This Strategy-Note article was written by Kathy McCracken (aka Major Rakal) and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Jun 21st, 1997.
This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:
- Previous "Romulan Review" (# 24): "RR #24: Thomas Paris & Nick Locarno".
- Next "Romulan Review" (# 26): "RR #26: Samuel Clemen's Pocketwatch".
Aefvadh! The most important, and most confusing, new concept introduced in the Q Continuum expansion was that of side decks. Let's attempt to unravel the most confusing side deck so far, a bundle of dilemma-like cards with some very un-dilemma-like features...
Q-Continnuum Side Decks
(Note: this entire discussion deals only with Q-icon Events, Interrupts, and Dilemmas, and ignores the Q’s Planet mission. Although it has a Q-icon, and may be included in a Q-Continuum side deck, it does not work like the other Q-icon cards and has a totally different purpose. I'll review it separately, later.)
In your Q-Continuum expansion packs, you will find cards labelled Interrupt, Event, or Dilemma - but they don't look like like normal Interrupts, Events, or Dilemmas. Instead of the distinctive Event and Interrupt icons, or the planet/space icons of a normal Dilemma, they all have green "Q" icons, and they all have a black background. In addition, the text of these Events and Interrupts is decidedly peculiar when compared to normal Events and Interrupts that you might play from your hand; they don't sound like anything you would want to play (why would you want to give your opponent points?)! What gives? To understand Q-icon cards, there are two basic things you need to know:
- Q-icon cards can come into play in only one way: from a Q-Continuum side deck. They may not be put in your play deck and played from the hand like normal interrupts and events; they may not be seeded under missions like normal dilemmas; they may not be placed in a Q’s Tent.
- Q-icon cards, regardless of their card type, act more or less like "dilemmas" that your opponent has to face. Unlike dilemmas, though, they do not "stop" the crew or Away Team if not overcome (unless the card says so).
To make a Q-Continuum side deck, select as many cards with the Q-icon as you want, including as many duplicates as you want. No other cards can go into the Q-Continuum side deck. These cards are in addition to the 60 cards in your normal play deck. Shuffle the side deck and place it face down on the table. Now what? You have to have some method of accessing the side deck; it's done with the..
"Place one atop Q-Continuum side deck during the seed phase. Q-Continuum is now open and in play. OR Seed under any mission like a dilemma. Any crew or Away Team encountering this Q-Flash must experience X cards from opponent's Q-Continuum, where X = the number of personnel present. OR Stock in deck and play to nullify one Q-icon card."
While it may sound as though the three uses of this card are unrelated,the first two must be used in tandem. You must include in the seed portion of your 60-card deck at least two Q-Flash doorways. Seed one of them on top of the side deck at the beginning of the seed phase. This "activates" (opens) your Q-Continuum. If that doorway is closed during the game (e.g., by a Revolving Door), no more cards may come out of the Q-Continuum until it is reopened.
Any further Q-Flash doorways in your seed deck are seeded under missions (either planet or space), like dilemmas. You may seed only one under each mission. If a second Q-Flash is discovered at a mission (i.e., if both you and your opponent seeded one there), the second is discarded, just as duplicate dilemmas at a single mission are discarded. Note that they are doorways, not dilemmas; Q-Flashes may not be discarded by Senior Staff Meeting or the Q dilemma, and the Q-Flash itself may not be nullified by Q2.
When your opponent attempts a mission and encounters a Q-Flash, count the number of personnel present in his crew or Away Team. He must now face that many cards from your Q-Continuum. Draw cards from your Q-Continuum one at a time. Your opponent should read each card (it must be read from his point of view, just like a dilemma) and resolve it before going on to the next.
If the same card comes up more than once during a single Q-Flash, the duplicates are discarded, and are not replaced with more. Example: there are 6 personnel in the Away Team, and you draw the following cards: Amanda’s Parents, Frigid, Amanda's Parents, Mandarin Bailiff, Mandarin Bailiff, Penalty Box. The starred cards are discarded without effect, and no more cards are drawn.
A few miscellaneous points to keep in mind:
- There is no way for you to encounter the cards in your own Q-Continuum. A player always faces cards from his opponent's Q-Continuum when an Away Team or crew he controls encounters a Q-Flash. For example, if you control your opponent's Away Team with Alien Parasites, and the Away Team hits a Q-Flash, you face cards from your opponent's Q-Continuum.
- If the entire crew/Away Team gets killed, relocated, captured, stopped, or otherwise put out of commission so there is no one to continue, the Q-Flash ends (draw no more cards).
- When a Q-icon card is discarded, it goes to its owner's discard pile (not to the player encountering the Q-Flash) as usual, unless the card says otherwise (i.e., Gift Of The Tormentor).
- Some Q-icon Event cards say "play on (something) until any Q-Flash." This means that the Event is discarded when any player encounters a seeded Q-Flash, or plays a Q-Flash from his hand for any reason.
If these cards all act like little "dilemmas", and can't be played from the hand, you may wonder why some of them are labelled as Events or Interrupts. One word: nullifiers. While a few of the cards say that they may be nullified by one card or another, or that they may not be nullified, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that most of them may be nullified by the standards: Amanda, Kevin, and Q2. Yes, a Q-icon Interrupt doesn't just "play as an Interrupt"; it is an Interrupt. In addition, remember the last use of the Q-Flash doorway.
- Amanda Rogers may nullify a Q-icon Interrupt. As with any other Interrupt, it must be "just played" - that is, must have just come into play during a Q-Flash. Once you have started to resolve the Interrupt, it's too late to play Amanda.
- Kevin Uxbridge may nullify a Q-icon Event. As with other Events, it may be played immediately, or later to nullify a Q-icon Event that plays on the table or elsewhere. And don't forget Kevin Uxbridge: Convergence, which can nullify Events, including Q-icon Events, that are located anywhere on the spaceline (but not those played on the table).
- Q2, in addition to countering Amanda and Kevin, may nullify any "Q-related dilemma." You can't get much more "Q-related" than a Q-icon dilemma. (But Q-Flashes may not be nullified by Q2; they are doorways, even though they are seeded like dilemmas and have "Q" in the title.)
- Q-Flash doorways may be included in your draw deck and played to nullify any Q-icon card. Note that, while you could nullify a Q-icon card that your opponent encounters, with Amanda, Kevin, or Q2, you could not immediately nullify it with a Q-Flash, because you may only play a doorway from your hand on your own turn.
Any of these nullifiers may be overridden by the card text (e.g., "may only´be nullified by..." means the standard nullifier won't work; some "may not be nullified" by anything). Also, some cards may specify additional ways to nullify that card; "may be nullified by..." means the standard cards work as well.
No combos today, but I do have a table of "Q-Continuum Card Facts" on my website (URL listed below). Unlike normal dilemmas, Q-icon cards can't be interpreted with a flowchart. They're all different, so you just have to follow the card text, which unfortunately isn't always crystal-clear. The table lists all Q-icon cards with full game text; card type and bonus points (if any); ways to nullify each card; and an expanded version of the game text, interpreting in detail how the card works and when you discard it, with examples where I felt they would be helpful. Keep the following in mind:
- The card interpretations tell you how to apply the card to yourself, if you encounter a Q-Flash and face the cards from your opponent's Q-Continuum.
- The normal dilemma rules for stopping, discarding, and leaving on the mission do not apply to Q-icon cards. A Q-icon card stops the Away Team only if the card says it does. Q-icon cards are never left on the mission unless the card says it should be. In general, a Q-icon card is discarded when the card says to do so.