Captain's Blog: Datalore
Posted November 17th 2019 by dragoncymru1
“You make me wish I were an only child.” – Data, ‘Datalore’

In this article on the solo version of STCCG First Editon, I’m going to focus on Non-Aligned Personnel and introduce a new way in which they can appear in the game.

Non-Aligned Personnel: The ‘Non-Aligned Affiliation’ isn’t really an Affiliation, but a way to represent the myriad aliens, rogues, love interests and guest stars that appeared in the TV episodes. They are also used to represent (mainly) Federation Personas when characters go undercover, such as Jean-Luc Picard as Galen, or using a Holodeck program, such as Dixon Hill. As such, and unless otherwise noted, I always make those Personnel dual-Affiliation, adding an Affiliation Icon. Non-Aligned Personnel are normally used to ‘fill in’ other Affiliation decks for missing skills, and it’s extremely rare to see an ‘all yellow’ Personnel deck.

There have been some excellent thematic attempts to introduce ‘mini-Affiliations’ within NA Personnel, the biggest and most successful being the Maquis – especially when we get into DS9 territory. There is also the Mercenary archetype of the TNG episode ‘Gambit’ that has several Personnel including Baran, Galen, Tallera, and even Will Riker. It also has a Warp Core card in Mercenary Raiders that has a ‘base’ at Calder II with Raid Ancient Burial Site that can seed a Mercenary Ship, and several other key Missions. The other mini-Affiliation is based around the non-Collective Borg led by Lore from the TNG episode ‘Descent’. Their Warp Core card is Followers of the One, with a base on Foster New Collective. Using a Neutral Outpost or a Repurposed Outpost as a Facility, both could be fun to play, so I’ll test those out in later articles.

There are also some Non-Aligned Personnel however that represent the villains and enemies that have graced the Star Trek universe over the years and are acting totally for themselves out of a desire for greed, power or revenge – the usual villainous objectives! I wanted to include mechanics in the solo version to represent these not being tied to any Affiliation but still be included in the game and appearing to thwart either you as the player, or the Opponent deck. You can still include them in either deck of course if it fits the theme of the deck or Affiliation, but I think these mechanics offer an interesting alternative that makes them a viable obstacle in winning the game and where taking time to hunt them down might be worth the trouble...

Enemies: Lore was introduced way back in Season 1 TNG and the episode ‘Datalore’. Apart from being a great double-role for Brent Spiner, Lore was the first real ‘Enemy’ of TNG (not counting Q as he was an omnipresent entity that was half played for laughs anyway) and returned several times over the next 7 years of the show. In the solo game, I define an ‘Enemy’ as a Unique, Non-Aligned, non-Hologram Personnel with a Command Icon, Treachery, INTEGRITY <5 and CUNNING >5. There are only a small number of Personnel that fits this definition from TNG, but it certainly grows as you include more of the TV shows and movies (and if you want to extend this definition to normal Affiliation Personnel, the game can get interesting).

If you kill or capture an Enemy you gain bonus points equal to 2 + the number of Skill dots on the Enemy card.

Self-Controlling Enemies: Seed the Enemy Personnel as an Encounter card that is playable at any Mission. If encountered, the Enemy attacks the Away Team, but only can be attacked if the remaining Away Team has 3 times CUNNING of the Enemy (so, for example, Lore can only be attacked if remaining personnel have CUNNING >39).

At the end of every turn (yours and Opponent), check the Mission requirements where the Enemy is present:

If the Mission has any skill or Classification that matches the Enemy, place a token on the Mission. If the number of tokens equals the number of remaining seed cards then the Enemy completes the Mission. An Affiliation listed on the Mission card (either side) now needs an extra X points to win the game, where X = 5 x original number of seed cards (so 10 points for a 20 or 25 point Mission, 15 for a 30 point Mission etc).

If an Enemy does not have a Skill or Classification listed on the Mission, or it has already been completed, instead move the Enemy 1 Mission card to the far end of the Space-lane. An Enemy may usually only attempt Planet Missions but if the Enemy encounters a self-controlling Ship, then he commandeers it which then increases his available RANGE every turn and allows the Enemy to also attempt Space Missions.

Next time, I’m discussing a new dream card, the limiting of seed cards, and sharing my versions of some of the Season 1 TNG Bridge crew. My re-watch of Star Trek continues and I’m currently finishing off both Season 6 of TNG and Season 1 of DS9. I Tweet my episode reviews on Twitter- so if you're interested in what I think about either of them, Follow me - @DWSSG01.

“Make it so...”