RR #47: Are Dilemmas relevant to the Borg?
This Strategy-Note was written by Kathy McCracken (aka Major Rakal) and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Apr 5th, 1998.
This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:
- Previous "Romulan Review" (# 46): "RR #46: Resistance is futile. Your personnel will be assimilated".
- Next "Romulan Review" (# 48): "RR #48: Resistance to Dilemmas is not futile".
Aefvadh! Dilemmas have been a burning question since the advent of First Contact Expansion. The most important question has been, how do dilemmas affect the Borg? What are they immune to? Today, let's examine the question...
ARE DILEMMAS RELEVANT TO THE BORG?
First, a few basic principles. With a few exceptions, dilemmas affect the Borg just as they affect any affiliation. All the basic rules for dilemmas described in the FAQ - triggers, targets, conditions, cures, stopping, discarding - hold true for the Borg. (See my reviews #16, 17, and 40 for how those rules work and interpretation tables.) Deciding what effect the exceptions have is the tricky part. The exceptions revolve around the "irrelevancies" listed in the First Contact Expansion rules. Let's look at those irrelevancies and work through some examples. (The same principles apply to Q-icon cards encountered in a Q-Flash.)
Missions are irrelevant:
Since the Borg never attempt missions, but instead encounter dilemmas while scouting to complete objectives, parts of some dilemmas have no effect on the Borg. They aren't immune to these dilemmas, however; you must play out any dilemma referring to mission attempts in terms of what does apply to the Borg.
- Dead End. "Unless you have at least 50 points, cannot get past; place dilemma atop mission; it may not be attempted by a player with less than 50 points." The first part of this is a normal wall dilemma, which makes no mention of whether you encountered it during a mission attempt or while scouting. If you have 50 points, you passed it; discard the dilemma. If you don't, the scout or ship/crew who encountered it is stopped, but instead of returning the dilemma under the mission (as usual with a wall dilemma), you place it on top of the mission. That means it is never "encountered" again as a dilemma; it acts somewhat like a permanent event (though not nullifiable as an event). The final clause says the mission may not be attempted by a player with less than 50 points. Since you aren't attempting the mission, you are free to beam another scout down, or bring in another unstopped ship, and continue scouting the location immediately.
- Hyper-Aging. "Mission continues but entire Away Team is quarantined and dies at the end of your third full turn unless SCIENCE and 2 MEDICAL present by that time." The phrase "mission continues" is irrelevant to the resolution of this dilemma. The dilemma has no conditions, so it does not stop the Away Team; either a mission attempt or a scouting attempt would continue automatically. (Note that Strict Dress Code, which clearly applies to the Borg because you may sacrifice 2 personnel to prevent an opponent's choice kill, includes the same "Mission continues.")
Bonus points are irrelevant:
You can't score bonus points with Borg. Again, they aren't immune to points dilemmas; play out the dilemma normally, but without scoring points. If a dilemma would normally go to your "points pile," discard it (to the owner's discard pile) instead. If the card involves a choice, you must choose an option (if any) that is not points-related.
- A Borg ship encountering Cytherians must travel to the far end of the spaceline as usual, but will score no points upon arrival. Strategically placed Transwarp Network Gateways might allow you to make the trip quickly, but you may not build one while under the influence of the dilemma.
- Overcoming Barclay’s Protomorphosis Disease will save your Borg but score no points.
- Punishment Zone. "One Away Team member (random selection) is killed OR beam up that personnel at a penalty. Double penalty if Federation." As Borg, you must take the non-points choice, so you will always lose a personnel.
- Edo Probe. "Abandon mission attempt until any player has completed a different mission OR continue but lose points if you fail this turn." As usual, you must choose the non-points choice. However, all that choice does is instruct you to abandon the mission attempt. Since the Borg aren't attempting the mission, this doesn't bother them, and you can discard the dilemma and continue.
- Tarellian Plague Ship's "unless MEDICAL volunteers to permanently beam over (discarded) to Tarellians" is a condition for overcoming the dilemma, not a choice.
Gender is irrelevant:
Borg are immune to any gender-related text on dilemmas. If you encounter a Love Interest, Matriarchal Society, or Parallel Romance, discard it.
Names are irrelevant:
The names of personnel assimilated by your Borg (whether as drone or counterpart) are always irrelevant to the Borg. Lwaxana of Borg will not, unfortunately, get you past a Wind Dancer. However, if an assimilated personnel has a special skill that nullifies a dilemma, it still works normally: Dathon of Borg can nullify the El-Adrel Creature.
Species is (almost) irrelevant:
Except for counterparts, Borg pay no attention to species (or "biological distinctiveness"). Any dilemma that is triggered by a particular species (including androids) is discarded for lack of a trigger, unless you have assimilated a counterpart of that species. Any dilemma that targets a particular species will have no effect on drones (though they will still be stopped, if the dilemma has conditions that you don't overcome). If a species is immune to a dilemma, they lose thatimmunity when assimilated as a drone.
- Android Nightmares. "If android present, one non-android personnel (random selection) killed ... unless Empathy OR Dr. Soong present." Unless you have an android counterpart, discard this dilemma, as there is no android to trigger it. If you do have an android counterpart (and no Empathy), any drone-assimilated androids would be included in the selection pool for the random kill. (Because the dilemma has conditions, the Away Team will be stopped.)
- System-Wide Cascade Failure. "Mission continues but one android present (your choice) dies at end of this turn unless Dr. Soong OR Ira Graves present. Discard dilemma." Only an android counterpart could be targeted, though the Away Team will be stopped regardless.
- Androids are immune to Barclay's Protomorphosis Disease. An android assimilated as a counterpart will continue to be immune, but an android assimilated as a drone will be vulnerable.
A few things aren't irrelevant:
Finally, keep in mind that references to icons, classifications, and uniqueness are strictly interpreted.
- The Higher...The Q-er. "Unless CIVILIAN present, crew or Away Team must experience Q additional Q icon cards, where Q = number of personnel present with a Command star icon." Borg have no Command star icons, so this Q Interrupt will have no effect.
- Scottish Setter. "...That personnel's classification changes to ANIMAL." Borg have no classifications, so it cannot change.
- Rascals. "All unique crew members... are kids." Regular Borg drones are universal. The only Borg who could be affected by this dilemma are counterparts, and unique personnel assimilated as drones. The Borg Queen (FC) is "neither unique nor universal," so she can never be targeted by a dilemma specifying either.
In my next review, we'll look at how the Borg can overcome dilemmas, and how to best use dilemmas against the Borg.