LOCUTUS’S UNIMATRIX are the most unusual away team in Star Trek: Away Missions. They have some incredible strengths and some interesting weaknesses. If you are going to expand the Collective, you’ll need to make the most of those strengths while minimising your weaknesses.
Let’s look at those strengths. Firstly, your Borg have a hivemind that allows them to share their activations. They can only move in their own activation or with a bonus action, but other than that, when you activate one Borg drone, you can use its actions on another drone. This allows you to finish assimilating a room or opponent rapidly and then move on to the next task.
The second strength you have is that your drones are interchangeable. You have quite a few ways to replace any drones that the enemy neutralises, some of them even score you points in the process. Better still, your new drone usually arrives unactivated, so if they neutralise a Borg that has already activated, you get more actions as well.
Your third strength is that you can assimilate your opponent’s characters. Not only does this deprive them of a character, but it also gives you a new character, one that hasn’t activated and is ready to go! This can come as quite a shock to your opponents, and can change the balance of the game considerably.
Your final strength is the way you can improve your drones through equipment, subcommands, and adapt tokens. These give all sorts of benefits to every drone you have, such as specialisations for skill tests, the ability to transport anywhere on the board or interfere with your opponent’s skill tests, and the ability to assimilate opponents quickly.
Your weaknesses are threefold. Your drones are slow, at least until you activate the subcommand that transports you anywhere. Your Borg don’t all arrive at once & finally, your drones are weak. Aside from doing skill tests, an unaugmented drone doesn’t have much combat capability. You’ll need to learn to work around these limitations to get the most out of your Borg.
The key to overcoming their slow speed is simply to not move. When each Borg arrives, make sure they beam down exactly where they need to be. If they complete their current task, they can give their actions to another drone to help them complete theirs. If you really have to move, pick the drone closest to where you need it to be and use its activation to walk there. Once it’s there, use the hivemind to get it to work straight away.
Only two of your Borg arrive each round, so you need to make sure you can get them working quickly. When you beam down the first pair, you won’t know which missions you’ll have, but if you know what’s in your deck, you can pick a couple of terminals that will probably be good places to start. When you draw your hand, use ‘reverse polarity’ to discard any missions that aren’t going to work and draw some more. With luck, you’ll be ready to start scoring right where you are.
When the rest of Borg arrive, you’ll know exactly where you need them, so you can place them on the most useful terminals, giving backup to other Borg, or right beside opposing characters in need of a little assimilation! It’s often better to position your Borg strategically and rely on re-rolls and the hivemind to score missions, rather than clustering them for backup.
Once you get the hang of it, your opponents will be complaining about your ability to be anywhere you need to be, rather than you worrying about the slow movement of your drones.
Mostly, the weakness of your drones in combat isn’t a big problem. As I mentioned, losing a drone to enemy attack is often a boon, rather than a loss, so focus on your tasks and don’t worry too much about being attacked. If you do need to assimilate an opponent, you won’t be rolling many attack dice, but your damage bonus can be huge. Whereas most characters need to score a lot of hits to do a lot of damage, a tooled-up drone can often assimilate an opponent (or at least cripple them) with a single hit. If you play your cards right (literally) and use your re-rolls strategically, you can make your opponents waste a lot of cards re-rolling their defence rolls to avoid assimilation. Then, you simply use hivemind to attack with the same Borg until they run out of cards or fail. Bingo, a new member of the Borg Collective.
So, bearing all that in mind, how do you defeat Riker and his Federation away team? There are two main strategies here: assimilate the ship, or assimilate their away team.
If you choose to assimilate the ship, you’ll probably find yourself in a race with Riker, rather than directly in conflict with him. You’ll need to make full use of your resources to score as fast as possible. Use your cards freely for re-rolls to get missions completed faster, and at the same time, stack up a few missions that don’t require much movement ready to go when you finish the current mission. When your next batch of Borg arrive, place them ready to do the next set of missions, while your original drones switch to hivemind to support them.
At the same time, keep your eyes open for opportunities. A Borg placed in a critical pathway can block off a whole area of the board to prevent Riker from scoring missions, while still contributing to the hivemind. Likewise, if you have an Assimilation Armature and a few Eliminate Threat and You will be Assimilated cards in your deck, take advantage of the opportunity for a quick assimilation of a Federation character. You’ll get more actions for the hivemind and your opponent will be down a valuable resource. A few well timed moves like this can throw your opponent’s whole plan out of whack.
The other alternative is to go down the route of assimilating their characters to enhance your distinctiveness. This can be tricky against the Federation as you need to start early so they don’t get too many points, since assimilating characters doesn’t gain you many points directly, and you’ll still need to outscore them. You may find it advantageous to assign your first two drones to scoring points and adapt tokens, then with a hand full of assimilation cards, use your newly beamed down Borg to begin the assimilation of the Federation and build up your distinctiveness. Don’t forget Reprioritise that lets you bring in a Borg ahead of schedule. Perfect for placing a drone right beside an unactivated character, assimilating them, then using their activation against their former master!
Getting lots of subcommands into play, so that you can score the 40-point Function as One is another way to get around the need to assimilate lots of rooms.
Overall, the Federation can be tricky because of their ability to score well if you leave them alone, but the trickiness of harassing them while still maintaining your own scoring.
Gowron’s Klingons are quite a different kettle of fish. Gowron is going to want to engage your Borg in melee combat and neutralise them. Going head to head against that isn’t the Borg’s strength.
Once again, you have two main courses of action. The first is simply to outfight the Klingons. You don’t need to worry too much about out-scoring the Klingons if you take them on head-to-head. Either you will assimilate them, or you will lose. So, the key is to make sure you assimilate them. Focus heavily on cards that bring neutralised Borg back into play. The Klingons will give you plenty of opportunity to use these cards. The best bit about it is that the Klingons will come to you. Even if they neutralise a drone, they will probably end their activation beside its replacement, the perfect spot for a bit of assimilation.
If you can make the Klingons work hard to neutralise your drones, through tricks like Self-determination is Irrelevant and We Will Add Your Distinctiveness and careful use of re-rolls. Then, when you attack them, they will have fewer cards to re-roll their defence rolls. With an Assimilation Armature and Assimilate Opposition, especially with a few choice re-rolls, they may struggle to block your attack entirely, suffering badly if even a single hit gets through. Attack them a few more times using hivemind, and they will struggle to stop you. At that point, you have a new Borg ready to assimilate any nearby Klingons, while Gowron will be running out of actions and cards to stop you.
Alternatively, you can focus on outscoring them. Use your ability to replace neutralised drones to minimise their impact on you (or even boost your productivity), while doing your best to make the Klingons work hard for every attack they make. Spreading out across the ship can make it hard for the Klingons to coordinate their attacks, while leaving them open to having isolated Klingons assimilated if they aren’t careful. Try to keep their scoring low, while having a free hand to assimilate the ship around them.
Gowron’s Klingons can be a challenge to Locutus, but careful play can quickly put them on the back foot.
Sela’s Romulans are in many ways a cross between the Federation and the Klingons, with an extra helping of sneakiness. As such, the basic approach to defeating them is the same, out score them or assimilate them.
One of the advantages that the Borg have against Sela is that they are likely to have characters at terminals ready to challenge the Romulans’ skill tests. This can make it more difficult for Sela to score. As with the Federation, Borg facing the Romulans need to focus on scoring well as this will put pressure on the Romulans.
One of their responses is likely to be an attempt to assassinate your Borg. As with the Klingons, this can work to your advantage as their actions spent doing aren’t being spent scoring other missions, and don’t generally slow you down too much if you can replace the neutralised drones.
Assimilating the Romulans can be tricky as they often slip away before you can begin assimilation. You don’t have the speed to chase them, so you need to beat them at their own game and lay traps for them. The Romulans are perhaps the hardest opposition to assimilate.
In general, assimilating the ship can produce good results against the Romulans, although as they are individually weaker than Klingons, if you can catch them, they are easier to add to the Collective.
GO FORTH AND FURTHER THE BORG COLLECTIVE!