What a Card: Gorn Encounter

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. You can't have Arena without the Gorn!

EXPANSION: Mirror, Mirror

PICTURE: I've always liked the Gorn, and on more than a kitsch level, so it's unfortunate that the image here looks like it's been sitting in the sun too long. The greenish tints show the age of the film to too great a degree (no CGI fix available?). Gorn with boulder in hand would have been more dramatic too. This is mannequin stuff, as far as I'm concerned. A disappointing 2.

LORE: Not bad. I think what's important here is that the Encounter was engineered by the Metrons. It's stated in the lore, and the game text can be understood through it. The part about mercy was, in fact, the episode's message. Good cue. A good 3.5.

TREK SENSE: Though no personnel are relocated to another planet, we may still infer that the Metrons are pulling the strings here, in the form of the "opponent". That's why the Gorn is not encountered by the entire Away Team. Instead, as in "Arena", the Metrons pit leader against leader, one of these being the Gorn captain, the other being the Leadership personnel. Leaders should, by definition, exemplify the motives of their "side" or team. The opponent's choice puts the Metrons' power into a player's hands, which works fine. The players are nothing if not powerful entities interfering with the Trek universe (and there are many to choose from). To beat the Gorn, the Leader must be a pretty good survivor. It's difficult enough to beat the Gorn by Strength alone, but Kirk did it, also using ingenuity (Cunning) and skillful use of his environment. All the options are here: A personnel must have enough Strength or Cunning (printed, since Equipment and other resources were not carried over to the "arena") plus resourcefulness (expressed as the number of skills) to beat the Gorn. I think it works well, even if certain skill lists are going to be stranger than others. Still, storytelling-wise, any number of outcomes can be inferred by survival here. The mild differences between the dilemma and the show are the only minuses, such as the fact the Metrons were able to pull Kirk off a ship, that relocation business, etc. A very strong 4.7.

If only one personnel with Leadership x2 (or x3) is in the Away Team, then it becomes the Gorn's target. Some of these will survive (the Borg Counterparts, Dukat, Omet'iklan, Thot Gor, Captain Kirk, James T. Kirk, Admiral Riker, Karr, Culluh, Kor, Keras, Praetor Neral, Mr. Sisko), some won't (General Krim, the Kais, Legate Damar, Tekeny Ghemor, James Tiberius Kirk, William T. Riker, Admiral Hanson, Admiral Kirk, the Gowrons, General Korrd, Cyrus Redblock). How's that for complete lists? The dilemma gets interesting when there are more than one of these personnel (and Interlinked Borg will give his entire Hive the same Leadership rating), or none but lots of Leadership x1 personnel, or even none at all, in the same Away Team. That's when you get to select which Leader faces the Gorn, and so you can make sure (hopefully) that it gets killed through lack of attributes or skills. Any total under 13 will do it. Big tough Jem'Hadar, Hirogen and Breen, or brainy androids may be close to immune, but in many cases, you'll be able to take out someone important for the mission, or at least for the next dilemma. You might think of Lack of Prep to make sure Leaders are present for your dilemma at one of any Leadership-requiring missions. Leadership-related walls might also make sure you get more than one choice of Leadership personnel. Unfortunately, you can't drain attributes or skills (with Interphasic Plasma Creatures, for example) because it's all material as printed, but that also means your opponent can't boost their personnel, which is so often done that all personnel will usually have at least all the STRENGTH they need. A very good 4.

TOTAL: 14.2 (71%) A strong showing for what's unfortunately our only Gorn card.


Jeremy Patrick said...

I realised I didn't have what it takes to be a starship captain when I saw Kirk improvise a freakin' bazooka out of natural materials while being hunted by a giant lizard monster. I guess it's an ensign's life for me . . .


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