Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Alternate Universe Still Makes For A Great Gaming Experience With "In A Mirror, Darkly!"

The Good: Easy to play, Wonderful images, Great concept
The Bad: Collation issues with common and uncommon sets, One of the Archive foils could be better.
The Basics: "In A Mirror, Darkly" makes for one of the best Star Trek gaming card sets and is a must for players, collectors and investors!

One of the most popular Star Trek CCG sets was "Mirror, Mirror" (reviewed here!) the gaming set that introduced the Mirror Universe to the gaming set. It made the game dangerous and exciting, just like the episodes that featured that particular alternate universe did. When the Star Trek CCG rebooted with the "Second Edition," players wondered when the alternate universe would make its return to the game. Sure, they were teased with the Mirror Universe Sisko, Smiley and the Intendant back in "Fractured Time" (reviewed here!), but since then, fans had been salivating for the adventure and darkness of the Mirror Universe in the Second Edition.

With "In A Mirror, Darkly," fans finally get their wish! Moreover, this set is everything "Mirror, Mirror" was with the addition of the dark and dangerous cards featuring images and concepts from the Star Trek: Enterprise Mirror Universe episodes! This makes this set one of the most popular and valuable of the Second Edition.

The Star Trek Second Edition for the Customizable Card Game was an easy-to-play game, at least by CCG standards. As the game evolved, the Second Edition worked to bring players and collectors back to the game by broadening the representation of the Star Trek universe it depicted. The "In A Mirror, Darkly" cards were only released in boxes of thirty packs, with packs possessing eleven cards each. Each pack included 11 cards: 1 rare (or foil), 3 uncommon and 7 common cards.

Basics/Set Composition

"In A Mirror, Darkly" is a 142 card set of gaming cards, mostly focusing on characters and events from the Mirror Universe in the Star Trek franchise. The set consists of 41 Common, 41 Uncommon, 40 Rare, 18 Archive Foils and 2 Archive Portrait foil cards. The Archive foils are reprints of popular rares from the "In A Mirror, Darkly" set and the 2 Archive Portrait foils are unique foils that foreshadow future cards.

The 122 non-foil cards consist of: 21 Dilemma (cards that feature obstacles from the series', like an Alien Conspiracy or being Captured By The Breen), 1 Equipment (cards featuring mass-produced objects in the Star Trek universe, like a Multidimensional Transporter Device), 19 Event (cards that feature extended circumstances for the ships or crews, like a Sabotaged Transporter or the appearance of a Temporal Flux Energy Ribbon), 2 Interrupt (cards featuring quick turns of fate in the game, like Brutal Experiments and the Standard Punishment for disobedience), 3 Missions (cards that act as the "board" for the game), 69 Personnel (4 Bajoran, 1 Borg, 3 Cardassian, 4 Dominion, 26 Federation, 5 Ferengi, 2 Klingon, 7 Non-Aligned, 4 Romulan and 13 StarFleet characters), and 7 Ship (1 Dominion, 2 Federation, 2 Non-Aligned and 2 StarFleet) cards.

The cards truly do manage to focus on the diversity of the Mirror Universe, though they do manage to appeal to fans of Star Trek: Voyager by providing the Revised Crew from "Living Witness" and fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation with images of the command crew as altered for "Yesterday's Enterprise" (reviewed here!). Those two series' could not do episodes in the Mirror Universe, so that Decipher managed to include them in this set makes it easily the most impressive and powerful set to date. Given that every Star Trek series is represented and - in the tradition of the earlier Second Edition sets - some of those popular characters and ships, like Captains Picard and Janeway are released as common and uncommon cards.


The Star Trek Second Edition CCG is essentially a cross between a role playing game and a board game with cards being set down to create the board and players assembling a ship and crew to then travel the "board" and earn points. This set follows the same basic rules as they were laid out in "Second Edition Premiere" (reviewed here!).

By this point, there is some complexity in terms of dealing with time periods for some of the cards (i.e. Enterprise and Star Trek characters are not, technically, supposed to interact in the game with the 24th Century Federation characters), but most of the cards designed for playing, like the Event and Interrupts include the necessary text to understand how they are appropriately played. Anyone who has been playing the game will find this game easy to play and the "In A Mirror, Darkly" expansion does not offer any changes to game play, it just restores the original Mirror Universe to play in the game.

It is worth noting that one cannot play the Star Trek Second Edition game with only boosters from "In A Mirror, Darkly" as there are only three Mission cards. Players need a few more than that to effectively play.

Rule Changes

There are no changes to the rules in this expansion. One need only be attentive that the icons indicating which quadrant of space and which time period/universe the card may be played in.


Given that the very popular Mirror Universe from Star Trek and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the focus of the "In A Mirror, Darkly" set, it makes sense that the highlights would all be related to the Mirror Universe. Even the commons and uncommons are cool, though, with characters like Legate Damar and the Breen making their Second Edition premieres. The designers at Decipher had dome fun and chose to include cards in the Events that bear the titles to previously released Star Trek Second Edition CCG sets! This is very cute and well-conceived.

But the grails are all in the rares. It is in the rares that one finds Intendant Kira, Kirk, Spock, Archer, T'Pol, and Data as a Romulan. As well, "In A Mirror, Darkly" features several rare personnel who were never released in the first edition, like the Gorn captain Slar (who, to be fair didn't exist while the First Edition was in play), Captain Erika Benteen, and Laas, the Changeling. As well, Grilka - Quark's Klingon wife - returns to the game in this set.

The highlight of "In A Mirror, Darkly," objectively might well be the Elim Garak, Craft Underling card. 13R53, Garak is able to assume any skill with the sacrifice of one other character. While the card is a little less powerful than the Odo card in this deck, it also bears fewer consequences to activate a much more significant skill. And hey, it's Garak in chains!


The "In A Mirror, Darkly" cards were only released in the one release, so they are fairly uncommon, which always helps to increase the value. Unfortunately, there are two problems which lower the overall value of this release and make it a little more difficult to collect.

There are two short-printed cards, a common and an uncommon. Yes, the two cards that are new reprints of previous Archive Portrait cards are under-represented in the common and uncommon sets as a result of another printing error. Unfortunately, these are the very popular Empress Sato and T'Pol cards, making them pretty much indispensable for collectors.

The foil reprint cards help to thin the rares out some, but the grail for the collectors are the Archive Portrait cards, which pop up approximately one every three boxes. Unfortunately, in the "In A Mirror, Darkly" set there is a mediocre Archive Portrait (the Orion Slave Girl, Neras) and a highly coveted one, the naked Hoshi Dilemma foil card. The shot of Hoshi holding her breasts certainly panders to the audience that would be buying these cards.

The Archive Portraits have the potential to turn an average set into something truly extraordinary. Unfortunately, they fall short of that with the less inspired one.


Still, this is an impressive set and anyone who is playing the Star Trek Second Edition game will want to pick this up! The cards have retained their value, even after Decipher's collapse and the images are good. Moreover, because it contains complete command crews, it makes it ideal for fans and collectors alike as they are often the most coveted cards.

This was an all-around wonderful set, despite its minor problems.
This set was preceded by "These Are The Voyages" (reviewed here!) and followed by "What You Leave Behind" (reviewed here!).

This is a set of gaming cards I proudly sell in my online store. Check out my In A Mirror Darkly Inventory Page for my current inventory!

This set of gaming cards culls images from:
"Mirror, Mirror"
"Through The Looking Glass"
"Shattered Mirror"
“The Emperor’s New Cloak”
“In A Mirror, Darkly”
“In A Mirror, Darkly, Part II”


For other gaming card reviews, please check out my Gaming Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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