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Boldly Going
Star Trek Quick Scenarios for Full Thrust

Dawn of the Third Age
A Babylon 5 Full Thrust Scenario

The Romluans
alien races in Star Trek Full Thrust

Senior Officers to the Bridge characters in Star Trek Full Thrust

The Tholians
alien races in Star Trek Full Thrust

Reaching the Threshold
Threshold Cards for Star Trek Full Thrust

Threshold Cards - Designer's Notes

Data's Day
scenario for Star Trek Full Thrust

Enagage the Cloaking Device
hide and seek in Star Trek Full Thrust

Star Trek II
the wargaming implications of Khan

 

Engage the Cloaking Device...
By James F Clay

Cloaking has been a plot device that has occurred in all of the Star Trek canon. The attempted theft by Kirk and Spock in The Balance of Terror in TOS; the Klingon Bird of Prey that appears in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and can fire torpedoes when cloaked; in TNG, Picard's use of three cloaked Klingon ships in The Defector to save the day against the Romulans; the new Romulan cloaking device which "de-phased" Geordi and Ro in The Next Phase; the illegal Federation cloaking device found aboard the USS Pegasus in Pegasus; the legal Federation cloaking device found aboard the Defiant, the new ship to be found in DS9, season three; and in to the future, where an up-dated, three engine Enterprise-D uses a cloaking device to sneak into the Neutral Zone.

USS Enterprise D (Future Version)

What is a cloaking device, according to the Star Trek Encyclopaedia, it is "an energy screen generator used to render an object (typically, a starship) invisible to the eye and to most sensor systems. Most cloaking devices require so much power that a vessel so equipped cannot use weapons systems without de-cloaking." It also states that, when talking about the experimental Bird of Prey from The Undiscovered Country, "we assume that cloaking devices are continually being improved, as are the sensor systems used to detect them. For this reason, any advance in either cloaking or sensing technologies seems to provide only a brief advantage until the other side catches up." Another form of cloaking, is to "de-phase" the ship, the encyclopaedia also mentions this, "an experimental cloaking device, based on an interphase generator, was developed by Romulan scientists and tested in 2368.". The cloaking device aboard the USS Pegasus, is of a similar technology and uses some kind of interphase generator.

So using this information, it seems that cloaking is a form of stealth technology, a defensive system of some kind. Cloaking technology has improved over the years, and counter systems have also improved at the same rate. There also seems to be a new form of cloak, in which the ship becomes "de-phased" enabling the ship to move through "normal" matter.

According to Star Trek ethos, it is the Klingons and Romulans who use cloaking devices, whilst the Federation don't, which seemed very silly. TNG fixed this anomaly by "creating" the Treaty of Algeron, in which the Federation relinquished the right to develop or use such cloaking devices.

Gaming Full Thrust with cloaking devices is always going to be difficult. In More Thrust, Jon Tuffley does offer one method of utilising cloaking devices, however, this, while useful, means the ship is blind. Another, alternative method I have come up with, is a compromise, but does allow the sort of tactics we saw in The Undiscovered Country. The basic idea comes from an idea from Bruce Miller. The basic premise, is that the cloak works like shields. Damage taken by the ship doesn't do any damage to the ship, except to the cloaking device. The player, decides that he is going to cloak and writes this down on his order sheet, for this turn, shields are down. Once cloaked in subsequent turns, the ship is counted as having a new shields level, this could be either, level one, two, through to six. See new damage chart for effects (you can use this same sheet for improving "normal" shields). Cloaking devices can take various levels of damage points depending on type fitted. Once a cloaking device is destroyed, the ship automatically de-cloaks and is assumed to have its shields lowered. The player can de-cloak, in a similar way to cloaking, and must write this down on his order sheet.

If we go by the definition offered in the Star Trek Encyclopaedia, it seems that we cannot fire weapons when cloaked, though as happens often with Star Trek, in the episode Face of the Enemy, in that episode, it is implied, the Romulan Warbird can fire when cloaked... What I suggest, is that you don't allow ships to fire when cloaked, as this makes for a fairer game, but hey, if you want to be unfair, I'm not going to stop you.

Cloaking devices take damage as per other systems in Threshold Checks, but for system damage you ignore the damage points, which are only for use when taking damage while cloaked. If you use Threshold Cards, you may want to make some new cards, or convert old ones. I would suggest that the "shields" cards be used.

Shields Down
Level-1 Shields
Level-2 Shields
Level-3 Shields
1,2,3
No Effect
1,2,3,4
No Effect
1,2,3,4
No Effect
1,2,3,4,5
No Effect
4,5
One Point
5
One Point
5
One Point
6
One Point
6
Two Points
6
Two Points
6
One Point
Level-4 Shields
Level-5 Shields
Level-6 Shields
1,2,3,4,5
No Effect
1,2,3,4,5
No Effect
1,2,3,4, 5
No Effect
6 followed by 4,5,6
One Point
6 followed by 5,6
One Point
6 followed by 6
One Point

Light Cloaking Device
9 damage points (when cloaked)

Medium Cloaking Device
16 damage points (when cloaked)

Heavy Cloaking Device
25 damage points (when cloaked)

Cloaking can add something extra to a game, but they are not everything, and sometime, honour counts, rather than sneaking around.

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