RR #85: Assign Mission Specialists
Assign Mission Specialists
Seeds or plays on table. You may download to one of your outposts up to two different mission specialists (personnel whose only skill is a regular skill) that you do not already have in play. Also, while in play, each of your mission specialists scores 5 points whenever they use their skill to meet a mission requirement. You may voluntarily discard objective at start of any of your turns. (Unique.)
Textual description about 5X bonus points (you score points, when you play or use this card).
Rule hint for this card
This card has an erratum:
This card is no longer a Captain's Order card. The download must be to one of your outposts. Clarification "mission specialist".
Game text before errata: "Seeds or plays on table. You may download to one outpost up to two different mission specialists that you do not already have in play. Also, while in play, each of your mission specialists scores 5 points whenever they use thier skill to meet a mission requirement. You may voluntarily discard objective at start of any of your turns. (Captain's Order. Unique.)"Taken form Glossary - Version 1.9.2.
This card has an clarification:
This objective has two effects. First, it allows a one-time download of two mission specialists to an outpost (not to any other type of facility). If you choose to use the optional download, you must do so immediately upon seeding or playing the objective. (The mission specialists are not seed cards.) If you wish to play another Assign Mission Specialists later to download two more specialists, you must first discard the one in play at the start of your turn. (See unique and universal.)
If the download of the mission specialists is prevented by the activation of Computer Crash, the objective remains in play on the table for its second function. The download opportunity is permanently lost.
Second, while you have any Assign Mission Specialists card in play, any mission specialists you have in play (regardless of whether downloaded or played normally) score 5 points when using their skill to complete a mission. You decide which of your personnel present use their skills to meet mission requirements. Multiple copies of the same mission specialist may not score points for the same mission, even if multiples of that skill are required. See cumulative.
For example, the mission Reported Activity requires Navigation + Honor x2. It is solved by the following Away Team: mission specialists B’iJik (Navigation), Konmel (Navigation), Kahless (Honor x2), and two copies of Batrell (Honor), plus non-mission specialist Governor Worf (Honor x2 plus other skills). A maximum of 15 extra points may be scored (5 by Kahless, 5 by one copy of Batrell, and 5 by either B’iJik or Konmel, but not both). Kahless is not forced to meet the entire Honor x2 by himself, nor is Governor Worf required to use his Honor at all.
A skill with a multiplier, such as Honor x2, is one skill. Any special skill, including a special download, disqualifies a personnel from being a mission specialist. For example, Tarus (Stellar Cartography) and Kahless (Honor x2) are both mission specialists. John Doe, whose only skill is a special skill, and Madam Guinan, who has two skills (one regular and one special), are not mission specialists.
You cannot create a mission specialist by removing skills from a multi-skilled personnel (e.g., with Tsiolkovsky Infection). If a card replaces a mission specialist’s single skill with another regular skill (e.g., Reflection Therapy), that personnel remains a mission specialist. If a personnel loses mission specialist status due to a card such as a Medical Kit or Mot's Advice, he regains it if separated from the kit or if the card is nullified.Taken form Glossary - Version 1.9.2.
This Card-Review was written by Kathy McCracken and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Oct 24th, 1999.
This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:
- Previous "Romulan Review" (# 84): "RR #84: A Little Romulan Disruption".
- Next "Romulan Review" (# 86): "RR #86: R'Mal & Mopak".
Aefvadh! I'm going to take a brief break from Blaze of Glory reviews to review a card that's almost two years old. It's still very much in use for most affiliations, despite the eventual errata that removed its Captain's Order status...
ASSIGN MISSION SPECIALISTS
Just what is a mission specialist? It's not something you will see designated in a personnel's lore (like species), or an icon (like the Maquis icon). The term is defined in the Glossary and depends on a personnel's skills. A mission specialist is a personnel who has only one skill of any kind, and that one skill has to be a regular skill (not a special skill).
A regular skill is a one- or two-word skill of the kind you typically use for solving missions or passing dilemmas, such as Treachery, Archaeology or Tal Shiar x2. A special skill is either a special download icon skill ( Prisoner Escort), or a skill that is expressed as a sentence or phrase, such as, "Once each turn, may download Brainwash here" or "Where present, Romulans without Treachery are INTEGRITY +1."
So if a personnel has more than one skill (regardless of the kind of skill, and whether they are printed on the card or added with equipment etc.), he's not a mission specialist. For example, if you play Mot’s Advice on a mission specialist, he now has two skills and loses his MS status. If a personnel has any special skills at all (even if it's his only skill), he's not a mission specialist. Furthermore, you can't "create" a mission specialist. If a personnel has more than one skill to start with, and you take some of them away with a dilemma such as Tsiolkovsky Infection, he's still not a mission specialist.
On the other hand, if you change a mission specialist's skill to a different skill, with Reflection Therapy or a dilemma, for example, he remains a mission specialist. And note that a so-called "double" or "triple" skill, such as Kahless' Honor x2, is still one skill. Let's look at a few examples of people who are and are not mission specialists.
- Parem (Treachery)
- Kahless (Honor x2)
- Kahless with Reflection Therapy (Honor x2 becomes Diplomacy)
- Kahless with Vantika’s Neural Pathways (Honor x2 lost, Treachery x2 gained)
NOT Mission Specialists - and why
- Tomalak (Diplomacy, Leadership) - has two skills
- Parem with Medical Kit (Treachery, MEDICAL) - has two skills
- T’Pan (SCIENCE, Mindmeld) - has two skills (Mindmeld is errata; it was added in the beta print run and applies to all T'Pans, even the alpha versions)
- Kova Tholl (Scores bonus points if killed by an attack in which you do not retaliate, Diplomacy) - has two skills
- Kova Tholl with Tsiolkovsky Infection (Diplomacy) - cannot "create" a mission specialist
- John Doe (Once per turn, may prevent one other personnel from being killed on a ship where present) - his one skill is a special skill
- John Doe with Rascals (Youth) - cannot "create" a mission specialist
- K’chiQ (When reporting for duty, select any one skill. May change that skill at the start of each of your turns.) - has a special skill; the selected regular skill does not "replace" her special skill, but is added to her skills box
- 10 (Computer Skill x2, Any Bynars card) - has two skills
- 01 (Nullifies all Computer Crash cards in play) - his one skill is a special skill
Now that we know what a mission specialist is, let's see what Assign Mission Specialists can do with them. AMS has two distinct effects: it allows downloads of mission specialist personnel, and it lets you score bonus points with them. Let's look at the download mechanics first, as there are separate considerations for seed phase and play phase downloads.
Seeding AMS (seed phase):
Because AMS has no hidden agenda icon, you must seed it face up. If you want to use the download (and you might as well if you're going to use a seed slot), you have to do it right away - there is no provision in the text for doing it later. That means you have to have an outpost in play, so seeding AMS is effectively restricted to the facility phase (although you could seed it during any phase if you want to forego the download). And only an outpost will do: stations and headquarters are not included. One important point to note is that this download is (1) to a "specific destination" (one of your outposts) and (2) allowed by a card other than a facility or site. That means you can download the specialists to your outpost in either quadrant, regardless of whether the personnel card or the outpost is native to the quadrant.
Where do the downloaded mission specialists come from? Are they seed cards? No, it doesn't say you seed them, so they can't be seed cards. Like any download, they come from one of the four places you may download cards from: your draw deck, Q’s Tent, hand or Zalkonian Storage Capsule. Since you don't have a hand during the seed phase (and cannot have a ZSC in play at that time), they must come from your Tent or draw deck. There's no point in using valuable Tent slots for cards that you will download during the seed phase; put them in your draw deck.
The most important benefit from using a seed slot for an AMS is the fact that the download cannot be Computer Crashed. Hidden agendas may not be activated during the seed phase, so there is no way for your opponent to prevent you from making this download. But because AMS is marked "Unique," and is not a hidden agenda itself, you cannot seed more than one of them, so your protection from Computer Crash is limited to that one.
Playing AMS (play phase):
The download is not an ongoing effect - AMS doesn't let you download more specialists each turn, just once, when the card is seeded or played. However, you can get another download on any turn during the game by playing another AMS (using your normal card play). The "Unique" designation means you have to discard the one on the table at the start of your turn (as allowed by its game text) before you may play another one.
Because this is the play phase, you are now vulnerable to Computer Crash. When you initiate the download (choose your target cards), your opponent may now activate a Computer Crash, preventing the download. CC can't keep you from playing the AMS card - AMS does not require a download, so CC is not a valid response to playing AMS. So if you have discarded an AMS from the table at the start of your turn, you won't be left with no AMS in play just when you wanted to score bonus points. But CC is a valid response to the attempted download itself. The downloading opportunity is lost permanently, because it has to be done when the card is played or not at all.
Just one other point about the two downloaded personnel: they have to be different personnel (you can't download two copies of R'Mal), and you must not already have copies of them in play (once you have a R'Mal in play, whether you downloaded him or played him normally, you can't download another copy with AMS unless the first one gets killed).
Scoring points (and other benefits):
Now, just why would you want all these single-skilled personnel, anyway? For one thing, you can get important skills (and the classifications, which come along for the ride) into play quickly and reliably. Download Takket and Mopak in the seed phase, and you have not only Biology and Exobiology on hand, but also MEDICAL and SECURITY, two key personnel types for passing dilemmas, and even a Command and Staff star for staffing your first ship. Use them as the core of your Away Team, or redshirt them.
The other benefit is the "ongoing" text on the AMS card: if you use a mission specialist's skill (not his classification) to help solve a mission, you score 5 bonus points. It doesn't matter whether you downloaded the specialist with the AMS you have on the table now, or with a previous AMS that has since been discarded, or played him normally. As long as you have an AMS on the table, all your mission specialists who used their skills to solve the mission score points. Five points doesn't sound like much, but careful mission (and specialist) choices can add up in a hurry. The last combo below illustrates this well.
On my website you will find a list of all mission specialists to date, arranged by affiliation. Their skills and classifications are listed for easy reference.
The Major's Combos:
- Assign Mission Specialists + Spacedoor: Download two specialists during the seed phase to staff the universal ship you download on turn one.
- Assign Mission Specialists + Hunt for DNA Program + R'Mal x3 + Palteth + Mopak + Tallus: Every one of this mission's skill requirements can be met by a Romulan mission specialist, for 30 bonus points on top of the mission's 55 points.