Stacking the Decks: Alternate Universes and mischief with Q


This week in Stacking the Decks, we take a look back at the first two expansions for the Star Trek CCG, Alternate Universe and Q Continuum.

I had been playing the Star Trek: The Next Generation CCG for months and was itching to get my hands on some new cards. The Warp Pack had come and gone and I had even purchased a copy of the Star Trek CCG Official Player’s Guide in order to be able to get the rare Data Laughing promo card.

The game’s first real expansion, titled Alternate Universe, had been announced months before but was seemingly delayed again and again. I think I drove my local games store a bit nuts asking if it had shown up every week.

Finally, in November of 1995 the packs arrived. I may or may not have squealed with joy as I ripped open my first booster packs of brand new Star Trek CCG cards.

Image: Decipher Inc.

As the title implies, Alternate Universe was filled with 122 cards that used characters, events and ships from both future and alternate timelines seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation. There was also a slew of new cards that added places and people not seen in the Premiere set.

But really, who cared about those? The players I knew all wanted the alternate timeline cards, which all had an “AU” icon on them. In order to use them in a deck, you needed a new type of card called a Doorway, specifically the one titled Alternate Universe Door, which enabled you to be able to use cards like Rachel Garrett and the Tasha Yar from “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. Without a Alternate Universe Door, you were pretty much screwed if you needed those cards to finish Missions.

Alternate Universe also introduced the concept of the ultra-rare card to the Star Trek CCG. I knew lots of people who tore open pack after pack looking for the too cool for words and incredibly powerful Future Enterprise card. Personally I never saw one in the real world until years later at a gaming convention. It was that hard to get.

More from Gaming

Thankfully Alternate Universe kept players pretty busy because it would be almost a year until the third expansion arrived, Q Continuum.

Again, as the name implies Q Continuum was filled with 122 cards having to deal with Q, the omnipotent nuisance first seen in “Encounter at Farpoint”. The big addition to the game in this expansion was the Q’s Tent card, which introduced the concept of side decks to the Star Trek CCG.

The Q’s Tent side deck was a stack of 13 cards you could leave to the side that you could draw from during the game. It fundamentally changed the way a lot of players played and added a new dimension to the game mechanics.

While I never used the Q’s Tent side deck much myself, I lost plenty of games to people who knew how best to utilize it and make the most out of those 13 cards.

Related Story. Stacking the Decks: Remembering the Star Trek CCG. light

If we’re being honest, after the excitement of Alternate Universe, the Q Continuum set was a bit of a letdown. The new side decks were nice, but the cards themselves were a tad on the boring side. Luckily for everyone, the next major expansion would not only look incredible, but would add a whole new level of challenge and gamesmanship to the Star Trek CCG.

Because, as they say… resistance is futile.