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Subject: I thought the theme would make me want the game more, but... rss

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Michael D. Kelley
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I enjoy Mage Knight, but find the theme a bit blah, so I was really excited when I heard about this game. I'm a huge trek fan, especially the Next Generation, so the melding of great mechanics and one of my favorite themes seemed like a huge win.

But I was looking through the rulebook today, and saw that they've retained basically all of the Mage Knight mechanics, including burning down monasteries (now represented as "decimating" M-class worlds), and hurting villages ("subjugating" an outpost).

And just like that, my interest in the game was gone. It was already low, with the game being SO similar to Mage Knight that I didn't see much point in owning both.

But come on, how can I imagine Picard or Sisko ever systematically eliminating 10% of a peaceful planet's population? How could they ever subjugate a friendly outpost? Even Martok, one of the two Klingon commanders, wouldn't ever do such a thing.

So I would only feel like I was staying in theme by never taking these actions with those three commanders. And even with the Klingons sisters I wouldn't feel right if they had key Federation crew members as followers. You think Riker is going to stand for that kind of horrible stuff? If you saw the TNG episode "A Matter of Honor", you know how an attempt like that would go down with him on the ship cool

So oddly enough, the boring theme of Mage Knight works much better with these mechanics, in my opinion. In Mage Knight you are an outsider, an almost alien being, who doesn't care about any of these villagers and citizens, except in terms of how much you can use them and take advantage of them.

This might seem like a small detail, but since the only thing drawing me to this re-skin is the theme, the fact that it entirely breaks down for me in these mechanics is a no-go.
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John Blank wrote:
No one said you had to do bad things to win the game. I usually never burn monasteries or raid villages in MK. And the STF version of the rules is easier than MK so it wouldn't be a necessary strategy to win. Choice in games is not a bad thing. I don't think games should force you to play in a certain way. And really, if you want an explanation for why Picard would attack an innocent planet, just picture him with a goatee.


Voila!
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Nathanael Robinson
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GameMasterX0 wrote:
But come on, how can I imagine Picard or Sisko ever systematically eliminating 10% of a peaceful planet's population? How could they ever subjugate a friendly outpost? Even Martok, one of the two Klingon commanders, wouldn't ever do such a thing.

Sisko almost did.



It is now safe to enjoy Frontiers.
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This is ultimately what you get when you shoe-horn a theme onto a design that was specifically created for something else.
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John Paul Messerly
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This is what actually attracted me to the game. Most Star Trek games lack any real moral choice. The fact that staying true to Federation ideals might make the game slightly harder only makes the game more interesting to me... that and those darker options will make playing the Klingons more fun.

As far as the crew goes... won't most federation crew refuse to join captains with negative reputations?
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James Cartwright
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You could always play them as alternate universe versions of themselves if you want to kill people and blow stuff up.
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I've been imagining that the various space stations have begun their assimilation into the borg collective. So "subjagating" becomes "liberating". As far as why that would get me negative reputation.....
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Relevant not-relevant...

I really hate clickbait titles.
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Michael D. Kelley
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Thanks for all the replies, everyone. Just to give my thoughts on a few of the arguments made:

mrmzchf wrote:
I usually never burn monasteries or raid villages in MK. And the STF version of the rules is easier than MK so it wouldn't be a necessary strategy to win. Choice in games is not a bad thing.


In my opinion, the interesting choice in Mage Knight is WHEN to abuse villages and burn down monasteries while still carefully managing your reputation, not IF you should do so. Near the end of the game, when I have all the allies I want, I'll burn anything I pass.

I don't think deciding "I won't decimate planets this game, no matter what, even though it is mechanically advantageous to me" is an interesting choice. This is not a narrative, story-based game where I read little paragraphs about my choices. This is a game with strong mechanics that encourages you to do so for a game-based reward.

mrmzchf wrote:
And really, if you want an explanation for why Picard would attack an innocent planet, just picture him with a goatee.


This is hilarious, but unfortunately a bit difficult since they chose to use still photos from the show for all the cards.

bad thoughts wrote:
Sisko almost did.


I'd forgotten about this! It's a good example, although it's implied that all of the people on that planet are evacuated, leading to refugees, not casualties. But this is the best argument I've seen!

mermuse wrote:
This is what actually attracted me to the game. Most Star Trek games lack any real moral choice. The fact that staying true to Federation ideals might make the game slightly harder only makes the game more interesting to me... that and those darker options will make playing the Klingons more fun.


That's a cool opinion, and more power to you, but as I said above I don't see this as a heavily story-based game. Mage Knight certainly wasn't, and suddenly being Picard instead of a dragon, and imagining myself firing phasers instead of breathing fire, won't do much to change that for me.

But the fact that, sticking to theme, the game would be harder for one faction than the other... that's a positive for you? I like my games to be balanced, personally.

mermuse wrote:
As far as the crew goes... won't most federation crew refuse to join captains with negative reputations?


Of the officers I see pictured in the image folder, none of them seem to require a minimum reputation. Do you have any examples of what you are suggesting here? Reputation usually modifies the cost to recruit someone, but does not prevent it altogether. I think only the Heroes in the Mage Knight expansion had a rule like that, and I haven't seen anything replicating that here.

rindel wrote:
You could always play them as alternate universe versions of themselves if you want to kill people and blow stuff up.


Again, that's hard to do if I'm constantly looking at still photos of the crew in their traditional forms. These aren't the grizzled survivors from "Yesterday's Enterprise".

Ezramantis wrote:
I've been imagining that the various space stations have begun their assimilation into the borg collective. So "subjagating" becomes "liberating". As far as why that would get me negative reputation.....


We're trading with, getting repairs and medical care at, and recruiting from stations that have begun their assimilation?
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raven demarco
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GameMasterX0 wrote:


Ezramantis wrote:
I've been imagining that the various space stations have begun their assimilation into the borg collective. So "subjagating" becomes "liberating". As far as why that would get me negative reputation.....


We're trading with, getting repairs and medical care at, and recruiting from stations that have begun their assimilation?


I was mainly referring to the Romulan and Dominion bases that have to be defeated before you can use them to trade. Before assaulted = assimilated. After assaulted = liberated. Subjugating Outposts on the other hand....I got nothin'.

Honestly it seems like such an easy thematic choice that I don't understand why it wasn't implemented that way initially.
 
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Ezramantis wrote:
I was mainly referring to the Romulan and Dominion bases that have to be defeated before you can use them to trade. Before assaulted = assimilated. After assaulted = liberated.


Oh, totally agree with you there. Those didn't bother me.

And I thought of another point regarding what Sisko did to the maquis. Yes, he made a hard moral choice, kind of like when the federation was thinking of using a disease to wipe out the Borg.

But in these cases they had a strong, legitimate argument for their actions. Sisko was trying to prevent further loss of innocent life and terrorism. The federation was trying to stop the worst threat to their existence.

But in Star Trek: Frontiers, you are basically ROBBING these peaceful civilizations of their powerful tech, not making some kind of important moral choice with ramifications for innocent lives across the universe.

So again, I would argue that three of the four commanders, in the version pictured in the game components, would never do this.
 
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I bought the game but haven't played yet to see how well it matches TNG's theme, so take this with a grain of salt, but there's situations where I could see this making sense in TNG.

For one, multiple times in the series Picard shows up at a planet that's going to have a catastrophe right when they show up and he decides to just let it happen. He studies the planet for data and then orders the crew not to interfere with the prime directive.

A few times in the series he also decides to get into the planet's politics and basically uproot their entire way of life. Such as the episode The Hunted where he drops their disgruntled soldiers into their government headquarters and leaves. If Picard feels to need dish out a moral lesson to the planet, they're in for some trouble. Or Journey's End where he's going to follows Federation orders to relocate the people there by force.

This one's a stretch as you mentioned since the cards look normal but there's multiple mind controlled episodes where he would look exactly like normal Picard but ordered the crew to do out of character things. Or the episode where they're all memory wiped and one of the crew members manipulates them into almost destroying a planet.

If none of those are satisfying thematically, there's always Q who can make anything happen and alternate universes where anything goes, but a lot of ways to rationalize it.

Or just imagine all the planets are infected with this TNG alien (warning disturbing NSFW): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_Vr9LnogLM laugh

Just some ideas on how I personally would rationalize it if blowing up planets turns out to be a large part of the game.

 
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I interpret a captain "subjugating" an outpost on n far milder terms. I see it as a captain pulling rank on the bureaucrats running the place in order to force cooperation.

As for decimating a planet...

"Scotty! General Order 4 in two hours! Two hours!"
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You do realize Klingons are in the game as playable characters, too, right?

Plus, wouldn't it suck if the rulebook read, "Class-M planets may be razed, unless you're playing a Federation ship, because the Federation would never do that under any circumstance."

In MK, you raze a monastery to get artifact cards. It's one of the very few ways to get them. There is no equivalent to artifact cards in ST:F, and the reward for taking out a Class-M is significantly less enticing.

I played 2 solo games yesterday and was actually surprised with how Trek certain elements of it are. Yeah, you fight Borg, Romulans and Dominion...So? They fought all the time. On the other hand, the away missions can be auto-solved with Diplomacy.

It's a really abstract game, too. There is no flavor text. What is happening in the game is significantly left to your imagination.
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browncoat2814 wrote:
You do realize Klingons are in the game as playable characters, too, right?

Plus, wouldn't it suck if the rulebook read, "Class-M planets may be razed, unless you're playing a Federation ship, because the Federation would never do that under any circumstance."

In MK, you raze a monastery to get artifact cards. It's one of the very few ways to get them. There is no equivalent to artifact cards in ST:F, and the reward for taking out a Class-M is significantly less enticing.

I played 2 solo games yesterday and was actually surprised with how Trek certain elements of it are. Yeah, you fight Borg, Romulans and Dominion...So? They fought all the time. On the other hand, the away missions can be auto-solved with Diplomacy.

It's a really abstract game, too. There is no flavor text. What is happening in the game is significantly left to your imagination.


As I noted in my original post, one of the two Klingon commanders (as well as many of the Klingon crewmembers, I'm sure) are very honorable, old-school Klingons. They would no more destroy a helpless population than the Federation would.

And I was under the impression, from other threads on the game, that artifacts and spells had been lumped into one deck. Maybe it's not quite as strong as the old artifacts, but I still wouldn't say it isn't enticing, especially now that you can use the spell equivalent powered version at any time, instead of waiting for night.

I do really like the idea of solving away missions with diplomacy... does that happen often?
 
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I was so excited for this game, but I had assumed it would feature actual innovations that made it worth owning side-by-side with the original. Instead it has nothing worth looking at, and is marred by WizKids' trademark terrible graphic design.
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GameMasterX0 wrote:

As I noted in my original post, one of the two Klingon commanders (as well as many of the Klingon crewmembers, I'm sure) are very honorable, old-school Klingons. They would no more destroy a helpless population than the Federation would.


"We are Klingons, Worf. We don't embrace other cultures, we conquer them."

-- Martok, You are Cordially Invited
 
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You could just do a thematic swap. Instead of "destroying" the planet and "stealing" tech, change the rulebooks wording to pretend you're doing it through diplomacy by dismantling their poorly-thought out, not P.C. moral arguments. Picard's just on the bridge moralizing in a long, drawn out philosophy debate with the end result being improved trade relations. Sure, after fighting broke out Picard *could* have destroyed them, but once again he makes a last ditch moral appeal to prevent a planet's destruction.

Or you could pretend it's an Operation: Annihilate situation. You don't want your crew taken over by flying gag vomit do you?
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Dormammu wrote:
I was so excited for this game, but I had assumed it would feature actual innovations that made it worth owning side-by-side with the original. Instead it has nothing worth looking at, and is marred by WizKids' trademark terrible graphic design.


It actually looks better in person. I prefer the quality in this one. I hate that vinyl finish or whatever they call it on the MK cards.

What changes there are are for the better. My copy of MK is not long for this world.
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GameMasterX0 wrote:
browncoat2814 wrote:
You do realize Klingons are in the game as playable characters, too, right?

Plus, wouldn't it suck if the rulebook read, "Class-M planets may be razed, unless you're playing a Federation ship, because the Federation would never do that under any circumstance."

In MK, you raze a monastery to get artifact cards. It's one of the very few ways to get them. There is no equivalent to artifact cards in ST:F, and the reward for taking out a Class-M is significantly less enticing.

I played 2 solo games yesterday and was actually surprised with how Trek certain elements of it are. Yeah, you fight Borg, Romulans and Dominion...So? They fought all the time. On the other hand, the away missions can be auto-solved with Diplomacy.

It's a really abstract game, too. There is no flavor text. What is happening in the game is significantly left to your imagination.


As I noted in my original post, one of the two Klingon commanders (as well as many of the Klingon crewmembers, I'm sure) are very honorable, old-school Klingons. They would no more destroy a helpless population than the Federation would.

And I was under the impression, from other threads on the game, that artifacts and spells had been lumped into one deck. Maybe it's not quite as strong as the old artifacts, but I still wouldn't say it isn't enticing, especially now that you can use the spell equivalent powered version at any time, instead of waiting for night.

I do really like the idea of solving away missions with diplomacy... does that happen often?


It happened at least 3 times in my two games. There's two different types of planets it happens at, so there is plenty of opportunity for it to come up.

Let me elaborate on my "less enticing" comment. Yes, the "spells" do seem more powerful, I wasn't aware that the idea was to combine artifacts and spells into the same deck. But what I was getting at is that the rewards you get for destroying a Class-M are things you have ample opportunity to get elsewhere in the game. This wasn't case in MK. Given that this is/has always been a game best played solo or with 2 players (3 players is fine, but starts to stretch it), I don't think there's enough reason to take out a Class-M for rewards you can get elsewhere and are available multiple times from same location. You get the Class-M reward once and your reputation drops. I should also note that a positive reputation in this game is by far more helpful than it is in MK since you now have an additional use for Diplomacy (aka Influence) cards. With the Class-K and L planets, you have a harder choice to make now with them, and every bit of reputation helps.
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GameMasterX0 wrote:
browncoat2814 wrote:
You do realize Klingons are in the game as playable characters, too, right?

Plus, wouldn't it suck if the rulebook read, "Class-M planets may be razed, unless you're playing a Federation ship, because the Federation would never do that under any circumstance."

In MK, you raze a monastery to get artifact cards. It's one of the very few ways to get them. There is no equivalent to artifact cards in ST:F, and the reward for taking out a Class-M is significantly less enticing.

I played 2 solo games yesterday and was actually surprised with how Trek certain elements of it are. Yeah, you fight Borg, Romulans and Dominion...So? They fought all the time. On the other hand, the away missions can be auto-solved with Diplomacy.

It's a really abstract game, too. There is no flavor text. What is happening in the game is significantly left to your imagination.


As I noted in my original post, one of the two Klingon commanders (as well as many of the Klingon crewmembers, I'm sure) are very honorable, old-school Klingons. They would no more destroy a helpless population than the Federation would.

And I was under the impression, from other threads on the game, that artifacts and spells had been lumped into one deck. Maybe it's not quite as strong as the old artifacts, but I still wouldn't say it isn't enticing, especially now that you can use the spell equivalent powered version at any time, instead of waiting for night.

I do really like the idea of solving away missions with diplomacy... does that happen often?


Sorry, but this is not correct. Just to ask, have you watched any Star Trek? Old-School Klingons are just the opposite of what you are stating..... you are either killed or subjugated. Sorry, but they do not negotiate and even their later "alliance" with the Federation is strained at best because of the blending of their principals and ethics or in the Klingons case lack there of.

"In space, all warriors are cold warriors."

I personally have no issue with the game and will be keeping both. Mage Knight has some of the best mechanics I have ever played in a game, however I never buy a game on "mechanics" alone, the theme has to be there. This game has theme, so I enjoy it very much. I also dig the Mage Knight fantasy theme, so that is a plus for me.

The issue with the Federation and the Prime Directive. You can see that as a rough guideline and has been regularly violated (with various justifications for doing so)....

And in case of war with the Borg or the Dominion or the Romulans... you can see the bases as liberation, placed under the header of war.

I just want a KHAN expansion please...



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If this is going to be a Star Trek lore thread, allow me to push up my glasses and adjust my pocket protector....

Recall that in Enterprise they established that the TOS Klingons were suffering from a widespread genetic malady that shrunk their forehead ridges and reordered their neurons to give them fear, resulting in the honorless, ruthless incarnation that Kirk developed prejudices against.

Even when the Klingon Empire, under say, Garkon, was behaving honorably, there were still "fringe" Klingons who pirated and marauded on their own, outside of the Empire and Kahless' teachings - hence, Lursa and B'etor.

There's ways to justify both honorable and treacherous Klingons in Frontiers. The bit of theme divergence that gets me, though, are the data crystals instead of mana. I don't think colored "data crystals" were ever represented in the lore, and you have to do a far amount of reaching to get them to justify their use. If it's data, it's not consumed like mana; but maybe you use some data categorized "blue" to find a shortcut through a nebula, after which it's not relevant anymore? It's just as hand-wave-y as using an amped-up Levodian flu to justify the tonal shift in Klingons between TOS and TNG
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This has been an interesting thread. It's reminded me about a lot of Star Trek lore and trivia that has faded from my memory over time.

There is literally nothing anybody can do or say to change what's written in the ST:Frontiers rule book. As written, planets get destroyed and technology is looted. If you, as a Federation player, don't want to engage in those behaviors - or you feel compelled to do so as a Klingon - because of series canon, feel free. It's your game and you paid your money for it. If you're having fun playing the game with those restrictions, then it's all good because you're following the rules.

I think it would be better to provide the full range of options to all players by re-interpreting how the rules present the actions to fit the existing canon; assuming of course, you don't want to go with an alternate universe explanation for why Picard is blowing up planets.

A Klingon's "diplomacy" might be through the threat of force/spies/colonialism/sharing weapons if you want a classic Star Trek feel or persuading a culture to adopt the "honorable warrior" code of the Klingons if you want to go the Next Generation route. Heck, maybe the culture voluntarily changed with no prompting from the Klingons after they saw the Klingons in action (the planet might be warlike or they might be monastic - who's to say?) There's an assumption that diplomacy is always nice and doesn't involve saber-rattling or the use of leverage, but it's simply not true in the real world. Thus, in game terms, Klingons can attempt diplomacy while adhering to canon.

A Federation captain isn't actually destroying a planet. Their attempt at diplomacy failed, fighting broke out, and the planet's military capabilities were destroyed before a peace was brokered. Technology is acquired as the result of subsequent peace talks, but the Federation captain still has a black mark on their reputation because they got into a shooting war when the situation could have been resolved peacefully, or maybe Starfleet just got angry at all the credits wasted repairing the ship in dry dock and the crew that were injured or killed during the fighting. Thus, in game terms, the planet is destroyed and looted while adhering to canon.

That's the best I can do to broker a peace between following the rules as written and adhering to series canon. Did my diplomacy attempt work? laugh
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Also another option for the Federation player destroying planets - the game doesn't specify what exactly happened during the diplomacy phase that lead to the decision to destroy an entire planet.

Think back to the classic episode "A Taste of Armageddon". Kirk destroyed the computers waging a simulated war to protect the ship instead of marching off into the disintegration chambers to obey the Prime Directive (never mind the fact the real attack never would have affected the Enterprise because they would have raised the shields.) What would have happened if Eminiar VII and Vendikar followed the rules of their war and nuked each other out of existence because the computer went down? A seemingly minor act - destroying a computer - resulted in the obliteration of two planets. Since Kirk violated the Prime Directive in a way that resulted in two instances of genocide, I doubt any technology he salvaged would make up for the loss in Starfleet's eyes (although maybe he did discover something *super* valuable which is why his reputation took a hit instead of getting a court martial.)

Then there's the classic troupe of all high-ranking Starfleet officers being insane or absolute tyrants. Maybe the game is really the story of Riker or some unnamed cadet watching Picard's descent into madness (which may or may not be due to alien influence.)

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Autoduelist wrote:
There is literally nothing anybody can do or say to change what's written in the ST:Frontiers rule book.


I could use a pen. ninja
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