Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Bad Boys Of Star Trek Get Their Day With "Blaze Of Glory" CCG!

The Good: Some intriguing images, Good use of material, Powerful cards for players, Foils.
The Bad: Tactic cards, Weak characters in this expansion, Foil rarity, Playability issues
The Basics: While a valuable set to investors and some of the players who like non-Federation decks and blowing up enemies, "Blaze Of Glory" is a bear for collectors.

The Star Trek CCG is fraught with contradictions and the long term trends of the game make for an interesting study in consumer interest vs. collectible investment. Series's that bombed upon release or seemed to underwhelm players occasionally went on to become some of the most valuable products on the market. Perhaps the best example of this was the "Blaze Of Glory" set.

When "Blaze Of Glory" came out, it was an expansion that expanded almost exclusively the power of non-Federation decks, focusing on Klingons, Romulans and the Dominion. And its appearance in the marketplace left players somewhat unimpressed and collectors miffed at the difficulty of completing master sets because of the rarity of some of the foils. Now, almost a decade later, it is easily one of the top Star Trek CCG products in the secondary market and it is almost impossible to find unopened boxes to acquire cards from.

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Trek Customizable Card Game "Blaze Of Glory" set was the seventh full expansion set of cards sold in boxes created by Decipher to continue the Customizable Card Game. Players saw the game as a strategy game that is like a Role-playing game with cards. The players got to use characters, vessels, and scenarios are all already conceived by others. The original concept was to find a way to make play socially acceptable for an older audience and it generally worked. Collectors saw this as another thing to collect to show their love of Star Trek and while the cards have very different images from the trading card releases, many collectors were turned off by how small the images were and how much space on each card was given to game-related text.

"Blaze Of Glory" is a 148 card set focusing on characters, ships, alien races and scenarios presented on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation involving the plots by enemies to the Federation and their various nefarious plans and subterfuges against StarFleet! The set consists of 40 common cards, 40 uncommon cards, 50 rares, and 18 foil reprint cards that vary in rarity from very rare foils up through ultra rare foils, with the most popular characters and scenarios being given rare status and the background supernumeraries filling out the more common cards. This set offers a new opportunity for fans and collectors to collect some of the most interesting and significant recurring characters in the franchise.

The 130 card set (not counting the foil cards which simply reprint 18 of the more popular rare cards as foils) features 1 Artifact (cards featuring unique devices, in this case, the Sword Of Kahless), 9 Dilemmas (cards featuring challenges the crews faced), 2 Doorways (cards that depict passages that allow the playing of side decks, like the Battle Bridge Door), 7 Equipment (cards featuring generic, mass produced devices in the Star Trek universe, like a Bat'leth or a Dominion Kar'takin), 7 Events (cards featuring long-standing challenges or concepts in the overall Star Trek universe, like a character being tortured), 9 Incidents (cards that illustrate alternate actions and goals - I'm pulling this out of my proverbial butt here - there is nothing in the rules supplement about this new card type!, like taking a blood oath or exchanging prisoners), 9 Interrupts (cards featuring phenomenon that quickly turn events, like being suddenly outgunned by a fleet of enemy ships), 3 Missions (cards featuring basic plots from the series', these are used to create the "board" for the game), 4 Objectives (long-standing goals for players which establish alternate goals of the game, like a Founder impersonating a captive to gain access to a forbidden location), 48 Personnel (4 Bajoran, 4 Cardassian, 8 Dominion, 6 Federation, 13 Klingon, 1 Non-Aligned, and 12 Romulan characters mostly from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), 10 Ship cards (1 Borg, 2 Cardassian, 1 Dominion, 1 Federation, 3 Klingon and 2 Romulan), 1 Site (cards representing a location on Deep Space Nine), and 21 Tactic cards (which are specific starship weapons, like a Borg Cutting Beam). This set strengthens existing affiliations and offers a whole new starship combat mechanic that more realistically depicts doing battle between starships and alters the gameplay.


At its most basic level, this is a board game where one constructs the board and pieces out of a selection of cards. The starting purpose of the game is to get 100 points, points most often are derived from completing missions by thwarting dilemmas using the unique attributes of your ship and crew. "Blaze Of Glory" set continues the game with the thirteen types of cards introduced and revised with the "Deep Space Nine" expansion set. This set introduces the Incident and Tactic cards. Technically, the Incidents had been introduced in "Enhanced First Contact,” but they had not been explained adequately in any form. The basic idea is to assemble a sixty card deck (for beginners), lay out the board (spaceline) and play against an opponent.

"Blaze Of Glory" does not add any new affiliations, but it does radically alter the ways ships may do battle. Through the addition of a battle bridge side deck, cards are added that deploy specific weapons that allow players to more precisely attack and destroy opponents' ships. This places and emphasis on engaging opponents directly as opposed to foiling them with clever tricks in the standard gameplay. In some ways, this becomes a "sore loser" option for the players; if one cannot defeat their opponent in standard gameplay, they can simply blow their enemy's ship up!

And then there are the Incident cards. The cards themselves have very clear directions, but there is no indication of when and where they are supposed to be played. The rules supplement is silent on this, making the game less playable.

This is a very complex customizable card game, but it represents a level of gaming sophistication designed to appeal to younger adults and actually challenge them, which is a decent idea given the thematic complexity of the Star Trek universe. The problem, of course, is that most people who would be most stimulated by this game do not have the time or effort/interest to learn to play it. As a result, the mid-teens that basically run the CCG players world seem to have had mixed impressions about this game.

Even those who have played the initial game will need to relearn elements in order to accommodate the Battle Bridge side deck and the Tactic cards. This may be problematic as it opens up an almost entirely new side game mechanic and those who like the most straightforward game tend to resent the attacks by opponents. It's the difference between using brains and brawn to try to win the game. "Blaze Of Glory" remains a fan favorite because it offers a lot of options for those who have been trying to wipe out Federation players.

Rule Changes

The basic rules for the Star Trek CCG were revised in the "Deep Space Nine" expansion and are covered in my review here!.

The rule supplement that comes in the box is extensive as it explains how the Tactic cards are used, essentially laying out damage on enemy ships in order lessen the ship attributes and possibly destroy an opponent's ship.

Rules for capturing opposing character's personnel cards are altered with "Blaze Of Glory" as well. Captured personnel become "trapped" until a ship with the capturing player's crew arrives to take the captive into physical custody.

This set also introduces Alpha Quadrant Jem'Hadar and the rules supplement dictates that Alphas may only work aboard Alpha ships and facilities and cannot work in the Gamma Quadrant.


Players, collectors and fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation will appreciate the image quality of the characters, the wonderful use of weapons and the scenarios involving the more colorful races in the Star Trek universe. "Blaze Of Glory" is a wonderful set for anyone who enjoys the warfare aspects within the Star Trek franchise, but more casual fans will likely be disappointed by the lack of principle characters or command crews in the set. Primary characters appear in alternate forms, like Riker Wil (the Bajoran Affiliation Riker character), the Chief O'Brien Romulan hologram, the Klingon Affiliation Quark Son Of Keldar and the Klingon Affiliation Worf. Fans will also likely appreciate the powerful Klingons Kor, Kang and Koloth as they appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and their Blood Oath sub-affiliation!.

Then there are the foil reprint cards, which replace a rare in approximately 1 in every 9 packs, making them about 3 - 4 per box. The foil reprints are interesting but they seem somewhat pointless given that the nonfoil versions are right there in the set. Players tend not to get excited about the foil cards because they do not change anything in terms of playability.

For me, the best card in the set is the Klingon Affiliation Jadzia Dax! Dax had strong ties to the Klingons long before Worf arrives on Deep Space Nine and it seems like Decipher realized that and the inclusion of this card helps beef up Klingon decks with a powerful female character to help get around gender-related Dilemmas!


"Blaze Of Glory" is an easy set for collectors outside of the 18 foil reprint cards, which is about like saying taxes would be easy if it weren't for the numbers. The foil reprints are broken into various rarities: 8 Very Rare Foils (1 in every 13 packs), 6 Super Rare Foils (1 in every 25 packs), and 4 Ultra Rare Foils (1 in every 50 packs). Yes, that means that in order to assemble a master set, collectors and investors will need to purchase approximately 7 thirty pack boxes, making this the first set that took more than one CASE to complete!

Decipher did not overproduce the "Blaze Of Glory" product, but this set forced a number of collectors to decide how much of a completist they truly wanted to be. This was the set that some collectors decided to cut out on. The cards come in packs of 9 cards that feature one rare (or foil card), three uncommon and five common cards. This means that with a box of thirty packs collectors should be able to assemble even 2 - 3 common sets and usually one uncommon set. A full master set takes about seven boxes and that would leave collectors with a lot to sell off! Without the foil cards, this is a pretty standard two-box set.

"Blaze Of Glory" cards were never reprinted or re-released, making them one of the hardest and most valuable sets on the market!


This set has some wonderful images, but its lack of easily recognizable characters for the masses makes it a very esoteric set. Some players will enjoy the chance to blow up their opposing player's ships but many will just be glad they're not playing a Federation deck. Investors are thrilled because this set is one of the consistently highest priced products on the markets, meaning they will make a lot of money if they have unopened boxes or true master sets available. Collectors, though, are likely to feel a bit shafted as this set is so expensive to assemble and the benefits are hard to justify as it only has six credited stars (though one of them is repeated in two places) and even some of the best looking ships are obscure ones.

This set culls material from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, most notably the episodes:
"The Mind's Eye"
"Chain Of Command, Part II"
"Blood Oath"

This set was preceded by "The Dominion" (reviewed here!) and followed by the Star Trek CCG expansion "Rules of Acquisition," reviewed here.

This is a set of gaming cards I proudly sell in my online store. For my current inventory, please be sure to click here!


For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my card index page by clicking here!

© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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