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Star Trek Away Missions – the Q Campaign

Star Trek Away Missions – the Q Campaign

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Project Blog by jeffersonpowers Cult of Games Member

Recommendations: 6

About the Project

I was able to get my hands on enough material from the Q Organized Play kit for two players so my wife and I could play it at home. The material is meant for a four-game series, so since there are currently eight different away teams in the game, this will also be a good opportunity to try out all the different characters.

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Game 2: Q-liens

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
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This game looks like it will have a little more going on in terms of Q interfering with the game. Each player gets 3 tokens representing Q-liens, Q’s clockwork soldiers who will activate like characters during the game, moving, making attacks, and blocking spaces to make movement around the board a little more tricky. As an added incentive to make use of our Q-liens, each time one of them deals damage to a character (they can’t attack each other), that Q-lien’s player gains 5 bonus points. In addition, we’ve got a different set of Immortal Q cards that will be randomly drawn at the start of each round. The Q miniature will be placed on the board, with the cards having various effects depending on where Q is positioned and who is in his line of sight.

The dreaded Q-lien. It's like an alien, but more Q...The dreaded Q-lien. It's like an alien, but more Q...

For this game I’ll be using the Romulans led by Sela vs my opponent’s Klingons under the leadership of Gowron. The game allows for very minor swap-outs of characters, but we’re just using each team right out of the box. The card decks that each player uses can be customized as well, with each set providing a stack of extra cards, but again we’re using the suggested starting cards since we haven’t really played the game enough to know what cards will be better to use.

For our first round we draw Hide & Q, which gives characters in Q’s line of sight an extra die for attacks, but one fewer for skill tests. This will greatly assist the Klingons, since most of their missions involve attacking. Luckily I’m the first player this round, so I can place Q back in a corner where hopefully he won’t give my opponent too much of an advantage.

Romulans vs. Klingons. Who will emerge victorious?Romulans vs. Klingons. Who will emerge victorious?

This game goes much better for me that the previous one. The Romulans are a lot better at accomplishing missions, even with my opponent’s Klingons shooting at me. I am able to creep around the Engineering section of the board and knock out several missions, then use the Q-liens to get in my opponent’s way, forcing her to spend actions attacking the tokens rather than my loyal Romulan forces. She does, however, manage to wound Taibak, one of my better mission solvers, pretty early on. Damage in this game is tracked by reducing the character’s stats, so for example when Taibak takes 2 damage I have to reduce his movement and his skill (used for mission solving) by 1. No stat can go below 1, and once all four stats are down to 1 the character is neutralized.

Our Immortal Q card for round 2 is Q’s Peace, the reverse of the card from the previous round. This time, attacks in Q’s line of sight are at a disadvantage, and skill rolls are at an advantage. I get to place the Q miniature again, and this time I put him right in the cental corridor where he can see most of the action. It has become clear that my opponent’s missions are all about attacking, so Q should do nothing but help me and hinder her. Any player can use one of a character’s actions to attempt to move Q to a different space on the board, but it’s a slight risk: that player rolls a die, on a 4 or better they can move Q, but on a 1 their oppoent gets to move him.

I manage to get some more missions done, and collect some intel tokens from the board. These are unique to the Romulan faction and will give me bonus points at the end of the game. Meanwhile, the Klingons are whittling down my forces — I haven’t lost anyone yet, but the damage is making all my characters less effective. However, my opponent doesn’t appear to be scoring many missions, and I am way ahead on points.

Game 2: Q-liens

For the final round we draw Q-Pid for our Immortal Q card, which interferes with one of the game’s more interesting concepts: backup. Under normal circumstances, if you have two friendly characters in the same space on the board, they give each other backup, adding one extra die to each other’s attack, defense and skill rolls. My opponent used it to great effect in our previous game, with Sulu and Leslie tag-teaming my Borg drones. Now, however, it’s as if Q saw what she was doing and wants to put a stop to it. The Q-Pid card makes it so that any character with backup rolls two fewer dice instead of one extra, so we have to be careful about placing our characters and make sure to spread out as much as possible.

Be careful Kurak, Q is watching...Be careful Kurak, Q is watching...

I’m at a bit of a loss for what to do on the final round. I’ve drawn two Assassination missions, which score if I take out one of my opponent’s characters, no easy feat as the Klingons tend to have high defense values. The other doable mission I have requires me to get two of my characters to terminals in Sickbay, clear on the other side of the board. To make matters worse, in order to get my characters there they will have to cross the main corridor, which is swarming with trigger happy Klingons.

Gowron has taken a little damage so I single him out as my assassination target, softening him up with the Q-liens before sending Sela herself in for the kill. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite able to make it happen, but I did get the two Romulan technicians over to sickbay to score a 30 point mission. The game ends with 140 points for the Romulans and 70 for the Klingons. This time around, the Q elements had a much more interesting impact on the game — moving and attacking with the Q-liens was an important part of both of our strategies, and making use of the Q miniature’s position was pretty critical.

Game 1: Just Playing With Q

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The first game follows the normal setup and rules, with Q adding a bit of chaos in the form of a random Immortal Q card drawn at the beginning of each round. Additionally, at the end of the game each player rolls a die and consults a chart that will adjust their score either up or down depending entirely on chance. That’s Q for you…

The stage is set.The stage is set.

We’ve decided to choose our first match-up randomly from the available away teams, with one exception: we’re saving Kirk vs Picard for last, so we can finally settle that question once and for all. Our first game will be me playing Locutus and the Borg vs. my opponent playing Scotty’s team, which includes Sulu, Uhura and the ubiquitous Mr. Leslie.

Our Immortal Q card for round 1 is Mis-Q, which allows each player to place an opponent’s character in any empty space on the board, then pick a different opposing character to start the round with a Stun token (which takes one of that character’s two actions for the turn to remove). Additionally, each player has to discard a random mission card, so if either of us was placing our characters with a particular mission in mind, those plans might go up in smoke. It’s possibly not the most interesting card to draw for the first round of the game, since we won’t really have been working towards any particular goals yet. On top of that, the Borg start with only two of their six characters on the board, with the rest showing up on rounds 2 and 3.

From here it’s a normal game of Away Missions. Gerry and Justin did a good Let’s Play for the game, but in short: players take turns activating characters one at a time. Each character can do two actions: move, attack, take cover, or a special action, usually related to solving a mission. Missions are how you get points, with most of them involving going to a certain type of terminal space on the board and then passing a skill test.

In this case, our game highlights the strength of the Federation faction and the weaknesses of the Borg. The Borg are incredibly slow; their movement rate is only two (as opposed to every other character’s 4), and as mentioned above they start the game with only two characters in play. The game does make up for this with Bonus Action tokens — at the beginning of each round, the player with fewer characters on the board gets Bonus Action tokens equal to the difference. Each Bonus Action can be spent to give any one of your characters an extra action, even if they’ve already taken their turn this round. But they can’t be saved up between rounds, so it’s use them or lose them.

Normally Away Missions is focused on mission solving rather than combat, especially for the Federation, but my opponent has decided to demonstrate the difference between the cowboys of the original series and the diplomats of the Next Generation by coming out guns blazing. Sulu and Leslie quickly move into action and take out one of my Borg drones. It’s especially tragic as this drone had been outfitted with an equipment card that makes Engineering tests easier, and the mission I was going for is an Engineering mission.

Mr. Leslie shoots first and doesn't bother with the questions.Mr. Leslie shoots first and doesn't bother with the questions.

The rest of the game unfolds in a similar fashion. Our round two Immortal Q card changes all the terminal types, making us scramble to get where we need to be to solve our missions. I get to add two more Borg to the board, but my opponent is using her away team extremely well; Scotty and Uhura are hiding out on the bridge solving missions, while Sulu and Leslie are on the offensive, picking off my Borg drones one by one.

The Borg corpses are piling up...The Borg corpses are piling up...

At the start of round 3 (games of Away Missions only go for three rounds), our Immortal Q card lets us each recover a damage from one of our characters, plus we each get two Bonus Action tokens. I get to drop two more Borg Drones in, so I decide to go on the offensive myself in what will turn out to be a vain attempt to assimiliate the bridge, a “go somewhere and pass a test” mission that requires 5 total successes over multiple actions and/or turns. Along the way I take a swipe at Scotty, since if I can deal him enough damage he’ll be assimilated as a drone, and provide me with another character to use. No luck though, Scotty manages to elude my grasp.

Scotty refuses to be assimilated.Scotty refuses to be assimilated.

The game ends in crushing defeat for the Borg. We both roll a “1” on the score adjustment chart, which forces each of us to discard our highest-scoring mission. This leaves us with a final score of 65 for my opponent’s Federation and a paltry 15 for my Borg. In this case I don’t think the wrinkles provided by Q had all that much effect on the game, other than a somewhat arbitrary change to the score at the end that couldn’t really be planned for.

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