Siskoid's Rolodex..............Strange New Worlds

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To see the cards themselves, check out this Card list for the Strange New Worlds set.

#2406-Advanced Battle Simulation, Mission, space, Alpha Quadrant, unique /SNW/

-2 Leadership, Cunning>33, and (Engineer and Programming or Navigation and Security)

-When you play a Maneuver event, if you have completed this mission, that event's cost is -1.

*Braslota: "Let us hope your distaste for the exercise will not affect your strategic abilities."

-Any affiliation (except [Borg]) may attempt this mission; 35 points; Span: 3


PICTURE: It's interesting when they show the ship(s) in addition to the location, and here, you do get a sense of the Simulation with two ships of the same affiliation squaring off. The planet provides some nice color, though it gets us into Trek Sense trouble (see below). A cool enough 3.6.


LORE: A kind of dare, though it's presumptuous to think the player would be turned off by this mission ;-). Slightly off-putting in that sense, it gets a fine 3.3.


TREK SENSE: The trouble I was alluding to above is that this space mission is set at a planet, and yet, you cannot beam down to it. A small hiccup, if you will. All affiliations are invited to run such Simulations, but I'm not sure why they would do so right here at this planet. Presumably, the Feds were doing so in their own territory (though the Ferengi did intrude, so I'm not sure about that). The Borg, of course, don't do this sort of thing, and I imagine each affiliation does it a different way (the Klingons might actually use full-on weapons, for example), but it all comes down to the same thing. It requires 2 Leadership, but is that one for each ship involved? If so, it begs the following question: Where are the personnel? Are they split up? Where's that second ship? Ok, let's say the mission is only from one ship's perspective then. The 2 Leadership would represent the ability to lead a ship into battle more than efficiently, maybe coordinating the bridge and engineering. Ok. Cunning is also required to outwit the scenario. Yes. Navigation and Security (piloting and tactical) are the normal way to complete the exercise. Engineer and Programming were Riker's solution (the more crafty strategies of people like him and James "Kobayashi Maru" Kirk). That probably puts us on the ship that has a disadvantage, but that can be your ship (any ship) since it's just a Simulation. 35 points is a bit high for a practice, especially since there's another reward here. That reward: Making Maneuver cards (no doubt what you just drilled) cheaper to play. That's very nice actually. Good idea. Nothing bad (or good) to say about the Span, so that leaves us at a sometimes problematic, but generally quite good, 3.6.


STOCKABILITY: To sharpen the focus of your battle strategies, here's a mission that will makes Maneuvers cheaper. So you get its 35 points, then move on to point-scoring battle Events or what-have-you. Battle decks might be higher in Strength than Cunning, but for the Klingons at least, there's Warrior's Birthright that can turn that Cunning requirement around. Leadership should be easy to find, and only a couple more skills (either option is made up of common ones) will get you over the top. Cool, and makes the rest of your game more efficient. Combine with Advanced Combat Training to cheapen all your battle cards AND make sure you've solved both a space and a planet mission. Not as interesting for pacifist decks, but could act as a bluff too. The bells and whistles get it to 3.8.


TOTAL: 14.3 (71.5%) Looks like the next Strange New Worlds card will read much the same.


#2419-Advanced Combat Training, Mission, planet, Alpha Quadrant, unique /SNW/

-Leadership, Medical, Officer, Security, and Strength>34

-When you play an Assault event, if you have completed this mission, that event's cost is -1.

*Inhospitable world: Participate in tactical training and survival scenarios in this harsh environment.

-Any affiliation (except [Borg]) may attempt this mission; 35 points; Span: 2

PICTURE: A beautiful planet underlining the irony of what we're doing there. Now, I don't know where this is from, and it may well be pure invention. Either way, it's a great special effect, used dramatically here. A good 3.8.

LORE: Looks very hospitable from space, but I guess I don't know the exact temperature, fauna, etc. Eden looked nice to the space hippies, after all. The mission details are well written and believable. More ordinary than the picture, but still a sound 3.1.

TREK SENSE: A mirror image of Advanced Battle Simulation, this has you train for combat on a planet surface. It's not from any episode I can remember, but makes sense for any affiliation (the Borg excepted). Even the Dominion drills in our quadrant. Strength becomes the important attribute, since this is fighting as well as survival. You would use Leadership and Officer to coordinate your forces. Security for the actual soldiering (only one, how small are these sims? maybe there are a lot of ensign Bobs here), preparing for a siege, etc. And any battle training no doubt requires that field medics also take part, not to mention that anything could happen in this harsh environment, and you need someone to set the odd broken leg. That's all fine, and I have no problem with the Span, but the rewards seem too high. 35 points for training? A bit much, especially when you consider that there is a further reward in the form of Cost relief on Assaults. That's as good an idea here as on Battle Sim, with the Assaults you probably just drilled being cheaper to play for real. Without all the problems the space version managed to get itself into, this one makes it to 3.9.

STOCKABILITY: Pacifist decks need probably not apply, but if you're going to go into battle, you could do worse than use both Advanced missions from Strange New Worlds as your planet/space combo. In the case of Combat Training, it cheapens your Assault Events, some of them able to score further points. The 35 from this mission have pretty easy requirements, with the high Strength total perhaps being the only difficult one, and then not very difficult for the affiliations that will thrive on combat, like the Klingons and Dominion. Slightly easier than Battle Sim, I'm giving it a 3.9.

TOTAL: 14.7 (73.5%) A whole 2% more than its space twin.

#2432-Aikido, Personnel, Non-Aligned, Cost: 2 /SNW/

-Hologram; Honor, Physics, Security

-When a non-Hologram personnel present is randomly selected by a dilemma, you may make that personnel Strength +1 until the end of that dilemma.

"It's not a real person... It has no life. Everything it does is controlled by computer. ...But it will feel real when it hits you."


PICTURE: Unfortunate that it's so blurry, because it's an interesting pic otherwise. The martial arts pose, the yellow grid of the holodeck merging with the NA template, it all had potential. A 3.

LORE: Using the program name for the personnel card is a new take on holograms, and the quote is excellent. It manages to explain the holodeck puppet and make it dangerous in combat. Very good at 3.6.

TREK SENSE: Holograms as a whole have a definite Trek Sense flaw in 2E, namely that ships don't have holodecks and holograms need no holographic support. I could accept that "oh there's a projector aboard ship", but on planets as well? Glosses over the concept pretty glibly. As for the question of this being Non-Aligned when it was encountered aboard a Federation ship, that's ok. The card is universal after all, and I think is meant to represent all manner of personnel combat training programs. A very basic program, I'm not sure it warrants a Cost of 2, though counters may well represent the holo-technology previously lamented. Aikido was a pretty limited program however, and I'm not convinced it had actual speaking ability. Does it really have (even average) Integrity and Cunning? Let's say it does and Tasha just never addressed it. Can be justified when looking at other holodeck programs. Ok, so Security and high Strength would be musts. Honor is also part of the martial arts package. Physics? Maybe it's supposed to represent the ability to gauge an opponent's moves, etc., but does aikido, judo, etc. actually impart the kind of Physics to be used in Star Trek? There's a big difference between levers and pulleys and such stuff as temporal anomalies and warp fields. The special ability is retroactive, stating that if your Aikido is present, then you trained with it and have greater fighting ability when encountering a dilemma. A dilemma? Why not in combat if that's what the program is for? Why only random selections? If the holo on the show adapts to its opponent, getting better and better, why doesn't it affect its own Strength in some way? I don't have the answers to these problems, and they drive the score down to a 2.

STOCKABILITY: A Strength provider in a number of ways, this NA personnel has only a few skills, but they're good enough, and it is priced relatively low. Further, you can play it directly to your ship thanks to Holodeck Grid, and it turns out Aikido is immune to Kelvan Show of Force (a small side-bonus). The holo can further be enhanced by Cluttering Irrelevancies, but that's all true of any Hologram. The true function of this personnel card is as a Strength provider. It has fairly high Strength to begin with, and further adds to random selectees during dilemma encounters (cumulative too). Might save a personnel from A Klingon Matter, for example, or Hunter Gangs or Enemy Boarding Party. Won't really help when amassing attribute totals though. Still, the boost is across the board on all non-holos so selected as many times per turn as are needed. With the holographic perks, I'd say Aikido amounts to 3.6.

TOTAL: 12.2 (61%) Later, we'll see how Worf's Calisthenics Opponent will fare as opposed to Tasha's Aikido.

#2445-Arridor - "Great Sage", Personnel, Ferengi, Cost: 3, unique /SNW/

-Ferengi; Acquisition, Anthropology, Exobiology, Leadership, Medical, Physics, Treachery; Command icon

-When you begin a mission attempt involving this personnel, you may reveal the top card of your deck. If it is a personnel, make this personnel gain all of the revealed personnel's skills until the end of that mission attempt.

"When no appropriate Rule applies, make one up."


PICTURE: The neatest thing about Arridor is that his background matches the template's colors exactly. They were well chosen! As for him, he's on the blurry side and dressed in pink to boot. Need I say more? ;-) Colorful, but has technical flaws and doesn't amount to much more than a simple bust shot. A 3.1.

LORE: Cute. A comment on the Ferengi culture, this could be a Rule in and of itself. (Is it?) It doesn't really impact on his game text, but the quote does represent some bit of wisdom worthy of a "Sage", even one in quotation marks. Fun as only the Ferengi can really be, it gets a 3.9.

TREK SENSE: Arridor is clearly from the Delta Quadrant, but there's nothing in 2E to make him play there. Arridor is a Medical doctor, but a Treacherous one not above using poison against an opponent (Exobiology is a sound aside). His taking advantage of more primitive culture qualifies him for Acquisition and Anthropology (cashing in on Takarian myths). Leadership and the Command icon gives him control over his small crew of "Sages", but also of the culture he hijacked. As for Physics, it may be connected to his investigation of the Barzan Wormhole, but that's not very convincing. It'll do though. The special ability works on a conceptual level. As he arrives at a mission site (a primitive people should have been a necessary component), he scouts around and if he sees a mythological character he could incarnate (a "probed" card from the draw deck), he does so, gaining, for all intents and purposes, all of that mythological figure's skills. Well, he is only perceived as having those skills, and that personnel would probably just be another Ferengi with nothing mythic about its skills. But conceptually, it's an interesting ability. He's low on Integrity, of course, but has above average Cunning (still not a genius, just an opportunist), and below average Strength (a fit Ferengi). The Cost respects his rank, but perhaps not his present location. He should be a bit harder to get into play in the Alpha Quadrant. So where does that leave us? How about a 3.5?

STOCKABILITY: 7 skills, but he's not a tight fit for any Ferengi missions per se, perhaps just Cargo Haul, but those are still 6 very useful skills, especially the Medical business, which really isn't the Ferengi's strong suit. Anthropology should also be prized, but I don't think any skill is common in the Ferengi Alliance yet. And wait a minute: It isn't just 7 skills! Every time you embark on a mission attempt, you might get more. If a personnel is on top of your draw deck (there are ways to make sure), Arridor gains all of its skills as well for the whole of that mission attempt. That's a massive skill boost, and Arridor stands to get you out of a number of dilemmas each time. 3 Cost is pretty reasonable for all that, isn't it? So what if the attributes are lukewarm (a Ferengi failing)? An important element of Ferengi mission solving, he gets a strong 4.

TOTAL: 15.5 (77.5%) The Ferengi come out of the gate strong.

#2458-Ascertain, Interrupt /SNW/

-When your Drone is facing a dilemma, discard a card from hand and stop that Drone to replace all levels of any one skill in that dilemma's requirements with 2 Programming.

"...the initial encounter was solely for the purpose of gathering information."

PICTURE: Talk about "initial encounters", this is the very first Borg drone ever seen on Star Trek. Gotta count for something. Aesthetically reasonable, with some nice sparks emanating from its arm. A 3.5.

LORE: In the usual Borg mode, Ascertain all sounds very stiff and no-nonsense. Relates very well to the game text, thank you very much. A 3.2.

TREK SENSE: Basically, a Drone is sent out on an rekky to Ascertain if someone out there knows how to beat a dilemma. In essence, the Borg steals - I'm sorry, assimilates - the knowledge otherwise represented by some other skill (say, 3 Astrometrics or 2 Leadership) from someone's computers (thus using 2 Programming to hack that information). Justify it how you like, whether those computers are those of an enemy represented by the dilemma, or of a victim species who has dealt with the dilemma in the past... It won't always seem right, of course, depending on the mission, but it can usually be justified. Now, the info need not be gathered at the location either. In fact, the discard may indicate some resource in the Collective getting it for the far away crew. A Drone is still stopped at that location as it receives and distributes the information... I guess using the Programming. A case of not being able to have you cake and eat it too, since the justifications seem mutually exclusive. A sound idea at its core, I'm giving it 3.5.

STOCKABILITY: Very useful for the Borg since they are missing some key skills, and are low in some others, Interlinks or not. Intelligence, for example, isn't really a Borg skill. Neither is Acquisition, Law or Telepathy. Sure, the Bringer of Order version of the Queen can get you the skill you need, but if you want to use a different Queen, stocking Ascertains is the way to go. Regardless, really, since you can double up on dilemmas with your skill-giving powers. Programming is a pretty common skill in the Collective, so 2 instances is real easy to have at all times. Stop a Drone (a dime a dozen) and discard a card (the Borg play rather fast and loose with resources anyway), and you can turn that hard-to-find skill into 2 Programming. And that works with skills required in 3s, like say, Primitive Culture's Diplomacy requirement. Once you beat a dilemma with this (+Analyze if need be), you can then use Adapt to pass any subsequent copies you encounter, saving Ascertains for new dilemmas. A high 4.5.

TOTAL: 14.7 (73.5%) Part of the Borg mission-solving Interrupt trilogy.

#2471-Audit's Spoils, Ship, Ferengi, Cost: 5, unique /SNW/

-Na'Far Class [2 Staff] When you begin a mission attempt involving this ship, you may take a card from beneath your Ferenginar into hand. You may do this only once each turn.

"This isn't a ship, it's a closet."


PICTURE: I'm surprised to see such blurriness on a DS9-era effects shot, but it's still a bright, bold picture, totally dynamic and fun. A 3.6 even.

LORE: A fitting name for Brunt's ship is followed by very funny lore, a quote obviously pulled from "The Magnificent Ferengi". It might as well play on the idea that a lot of these Ferengi ships are little more than shuttles. One question about the class though... Na'Far... Isn't that a character from Babylon 5? Regardless, a definitely fun 4.5.

TREK SENSE: These tiny ships were all over the map back in 1E, but now their attributes have settled down to 7-5-6. They're not big starships, certainly, but they're fast enough to get to most places in the immediate area (that part of the Alpha Quadrant that seems packed, running between Earth, Cardassian, Bajor and Ferenginar). Its armament is fairly basic, with a little more going to Shields to protect one's investment. While I'll have to agree, it's just hard to gauge a ship that is so much like a large shuttlecraft (or at least a Runabout), in a game that has done away with such personal transports. It all seems too high, for some reason. Does the Audit's Spoils really require 2 Staff icons, for example? It seems like a single pilot is enough to fly these things usually (unless Zek was really Maihar'du's co-pilot). A bit better in the Spoils' case, since the Ferengi were many, but Brunt did get to DS9 on his own. The low Cost is fine, but does match some of the smaller starships. All the luxuries have to be paid for? So even before we get to the special ability, you know I'm not convinced by the Na'Far design. The ship's ability is tied in with the wide-ranging Ferenginar mechanic. That mechanic basically runs resources out of the Ferengi homeworld, creating a sort of side-deck made up of Rules, for one, but also resources acquired by some of the more potent businessmen in the game, like Quark, Zek and Kol. The Ferengi Computer might also be found there. I guess any product from Ferenginar or placed on its market. And then some Ferengi can go back and buy those commodities. This ship can too, every time you start a mission attempt with it. Why? I'm really not sure. It's not really about Brunt (he need not be aboard), so I guess it's just a play on the ship's name. Meh... I'm sorry to have to do this, because it tries hard, but I can't go above 2.

STOCKABILITY: The Ferenginar mechanic can get you the cards you want, when you want them, but you need two things. One is cards that allow you to place cards under Ferenginar. The other is cards that allow you to retrieve them. Audit's Spoils is one of the latter kind. Each time you begin a mission attempt, you may take a card from there, although you can't play it until your next turn. Good backups downloaded by Quark would be nice, of course, or it could just be an important card that used to be on top of your draw deck. Be opportunistic when playing Ferengi. Can't use it now, but there are more turns in the game. These small ships have low attributes (a Ferengi flaw), but their staffing is hard to beat. You'll be flying the spacelanes in no time, just don't get into a fight with them. This one has a Commander, Brunt, who has access to a ton of effects, such as downloading himself with the ship in play and vice-versa, reducing dilemmas, boosting its Range, scoring points, and more. A mission solver and not a fighter, to be sure, but with enough tricks to keep you interested. A 3.6.

TOTAL: 13.7 (68.5%) First one out of the box, we'll see how it compares.

#2484-Aurulent, Ship, Ferengi, Cost: 5, unique /SNW/

-Na'Far Class [2 Staff] When this ship is about to move between a non-[GQ] mission and [GQ] mission, do not add 2 to the span total of those missions.

"The Gamma Quadrant, gentlemen. Millions of new worlds on our very doorstep. The potential for Ferengi business expansion is staggering."


PICTURE: Since the point of the ship is to go to the Gamma Quadrant, the cool action shot of it going through the Wormhole is very appropriate and even trippy. Funny that the effects reflecting on the hull give it a silver sheen, since most Ferengi ships are in gold tones and in fact, its name is derived from the latin word for gold. Well, that's not much of a point against the pic, which gets a very good 3.9.

LORE: Doesn't say much about the ship, but it does inform the special ability, which I guess is the ship's goal. Extra credit for mentioning new worlds, given this expansion's title. A 3.4.

TREK SENSE: Built like Audit's Spoils (a Na'Far class), it reads much the same. To recap quickly their common points, the Aurulent perhaps has too much staffing since these ships were often shown with a single pilot (Zek can't co-pilot, he has no staffing icon). It's attributes are fine for this small a ship, concentrating on getting places and protecting one's investment rather than fighting (but not outrunning a starship with bigger engines). A large shuttle is so far from other starships that it's all very hard to gauge still. The Cost hints are unseen luxuries, since it matches some of the smaller/older starships, but that's par for the course with Zek's vessel. The ship's goal dictates its special ability, but it's debatable if this really relates to the ship. Zek was telling all Ferengi to exploit the Gamma Quadrant, and his own missions there were few (but notable). If he's ready to exploit the Quadrant, he's got the means to get there. It's understood. And so the 2 Span penalty isn't added. Fine, fine, as access to the Wormhole is just glossed over. Fine, but not great. And what's with moving to the GQ from the DQ? Zek's resourceful (or his emissary's are)! Not exactly convincing, so an average 3.

STOCKABILITY: Well, if you're going to be doing Gamma Quadrant missions, you could do worse than use the Aurulent. Its low Range of 7 doesn't need to worry about the +2 Span, so it'll get there, no problem. Further, it's very easy to staff, and Zek is its Commander, bringing a ton of tricks with him (including adding to its Span). The Ferengi can currently attempt five missions in the GQ, with Peaceful Contact the most in tune with Zek's own skills. Distant Exploration should make each one +5 points. And with such low staffing, you might just be able to pay for a D'Kora Marauder just to keep your opponents busy ;-), but note that Zek doesn't help towards your to Staff stars. A good Commander/ship combo for cross-quadrant mission solving, it gets 3.6.

TOTAL: 13.9 (69.5%) Not everything that's gold glitters ;-).

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