Getting Started in Star Trek: Into the Unknown

Let's go over the basics of Star Trek: Into the Unknown, using the Preview Kit to see how the game components work.

Throughout this article I will be putting new terms within the game world in bold.  Pay attention to these words because they are the official way of referring to game terms within the rules.

The goal of the game is to collect victory point tokens (while avoiding negative victory point tokens) and then have the most at the end of the game.  Ties go to whichever side was able to get a favorable Complication.  We will talk more about complications later.  Importantly, you do not win or lose by destroying the enemy ships, though doing so may or may not give you victory points at the end of the game.  In fact, attacking your opponent without provocation could net you a significant victory point penalty.

The Jem'Hadar at the end of orange player's turn.

To acquire these victory points, you'll use your ships.  These ships are your way of impacting the board, and will need to move, conduct tests, and potentially attack other ships to secure yourself the win.

These ships by themselves don't tell you much.  There are 4 "bubbles" on the ship where you can place small tokens that will tell you: 

Ship miniatures on the board are representations of where they are, while the ship cards are representations of what they can do.  These can be a bit overwhelming to look at because there is a lot of information to go over.  Let's try and break it down into easy to understand clumps.

The Vorta Diplomat is assigned to the Captain's Chair, and has been committed.

Let's start by looking at officers, sections, and stations.

Officers are the core of what makes a ship functional.  They allow for priority orders, or in other words the actions your ship is performing, to take place.  Each officer begins assigned to a station, but later can be reassigned to a different station, or just to a particular section of the ship and jump into whatever open station they are needed in at a particular moment when they are committed to an action.  Note that a station can only have 1 officer assigned to it.

There are 4 sections in each ship.  The Bridge, which contains 4 stations - Captain's Chair, Helm, Instruments, and Tactical.  Then there are 3 others, which only contain 1 station: Medbay, Cargo, and Engineering.

When a player is issuing a priority order, you will take your officer and commit them by turning them face down at the station you have assigned them to.  Then, you can take one of the actions available to you, either on the ship card or from a different source such as the Mission Action.  To do this, you may need to spend energy and/or use your officer's abilities.  For example, if the Jem'Hadar fighter wanted to engage their warp drives, they would first have to spend an officer with at least 1 social skill and 1 technical skill, as well as 1 energy, or 1 additional energy for each skill not present on that officer that is required.  So the Vorta Diplomat is able to be spent for the social and technical skills, and just 1 energy would be spent to engage warp.  However, if the Jem'Hadar Second tried to engage warp, he would not have a social or technical skill available to spend, and 3 energy would be required.  (A standby order will always have to spend energy if there are skill costs associated with an action, as no officer is being assigned to the action.)

Looking at officers, each one will have levels in 3 skill categories, as well as specific skills within those categories.  From top to bottom you have social skills, security skills, and technical skills.  Whichever specific skill they have that is highest in that category gives them their level for that skill when it comes to action costs.  For example, the Jem'Hadar Second has a Fieldcraft of 1, an Ordnance of 1, and a Skirmish of 2, all in security skills.  Because his highest security skill - Skirmish - is at 2, he has a security skill of 2.

Officers may also have bonus keywords, like the Jem'Hadar Second's Relentless, which give them bonuses when doing certain actions.

The Jem'Hadar Second is ready, or available for a priority order to be given to him.  Once he becomes committed he is flipped face down so that his character card is shown, like Talak'Talan is here.  The player can ready up to 3 officers during the ready phase of each round, and reassign up to 3 officers to other stations or sections.  This means that if you are using more than 3 officers each turn, you can run short of available officers and places to assign them.

Next in Part II we'll look at the actions you can take with the officers, or with your standby order.