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Subject: Tempus Impertinens: A Play / Session Report rss

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Omar Germino
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Bartlett
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This past Thursday, after delaying several times, a friend and I got a chance to sit down and play his copy of this game, which piqued my interest upon first seeing it. We played a standard 2-player game, in which we each drafted a fleet of total size 10. I played as the Klingons, and he played as the Federation.

What follows is my session report, in the form of a play. I start it off with a prologue with an attempt at explaining how ships from disparate periods appear together. I follow the play with a short discussion of my thoughts on the game. The report is replete with references to some of my favorite Star Trek moments. Fellow fans should recognize at least a few of them.


 mb Star Trek: Tempus Impertinens mb 

Earth Date: 23 Feb 2012


Act I — Prologue

mb Scene 1 : Enterprise Bridge

Captain's log, stardate 9529.2. USS Enterprise, James T. Kirk commanding. We are en route to Spacedock for decommissioning. However, I have made a short detour, as science officer Captain Spock has detected a temporal anomaly. I have chosen to investigate.

"That's close enough, Mr. Chekov. All stop."

"Aye, Captain. All stop."

"Spock, what do you make of it?"

"It is fascinating, Captain… unlike anything we have encountered before. Sensors cannot penetrate it, so I cannot determine its exact nature. I recommend caution at this stage."

"Hmm. Can we send a probe in to get a better look?"

"May I remind you, Captain, that our last probe was utilized in the battle at Khitomer?"

"Damn. Oh, remind me to include that in my report to Starfleet. A homing torpedo. Who would have thought?"

"Captain! I am reading exponential growth in the anomaly. It is expanding at a rapid rate."

"Mr. Chekov, back us away! Scotty! Give me warp speed now!"

"It's too late, Captain!"

mb Scene 2 : Voyager Bridge

Captain's log, stardate 54973.4. USS Voyager, Kathryn Janeway commanding. We are en route to a nebula in which Seven has detected multiple wormholes. With any luck, one of them will take us close to home.

"Our sensors are having trouble penetrating the nebula, Captain."

"Take us in closer, Mr. Paris."

"Captain, I am detecting a tritanium signature ahead."

"A ship?"

"Difficult to say. We should be coming up to it shortly."

"Uhh, Captain?"

"I see it, Harry. Borg cube! Tom, get us out of here!"

"Yes, ma'am!"

"Captain, I am getting another reading."

"A second cube?"

"Negative. A temporal distortion. Directly ahead."

"I'd rather take my chances with a temporal distortion than with a Borg cube, Mr. Tuvok…"

mb Scene 3 : Enterprise Bridge

"Mr. Chekov, damage report."

"All systems appear to be intact, Captain."

"Mr. Spock? The anomaly?"

"All traces of it are gone, Captain."

"Uhura, raise Starfleet Command. Let them know we've hit a bump, but we are proceeding to Spacedock."

"Sir, I am not receiving a response on any frequency."

"Captain, sensors indicate that we are no longer in the Khitomer system. Or, for that matter, anywhere in known space."

"Well that's damned peculiar."

"Vessel detected. Off the starboard bow. Unknown origin."

"Uhura, attempt to hail them. Mr. Chekov, be ready with shields and weapons. No telling how friendly they are."

mb Scene 4 : Voyager Bridge

"Captain, we are receiving a hail from the other ship… That's odd. It's a Starfleet frequency, but one that hasn't been used in fifty years."

"Put it on screen, Mr. Kim."

"This is Captain James T. Kirk of the Federation starship Enterprise. To whom am I speaking?"

"Captain Kirk, my name is Kathryn Janeway. I'm the captain of the Federation starship Voyager."

"Voyager? The only Voyager I know came back to Earth as a super-powerful probe. Your ship is unlike any Starfleet configuration I've seen."

"That's because we're from nearly one hundred years in what you would call the future."

"The future, you say? Well, it seems we've got some catching up to do."

"Indeed. Why don't you come aboard, and I'll fill you in."

"Captain, need I remind you of the dangers of timeline contamination?"

"Timeline? This is no time to argue about time. We simply don't have the time!"

"Seven?"

"Sorry, Captain. Perhaps I was channeling an echo from the Collective."



Initial Cast of Vessels

mb United Federation of Planets
 • USS Yeager
 • USS Voyager
 • USS Enterprise-A
 • USS Equinox
 • USS Yosemite

mb Klingon Empire
 • IKS Bortas
 • IKS Gr'oth
 • IKS Somraw
 • IKS QhonDoq



Act II — The Undiscovered Country

The Enterprise, having encountered the Voyager and three other Federation starships from across Starfleet's history—all of which were affected by the same mysterious temporal anomaly—has decided to set out exploring this unknown sector of space. The decision has been made to establish outposts, and possibly even colonies for further study.

Unbeknownst to Kirk and company, the temporal anomaly has also brought an armada of Klingon warships into this sector. The Klingon captains also decide to explore the area, so that it may be conquered for the glory of the Empire.

mb Scene 1 : Bortas Bridge

"Captain! Wormhole ahead."

"Good. Take note of its location. Once we find the other end, we may make use of it."

"Sir, why don't we just go into it now, and see where it takes us?"

"We are Klingons! We do not take bold risks!"

"Yes, sir." (sotto) "That makes no sense. I think the anomaly messed up his mind."

"Onward! Take the Somraw with us. We could use their sensors. Contact the Gr'oth. Have them lead the QhonDoq the other way."

mb Scene 2 : Voyager Bridge

"We've been at this for hours. All we've seen is empty space and nebulae."

"Mr. Paris, most of space is empty. The fact that we have encountered such a high concentration of nebulae is remarkable."

"Thank you, Tuvok."

"Captain, message from the Yeager. They stumbled across a black hole, but the Yosemite was able to help get them out."

"A black hole? That's probably the most exciting thing we've come across. Hail the Enterprise. Let's see if they've found anything worthwhile."

mb Scene 3 : Bortas Bridge

"Sir! Federation ship detected. Bearing one seven zero mark one. Three million kellicams! Ship identified as the Enterprise. Kirk's ship."

"Ah, good to see a friendly face in the area. Hail them."

"If I may interrupt? I am General Chang. I'm taking command of this ship. Belay that hail! Ready disruptors and shields!"

"General, we are at peace with the Federation. And where did you come from anyway? You're not from our time. In fact, you're not from any of our ships' times."

"Time is irrelevant! Now ready weapons and shields. I have a score to settle."



Act III — Until You've Heard It in the Original Klingon

mb Scene 1 : Enterprise Bridge

"I can see you, Kirk. Can you see me?"

"Actually, Chang, yes, I can. You aren't cloaked."

"Oh. Alright, then. It is an honorable battle on even terms."

"Chang, you're supposed to be dead. I killed you."

"The evil that men do lives after them, Kirk. Now, let us cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war!"

"Captain, they are powering disruptors."

"Raise shields!"

"Once more unto the breach, Kirk!"

(sotto) "I wish he'd quit it with the Shakespeare."

mb Scene 2 : Bortas Bridge

"Incoming torpedo! Impact in 3, 2, 1…"

"I barely felt anything."

"Sir, this Constitution class is an antiquated relic. They are no match for us!"

"Ha! Continue firing. I shall have my revenge!"

"Their shields are collapsing!"

"Good! Target their engines!"

mb Scene 3 : Enterprise Bridge

"Hull breaches on Decks 7 through 9 and 13 through 15!"

"Continue firing phasers!"

"No effect, Captain!"

"Sir, a warp core breach is in progress!"

"Uhura, contact Janeway. Tell her this is her fight now. Well, gentlemen, it's been an honor. We few, we happy few. We band of brothers…"

"Farewell, Kirk. Farewell. Parting is such sweet sorrow… Ha, ha, ha!"

(The Enterprise explodes)

"taH pagh, taH be."



Act IV — The Federation Strikes Back

Having just arrived in the sector via the anomaly, the USS Excelsior joins the fleet.

mb Scene 1 : Excelsior Bridge

Captain's log. USS Excelsior, Hikaru Sulu commanding. The loss of the Enterprise and the death of my old friends is a devastating blow. But we must not allow that to weigh us down. The Klingons must be made to answer for this. I am determined to respond in kind.

"Captain, we have located the Klingon ships."

"Hail the Yeager. Charge all weapons and full power to shields! We're going on the offensive."

"Two vessels. A large battle cruiser, and a smaller scout ship."

"Let's concentrate on that smaller ship first, then shift fire to the cruiser."

(The combined firepower of the Excelsior and the Yeager overwhelms the Somraw)

mb Scene 2 : Bortas Bridge

"The Starfleet petaQs! Return fire!"

"Sir, other Federation vessels are approaching. We should regroup!"

"Very well. Withdraw and join the Gr'oth's task force. I have a plan."



Act V — Meddlesome Superbeing

mb Scene 1 : Bortas Bridge

"Sir, we have discovered the other end of the wormhole!"

"Ah, excellent! Where does it take us?"

"Three thousand kellicams from the source."

"What? That is the most pointless wormhole I have ever heard of! Who laid out this sector?"

mb Scene 2 : Gr'oth Bridge

"We need to get these damned Tribbles off the ship!"

"Sir, an alien lifeform seems to have attached itself to the QhonDoq. It does not appear to be attacking in any way."

"Great, another nuisance for us. Can this day get any worse?"

(flash of light as a human male appears in Klingon uniform)

"Funny you should ask that, oh captain, my captain."

"Who are you?"

"You can call me Q. I'm here to put you and your crew to a test."

"Actually, can you just take these tribbles and whatever that thing is that's attached itself to the QhonDoq?"

"Ugh. You have tribbles? No, thank you! I think having those is trouble enough. But I will take you up on the offer of that other being. Goodbye!"

(in a flash, Q disappears)



Act VI — Endgame

mb Scene 1 : Bortas Bridge

"We have rendezvoused with the Gr'oth, General."

"Good. Open a channel."

"General Chang, I hope that whatever you have planned will allow us to be rid of these tribbles. Maybe we can send them over to the Starfleet ships?"

"Tribbles are not a part of my plan, Captain. But we can save that as a Plan B. No, what I have in mind is far more sinister…"

mb Scene 2 : Bortas Bridge

"Let's get it right this time. Engage cloaking device!"

"Cloaking device engaged."

"We are in range of the Starfleet vessels. It appears they have lost one of their science ships, but gained another, scout size ship."

"It looks like a weak little ship."

"Little, yes. Weak, no. It is heavily armed."

"Hmm. Well, it doesn't matter anyway. Begin creating sensor echoes. We don't want them finding us too easily."

"Yes, sir."

mb Scene 3 : Defiant Bridge

Captain's log. USS Defiant, Lieutenant Commander Worf commanding. I face a conflict of interest. We are presently in a state of hostility with the Klingon forces in the sector, but being Klingon myself, I hesitate to join the fight. My oath to Starfleet, however, must take precedence.

"It is a good day to die… Let us make sure that the enemy is the one to do the dying!"

mb Scene 4 : Bortas Bridge

"Is this your plan? We're going to sit here and do nothing?"

"No, not nothing. We're going to go wherever that big Excelsior ship goes, stalking it. Do you have a better plan?"

"Why don't we just attack? We are Klingons, after all."

"Oh fine, be that way. Decloak and fire!"

mb Scene 5 : Excelsior Bridge

"Captain, I'm getting anomalous readings. There appear to be cloaked vessels out there, but I'm having difficulty telling how many there are."

"No doubt they're generating sensor echoes to confuse us. Have the fleet ready shields and weapons, just in case."

"Sir, two Klingon battle cruisers decloaking! They're firing!"

"Shields!"

(After a pitched battle, the Bortas and the Gr'oth destroy the Excelsior)

Cue Klingon victory music:





I found my first game of Fleet Captains to be an enjoyable one. I can easily see myself playing again. I had never played a Clix-style game before, and I have to say it's a neat system. I look forward to possible expansions, especially if it would give me the opportunity to play as the Romulan Star Empire, the one faction outside of the Federation that I like most.

Or maybe a Borg faction? Would the Borg cube be a size 10 ship? The only ship you could field in a two-player game?

The production quality on the ships is great, and it feels good to push the stands around the sector, just like staff officers in a war room. That same production quality didn't extend to the location tiles, however, which are relatively flimsy cardstock. Something at least along the lines of Catan tiles would have been nice. That same cardstock, which has the feel of higher quality playing cards, works well for the decks, which are meant to be shuffled and not lay flat on the table. (The location tiles still work fine as they are, though.)

The mechanics of the game work well. You randomly draft a fleet to start with, and based on that fleet's composition, you pick a set of cards that should help you accomplish the types of missions that you will get. And those missions can be either of the public variety, so that your opponent knows your goal, or the Nexus Ops-style secret variety. Among the missions are some straightforward ones, like do damage to an enemy vessel, while there are some less-conventional objectives, like staying in the same location as your opponent's largest ship for three consecutive turns (the mission alluded to in Act VI, Scene 4).

The inclusion of a card cycling action is a welcome addition. Let's say you've got a mission that has you construct an outpost, which can only go on habitable worlds. Let's say this particular sector of space, like most of space, is empty and devoid of habitable planets (as was the case in this game). You'll probably want to get rid of that outpost mission and draw another.

The Clix system is a neat way to simulate power distribution on a starship. You may start out with full power to engines and sensors, so that you can quickly explore the sector. But once you get closer to your opponent's edge of the board, you'll probably want to divert energy to weapons and shields.

It would be cool to see a deluxe edition of this come out, with metal ships and thicker cardboard. That would be awesome, and I'd be sorely tempted to buy into it, if not for the fact that I've already become heavily invested in another tactical game.

Overall, from my first impressions, thumbsup for the game.
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David Goldfarb
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Klingon "victory music"? Doesn't that music accompany a scene of several Klingon ships getting their asses handed to them by V'ger?
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David Montgomery
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Very interesting session report. Glad you've enjoyed the game so far.
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Omar Germino
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I think the Klingons would see any chance to go to Sto'Vo'Kor as a victory.

Sto'Vo'Kor: where the women are plentiful (but none of those repulsive human females [1]), the drink (especially bloodwine) is flowing, and kreplach (hearty Klingon dumplings [2]) are served.

[1]


[2]


As a Trek fan, I feel compelled to observe that some of the words they use in that clip sound more akin to the language of the Wookiees of Star Wars.
 
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7 of 8
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Hahaha!

I loved this session report. It was entertaining and well written. I could visualize the moments happening in the game and, moreover, I can see the characters/ actors saying these lines.

Hopefully you will be doing more battle reports in the near future.
 
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Mike Clarke
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Great read. It felt like a Star Trek episode. And what an excellent explanation for those who have criticized having ships from various timelines (not that it ever bothered me) in the game!

Highly entertaining.

 
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