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 Dec 13th, 2000.
This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:
- Previous "Romulan Review" (# 107): "RR #107: Major Rakal, Reporting For Duty!".
- Next "Romulan Review" (# 109): "RR #109: Downloading Update (Part 2)".
Aefvadh! As more and more cards allow downloads of all kinds, more and more players have questions about downloading. When can I download? Where does a downloaded card come from? Can I download a card to my hand? Does this download use my card play? How are special downloads different from regular downloads? Where can I play a downloaded card? Since my Romulan Review #41, "The Ups and Downs of Downloading," is almost three years old, and we've had some rules changes since then, it's time for a...
Downloading Update (Part 1)
What's a Download?
A download is permission to locate a target card in your deck or some other source and (in most cases) play it immediately.
A regular download is always allowed by game text using the specific term "download." It may tell you to download a specific card by name ("download A Change of Plans") or a card of a certain type ("one Objective card") or card title group ("any one Adapt card"). If it doesn't use the word "download," it's not a download. (For example, Borg Scout Vessel says it can "report with crew" - you have to report them from hand, because it doesn't say you get to download them.)
A special download is represented by an icon (abbreviated ), a downward-pointing red triangle, followed by (usually) a specific card title. (A few special downloads let you download one of a group of cards, e.g., " Any Equipment card.") This icon is shorthand for "Once per game, you may suspend play to download and play it immediately at this location."
When Can I Download?
When you can use a download depends on the game text involved, and whether it's a regular or special download.
- If you play an interrupt card that allows a download, you perform the download immediately, whenever it is legal for you to play the interrupt. An example is Awaken ("Downloads one or drone").
- If you play an event, incident, or objective face up, or activate a hidden agenda, and the text says "download X" or "may download X", you also do it immediately, unless the card remains in play on the table and indicates that you may save the download for later. "Immediately" would be at the time you play the card (which uses your normal card play for these card types) or when you activate the hidden agenda (which may be "at any time"). Examples include Bajoran Civil War ("Downloads two â�– Bajoran OFFICER, SECURITY or Resistance personnel"), Ferengi Conference ("Plays on your Nagus... Download to that Nagus one Hupyrion..."), and Writ of Accountability ("Once per game, downloads an FCA personnel").
Examples of text that would allow you to do the download later include "in place of one card draw, you may download...", "at any time, you may download...", or "each turn, you may download..." In the first case, you can perform the download whenever you are entitled to take a card draw (e.g., end of turn draw, or Kivas Fajo card draws). "At any time" means, as always, "at any time between other game actions, even during your opponent's turn". "Each turn" would mean during your own turns. Because it's a download, this would not advance you to the executing orders segment of your turn. (That is, you can do it before your card play.)
Special downloads suspend play. That means they can interrupt any action at all. Regular downloads do not suspend play, unless they explictly say so.
Does a Download Use Up My Normal Card Play?
Unless the card says, "in place of your normal card play," no. The download is the result of using game text allowing a download, and doesn't use your card play any more than drawing three cards with Kivas Fajo - Collector uses up your normal turn-end card draw.
Where Does It Come From?
The normal, valid sources for a downloaded card include your draw deck, your hand, your open Q’s Tent, and your Zalkonian Storage Capsule. Specific card text might add another source (e.g., your discard pile) or exclude one or more of the usual sources (e.g., "download from hand"). Also, if the type of card that you're downloading can only be legally stocked in a side deck (like Tribble or Tactic cards), then that side deck is the only place you may download from.
How Do I Download?
One of the biggest misconceptions about downloading is that "downloading a card" is somehow different from "playing a card" or "reporting a card for duty." It's different only in the timing and where the card comes from - playing or reporting the card is just a sub-action of downloading. and you must meet normal requirements to play or report the card (although certain game text may cancel some normal requirements). Let's look at downloading broken down into its sub-actions:
- Announce that you are performing a download, for example, using Alyssa Ogawa (Prem)'s special download icon, or using the Borg Queen (FC)'s skill to download a card in place of your card draw to end your turn
- Get the target card from a valid downloading source. (If you look through your deck, shuffle it afterwards.) Show it to your opponent.
- If the card allowing the download says:
- download to hand - place the card in your hand. You can play it later, however you would normally play that card from hand.
- download in place of one card draw - either place it in your hand OR play it immediately, your choice.
- neither (including special downloads) - play it immediately (if you can't, you may not download the card).
Notice that I didn't say anything about announcing to your opponent what card you're going to download. In Alyssa's case, you're obviously downloading a Medical Kit (that's all she can download), but for the Queen, you don't say which drone you're looking for, or even whether you want a drone or A Change of Plans. Just look through your downloading sources and decide what card you want - your opponent gets to see what you're downloading when you show the card to him, not before.
That takes us to the point of actually playing that downloaded card. Next time, I'll cover those "normal requirements" for playing the card, and what allows you to ignore some of those requirements.