RR #91: Kukalaka
This Card-Review was written by Kathy McCracken and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Dec 16th, 1999.
This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:
- Previous "Romulan Review" (# 90): "RR #90: Understanding Artifacts".
- Next "Romulan Review" (# 92): "RR #92: Continuing Committee".
Aefvadh! When I first started playing STCCG and settled on the Romulans as my favorite affiliation, it was not without trepidation at the thought of Firestorms, Alien Parasites and the Q dilemma. The Federation could compensate for their relatively low STRENGTH with phasers; the Klingons could make up for their dim-wittedness with PADDS. But the poor Romulans, with their abysmal INTEGRITY, were left high and dry. Oh, the universals could be boosted +2 with Lower Decks (if you didn't shuffle it to the bottom of your deck in those pre-Tent days) - but that didn't help the uniques. It's taken five full years, but at long last we have an INTEGRITY booster for all our personnel, in a most unlikely guise - a teddy bear...
Unlike the common disruptors and PADDs, this little guy is rare, but since he's also unique, you're only going to have one in play at a time, so it's not like you'll be needing a toybox full in your deck. Of course, this also means that he's less versatile than the disruptors and PADDS, which not only can be used in multiple Away Teams or crews but also are cumulative. Still, it's amazing what just a +2 INTEGRITY boost can do for your Away Team.
There are no dilemmas that penalize low individual STRENGTH or CUNNING as thoroughly as Firestorm penalizes low individual INTEGRITY. No matter what your total INTEGRITY may be, for Firestorm it's only the individual that counts, with anyone less than 5 getting toasted. That means Kukalaka will save nearly all your Romulans. More reliable than Emergency Transporter Armbands (and more cuddly).
When it comes to building total INTEGRITY to pass that Q dilemma or thwart the Alien Parasites, Kukalaka will kep you from needing a massive Away Team. With the average Romulan INTEGRITY around 5 or less (I haven't calculated it lately), you'd need a dozen personnel to pass Q; but brandish your stuffed bear at the omnipotent one and suddenly nine will be plenty. And you need have no fear of Alien Parasites, because five personnel and their bear should get you through.
Somewhat incongruously, our stuffed friend also limits Brain Drains and Going to the Tops to one per turn per player. I'm not sure exactly what the connection is between interphasic "leeches", going over your superior's head and a teddy bear... but it helps to curb a couple of annoying strategies, so I'm not complaining.
Clearly, the Bajorans have the easiest time using Kukalaka, with Leeta able to download him and also increasing the INTEGRITY enhancement to +3, and the Federation is next with Julian also downloading him. But the true beneficiaries of this unusual piece of "equipment" are the Romulans. Kukalaka will be as much a staple in my Romulan decks as Major Rakal from now on.
The Major's Combo:
- Kukalaka + Romulans: How many times have you rejected an otherwise valuable Romulan for your deck because his INTEGRITY was too low to pass muster? Include a teddy in your crew and just about everyone can make the cut, so you can pick for skills.