Major Rakal's Romulan Review #36: Assimilate Planet
Plays on table. Target an unassimilated, non-homeworld planet mission with a point box showing at least 35 points. Your Borg may scount that planet. After scouting complete, if you have Borg at that location, you may probe:
Point-Box on card: 25 bonus points (you score points, when you play or use this card).
Rule hint for this card
This card has an erratum:
Clarification about "homeworld" and "scouting complete / probe".
Game text before errata from First Contact: "Plays on table. Target an unassimilated planet on spaceline (except a homeworld) with a point box showing at least 35 points. Your Borg may scout that planet. If you have Borg at that spaceline location, you may probe:
This card has an clarification:
See point box.Taken form Glossary - Version 1.9.2.
This Card-Review was written by Kathy McCracken and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Dec 2nd, 1997.
Aefvadh! As I promised last time, here is a more in-depth look at the first Borg objective that has been revealed. "Where's the Romulan viewpoint?," you may ask. After all, this is a Borg Use Only objective. Well, for one thing, even the most dedicated Romulan may decide to take a Delta Quadrant holiday and check out the new affiliation. For another, by examining how the Borg may use this objective, we can find ways for your Romulans (and all of the other affiliations) to fight back, when the Borg try to...
The first thing to keep in mind about the Borg is that your old strategy of playing Romulan-only missions, to cut down the possibility of mission-stealing, is useless against the Borg, to whom affiliation icons are quite irrelevant. They're never going to attempt your missions or their own, so they don't give a hoot what icons are on your missions.
On the other hand, they're very interested in the point value of those planet missions, because anything less than 35 points is (conceptually) too low-level technologically for them to want to assimilate. So while previously you may have tried to fill your spaceline with 35- and 40-pont missions (or higher) in hopes of a two-mission win (with some bonus points here and there), now that the Borg have found the Alpha Quadrant you may well want to reconsider the attractiveness of those 30- and (gasp!) 25-pointers, formerly disdained as mere chicken feed. Covert Rescue, Plunder Site, Strategic Diversion, Excavation, and even Relief Mission, plus others, will all be safe from assimilation. If your Borg opponent has based his strategy on assimilating planets, you will have forced him to rely only on assimilating his own.
This has several advantages. First, you severely limit the choices he has for planets to assimilate; he may have to go a lot further to reach enough of them to score 100 points. His missions will be harder to scout, because he won't know what dilemmas you have seeded, while at yours he knows exactly what dilemmas he has placed (maybe Edo Probes or Love Interests that will have no effect on him). And because you can't attempt and solve a planet mission once it has been assimilated, you want to prevent him from "stealing" your missions by assimilation, leaving you nothing to solve. Sure, it's going to be a slower victory for you to do three 30-point missions with some bonus points on the side, but it's better than having your New Contact and Hunt for DNAProgram scooped up by the Borg, who couldn't care less about the difficulty of the mission requirements.
Now that you have cornered the Borg into scouting their own missions, how about dilemmas? There are all kinds of nasty planet dilemmas out there. We're not going to know just how easy or difficult it will be for the Borg to pass various dilemmas until we see what skills the drones and the Borg Queen (FC) have, and how other cards in the set may enhance the Borg abilities, but there are a few things we do know already. Gender-related dilemmas will be ignored by the Borg, so Love Interests, Matriarchal Society, Parallel Romance, and Anaphasic Organism won't do much for you. The same goes for android-hosers. Points-related dilemmas are irrelevant also, so heavy reliance on point-suckers like The Higher...The Fewer, Punishment Zone, and Edo Probe will get you nowhere. And the Borg are forced to red-shirt, so one-shot killers, especially ones with no conditions like Armus or Hunter Gangs, should easily pick off a scout or two.
Finally, once the Borg player manages to finish scouting the target planet, he still has to probe his draw deck until he comes up with a card showing either a blue (Communication) or red (Defense) subcommand icon. He can't probe on the turn that he completed scouting, but has to wait till the end of his next turn. Furthermore, he must keep at least one Borg at that spaceline location through the turn that he probes. And most important, perhaps, he can't probe if his Borg participate in any battles at the target planet location during that turn, or on his opponent's immediately prior turn. This gives you one way to delay his assimilation of the planet: you can attack his Borg at that location during your intervening turn. Risky? Very, because he will then be free to counterattack any of your forces still at that location on his turn. If he is using a Borg Cube ship, this may be suicidal, but it may be worth considering if you can attack with an expendable ship and crew while your main crew works on a mission elsewhere.
If you are the Borg player, planning an Assimilate Planet strategy, make sure you supply your own assimilation fodder in the form of 35-point or higher planet missions, just in case your opponent read this and brought in all 30's or less. You don't particularly care what the affiliations or requirements are for yourself, so you might as well make them exotic enough that they won't be likely to tempt your opponent to try to solve them himself.
If your opponent did use higher point planets, don't tip your hand immediately by playing the objective and immediately targeting one of his planets. A bad draw may delay you from getting to the planet with enough drones to begin scouting, and meanwhile he may either attempt and complete the mission and get his points and artifact before you can assimilate it (though this does save you the trouble of encountering your own dilemmas, it is advantageous to you to prevent him from scoring the mission in the first place), or he may simply avoid confrontation with you by diverting to a different mission - and once you have targeted a mission, you can't switch to a different one. So if your objective card comes up early, simply play it face down - it does have the Hidden Agenda icon - and let your opponent wonder what your strategy will be.When you are ready to start scouting, only then do you have to turn the card up and name a target. (My statement in Review #35 that you are not required to play the Hidden Agenda face down was incorrect. You must play a Hidden Agenda face down. However, you may turn it over and activate it immediately, or later.)
A few words about probing. Remember that the probe icon may appear anywhere on the probe card, in any context. The most obvious place you might expect to find the subcommand icons would be on a Borg drone's card, and if you have lots of spare drones in your deck, probably 2 out of 3 of them will have one of the needed icons. All subcommand icons also also appear on the Borg Cube, so a few cubes in your deck are also a useful source. However, if you have to get out a lot of drones and ships to work with, you may deplete your deck of these icon sources. Fortunately, there is one card with the very icons you need, which you will almost certainly have more of in your deck if your strategy is to assimilate planets: the objective card itself, Assimilate Planet.
The Major's Combo:
- My array of 30-point missions + your deck full of Assimilate Planet objectives.