Saturday 10 February 2024

Scotty’s Gaming Physics

The Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise is famous for uttering the line "You canna change the laws of physics" but you can change the rules of the game.

As we've already seen in the new Kirk Expansion Pack for Gale Force Nine's Away Missions, a new Beam Away feature has been introduced which can either be the greatest of gifts or a move that ends up with one less person on your crew.

Scotty also brings something different to the mix but first let's dive into the characters themselves and see what new dimensions this quartet add.

As the Commander in this set you would assume Scotty would pack the best Attack, Defence and Skill stats but that's not the case. He does have a triple advantage when it comes to his Engineering trait and with that heightened chance of success he could potentially add a Bonus Action to your team. That's a lot of firsts in one character so loading up your card deck will be a major skill in itself to take full advantage.

Hikaru Sulu actually boasts the best basic stats in the team with three dice available for Attack and Defence. While he's still limited to stun, he does provide a re-roll to both himself and his opponent. Sulu also has a double Security trait again super useful for those skill tests and, more interesting is his ability to roll four Attack dice if you happen to have equipped him with an antique weapon - and yes, it's a definite homage to The Naked Time. That said, it means that choosing the Rapier for melee means he's got an advantage from a distance or close up.

Uhura might not have the highest Attack ability but her double rolling Communications trait and chance to reroll on Operations terminal tests will provide a twist as long as you've packed the right objectives from the set. Probably a character you'll need to keep under guard which is where the traitless Mr Leslie comes into play. indeed, that's precisely what his character is designed for, rolling more dice if you're backing up another team member and I can't see why this would ever NOT be Uhura.  Ironically (or probably more likely by full intention, Mr Leslie is the perfect redshirt although that does mean this set is oddly lacking in any medical backup. Given the higher abilities of his colleagues, Leslie does add a sense of balance to the group however Trek fans will probably be wondering where Nurse Chapel has gone. In fact on a check of the deck there's only ONE card which will help restore any damage this team receives so deck build wisely!

But what of the rest of the pack? Well, there's lots to look at. There's more Beam Away tokens as we saw with Kirk (use that under advisement!!!) plus a rather cool little Tribble feature. Those fluffy annoyances can help players score more points if they've been deployed and started to spread but there are ways to remove them! Reading more into this, the Scotty team is ideal to deploy if you're up against a Klingon opponent as the Tribbles can give you some dice rolling advantages when coupled with the Beam Away feature. Again, it's worth digging into your cards to work out the best combination of Support/Mission to select. 

Out of the box there's that genius idea of a starter deck to get yourself acclimatised with the dynamics before mixing it up with the additional cards. In relation to the features of the set there are definitely a few sets of cards that players will want to have shuffled into the 20 cards available in each stack and there's absolutely room for customisation. However, I've yet to start mixing cards from each of the packs since they do seem tailored to each group straight out of the wrapper.

This pack also boasts a lot of cards with additional points bonuses as well as a hefty one if you're into stealing cloaking devices or Doomsday Machines. In these instances managing to complete other missions will greatly increase your tally but make sure you do them in the right order to make the most of it. A lot of the cards are similar to already released packs, relying on team members completing skill challenges at particular terminals with more emphasis on their innate abilities and higher scoring traits. Of the two new Original Series packs this is my go-to thanks to the Tribbles and also thanks to the interesting mix of characters on the team. It's fairly balanced  when you look at it person to person rather than being an average spread of stats across all four. That may well direct your play to pair them off and back each other up in a way that's not really been evident with Picard or Riker's Federation squads.

There's also a nice "easy" goal as a Core Mission in which players can gain ten points for simply keeping characters in play - that's a potential 40 points for keeping out of danger so make sure Leslie knows!

The Commander Scotty Federation Expansion is now available to pre-order from your Away Missions stockist!

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