What a Card: Balok

Being a look back at cards from the Star Trek CCG, and what I thought of them back when they were fresh and new... in EPISODE order. Though the first episode made after the pilots, The Corbomite Maneuver was aired much later. It managed to spawn 5 cards, the first being...

EXPANSION: Mirror, Mirror

PICTURE: All pastels, but that brings a kind of chromatic unity to the image. Very TOS, it stands out as one of the sharpest pictures from that series. A good 3.6. (Who still wishes they'd taken the dummy head from a great number of end credits instead?)

LORE: I generally like it. His species is given, as is the reason why this little tyke didn't get Youth. The mysterious First Federation is mentioned, and the lore uses plenty of adjectives to describe Balok. And I'm sorry, but that "Gentle Ben" reference (Clint Howard starred in that too) is quite lost on me, and probably on most other players. The last sentence is fluff, but not bad fluff. No extra points for matching commander status as that was left for the Fesarius instead. Like I said: generally positive. A 3.5.

TREK SENSE: The First Federation is NOT the Federation, so Balok is Non-Aligned. All his icons make sense, including the Command icon since he was in command of the Fesarius (though it was unclear WHO he commanded, if anyone). Same question on the Leadership. Even the Officer is iffy if you see him more as a kind of lone VIP (again, without a crew). His dealings with Kirk and crew may not have smacked of Diplomacy, but he did show that skill at the end, and I would believe the Honor too. Too bad he couldn't be given something else as well. His testing of the Enterprise's intentions might have merited Security or Anthropology for example. I just don't know. Integrity is fine, though the other attributes might have been just a tad lower. On the one hand, he was fooled by Kirk's Corbomite Maneuver (what, his ship has no sensors?) and on the other, his small stature doesn't exactly put him on par with, say, Deanna Troi. Left hungry at this point so a 2.8.

STOCKABILITY: Balok's just another DipHoLe, a fairly common skill combo. The Feds, Bajorans and Klingons have lots, but other affiliations have fewer or none. Still, Dathon is also Non-Aligned and has all these skills and more (Diplomacy x2, for example)! Well, Balok has the OS icon which can be used, among other things, in tandem with Classic equipment. As a leader, he can add SECURITY with the Classic Phaser, and of course share skills with the Classic Communicator. The real power behind Balok, though, is his ship, the Fesarius. That monster has stupendous WEAPONS and SHIELDS which Balok can boost further (to 11-15-21 with Log and Plaque). He reports directly aboard and is the only person that can drive it around. Add Captain Kirk to remove those silly affiliation battle restrictions and voila. That big ship can easily be made to resist/destroy Borg Cubes and Ships, or for such missions as Intercept Maquis. And his 3 skills are so baseline as to fit in any affiliation. Though simple in design, I'd have to say Balok comes out a winner at 3.8.

TOTAL: 13.7 (68.5%) And that's the short of it. ;-)



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