RR #81: Captain on the Bridge | openCards

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RR #81: Captain on the Bridge

    This Strategy-Note article was written by Kathy McCracken (aka Major Rakal) and was published first on "Decipher's Website (decipher.com)" at Sep 25th, 1999.

    This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:

    Aefvadh! In the beginning (more or less), there was Captain’s Log. It gave your ships a nice WEAPONS and SHIELDS enhancement if you had aboard the captain mentioned in the ship's lore. But that was the only such benefit available, and the vagaries of the existing ships' lores resulted in Jean-Luc Picard (Prem) not being able to benefit the U.S.S. Enterprise. In time, this evolved into the more generic concept of a "matching commander," with more useful cards tied to the concept. Let's take a look at the benefits and pitfalls of having a...


    What makes someone the matching commander of a ship? Very simply, if the ship lore or the personnel lore says that a specific personnel is (or was) the captain or commander of a specific ship, you have a matching commander for that ship.

    The language has to be pretty specific. If a ship's lore says the captain was Jean-Luc Picard, then only a card named Jean-Luc Picard will do (but either one, Premiere or First Contact). Even though Galen is another version of the Jean-Luc Picard persona, his card title is not Jean-Luc Picard, so Galen is not the matching commander for the U.S.S. Stargazer. (Quite aside from the fact that Galen does not work with Affiliation Federation - even if he's Brainwashed, or you Memory Wipe the ship, he isn't the matching commander). And Admiral Picard, an instance of a different persona, doesn't qualify for the Stargazer either.

    You can't go by "common knowledge" either. Even though "everyone knows" that Riker commanded the Enterprise when Picard was abducted by the Borg, neither Riker's lore nor that of the Enterprise says he commanded the ship. So William T. Riker (Prem) does not qualify under the matching commander rule. Likewise, while "everyone knows" that the Decius was an illusionary ship that was commanded by the illusionary Ambassador Tomalak, and not the "real" Tomalak, the Decius' lore states that it is "Commanded by Tomalak" - and so the "real" Tomalak qualifies as its matching commander according to the rule (so does Ambassador Tomalak, by his own lore).

    And even though premiere Jean-Luc Picard later became the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise-E, premiere Jean-Luc says only that he was the "Captain... of the U.S.S. Enterprise," while First Contact Jean-Luc says that he was "Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise-E." You have to go by the specific ship name listed in each one's lore, and they can't "switch places" as matching commanders for those ships.

    With a couple of specific exceptions listed in the Glossary, the relevant lore must use some form of the words "captain" or "commander" (e.g., "under the command of," "commanded" or "captained"). Some terms that don't qualify someone as a matching commander are "used to transport Gowron" (I.K.C. Buruk), "carried Governor Torak" (I.K.C. Qu’Vat) and "used by traders such as Kivas Fajo" (Zibalian Transport).

    Those exceptions? "Gowron's flagship" (I.K.C. Bortas) is defined to mean "flagship commanded by Gowron," and the Tama (AU)'s lore "Dathon, speaking first" is Tamarian for "commanded by Dathon."

    Now that we know who qualifies as a matching commander, what are the benefits of using them? First, you can download a matching commander directly aboard his ship with...

    Ready Room Door
    Doorway, Uncommon
    Once per turn, plays to download to one of your ships its matching commander (draw no cards this turn) OR to download one Captain's Order (Captain's Log, Lower Decks, Yellow Alert, Senior Staff Meeting or any card so marked.) After use, discard doorway; place it atop your draw deck; or place it atop one of your Captain's Order events to protect that event from nullification.

    Not only does this quickly get your personnel in play by downloading, you can recycle the doorway by putting it back on your draw deck to draw on your next turn. As long as you can get the appropriate ships into play, your matching commanders are only a doorway away. (Romulan Review #37 has a full review of this card.)

    Next, a pair of events enhance all your ships that have their matching commanders aboard. The text given for Captain's Log is the official errata.

    Captain's Log
    Event, Uncommon
    Plays on table. Each of your ships with its matching commander aboard is SHIELDS +3 and WEAPONS +3. (Not cumulative.)

    Defiant Dedication Plaque
    Event, Rare
    Plays on table. Each of your ships with its matching commander aboard is RANGE +2, or RANGE +3 if ship is Defiant class. (Not cumulative. Captain's Order.)

    What ship wouldn't benefit mightily from an additional 3 WEAPONS and SHIELDS or an extra 2 or 3 RANGE? Whether you're going into battle or traveling to far-away missions, these cards plus your matching commanders will make the job easier. Because each is a Captain's Order, you can use the same Ready Room Door that you used to download the commanders to download one of the events, and then protect it from Kevin with the doorway.

    These two cards are the ones that are most affected by the rule that a ship may only "benefit from one matching commander at a time." Several ships have more than one eligible matching commander. For example, the U.S.S. Defiant's lore says it is "Captained by Benjamin Sisko," while First Contact Worf (Prem)'s lore calls him the "Klingon commander of U.S.S. Defiant." So either can act as the matching commander of the Defiant. You may even have both of them aboard the ship, but Defiant Dedication Plaque will still give you only +3 SHIELDS. The only exception so far is the Cha’Joh, which says it can benefit from two matching commanders (because its commanders are Lursa and B’Etor or the Sisters of Duras - the good sisters like to work together).

    Finally, a new entry in the matching commander sweepstakes:

    Picard Maneuver
    Tactic, Rare
    If matching commander aboard your ship, it appears to be in two places at once and has a 50/50 chance to avoid all damage this battle. Hit = Tactic flipTactic flip. Direct hit = Tactic flipTactic flipTactic flipTactic flip.

    While the DEFENSE bonus of this tactic is 0, all you need is your matching commander (who may have already boosted the SHIELDS by 3 with Captain's Log) to have a 50/50 chance of suffering no damage at all, regardless of how overmatched you may be.

    There is, so far, one potential hazard to heavy reliance on matching commanders.

    Abandon Mission
    Event, Rare
    Plays on any ship with its matching commander or any Enterprise E personnel aboard. Crew may not attempt missions or beam off. Nullified if ship battles. (Immune to Kevin Uxbridge.)

    On the off chance that your opponent might have a bunch of these in his deck, be aware that you could get badly stalled if every ship has a matching commander aboard. If you plan to battle anyway, you can laugh at this card, but for Federation it's a serious problem. (Of course, if you're using Enterprise E personnel you have nothing to lose from also using matching commanders.)

    But aside from this card, you have a host of benefits available in return for matching up your ships and their captains. With new ships and new captains in the Blaze of Glory release, every affiliation except Dominion has a great selection to work with. Check my website for the complete list.

    The Major's Combo:

    • Ready Room Door + Captain's Log + Picard Maneuver: Download the captains and the Captain's Log, then prepare for battle. Your WEAPONS and SHIELDS are beefed up and there's only a 50/50 chance you will sustain any damage anyway.