RR #52: Unscientific Method | openCards

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RR #52: Unscientific Method

    Unscientific Method

    As part of his plan to steal the newly developed metaphasic shield technology, Jo'Bril sabotaged the initial testing, faked his own death and killed the inventor.

    Dilemma Dilemma - Dual dilemma Dual

    Assassin kills most CUNNING SCIENCE personnel present who does not have Greed or Treachery. To get past requires CUNNING > 24 remaining.

    Characteristics: killer dilemma, wall dilemma.

    Card logging info: Logged by openCards team at May 1st, 2009.

    Unscientific Method

    This Card-Review article was written by Kathy McCracken and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Jun 4th, 1998.

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

    Aefvadh! Having looked at the new MEDICAL- and ENGINEER hosers in the OTSD, we move on to the third in the trio: the SCIENCE hoser. (At least there wasn't one for SECURITY.)


    Things are looking increasingly bleak. The MEDICAL got taken to another planet, but could be rescued indefinitely; the ENGINEER didn't go far but you had a limited time before he got put out of play; and now the SCIENCE just gets summarily killed. And there's not even any way out of it, short of having no qualifying SCIENCE present.

    While bearing a superficial similarity to Hippocratic Oath and Make Us Go, this dilemma is actually quite different in its effects and resolution. The crucial difference is that it has no conditions for the effect on the SCIENCE personnel. Whereas the other dilemmas act as walls ("To get past") unless you overcome them by sending your MEDICAL or ENGINEER to help the aliens (that's the condition), Unscientific Method offers no conditions for avoiding its initial bad effect. If you have any SCIENCE personnel present who do not have Treachery or Greed, the most CUNNING dies.

    Now, if that was all the dilemma said, it would get discarded after it had done its work (no conditions = discarded). However, it has another sentence after you've disposed of the body. This part is the wall dilemma; you must have CUNNING >24 left to get past. So if you don't have the CUNNING, it goes back under the mission. On your next mission attempt, you face the entire dilemma again: a SCIENCE gets killed (if present), and then you check for CUNNING left.

    Let's look at an example. I attempt a mission with Dr. Telek R’Mor (CUNNING 7), Taibak (8, Treachery) and Mirok (8), plus two non-Scientists with total CUNNING of 15. Mirok dies, leaving a total CUNNING of 30. This death does not stop my Away Team; only failing to overcome conditions does that. I have enough CUNNING to pass the last part of the dilemma, so it is discarded and the Away Team continues.

    Take the same situation, except there is only one-non-Scientist with CUNNING of 8. Now, the total remaining CUNNING after Mirok's untimely death is only 23. They are stopped, and the dilemma goes back under the mission.

    On my next attempt (with more CUNNING added), I had better remove Telek R'Mor from the Away Team or crew, or else he will die when I encounter the dilemma again. Taibak is safe because he has Treachery. If I think I may need two SCIENCE, I can add Jo'Bril, Tallera, or Galen. Assuming I have CUNNING >24, I pass the dilemma and discard it.

    What happens if I attempt the mission with no SCIENCE (or only Treacherous, Greedy SCIENCE), and still have less than 25 CUNNING? All that I have done is remove the potential "target" of the dilemma. No one gets killed, but I can't discard the dilemma; the absence of a target does not affect what happens to the dilemma. Only if I have CUNNING >24 have I passed the wall portion of the dilemma and can (must) continue.

    Interestingly, holograms are quite useful against this dilemma. It's perfectly acceptable for a holographic SCIENCE (Einstein or Sir Isaac, who will certainly be the most CUNNING) to be "killed" by this dilemma, deactivating of course until your next turn. Don't forget also that if your most CUNNING SCIENCE happens to be one of your Tricorder-toting ENGINEERS, he's going to drop dead (but at least leaving the Tricorder behind for someone else to use).

    This is a real toughie for Feds! They have no SCIENCE with Treachery or Greed. They can't use Galen. So unless they're playing with one of the holos, Etana Jol (yeah, right), Jo'Bril (is this likely, with Data and Geordi around?), or both Ira Graves and Kareen Brianon, either someone gets killed, or they have to go into the next dilemma without any SCIENCE. Which probably means someone (maybe everyone) will get killed.

    The Borg are also in trouble, since they have no inherent Treachery or Greed. Probably they will pass the CUNNING wall, but not before they have lost someone. Beware of this at space missions if you risk keeping your Borg Queen (FC) (or Locutus) on the scouting ship. With skill-sharing, she will surely have SCIENCE.

    Klingons could have problems. Your best SCIENCE, Kitrik and Kurak, are both 7, higher than any other Klingon SCIENCE. If you use Dr. Reyga to provide Stellar Cartography (a common thing for Klingon space decks), his CUNNING is 9 so, quite appropriately, he will be lost.

    That leaves the Romulans. Interestingly, they don't have all that many Treacherous scientists, but Tallera and Galen fit so well into a Romulan Treachery deck that even if you first lose someone, you are quite likely to be able to pass a SCIENCE-requiring dilemma even after the initial loss. If you use Mirok or Dr. Reyga as backups to Telek R'Mor, either of them in your crew will protect R'Mor, who is honorable but not quite as swift as some of the other Romulans (and considerably less smart than the Ferengi, it would seem). Any decently equipped Romulan Away Team or crew should be able to pass the CUNNING requirement with ease.

    The Major's Combos:

    • Unscientific Method + Interphasic Plasma Creatures: Maybe you have one SCIENCE with Treachery, but how likely are you to have two?
    • Unscientific Method + Hippocratic Oath + Barclay’s Protomorphosis Disease: Need I say more?
    • Unscientific Method + Iconian Computer Weapon: This could be just plain annoying.