RR #26: Samuel Clemen's Pocketwatch | openCards

RR #26: Samuel Clemen's Pocketwatch

Samuel Clemens' Pocketwatch

This 19th century watch was discovered in a cave along with Data's head in 2369. After returning to the past, Clemens left the watch again to maintain the timeline.

Artifact Artifact
Special icons: Alternate Universe

Place in hand until played as an Interrupt card. One action that must happen on your next turn (such as your card draw), happen now instead.

Rule hint for this card

This card has an clarification:

This artifact allows you to perform now one action which must happen on your next turn (any action that is scheduled to happen, or which you are required to perform by a card or rule). It does not allow you to perform an optional action, such as playing a card. Examples:

  • Drawing a card: You may take your next turn’s mandatory end-of-turn card draw now. You may not then draw a card at the end of your next turn.
  • Showing a Devidian Door: You are required to show the Door during your next turn, so you can use SCP to show it immediately.
  • Countdown icons: Your card with a countdown icon must count down at the end of your turn, so you can use SCP to make it count down once now. It will then not count down at the end of your next turn.
  • Time effects without a countdown icon (e.g., Temporal Rift, diseases): If the effect is scheduled to resolve on your next turn, you can use SCP to force it to resolve now. You may not “remove” a turn unless the effect is scheduled to resolve on your next turn, because (unlike a countdown icon) nothing is scheduled to happen on your next turn.
  • Cytherians: If your ship is affected by a moving required action such as Cytherians, you will be required to move it next turn. You may use SCP to move it now and may not move it again next turn.
  • Borg Ship dilemma and The Sheliak: These cards must move down the spaceline at the end of your next turn, so you may give them an extra move this turn with SCP. They will not move at the end of your next turn, but they will still move on your opponent’s intervening turn.


Taken form Glossary - Version 1.9.2.

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

Samuel Clemens' Pocketwatch

This Card-Review was written by Kathy McCracken and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Jun 27th, 1997.

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

Aefvadh! If you find, as Captain Janeway did, that time paradoxes make you head ache, better get out the aspirin, because today's card is guaranteed to generate paradoxes galore...


This seems simple enough. You get to move up to this turn (which might be your turn or your opponent's turn) something that must, under normal circumstances, happen on your next turn. The key word here is "must." There are lots of things that could happen on your next turn, but only a few that must happen. If it's optional, you can't use the Pocketwatch to advance it. If it's mandatory, or "scheduled" to happen, you can do it now with the Pocketwatch.

What are some things that must happen on your next turn? They fall into a few categories.

  1. Your end-of-turn card draw is not optional. Unless some other card prevents it, or the game ends first, when you end your next turn you will be required to draw a card from your deck. If you use the Pocketwatch to do it now, you don't get a card draw at the end of your next turn. It has already happened. Now, if you happen to play a Q’s Tent at the beginning of your next turn, you don't get to draw a card at the end of that turn. Darn shame. ;-)
  2. Two inexorable dilemmas, the Borg Ship and The Sheliak, must move at the end of every turn (of both players). If it is now your turn and you play SCP, that movement occurs now. Either dilemma would also move at the end of this turn, and again at the end of your opponent's turn, but of course will not move at the end of your next turn. A related case is Rogue Borg Mercenaries. They battle a ship's personnel at the start of every turn, so you could move up the battle that must happen on your next turn.
  3. Some dilemmas or events require you to move a ship in pursuit of some goal, to the exclusion of other actions. Cytherians, Conundrum, and Incoming Messages fall in this category. SCP will allow you to make next turn's required movement now. As with the Borg Ship, if you make the movement now, it will be in addition to the movement you were required to make for this turn, and you will not be able to move that ship on your next turn, because you have already used next turn's RANGE. Thus, you would generally want to accelerate such a required movement only if it allows you to resolve the dilemma or Incoming Message on this turn,not just to get closer to resolution.
  4. Several dilemmas, events, and interrupts resolve with some action at the end of a specified number of turns. If one of those countdown resolutions is scheduled to happen on your next turn, you can make it happen now. This includes Coalescent Organism (it might be advantageous to let the affected personnel die now rather than later), Temporal Rift, Time Travel Pod, and Anti-Time Anomaly. There are many more that fall in this category (e.g., Hyper-Aging, Nitrium Metal Parasites, Plasma Fire, Warp Core Breach, Isabella), but I can't think of a good reason why you would want to accelerate their resolution, since they will destroy your ship or kill your personnel. If you can think of a reason, though, you can do it. Two points to note here:
    • You can only accelerate the actual resolution of such cards, not the "countdown" itself; for example, if this is the third full turn that your ship is stuck in a 5-turn Time Travel Pod, you can't play SCP and say that it's one turn closer to resolution. No action occurs during the countdown, only at the time of resolution.
    • You can't accelerate the resolution of dilemmas that stop personnel in order to unstop them. For one thing, normal "unstopping" is not considered an action. For another, "stopping" lasts through the end of the turn on which the personnel were stopped (or through the end of the later specified turn). They become unstopped at the beginning of the next turn, which is normally your opponent's turn (not "your" next turn).
  5. Similar to the last category is the repair of a ship, or removal of a Baryon Buildup. If the ship is scheduled to be completely repaired at the end of your next turn (either at an outpost or with an Exocomp aboard), or to have the Baryon Buildup removed at the beginning of your next turn (i.e., you have returned to the outpost and evacuated the ship), you can finish it off now with SCP. Again, you can't accelerate being "half-repaired", just the final repair.
  6. In addition to the obvious card draw, there are several other specific actions that you might be required to take on your next turn as a result of a card in play (usually an event).
    • Interrogation. Interrogating your captive is not optional. Moving up a 1-point gain may seem trivial, but under the right circumstances, it could win you a game. If you lose one measly point to The Higher … The Fewer and then find yourself at 99, with one card left in your draw deck, that 1 point would make the difference between a full (2-point) and a timed (1-point) tournament win.
    • Distortion Field. Getting next turn's card flip now could get your Away Team off a planet one turn early.
    • Colony. You have an unopposed Away Team at the Colony now. They would have to score points from the Colony at the beginning of your next turn. Move up the scoring "action" to now with SCP. Could give you a win. Or if not, now that you've scored the points, you can take your Away Team elsewhere and maybe attempt another mission.
      Telepathic Alien Kidnappers. Get in an extra chance to make your opponent discard a card before his next turn.
    • Static Warp Bubble. If you are affected by this, you must discard a card each turn...unless, of course, you have no cards in your hand todiscard. Suppose the only card you have left is SCP. You can discard it...or you can play it, moving up your forced discard from next turn. Guess what? You have no card left to discard. And now you have to make this turn's forced discard...and you have no card left to discard. Darn shame. Draw your card to end this turn. On your next turn, you don't have to discard, even if you don't play the card you just drew...because you already moved that discard up. 
    • Showing a Devidian Door. If you have it in hand, show it now and avoid potential problems, such as the possibility of having to discard it because of a Static Warp Bubble or Telepathic Alien Kidnappers.


What sort of things can't you do with the Pocketwatch? Anything that is optional. You aren't required to play a card on your turn, so you can't move up your card play. You aren't required to move a ship (unless you are affected by one of the cards in category 3), so you can't extend your ship RANGE by using your RANGE from next turn. You aren't required to beam an Away Team anywhere, so you can't, for example, beam up your Away Team during your opponent's turn (to avoid being attacked).

You may note that some of the suggested uses of the Pocketwatch introduce some interesting time paradoxes. For example, you can move up your card draw, and then on your next turn, play a Q's Tent, so you are no longer eligible for the card draw you already took. Your Away Team can leave the Colony where you moved up the point-scoring, and by your next turn no longer be there to score the points they already scored. You could make your required move for Cytherians and score its points, and then before your next turn, your opponent could destroy your ship, so it wouldn't have been able to finish the dilemma if you had waited.

However, you don't need to worry about these paradoxes (after all, they don't seem to worry about them in the Star Trek plots ;-) ). The rule for what you can do is simple: if you are "currently scheduled" to do something next turn, you can do it now instead. Even if something happens afterwards that would have prevented it, it doesn't matter. The action has already occurred.

This review wouldn't be complete without an assessment of the value of Samuel Clemens' Pocketwatch. It's pretty weak, as artifacts go. If you want extra card draws, The Traveler is a better, longer-lasting, and cheaper bet. If you want to extend your ship RANGE, Distortion Of Space/Time Continuum or Transwarp Conduit is better. A Spacedock will get your ships repaired more quickly, and Amanda Rogers and Kevin Uxbridge are certainly better for getting rid of unwanted Interrupts and Events. But when you consider that it can be used for a variety of possible purposes, you can see that its value lies in its versatility rather than in raw power. Still, I'd have to think long and hard about using a deck slot for the Pocketwatch instead of a Betazoid Gift Box or a Kurlan Naiskos, or even a good solid dilemma.

The Major's Combos:

  • Samuel Clemens' Pocketwatch plus Q's Tent. Get double duty out of your "no card draw" penalty.
  • Samuel Clemens' Pocketwatch plus...the subject of my next review. No, it's not something mentioned in this article. :-)