The Good: Great cards throughout, Good and smart concept, Easy playability, Great collectibility, Rarity
The Bad: Rarity, Minutiae of foil reprints
The Basics: Decipher creates the ultimate Star Trek CCG with a collection of rares that allow players to take more risks, at higher costs!
As anyone who follows my reviews on the Star Trek gaming cards might note, there are few expansions that manage to get graded above average in my book and to date I believe there has not been one that I have rated as a perfect release. Today that changes as I finally make it to "Necessary Evil," a Star Trek Second Edition expansion whose entire concept is that riskier, more gutsy plays may be made in the game, with a higher price to the players. This concept is designed for players, reaffirming the concept that the riskier the road, the greater the profit, but it works amazingly well for collectors as this concept set pays off there between the rarity of the release and the great mix of characters and images that are unique to this set.
"Necessary Evil" is the fourth set of Star Trek Second Edition gaming cards for the Star Trek CCG. It is a 198 card set comprised of sixty common, sixty uncommon and sixty rare cards, as well as eighteen foil reprint cards of some of the most popular and powerful cards in the set. This set is not bound together by the addition of any new affiliations or sub-affiliations or even game mechanics. The whole idea in this set is that the characters represented have other sides to them that are often less desirable and to access those elements which might play well for players playing certain affiliations the player needs to risk a lot in terms of points and/or cards.
The one hundred eighty unique cards (the foils are straightforward reprints) that make up the set include: 31 Dilemma (Obstacles in the Star Trek universe players play to thwart their opponents, like a Biochemical Hyperacceleration or a Talosian Trial), 3 Equipment (cards representing mass produced objects in the Star Trek universe, like an Emergency Transport Unit or the Sword Of Kahless), 50 Event (cards representing longer-standing obstacles or changes that persist throughout multiple turns, like brainwashing a character into The Perfect Tool to assassinate other characters or resurrecting a dead comrade At What Cost?), 14 Interrupt (cards representing sudden shifts of fate, like capturing a character for brainwashing or absorbing the Knowledge And Experience of a character to strengthen a Borg hand against adversaries), 79 Personnel (12 Bajoran, 5 Borg, 9 Cardassian, 8 Dominion, 18 Federation, 5 Klingon, 9 Non-Aligned, 13 Romulan affiliation characters), and 3 Ship cards (one each Bajoran, Federation, and Klingon). Usually, the more personnel and ship cards a set has, the better it fares, but in this case, it is well-represented in Events that have great images that sell it to even non-players.
"Necessary Evil" is easy to learn for anyone who has played the Star Trek Second Edition CCG from "Premiere" (reviewed here!). Basically, this is a card game that is somewhere between a card game, a board game and a role playing game. "Necessary Evil" is not terribly complex, save that in order to play powerful cards, players need to make a tradeoff with cards of high point values or other characters that they are playing. As a result, "Necessary Evil" is remarkably fun and the game can be turned drastically on many of the cards in this set, especially some of the more powerful rares.
There is no rulebook that accompanies this booster-pack only set, so to learn the game one cannot start with this set. It is, however, the best set for players looking to shake off the monotony of the otherwise straightforward game. This one is all about taking risks.
There are no changes to rules with this set. There are no new card types, affiliations or sub-affiliations introduced in "Necessary Evil." Instead, this continues the game as it was with only the addition of cards that cost more to use.
This is a set of cards made almost entirely out of highlights! The sixty rare cards are each gems, with an amazing variety to sustain interest in them. In addition to Romulan Affiliation versions of the Klingon Duras Sisters (as well as Klingon versions of the same!), there are Klingon Affiliation versions of Jadzia Dax and William Riker! And it might seem strange that in a collection of cards that includes rogue Borg versions of Data, Lore and Crosis in the Non-Aligned Personnel and Cardassian versions of Kira and Odo that the highlights would come down to three cards, one of which is not even a Personnel!
Fans of this set seem to be obsessed with the rare Event "At What Cost?" so it is certainly worth mentioning as a highlight to this set! "At What Cost?" allows a player to surrender a slew of cards or points to bring a Personnel card out of their lost pile. Based on resurrecting Spock in Star Trek III, this card allows a player to return as prized commander or needed card to play, which makes it invaluable to players.
Collectors, though, - as well as some players - are likely to fawn over Guinan or Jake Sisko. Guinan, chronically underrepresented in trading and gaming cards, appears here as a rare that is powerful and has some good abilities when she comes into play. Similarly, Jake Sisko, Reporter Behind The Lines, represents the only version of Jake in the game as played by Cirroc Lofton (the prior version was of Tony Todd's elderly version from "The Visitor"). Jake becomes useful for subterfuge and exposing undercover players and he's surprisingly handy. Moreover, the card has a good likeness for collectors.
"Necessary Evil" is perhaps the ultimate booster pack release as it was underprinted and underreleased. Finding a box of these cards is virtually impossible. Finding rares is difficult enough and more often than not, they start at a higher price ($3.00 range) than most other expansion's rares (usually starting at the $2.00 range). Moreover, this set has a higher number of higher value ($5.00 range) rares that have never come down in price, cards like the Cardassian Affiliation Odo as well as the Odo Founder. Even Leeta, who is in several releases, has a higher valued card in this set!
Because "Necessary Evil" was never reprinted or rereleased in any other form ("Reflections 2.0" packs have the occasional single from "Necessary Evil" in them, but there is usually only one per pack and they are not at all consistently placed in packs of that product!) this remains one of the hardest to find products in the Star Trek Second Edition CCG release. They are rare and highly desired.
The only real gripe might be with the foil cards. There are eighteen foil reprint cards, which simply take eighteen of the best rares (At What Cost?, Dukat as Anjohl Tennan, and Jadzia Dax, Problem Solver, for example) and reprint them. One might have wished the foil cards to be unique rares only available in the foiled versions, but in retrospect that might have made this set even more impossible to complete for everyone!
Decipher, Inc, the manufacturer of Star Trek CCGs did right by everyone with this set. Players found the game reinvigorated, collectors found something challenging - but not impossible - to complete and investors found a product rare enough that it has only appreciated as time goes on. It's hard to ask for more. This might well be the peak of this product!
This set was released after "Call To Arms" (reviewed here!) but prior to "Fractured Time" (review pending!).
This complicated and interesting set culls images primarily from
Star Trek: The Next Generation
and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"Redemption, Part II"
and "Decent, Part II"
This is a set of gaming cards I sell in my online store! Check out my current inventory here!
For other Star Trek gaming card reviews, please visit my Star Trek CCG Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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