The Good: Some mildly interesting new cards exclusive to the boxed set, nice box
The Bad: Obvious attempt to dump older product (still!), Guts play, Dull release.
The Basics: When the Star Trek CCG releases a product where the packaging is better than the cards, it's time to run for the hills!
As I near the end of Decipher, Inc.'s Star Trek CCG First Edition, I have hit pretty much the dregs of the collection. With "The Official Tournament Sealed Deck Product," fans are condemned to yet another repack that tries to burn off the overproduced "Premiere" and "Alternate Universe" products. Following on the heels of such products as the "Introductory Two-Player Game" (reviewed here!) and "First Anthology" which had essentially the same purpose, the Official Tournament Sealed Deck Product (henceforth referred to as "Sealed Deck"), is especially disappointing.
The Sealed Deck is a beautiful box (there are six different collector's boxes with the symbols of the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Cardassians and Bajorans) that each contain a starter deck, three packs of "Premiere" (reviewed here!) and a pack of "Alternate Universe" (reviewed here!) gaming cards. What makes this anything different is a sealed back inside each box that has the same, identical twenty premium cards.
The twenty premium cards are designed for the players. This is a players set, so there is little to recommend to general collectors. The twenty cards are broken down with: 5 Dilemmas (obstacles faced by the players), 2 Doorways (cards that allow players to play alternate styles of cards), 1 Event (cards representing long-range concepts in the Star Trek universe, like a treaty between the Federation, Klingons and Romulans), 1 Facility (a card representing a location for a player to star their game), 6 Missions (cards that represent the "board" of the CCG), 2 Objectives (cards representing alternate goals and objectives, like Reflection therapy), 1 Non-Aligned Personnel, 1 Q-Dilemma/Event, and 1 Non-Aligned ship.
This is not the most exciting array of gaming cards, either for collectors or players.
The twenty premium cards are designed to be played with cards from the packs in such a way that players can open this boxed set and play immediately. It's a luck-of-the-draw type product, but it is designed to be played right out of the box and the twenty exclusive cards facilitate that.
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. The Sealed Deck set continues the game with the ten types of cards introduced in "Premiere" and expanded on through "First Contact" The basic idea is to assemble a sixty card deck (for beginners), lay out the board (spaceline) and play against an opponent.
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.
There are no new card types introduced in this set, so anyone who had been playing the game up until this point would have no problems adapting the new cards.
There are no rules changed with the introduction of these twenty cards. The basic rules are covered in my review of "Premiere" and this set generally follows those rules.
Here is the disappointing aspect for many fans. It's not a set chock full of interesting cards. In fact, the purpose of this set is to be a generic set that will allow players to play right out of the pack. The Sealed Deck focuses on Missions and Dilemmas because players need those in order to play the game. And while some might enjoy "Armus - Sticky Situation" or the powerful ship Darmok, it's not a huge boon to tack down the sealed deck.
Well, except for the Treaty: Federation/Klingon/Romulan card. This is the card that allows people to mix up characters of all three affiliations and basically make the most powerful decks the game has seen. While that has some appeal to many fans, it's a problematic card for many players as it guts the sense of strategy in being bound to only one affiliation. That combination pretty much decimates the Borg, Cardassian and Bajoran players and it does it quickly and decisively. Most players want something a little more subtle and savvy.
Then again, this is a repack product, so fans might be expecting a bit much out of the sealed deck product.
The sealed deck product was originally near impossible to find because they were available only by attending registered Decipher tournaments. Now, they are ridiculously common. Sometimes the boxes sell for more than the cards inside! Die-hard collectors might want one pack of these because the exclusive cards are truly unique to this boxed set. They were never reprinted or released in any other form, but they are also pretty dull, so it's not surprising that they weren't.
Those looking for things to get autographed might like the Suna card as Andrew Prine attends conventions frequently enough, but this is too tough a sell for that alone. Indeed, those who invested in this product are likely to be terribly disappointed. The cards might be nice, but the market has a ton of them (rather suddenly, it seems) and the number of people playing/collecting the First Edition cards seems to be rapidly diminishing.
In other words, what tends to make things collectible: rarity and intriguing images/concept are both lacking from this set.
Despite the fact that the sealed deck cards are unique to this boxed set, it's pretty much a worthless set and it's impossible to recommend as a result. Players might enjoy it, but it's so easy to find and most of them will already have everything else in this box. Moreover, the sophisticated players will dislike how this simplifies the game to the point where there is no real strategy or subtlety to it.
This set culls images from Star Trek: The Next Generation, reviewed here!
The Official Tournament Sealed Deck Product was released following the Fajo Collection (reviewed here!) and prior to "Deep Space Nine," reviewed here.
This is a set of cards that I sell in my online store! For my current inventory of Sealed Deck cards and sets, please click here!
For other card reviews, please be sure to check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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