief episode, would have all these skills, and, in Berik's case, Cunning as high as 7. Integrity's okay, but might have been lower if they'd rightly given him Treachery. The Strength is good because he is in the military and into Security. I understand the challenge of creating a good affiliation when all the good and developped personnel are interested in Acquisition/Greed, and all the "shipboard" personnel have been represented as idiots. But for Trek Sense, turning these clowns into 4-skill personnel without Greed and Treachery just doesn't jibe. A 1.8.

STOCKABILITY: Aside from Berik's two classifications, which is always good though pretty common these days, Berik actually fills a skill niche. Turns out there isn't a whole lot of either Stellar Cartography or Physics in the Ferengi Alliance, and while these skills aren't primordial ones (yet), they do make some appearances on a few Ferengi missions (but mostly on "anyone may attempt" missions). Navigational Hazards is also gonna be a stopper without a good Stellar Cartographer. It may be a good idea to use him in conjunction with Bribery to get at, for example, Explore Black Cluster for an easy 35 points. Ferengi have no Treaties, but they would be quite compatible with other affiliations, so using other people's missions is quite viable. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the skills required to "activate" Bribery by himself. Plenty of those to get by though. Leadership is a more useful skill across the board, and his attributes are fair to good. 7 is relatively good STRENGTH for a Ferengi, but then again, there are plenty of OFFICERs and SECURITY who have more than that. Berik may also be used as part of Lurin's disposable entourage and the 6th Rule of Acquisition. Once he's outlived his usefulness, discard him for equipment, ships or card draws. May see some action at 3.4.

TOTAL: 10.8 (54%) The first "pure" Ferengi doesn't yield too high on the Rolodex exchange.

#586-Birta, Personnel, Ferengi, RoA
"Ferengi bureaucrat stationed on Ferenginar. Point of contact for offworlders. Informed Jean-Luc Picard that Bok has bought his way out of Rog prison."
-VIP, Diplomacy, Anthropology, SECURITY; SD Hail (to any ship "flying by" your ship or facility); Command icon

PICTURE: Looks good for a TNG Ferengi, but that's because he was seen in the 7th season, and by then, DS9 had played its magic on the species. A little shadowy, but the tapestry in the back looks interesting. I like the gold in his shirt, very extravagant. The pic doesn't tell us much about Birta, but it looks cool enough for a 3.5.

LORE: Aside from the rather short onscreen story that came with Birta, there isn't much to say about him. Still, the wording makes him an important member of society - the guy you have to speak to before they'll you get a nagus on the phone - and I like that. It makes the Ferengi more organized. A pretty good 3.4.

TREK SENSE: A high-up bureaucrat of course deserves to be a VIP, and to have a Command icon (though that last one, with a little more evidence, could be disputed or confirmed). The Diplomacy is there because he acts as liaison between the Ferengi government and outsiders. The Anthropology is probably because he has experience dealing with other cultures. It's a little less substantiated, but by no means impossible. The Security? Well, you can either say that part of his interaction with outsiders is to make sure they don't prove a threat, or you could believe it has to do with his knowledge of Bok's escape. Perhaps he has training and contacts in that area. The first possibility is the most sound, though the second was probably responsible for the skill's presence here. The special download mystifies me. Why does he Hail a passing ship? An inquiry was made OF him, not BY him. Or is he answering a call made "behind the scenes"? Does he actually seek out outsiders? Doesn't work, though I applaud the inclusion of facilities to Hail's game text (in effect), since Birta was facility-based in the episode (and why couldn't it play there in the first place?). As for the attributes, they make sense as far I know. The Integrity is high enough that Birta would dislike Bok and help Picard. The rest goes with his position. Good and sensible, except for that download. An even 3.

STOCKABILITY: Birta's skills aren't in numerous demand on Ferengi missions, but they're all relatively rare on Ferengi. Diplomacy's on only one mission, but on so many dilemmas (and cards like Q-Net) it isn't even funny. The rarer Anthropology (5 Ferengi when I include Leeta) is on only two, but those two are the nice 40-pointer Gunrunning and the universal Market Research. SECURITY is on no Ferengi missions, but certainly important to dilemmas. Birta's VIP is common enough in Ferengi society, but it does make him reportable for free at the Tower of Commerce. Speaking of facilities, his download of Hail (apparently only for the card's first function) can work there too - you don't even need him on a ship. That means you can set him down on any facility, far from shiply dangers, and stop ships in their tracks where you are. The card extra mentions Paxan "Wormhole" as a fine place to seed your Neutral Outpost and report Birta. He can stop ships flying by so as to relocate them anywhere (provided they have no androids). He himself is immune to the location's effects because he isn't on a ship. There are other ways to make use of this, including pollution cards that damage ships. On ships, it can of course be used to precepitate battle, or use the VIP-friendly Open Diplomatic Relations. Fairly good attributes too (Ferengi STRENGTH is often this low). A good support card, not primordial: a 3.6.

TOTAL: 13.5 (67.5%) The Ferengi are a nice affiliation, and Birta's one of their "more than ok" cards.

#595-Bodyguards, Incident, Hidden Agenda, RoA
-Seeds or plays on table. At start of any personnel battle, each of your bodyguards and leaders who has SECURITY in that battle may exclude from battle one of your VIP or CIVILIAN personnel. If you have a non-Borg Leadership personnel or a [Def] drone remaining in that battle, instead of shuffling your combat pile you may pre-arrange the order in which your personnel will fight. Discard incident.

PICTURE: There are a few good things going for this picture. One is that the really plain 'n' dark Nausicaans in the back really contrast with Brunt's bright and gaudy suit, making them the "secret service" of the FCA, just as the President of the United States is always surrounded by black-suited men. The other thing is the nice color palette created by Brunt's red and the overhead lights' green. Those two colors always look good together, and the particular hues used here don't make you think of Christmas (though Brunt's jewelry might be of the ornament category). A good 3.9.

LORE: N/A (score will be adjusted accordingly)

TREK SENSE: Since you can keep your bodyguards hidden from view (or in plain suits), this works as a Hidden Agenda, no problem. The card has two effects. Each effect (rather strangely) gives a different description of just who is a bodyguard. On the one hand, it's everyone whose lore makes them a bodyguard (of course) AND any Security who can initiate a battle (has Leadership). On the other hand, a bodyguard is sometimes any Leader or Defense drone. It's that second definition which doesn't work. Leaders often include very high-up personnel who are definitely not bodyguards, while Defense drones are Borg, and Borg don't have bodyguards. The effect still has Trek Sense, as we'll see, but doesn't work with the title of the card. To get back to the first effect, it states that a bodyguard protects a specific VIP or Civilian (the defenseless non-coms of the game) by excluding that personnel from any fight. Great! That's what the card should be for. The second function has the bodyguards stepping in front of the entire group to do what they do best (battle), placing the weaker, more fragile personnel at the back. Front/back as per the personnel battle pairing rules of course, which is a great way to interpret all this. And if all Leaders are not, in my opinion, bodyguards, they at least would act like this. Of course, nothing says you can't put your Leaders at the back, it just says "pre-arrange order" - more of a personal combat strategy card in that respect, and maybe the Leaders are assigning personnel to be bodyguards. Either way, some great ideas, and even a way to see the battle rules through Trek Sense. A high 4.1.

STOCKABILITY: If you're planning to use personnel battling to advance your interests, this makes a nice support card. For one thing, you can protect as many VIPs and CIVILIANs as you have bodyguards and Leadership SECURITY. This might come in handy if you used such a VIP to Open Diplomatic Negotiations and then ambush a ship's crew, especially if that VIP is a Ketracel-rationing Vorta or vital Founder, or even a Borg Queen that has made herself a Very Important Person for the day (but for that last trick, you'll need to assimilate a SECURITY Leader or Interlink with a Counterpart). If you need a SECURITY with Leadership, you can even make one with Prepare Assault Teams. CIVILIANs might seem less vital, but a lot of them are attribute boosters or have some special skills of note that you would not want to lose. Both classifications are generally weaker in battle than those SECURITY personnel you'll be stocking (except for some Klingons, of course) and need the help. "Bodyguards" for this function include the Jem'Hadar Amat'igan, the "Ferengi" Maihar'du who can download the card (thus not costing you a seed slot), the Romulan Telak, and the all-purpose Non-Aligned Krozh who can report to your FCA for immediate battling. The second function is just as good, if not better, allowing you to pre-arrange your personnel pile in combat. When using large attack parties, you'll want to put your strong personnel in the front, and weaker ones in the back for maximum effect. This protects weaker personnel by not giving them any fighting partner. Against a bigger team, you're on your own. Personnel with special stunning abilities (Kirk and Jodmos for example) should go first, as should Talon drones so you can assimilate first and ask questions later. It's important to gives those abilities a target right away, and Bodyguards sure does that (and I'm sure you have Leaders to enable it, they're common enough). As a Hidden Agenda, it simply gives more of an element of surprise, but doesn't really change anything. Too bad it's discarded after use, but it's only uncommon, you've got more than one. As good defensively as it is offensively, so not a bad idea to use. A 3.9 here.

TOTAL: 15.87 (79.33%) High marks, though ultimately not a necessary card.

#604-Bractor, Personnel, Ferengi, RoA
"DaiMon in command of the Kreechta. Observed war games between the USS Enterprise and the USS Hathaway. Attempted to claim the latter as salvage."
-OFFICER, SCIENCE, Stellar Cartography; SD Commandeer Ship; Command icon

PICTURE: It's when I see pictures like this that I realize how subtle the shadows in DS9 were compared to those of TNG. While I like the idea of putting Bractor in front of a round Ferengi control panel, the rest of the card is a mess. Blurry (just check the eyes), with heavy and sharp shadows, and that olive green background... ugh. A 2.1.

LORE: All good stuff, even if there's no real élans of greatness. Extra points for making him matching commander of the Kreechta. Do I hear 3.5? Sure I do.

TREK SENSE: Well, this cousin of Quark's (or of Armin Shimmerman's) is indeed an Officer with a Command icon, being a DaiMon as he is. The skills are largely clunky though. As far as I can tell, the Stellar Cartography is there because he observed, not a stellar phenomenon, but a ship battle. And the SCIENCE? Well, Stellar Cartography is a scientific skill, isn't it? Yeah... The special download is a bit more sensical as his objective was to capture (read: commandeer) the USS Hathaway, but he never did. So should he really have the download? Well, his lack of Computer Skill makes it clear that he can't commandeer alone, so his competence is brought into question on the card as in the episode. Attributes? Integrity's no record, but it's high for a privateer of this sort. Cunning is way too high! This moron thought the Federation's wargames were more than that. The Strength's okay, and I think they could have had a winner here if they'd rooted him in SECURITY and Tactic-related abilities. Sorry, just 1.9.

STOCKABILITY: Matching commanders usually have a place in decks with multiple ships (armadas, or ambitious mission solving decks, as well as, for Ferengi ships, cargo runs), and Bractor can make the Kreechta a powerful 10-12-11 Marauder (plus report there via Ready Room Door). Add to that Make It So and other matching commander advantages and you already have plenty reason to include him in many instances. Skill-wise, Stellar Cartography's pretty rare (3 other instances in Ferengi society) and can be found on one dilemma now, and necessary for Market Research and other universal missions. SCIENCE is a second classification, always good, and one more and more in demand (though less rare at six Ferengi instances). The OFFICER certainly comes into play with Maglock since he has pretty decent STRENGTH (for a Ferengi) at 6. In fact, fair attributes all around. That leaves the less-than-efficient special download. While the Klingon Kavok also has this download, at least Kavok can use the card! Bractor's lack of Computer Skill means Kavok strategies (such as reporting him directly aboard a ship via Devidian Door) don't really work unless you find a way to assist Bractor (another Door? Ophidian Cane?). It's still good, and there are plenty of Ferengi VIPs to Open Diplomatic Negociations with to get him aboard, but really, your Ferengi aren't necessarily the best crew to mop the floor with opposing personnel there. Like I said, inefficient. All in all, they've made him useful, but held back on a number of issues: a 3.6.

TOTAL: 11.1 (55.5%) He's no Quark...

#613-Breen CRM114, Equipment, RoA
"Powerful disruptor often brokered by Hagath. Guaranteed to cut through reactive armor up to 15 centimeters and shields up to 4.6 gigajoules. Quick recharge. Expensive, but well worth it."
-Reports to your Breen or arms dealer. At start of battle, kills up to 5 Rogue Borg present. Once each turn, this Away Team may attack a landed ship or facility on same planet (damaged = [flip]).

PICTURE: Too dark on the front end, and too bright on the back end. That pretty much sums it up. The "Breenzooka" is obscured by its background, so only a 2.7.

LORE: The lore makes the CRM114 a disruptor, which is better than nothing. The rest is statistics and a little sales pitch at the end making it a bit sweeter. A 3.4.

TREK SENSE: It's a very specialized weapon, so you need Breen (who invented it) or an arms dealer (who has access to such things) to even report it. Good enough. It is such a powerful gun that it knocks down as many as 5 Rogue Borg in one battle and can even blow a hole in a facility or landed ship (just one flip though, because it still isn't on the same level as ship Weapons). Question: if it can kill Rogue Borg, why can't it do the same to regular personnel? Big gun, but can't shoot anyone with it? That's the biggest problem with it, maybe the only real one. Knocks the score down to a 3.2 (it's a BIG problem as far as I'm concerned).

STOCKABILITY: The long awaited Breenzooka is perhaps an overrated card, but not a useless one by any means. The reason it's overrated? It's a reactionary card, not a proactive one. First, it destroys Rogue Borg threats, large and small. While "pinging" is taken care of to a certain point by Intruder Alert!, larger RBM teams, perhaps boosted by Crosis and Lore, can be dealt with using the CRM114. But your opponent may not use RBMs at all. No matter, the CRM is the only way to currently attack landed ships. So a pesky lander running from your armadas, stopping your attempts to Patrol Neutral Zone, or simply avoiding anti-beaming cards, can now be hurt. You'll need a Battle Bridge side-deck of course, but you can stock it with good damage markers (perhaps in a strategy that involves damaging dilemmas but no real Tactic fighting, so you can pile on the best markers) to see that ship destroyed in 3 turns flat. But your opponent may not be landing this game. No matter, you can also use the big gun to damage planet-bound facilities, like point-racking Colonies and personnel-reporting HQs. This is probably the best choice, especially given the current usefulness of HQs. These (and Colonies even more) are likely to have personnel inside who'll start dying thanks to your damage markers, and while you can't be certain you'll have a target (outposts and nors are in space), you have more of a chance. Still, it takes a while to destroy a facility, and I don't expect your opponent to just let you fire away unmolested. Bonus: it's one of the ways to pass Founder Secret AND, I believe, counts as both a hand weapon and disruptor for use with missions and dilemmas. The problem is that you can't easily report it. You NEED a Breen or arms dealer present, and the only way to bypass this is to seed the 'zooka at Search for Weapons. Yes, it reports anywhere you have these personnel, but still, you need them. Thankfully, TwT is bringing us a trio of Breen (hopefully one that is universal), but that'll only help the Dominion get their hands on the equipment. Arms dealers are more varied, with Beril a Cardassian, Omag and Gaila Ferengi, and Hagath (NA) filling the role for the other affiliations. That difficulty, and the point that it won't always be useful, makes this a Tent card at best. A 3.

TOTAL: 12.3 (61.5%) Waiting long for a card can often make it a deception.

#622-B'rel, Ship, Ferengi, universal, RoA
"Old surplus Klingon Bird-of-Prey. Much smaller that K'Vort-class ships. Ferengi bought this one to support a covert vendarite mining operation on Ligos VII."
-B'rel Class[1 Staff] Cloaking Device, Tractor Beam (cannot carry ships aboard)

PICTURE: Perhaps it's appropriate that the Ferengi bird-of-prey look dinky, but it's still not a very attractive shot. The right wing looks limp, and the turret on the left wing looks like a needle nose on the forward section. Silly - like the Ferengi who used it. Fairly nice detailing ups the score to a 3.1.

LORE: Not bad. Its realtionship with the similarly-designed K'Vort is mentioned, as are both the fact and reasoning behind the Ferengi's ownership of the thing. A slightly better-than-average 3.2.

TREK SENSE: The odious thing about the B'rel is that it's Ferengi. It's a Klingon ship! If they wanted to make a unique (not universal) Ferengi bird-of-prey, fine. But as a universal, it means the Ferengi have a whole lotta these all of a sudden. What's more, the Klingons have NONE! We've seen them on DS9 often enough however. At least change its name to something non-Klingon! Or make it dual-aligned! The staffing is okay. Though smaller than the K'Vort (also one Staff icon), the Ferengi probably require a bit more training to run a non-Ferengi ship. In any case, it isn't exactly a runabout, is it? Like the similarly-sized Cha'Joh (much older, so doesn't require the staffing, I guess), it's too small to carry ships aboard, yet has a Tractor Beam. Fine. As is the Cloaking Device. 7-5-6 are its attributes as compared to the K'Vort's 8-6-6. So it's down only a point from the larger model in every category except Shields. There's nothing really wrong with that, because it seems the Klingons aren't big on technological advancement (heck, the movie era birds-of-prey look just like today's). The big mistake early on kills the card, leaving it at a simple 2.

STOCKABILITY: An excuse to give the Ferengi Cloaking Devices more effective than what Small Cloaking Device can provide, you nevertheless pay for it in attributes. 7-5-6 isn't exactly what I'd call a fighting advantage. It's not even very fast, and has no matching commander. And the Ferengi have plenty of ships with better attributes. It doesn't have any other ships of intermediate staffing though, so armada-wise (with lots of ship enhancements), the B'rel could be of use. Add some Scan Cycle Checks for lots of Ferengi leaders going around committing hit and runs. Well, that's not very efficient deck-building. Limited Tractor Beam too? I see the point, but do the Ferengi? A 3.3.

TOTAL: 11.6 (58%) Orange and green are just hideous together.

#631-Bribery, Incident, Hidden Agenda, RoA
-Seeds or plays on table. Once each turn, your Smuggling or Greed personnel may discard one of your Gold-Pressed Latinum present to add Ferengi icon to your mission there (except Ferenginar) until end of your next turn. OR to prevent one entire point loss of up to 9 points just incurred there (discard incident) OR to release (and relocate to that personnel) one of your personnel held captive there.

PICTURE: The red and blue/green costumes contrast each other well, and the composition is fixed on that circle in the background which is also great. It's also well complemented by the darker objects to either side of the picture, though you can see the pic's not as centered as it should be. Classic expressions from the Ferengi too. A 3.7.

LORE: N/A (score will be adjusted accordingly)

TREK SENSE: A very neat way to use Latinum, Bribery is a Ferengi natural. So, who can use it? Greed and Smuggling personnel are the exploiters of the universe, they're a natural, though some Treachery personnel could also have been added. Heck, we've seen bribes from heroic main characters, so why all these limitations? As long as you got the cash... Anyway, there are three situations where Bribery can be used effectively. One: to make someone look the other way as your Ferengi effectively "espionage" a mission. Whoever is paid off, either an official from that location or one from an attempting affiliation, doesn't look away forever though, so you have to be quick. I'm surprised Ferenginar can't be bought though, especially since it's a benign mission that has no effect on the world's security. Since Bribery is permitted there, even taxed, why shouldn't "honest" Ferengi be able to buy a message to bring the Nagus? Two: the more conceptual idea of buying off negative bonus points. In general, these are found on dilemmas, so you could be buying off their effects. Just how much Q (through various Q-cards) would listen though, I can't estimate, but Punishment Zone, Blackjack and Hazardous Duty are possible. At least the card stops short of allowing you to pay off an Edo Probe. When dealing with other card types, you might be able to buy off some of their effects, or simply replace their cost with shiny Latinum. Discommendation, Torture, Interrogation and Prisoner Escort all fall into the first category. None fall in the second - not with a point cost less than 10 anyway - yet. Since other effects are not nullified, this isn't a very satisfying premise, nor is the fact Bribery would then be discarded. Three: to pay off a power holding your personnel captive to release that captive to your personnel, "posting bail". That last one makes great sense, and was probably the basis for the card in the beginning. Note that the Hidden Agenda makes sense by virtue of this being a usually illegal activity. Lots of problems plague this card, but it tries hard. Manages a 3.5 despite everything.

STOCKABILITY: The problem with Espionage cards is that, being affiliation-specific, you get less mileage out of them, and might not get any at all unless you seeded the mission yourself. The Ferengi don't have any Espionage cards - they have Bribery. And though Bribery only opens up mission solving until the end of your next turn and costs a Latinum (as does every function here), it's more expansive in its scope. That, and you only need the one Bribery to spy the entire game, as long as you keep the flow of Latinum steady (and Latinum begets Latinum, you might say). The Ferengi, being late-comers into the game, really need this just to get variety into their missions (they have fewer than anyone else), and since you can choose from any number of missions, you can really tighten your mission solving by including high-redundancy skills. For this and other functions, you'll need a Smuggling (also useful in cargo run decks) or Greed personnel, and while that's only about half a dozen personnel per affiliation, the Ferengi have the market cornered on Greed. No problems there. The least likely to use the card are the Klingons, Feds and Romulans due to their lack of "illegal" skills, but other affiliations are in the clear, and there's always Non-Aligned help. So what does Bribery have to offer everyone else? The second function is more of a failsafe device, and I wouldn't use it very often because it discards the incident. Any point loss under 10 points can be nullified with a little Latinum. Well, these are rarely mortal wounds, so unless you're at the end of the game and it's just keeping you from winning, I might not discard such a useful card. Point losses upwards of 10, now THOSE I'd like to nip in the bud. Still, if you're not using the card for the first function, you might not need it as much, and could stand losing it to avoid a small point loss which could ultimately result in your having to solve an extra mission. The third function releases captives and even politely relocates them for you. Excellent, and all it costs is a Latinum. You can sacrifice your personnel to capture dilemmas knowing full well you can buy their freedom back. The Hidden Agenda icon isn't all that important here, unless you want to remain as opaque as possible during the seed phase, but could be used to let your opponent waste her capture-related cards on you or something. Marginal. The card in its entirety though, is anything but. Crucial to the Ferengi, with good uses all around, and a cool capture hosing mechanism. Plus, Gint can download it whole (perhaps a second copy after you've had to discard the first one). A 4.3.

TOTAL: 15.33 (76.67%) But give me a little something and I can up that score...

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