The Good: Mildly interesting exclusive cards
The Bad: A lot of repetition and pretty lame cards.
The Basics: With its first repackaging of the Premiere product, fans and collectors get shafted by Decipher with the Introductory Two-Player Game.
Throughout the Star Trek CCG First Edition, it seemed like Decipher was pushing its Premiere product on players at any and every opportunity possible. Now, one envisions warehouses of the product that the company felt pressure to liquidate by the way it was repackaged so many times in so many dismal ways. The first time the white border Premiere set was repackaged with an attempt to sell many of the same cards players had already bought was the "Introductory Two-Player Game."
The "Introductory Two-Player Game" is troubling in that it resells almost a complete deck of cards fans already have under the bribe of exclusive cards that are only available in the Two-Player Game product. This set essentially sets the Federation against the Klingons and expects players to duke it out between the two dominate races in the Star Trek franchise.
The Introductory Two-Player Game comes in two very similar boxed sets: Federation and Klingon. The Federation deck comes with ten cards unique to the boxed set, the Klingon boxed product comes with eight unique cards. Both sets share the premiums Data Laughing, Admiral McCoy and the white border Spock.
Outside the exclusive cards that make more powerful Klingon and Federation decks, the cards are duplicates that are essentially the same cards players already have. In fact, the remaining 52 Federation cards and 54 Klingon cards are identical or differentiated only by a different copyright date from the previously released cards.
The exclusives are interesting, but also baffling. With the Federation deck, Admiral Picard, Commander Data and Commander Troi as they appeared in "Future Imperfect" are presented on the cards. This is a fine collection of interesting cards, but that episode focused on a conflict between the Federation and the Romulans, not the Klingons! Klingon players are either lucky or even more disappointed; they have concept cards, like Mogh, the father of Worf and Kurn, who never appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation. There is Ja'rod, father of Duras, as well and Gi'ral and they are interesting concepts, but purists might be disappointed as opposed to appreciative.
Either way, this boxed set product provides each player with preconstructed decks that allow them to play against one another and play the game right out of the box. The rulebook that accompanies this product is straightforward and allows the players to leap right in with a feeling of confidence over playing the game.
The game is essentially a board game where the variables include the board. The players lay out the board with Mission cards and they assemble a crew for a starship and fly it around the board accumulating points by overcoming dilemmas. The opponents play dilemmas designed to foul up the other player's chances of reaching 100 points first.
The two-player game eliminates much of the strategy and variables making this a remarkably easy game to play. The rulebook included is quite though and written for beginners. It is designed to get players playing and it succeeds. Anyone fifteen and older ought to be able to learn quickly how to play using these sets. This will help them build their confidence to start playing with variable decks as well. It's a good theory and they execution of that idea seems to hold with the Introductory Two-Player Game.
This is a good way to start playing.
Because this set follows on the heels of "Premiere" (reviewed here!) and "Alternate Universe" (here!), there are no significant rule changes. Cards have minor alterations of errata or copyright dates, but the rulebook that comes with this set is clear in simplifying the rules and setting the game up as a two-player dialectic. Outside that, the rules are identical to what was presented in "Premiere."
Well, the cards unique to this set are missions for both the Federation and Klingon decks and those tend to be fairly boring, save - I suppose - to players. That leaves the characters. It is tempting to call the previously limited Data Laughing card (which had been a mail-away exclusive before these boxed sets were released) the highlight, but it's also hard to consider it unique to this set.
Similarly, the Spock and Admiral McCoy cards which would seem to be wonderful additions to the CCG would seem to be a decent selling point to this product. Because they are in every box - both Federation and Klingon - it is hard to call them the highlights. Likewise, I'm not so big on the Klingon concept cards. This is one of the concepts that just does not seem to work.
I'd have to go with the Commander Troi, the attache to Admiral Picard as the best selling point of this set. Most would go with the commanding Picard, but the Troi card represents one of the underused personnel in the Star Trek: The Next Generation scenario. Here she is useful to have for players and the image is one that is not very common at all, making it truly interesting for fans of Marina Sirtis and those who go to conventions and get gaming cards autographed. Having a female in an authority position like Commander Troi can also help players overcome certain gender-based dilemmas and help them rack up points quicker. Troi is the winner in this set!
The exclusives are enough to dupe die-hard collectors into buying one set of each of the Introductory Two-Player Game product, but it's hard to see how they wouldn't resent it. The decks that are flooded with previously released cards are somewhat insulting to the fans and collectors alike. The Introductory Two-Player Game feels lazy in a lot of ways, like Decipher didn't want to reinvent the wheel making the product, but wanted to clear its shelves of some of those pesky white bordered cards that were kicking around.
Collectors only need one set of each to get the exclusives they would need for their collections. There is no reason to purchase more than one boxed set. Moreover, this set was a terrible investment for collectors. Originally released in the $10 - $15 range, these boxed sets now sell in the $5.00 range and collectors can usually haggle that down because the dealers are so eager to get rid of this product.
Like so many of Decipher's repackage products, it's hard to get excited about the Introductory Two-Player Game. It's easy to avoid it, especially the Klingon boxed set, but those who do get this set for the exclusives are likely to rip those out of the box and burn the rest. It's truly that devalued these days.
The exclusives in this set cull images from:
"Unification, Part II"
and "Encounter At Farpoint"
This set was preceded by Alternate Universe (link above) and followed by "Q-Continuum," reviewed here!
For other card reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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