The Good: There are some interesting new cards.
The Bad: A LOT of recycled material for the money! Collectible value is nonexistent.
The Basics: This lemon of a repack rids Decipher of volumes of "Premiere" product while offering collectors only eight new cards!
In one of the reviews I'm awaiting a product addition for, I have a whole short story of invented dialogue from the Decipher card warehouse. In it I wryly note that with the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation Unlimited Premiere Customizable Card Game Cards (reviewed here!), Decipher essentially had a flood in the market of its first product and virtually no way it was ever going to sell the cards in the original form. As a result, Decipher began to repackage the Premiere product in other forms, like the First Anthology boxed set. Perhaps its most direct and shameless repackaging of this overproduced series of cards was with the "Starter Deck II," a standard Premiere starter deck bulked out with eight new, entirely dispensable cards that could only be found in the "Starter Deck II" boxes!
I am not going to waste space rehashing the review I wrote of the Premiere product (see link above) which fleshes out the bulk of the volume of the "Starter Deck II," it's somewhat pointless. Instead, I shall focus solely on what makes this set unique. Yes, "Starter Deck II" is only bought by people looking for the eight premium cards and/or the revised rulebook. The same eight cards come in EVERY "Starter Deck II" cards, so a starter deck has sixty more or less random (there are 2 rares, 13 uncommons and 45 commons, but which ones they are is always a surprise!) white border Premiere cards and the eight fixed black border exclusive Starter Deck II exclusives. The "Starter Deck II" decks come in boxes of 12 decks.
The "Starter Deck II" exclusive cards are very much meant for players. Why? The set consists of a lone Event card, six Missions and one Facility. Missions always have planet or starfield graphics and are essentially the board with which the CCG is played. Missions look bland and collectors tend to shy away from them because they are very much a part of the game, as opposed to the fun world of card collecting or Star Trek appreciation. The Event does have the image of a character on it; Ensign Ro getting her mind wiped.
To Decipher's credit, the company made some effort with the Facility card. The Facility is a Ferengi Trading Post, which establishes an outpost for the Ferengi to begin play at. This is an entirely unique card created from digital art made at Decipher, not shots ever used in the television series! That is actually pretty cool and it illustrates that even when Decipher is just trying to dump product, it makes some small effort to be classy about it.
Here's where the set suffers even for players. The Event card is great, it makes it so that anyone can play the Star Trek Customizable Card Game" right out of the "Starter Deck II" box! The card, Memory Wipe, removes all Affiliation from your characters so they may mix. This means that when the Event is played or seeded, Romulans, Klingons and Federation Personnel cards may all mix, which allows one to play a fully randomized deck, like they receive in the starter deck! So, that's cool.
The Mission cards are easy to understand and there is enough point value to them - four are 30 point Missions, one is a 25 point Mission and one is a 20 point Mission with bonus points available - to keep players playing even if they do not pull any missions from the rest of the deck. Given that the goal is usually to reach 100 points, this allows players to have a selection of missions and still play even if they fail one or two!
But the facility is a ridiculous card for this point in the Star Trek CCG. The Facility is the first all Ferengi card in the game. There is only one Ferengi Affiliation character in the game at this point, Nog and he is part of the "Deep Space Nine" release as a dual character/dual affiliation card with Jake! As a result, Jake and Nog may be played by a Federation deck OR they could staff the outpost created in "Starter Deck II." The problem is, they cannot do anything more than that! There are no Ferengi Ships, no other Ferengi Personnel and while three of the Missions in "Starter Deck II" may be played by Ferengi players, the Jake And Nog card does not meet the requirements to play it! In other words, this card and the concept behind it is worthless until the Rules Of Acquisition set properly introduces the Ferengi five releases later!!!
It's kind of silly to create something players have to wait years to play! This is, of course, less an issue now that all the series' are out, but it is a throwaway card for this release, though the text of the card does allow it to be played if it is seeded on the table.
"Starter Deck II" is all about the rule changes! Actually, it's all about rewriting the rulebook for the Star Trek CCG following the revisions made over the years from the first Premiere release and the "Deep Space Nine" expansion set. The new rulebook completely neglects the Doorway, Objective, and Q- cards introduced in the prior expansion sets, but generally the rulebook is easy to read and understand.
It is very convenient in that it provides pictures and step by step directions for creating a deck, laying out the "board" with mission cards and other seeded cards, and then playing the game. The few flaws in the rulebook do not make it impossible to play, they only make it impossible to play at the level of sophistication that other players may be playing at by using the more advanced card types. The reason this product is such an obvious throwaway product is that the prior release ("Deep Space Nine") had starter decks that came with the FULL revised rules including all of the new card types and corrections of errata.
So "Starter Deck II" restates the basic rules for beginning players who might be picking up the product and starting from scratch. In that regard, it is more than adequate.
For players and collectors alike, the highlight has to be the Event card. For players, it is cool because it allows full mixing of all Affiliations which means powerful crew combinations can be created (you could have a crew where Captain Picard leads Data, Gowron, Tomalak, Dukat, Shakaar and Roga Danar!). For collectors, it is the only mildly interesting card as it has a person on it (character cards are always the most valuable to collectors).
This is an obvious attempt by Decipher to clear out its old stock and it had the effect of further depressing the value of the "Premiere" product. The eight exclusive cards are so easy to find, it's hard for dealers to sell them at $2.00 for the set of 8! (MSRP on the "Starter Deck II" decks was $9.95!). In terms of collectibility, this set is an utter lemon.
Star Trek CCG players may find merit in playing these cards, but the set is a terrible and obvious repackaging of cards that flooded the market from the beginning of the Star Trek CCG run. It becomes impossible to recommend purchasing this deadwood to collectors, as its mostly just kindling.
Unfortunately, for the true collectors, the eight exclusive cards are truly exclusive to this set and they will want that. I (however) recommend anyone who considers a compulsion to collect everything simply get their "Starter Deck II" set in one of the "Second Anthology" boxed sets. At least then you're getting greater value with your repacked crap.
This set culls an image from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Conundrum," reviewed here!
This repackage set was preceded by "Deep Space Nine" (reviewed here!) and followed by the repack set "Enhanced First Contact” and the major release "The Dominion" (reviewed here!).
This is a set of gaming cards I sell in my online store! Check out my current inventory by clicking here!
For other card reviews, please visit my Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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