This !type article was written by Kathy McCracken (aka Major Rakal) and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Apr 1st, 1998.
This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:
- Previous "Romulan Review" (# 41): "RR #41: The ups and downs of downloading".
- Next "Romulan Review" (# 43): "RR #43: Assimilating Homeworlds for fun and profit - part 2".
Aefvadh! A few reviews back, we looked at Assimilate Planet, a 25-point Borg objective that can wreak havoc on your mission-solving plans if the Borg get to your missions first. This time we'll look at the first part of another Borg strategy, one that involves (usually) the combination of two objectives, nets the Borg anywhere from 40 to 70 points, and can effectively eliminate you from the game. Sounds nasty, doesn't it? Come along and observe the Borg strategy of...
ASSIMILATING HOMEWORLDS FOR FUN AND PROFIT: PART 1
Before you can assimilate a homeworld, first you need a "counterpart." A counterpart is a male of the affiliation whose homeworld you wish to assimilate. You can't just assimilate him as a drone in the ordinary way (with a Talon Drone); he must be assimilated according to the Assimilate Counterpart objective.
Plays on table. Target an opponent's unique male personnel. Your Borg may beam to and battle target's crew or Away Team. One of your Borg who engages target in combat may abduct target. If target is occupying an Assimilation Table, you may probe:
,,: Assimilated as a counterpart. Place on target. Worth
5 points per while objective on target.
Like most Borg objectives, this one is a Hidden Agenda, so you play it face down and turn it up only when you wish to activate it. In this case, there are two excellent reasons why you may not wish - or be able to - turn it up immediately. First, when you activate it, you must immediately target your opponent's unique male personnel; and if you want to assimilate a homeworld, it must be an affiliated personnel matching a homeworld on the spaceline. If he has no unique males in play, you cannot activate this objective. Second, it is to your advantage not to tip your hand to your opponent as to whom you want to target - or even that you plan to abduct a counterpart - until you have maneuvered to a position where you can engage him in battle. If you tell him your intentions too early, he may endeavour to get that personnel killed by a dilemma (if the target is killed at any time, your objective must be discarded), or alternatively, to abandon him, making it easy for you to abduct him but possibly thwarting your plans to inflict battle damage on him.
Once you have targeted the prospective counterpart, your objective allows you to beam any number of drones (you aren't scouting) to the target's location (you must have a Transport Drone to let you beam through his SHIELDS, if he is on a ship or outpost) and initiate battle with his crew or Away Team. You will want a large enough Away Team to guarantee that the counterpart will have to face one of your Borg in personal combat; otherwise, you cannot abduct him and risk having him killed at the end of the battle. The moment one of your Borg engages the target in combat, he may abduct him, removing the target and the escort from the battle, and if possible, beaming back to the Borg ship, where they will be stopped. Finish off the personnel battle, and everyone else will be stopped.
After you have abducted the target, your Borg no longer have any motivation for battling the opponent unless he counterattacks on his turn. You will probably want to beam your Borg back to your ship on your following turn.
Next you place the abducted target on an Assimilation Table, a Borg Only equipment card that you could have aboard your ship, though you may prefer to have it on your outpost in the Delta Quadrant. The relevant game text says "Holds one personnel (occupant killed if table destroyed)." Aboard your ship, it could be destroyed by an untimely Disruptor Overload, killing the counterpart you just abducted. To make it easy to get your Assimilation Table, have a Procurement Drone, who may download Borg Only equipment cards. Once the target is on the Assimilation Table, you can start to probe to complete the objective. The probe requirements are liberal: any one of the subcommand icons, anywhere on the probe card, means a successful probe.
When the probe is successful, place the objective card on the target to indicate that he has been assimilated as a counterpart. The objective is worth 5 points for each red skill dot icon on the counterpart, but only while the objective is on the counterpart; if he is killed or you turn him into a drone with He Will Make An Excellent Drone, you lose the points. Your new counterpart has all three subcommand icons in place of his previous staff icon, his STRENGTH increases by 3, and he retains his normal INTEGRITY and CUNNING. He also keeps his gender, species, and lore, but otherwise is transformed as a drone would be.
Sounds like a lot of trouble? If you have Locutus of Borg, he is already an "assimilated counterpart" (according to his lore) and may be used to assimilate the Federation homeworld, Earth. If your intention is to disrupt the timeline, that may be the easiest way to acquire your counterpart, eliminating one step from that lengthy procedure (which I will look at in a later review). But Locutus does not give you points like Assimilate Counterpart does; and if your opponent is not playing Federation, and you want to cause him the maximum grief by assimilating his homeworld, you'll have to assimilate one of his personnel for your counterpart.
How do you select a counterpart target? Obviously, he must match the affiliation of the homeworld you want to assimilate. If he has more than one affiliation icon, you may use that counterpart to assimilate both homeworlds. So far, that strategy is limited to Stefan DeSeve, with whom you could assimilate both Earth and Romulus. The other considerations are his skills (might as well get someone with skills useful to your hive) and the number of skill dot icons he has (5 points each).
Suppose you are playing one of the traditional affiliations and meet a Borg opponent who is bent on assimilating one of your personnel as a counterpart. What are your defenses?
- Use female, universal, and non-aligned personnel.
- If you know his intentions, stay away from him and don't get the target caught in a stopped Away Team. Cloak your ship.
- Use the target as a red shirt and get him killed by a dilemma. With his named target dead, your opponent will be forced to discard his objective and play another. He can't just choose another target.
- When he beams aboard your ship, use Launch Portal to help the target escape.
- If he engages you in combat, play Prepare Assault Teams and hope that he chooses the wrong team to engage.
- Cancel the battle by sacrificing a hologram with I'm A Doctor, Not A Doorstop.
- If the target is engaged and abducted, play Mercy Kill to kill the target and again, discard his objective.
- On your turn, after the personnel battle, move away from his ship (with his stopped Borg still aboard), perhaps depriving him of adequate staffing to move a Borg Cube.
- If he keeps his assimilation table aboard his ship to avoid a trip back to his outpost, destroy it with a Disruptor Overload.
Next time, we'll look at part 2 of the strategy, the Assimilate Homeworld objective.