What a Card: Horta

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. We're now up to The Devil in the Dark, and that yielded two cards. Up first...

EXPANSION: Mirror, Mirror

PICTURE: I know the Horta has never looked good (alternately described as spaghetti 'n 'meatballs and a bathroom rug), but here it just looks like a foam set piece... in a larger foam set. Bonus points for showing the eggs and a tunnel, but the image is entirely too static for my tastes. Perhaps we need to see it opposite Kirk and Spock? A somewhat dull 2.8.

LORE: While we do get pretty much all the facts about the Horta's life-cycle, and why it would pose a threat to an Away Team, my secret wish is that they would have use the line "No kill I" somewhere in there. I just always thought it was a great counterpoint to "Shaka, when the walls fell" and other Tamarian dialogue, especially in comparing Kirk and Picard in all those "one is better than the other" lists floating on the net. Anyway, what's here is fine, but does not rise above that level. A 3.2.

TREK SENSE: The Horta is treated as some kind of plague that stays on the planet and keeps killing until stopped. Ok, it did kill a lot of people before Kirk and crew disembarked. It was quick-moving, so the speed at which it kills is fine too. How do you stop it? Well, you need lots of Leadership to overcome your party's fear upon seeing the monster and coordinating the other skills (wouldn't a Phaser help too?). You need lots of Exobiology to understand the creature's life cycle (what, no Geology? or is that what I'm a Doctor Not a Bricklayer represents?). And you need lots of Mindmeld to communicate with the big momma. Sure sounds like Kirk, McCoy and Spock. Mindmeld x2 does merit a closer look: Spock could presumably meld with the very strange alien because of his Mindmeld x2, but would two Vulcans with Mindmeld x1 really be able to pool their mental discipline this way? I wouldn't be that surprised, but it would look strange. Because an entire episode revolved around the Horta, the card seems incomplete, but it works. A 4.1.

SEEDABILITY: The perfect partner for something like Duonetic Field Generator that traps you on a planet, Horta will kill your personnel again and again (twice a turn!) unless you can meet some pretty hefty requirements. 2 Leadership should be affordable, 2 Exobiology should be too if you haven't lost too many personnel, but 2 Mindmeld could be more difficult if not using Vulcans. Aside from Mr. Spock and T'Lar, there are no Mindmeld x2 Vulcans, so each deck would need two to survive here. Though x2s exist for the skills, you'd usually be stuck curing the dilemma with 6 personnel! That's tough. Thankfully, it's not a wall, so that personnel could continue the mission attempt while the Horta hunts. As dilemma-seeder, I'm sure you see the importance of stopping the Away Team as often as possible once the Horta's out of her hole. The body count rises steadily not only thanks to the dilemma combo, but through Mission Debriefing and some beaming obstacles as well. The dilemma can even be set off by your redshirt on a planet you're using to strand opposing personnel on. The end of the spaceline where all the Love Interests go, next to Hippocratic Oath, or where you Alien Parasites strand their crew, are all fine choices. Either way, there is a cheat out of the dilemma that doesn't even get you the first kill, and that's I'm a Doctor, Not a Bricklayer, a card that shows up for its other uses and could be used against your big dilemma. Still, it passes the test at 4.4.

TOTAL: 14.5 (72.5%) A good score for the Great Mother. 


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