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Tabletop Game / A Klingon Challenge

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"Experience bIj, puny humans!"

Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive VCR Game — A Klingon Challenge is a VCR board game spin-off of Star Trek: The Next Generation, released near the end of the show's run in 1993.

The USS Enterprise-D has docked at Starbase 74 in order to repair the ship's computer core, since it's been having strange low-level errors lately. While the ship is undergoing repairs, almost all of the crew and civilians aboard have left for shore leave, with only a small engineering crew (the players) aboard. A Klingon warrior by the name of Kavok takes advantage of the situation, beams aboard the near-deserted ship, then takes control of it and sets course for Qo'noS, the Klingon homeworld. As it turns out, Kavok is a little ornery about the peace between the Federation and Klingons, and yearns for the good old days when they were trying to brutally kill each other; consequently, he intends to destroy the peace treaty by having the ''Enterprise'' launch an attack on the Klingon homeworld.

Fortunately, for those still aboard the Enterprise, Kavok is willing to play a "warrior's game," and will surrender if the players can earn the five security levels (represented by isolinear chips) necessary to access the bridge, acquire a hand phaser, and stun him. However, he's also determined to make your job as hard as possible, and will try to hinder you by trapping you in stasis fields, screwing around with the ship's systems, and inflicting bIj (Klingon for 'punishment') on the players.

Experience Tropes!

  • Affectionate Nickname: The host, Kavok, gives players nicknames during the game that mirror his opinion of their prowess.
    • At 48 minutes remaining, Kavok names the highest-ranking player "SuvwI'", the Klingon word for "warrior".
    • At 25 minutes remaining, Kavok names the second-in-command "Gagh", his favourite food.
    • At 19 minutes remaining, Kavok names the lowest-ranking player "Puj", the Klingon word for "weak".
  • Continuity Snarl: One that firmly puts the game non-canon to the series. At the beginning of the game, Riker gives the stardate 49253.5. The closest canonical episode to this would be the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Starship Down", by which point the Enterprise was already destroyed by the events of Star Trek: Generations and the peace between the Federation and Klingons had already fallen apart due to Changeling interference.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Strangely enough, it's the only option for Kavok, not the player. If you fail to defeat him, then following the destruction of the Enterprise the game reveals that the Enterprise entered into a time-loop after it left Starbase 74, meaning that the whole scenario will play out again until you win.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The end of the tape instructs the players to rewind and try again, until they can finally defeat Kavok. It does, however, allow players to escape the time-loop aside from defeating Kavok. Near the end of the tape, Kavok invites the least successful player to take the coward's way out by escaping in a shuttlecraft.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: One of the main reasons the game is remembered today is that "experience bIj" sounds a lot dirtier now than it probably did in 1993.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Any time Kavok tries to make you experience bIj, only for a low-level computer malfunction to occur, which will instead grant you a bonus instead of inflicting whatever penalty the card contains.
  • Large Ham: In common with most other Klingons of his era — especially Gowron, who is played by the same actor — Kavok hams up every moment of screentime that he gets.
  • The Nicknamer: Kavok gives three nicknames during the game, based on his opinion of those players' abilities.
  • Planet Terra: Kavok compares Puj to a Terran worm (i.e. an earthworm). The characters, however, are assumed to be humans, not though not (necessarily) Terrans.
  • Recycled In Space: A fairly literal example; the gameplay mechanics are essentially those of Atmosfear, except transplanted to the Star Trek universe.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Near the end, Kavok will give the least successful player the option of leaving the Enterprise in a shuttlecraft. This will take them out of the game, but will also leave them as the Sole Survivor (and de facto winner) in case the Enterprise is destroyed.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Kavok announces, "I'll be back", the actor can't resist shifting his tone to imitate Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    • Kavok invites the players to "make my millennium", a modification of the line from Dirty Harry, "make my day". Possibly, this is a reference to Beetlejuice, where the title character of that film makes a similar rhetorical request.
  • Stock Footage: In addition to several bits of footage that The Next Generation itself recycled throughout its run, the game relies on several stock effects shots to advance the storyline:
    • The Enterprise arriving at and leaving Starbase 74 is taken from "11001001". Which also makes this a rare instance of third-generation stock footage, as that footage was itself re-edited from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
    • Both occasions of the Enterprise passing through time warps are from "Where No One Has Gone Before."
    • The battle at the Klingon homeworld is taken from "Yesterday's Enterprise," while the eventual destruction of the Enterprise is from "Cause and Effect."
  • Timed Mission: The team nominally has 60 minutes to get access to the bridge and defeat Kavok. Nominally because at about 40 minutes remaining, the Enterprise will hit a "localized distortion in the space time continuum" which will advance the clock by about 8 minutes. Another one is hit at around 16 minutes remaining, which takes off another 4 minutes.
  • Unwinnable by Design: If only two players are playing the game, and do sufficiently poorly that one of them opts to leave the Enterprise by shuttle late on, the remaining player will find themselves being placed in a stasis field by Kavok with about a minute left to go.note  This is the last thing Kavok does before time runs out, meaning that you can't get released from stasis, and are guaranteed to lose.
  • VHS Game: A unique story is brought to life for an adaptation of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The game itself hybridizes a 60-minute note  Race Against the Clock episode with a board game where players work together to prevent a Klingon terrorist from hijacking the Enterprise and using it to start a Klingon-Federation war.