Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Star Trek CCG Goes Through The Looking Glass Darkly With The "Mirror, Mirror" Expansion!

The Good: Some great and intriguing images, Great use of material, Powerful cards for players, No significant rule changes.
The Bad: Game is becoming ever more complicated
The Basics: Based on a popular Mirror Universe, "Mirror, Mirror" is a great CCG set for players, collectors and fans looking for something different to get autographed alike!

When the Star Trek CCG began and the first expansion announced was "Alternate Universe" (reviewed here!) many fans of Star Trek and of the Customizable Card Game thought that the Mirror Universe from Star Trek would be coming into play and they were psyched. Unfortunately for them, it took quite some time before the game became ready to introduce the Mirror Universe, but when it did, it was pretty phenomenal. The set where that alternate universe was introduced was the "Mirror, Mirror" set.

For those unfamiliar with Star Trek, the Mirror Universe was a parallel universe introduced in an episode of Star Trek and re-examined and developed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It is a place where those who are usually good are evil and values are mixed up. As a result, StarFleet officers advance through the ranks by killing one another and some of the most decent and loyal people are Ferengi. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, these episodes were often bloodbaths as characters in the Mirror Universe would frequently be killed off! Also, a Rebellion started in the Mirror Universe, which allowed Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to do something akin to a "Star Wars" subplot, which helped cross the great divide between the two franchises.

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Trek Customizable Card Game "Mirror, Mirror" set was the eleventh 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.

"Mirror, Mirror" is a 131 card set focusing on characters, ships, alien races and scenarios presented involving the Mirror Universe, specifically the experiences of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise as they appeared in the alternate universe and the personas from Deep Space Nine who had Mirror Universe counterparts! The set consists of 40 common cards, 40 uncommon cards, 50 rare and rare plus, and one Ultra Rare cards 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 131 card set features 1 Artifact (cards featuring unique devices, in this case the Tantalus Field), 11 Dilemmas (cards featuring challenges the crews faced), 2 Doorways (cards representing passages, like the Guardian Of Forever), 8 Equipment (cards featuring generic, mass produced devices in the Star Trek universe, like a Mirror Universe dagger or an Agonizer), 3 Events (cards featuring long-standing challenges or concepts in the overall Star Trek universe, like a treaty between the Federation and the Dominion), 5 Facilities (cards that illustrate originating locations of major races, in this case mostly locations in the Mirror Universe), 8 Incidents (cards that feature extended challenges to personnel, like being stuck in the agony booth), 2 Interrupts (cards featuring phenomenon that quickly turn events, like receiving the use of the Vulcan Death Grip!), 5 Missions (cards featuring basic plots from the series', these are used to create the "board" for the game), 3 Objectives (long-standing goals for players which establish alternate goals of the game, like building a new starship), 65 Personnel (8 Bajoran, 1 Borg, 5 Cardassian, 1 Dominion, 24 Federation, 4 Ferengi, 8 Klingon, 9 Non-Aligned, and 5 Romulan characters mostly from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), 16 Ship cards (2 Bajoran, 1 Cardassian, 1 Dominion, 5 Federation, 1 Ferengi, 4 Klingon, 1 Non-Aligned and 1 Romulan), 1 Sites (locations on the Deep Space Nine space station), and 1 Time Location (cards representing the special places and times, like the Halkan Council during the ion storm). This set introduces the Mirror Universe, which offered an intriguing alternate location and its appearance did not alter gameplay significantly.


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 "Mirror, Mirror" set continues the game with the thirteen types of cards introduced and revised with the "Deep Space Nine" expansion set. The "Mirror, Mirror" set also utilizes the one of the two new card types introduced in "Blaze Of Glory" (review pending the addition to the database): the Incident cards. The basic idea is to assemble a sixty card deck (for beginners), lay out the board (spaceline) and play against an opponent.

"Mirror, Mirror" does not add any new card types, but it does offer the whole Mirror Universe hierarchy, so in essence it creates the new Affiliations of the Terran Empire and the Alliance (denoted by icons next to the game text). This does not alter gameplay significantly and is considered only when dealing with Staffing-type requirements. When playing using the "Mirror, Mirror" cards, it is important to keep track of locations, as Mirror locations are considered separate and parallel to the normal universe locations.

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.

Anyone who has played the initial game will have no problem incorporating the new cards into their deck. Indeed, "Mirror, Mirror" is a fan favorite because it offers a lot of options, though some of them are better executed in concept than reality. So, for example, there are four different Mirror Universe Klingon ships, but only 8 Mirror Universe Klingon characters to staff them, making it very difficult to play a Mirror Universe Klingon deck (it's even harder as a Mirror Universe Cardassian!).

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 easily one of the shortest yet, which makes sense because there is expansion simply added a parallel existence, it did not bring on any truly new content or gameplay alterations. The rules supplement simply clarifies that Mirror Universe Personnel and Ships and Locations all belong in the Mirror Universe and how to substitute Personnel in one universe for their normal universe counterparts.


Players, collectors and fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek will appreciate the image quality of the characters and scenarios from episodes featuring the Mirror Universe. "Mirror, Mirror" is a wonderful set for anyone who likes the Deep Space Nine or original Star Trek crews as this offers all the main cast from Star Trek and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the personnel cards as well as some very significant guest characters. Fans who have had trouble tracking down a copy of the U.S.S. Defiant will be thrilled by the Mirror Universe Defiant! Klingon fans will like the Regency 1, one of the most powerful Klingon ships to grace the game.

But with choices like James Tiberius Kirk, Captain Dax and the Intendent (Kira's sexy alter-ego), it's hard to say what the true highlight of the set is. The common wisdom would be that it is the Ultra Rare, the First Officer Spock card featuring Spock with a goatee as his Mirror Universe counterpart. It's a cool card, to be sure, but I'm not sure it's the true high point of the set.

For my money, I'd go with the Ezri card. Nicole de Boer joined the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the seventh (and final) season of the series only. Finding any images of her is a real quest in and of itself. That de Boer's character of Ezri Dax is introduced into the Star Trek CCG as her Mirror Universe persona of Ezri is very cool. She is very cool and the image and rarity of her card is great!


"Mirror, Mirror" is a challenging set for collectors because of the Ultra Rare First Officer Spock card, which averaged one in every six-box case. It's a tough card to find and it is usually the one that prevents collectors from assembling a complete set. In addition to the tough chase of the Ultra Rare, the fact that most of the best cards (in terms of the rare ships and personnel) are actually "Rare +" cards, which are each about a third more rare than the standard rares. As a result, and with thirty of the fifty Rares actually being Rare Plus cards, what could have been a two-box (save the Ultra Rare) set becomes a three to four box set with a lot left over.

While Decipher did not overproduce the "Mirror, Mirror" product, much of the set was dumped as collectors simply tore through cases looking for the Ultra Rares (they still retail $50 in the secondary market!). The cards come in packs of 9 cards that feature one rare (or rare plus or the Ultra Rare!), three uncommon and five common cards. This means that even 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 six boxes and that would leave collectors with a lot to sell off!

"Mirror, Mirror" cards were never reprinted or re-released in any other forms. Because of the very popular subject matter and the difficulty in completing sets, this continues to be one of the best Star Trek CCG expansions.


This set has some wonderful images, and it is a rare thing to have a set so wonderfully focused that offers two entire command crews (three, if you count the Alliance!), which makes it a highly prized set for collectors and players alike. Players will enjoy the chance to branch out with their favorite characters with different affiliations, collectors will enjoy the images that cannot be found anywhere else and investors will be generally pleased that this is one of the more solid Star Trek CCG investments! (Players of the game who enjoy playing it are likely to enjoy this set even more than I did!)

This set culls material from Star Trek and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, most notably the following episodes reviewed at:
"Mirror, Mirror"
"Through The Looking Glass"
"Shattered Mirror"
“The Emperor’s New Cloak”

This set was preceded by "The Trouble With Tribbles" (reviewed here!) and followed by the Star Trek CCG expansion "Voyager," (reviewed here!).

This is a set of gaming cards I proudly sell in my online store! Check out my current inventory by clicking here!


For other card reviews, please be sure to 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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