Deck Construction Basics - The Prepared Scout

Deck Construction Basics - The Prepared Scout

“A Scout is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.”

Robert Baden-Powell


While helping a friend play Traveller after his Kickstarter rewards arrived, I was asked about card ratios, i.e. how many of each card type to slot into a deck.  For that and other reasons, Jeff and I thought it would be a good idea for me to touch on basic deck construction.

With customizable card games, returning to basics is something that anyone can do.  I occasionally remind myself of basic deck construction for a CCG I have been playing for 20 years and have built a 1000 decks for.

I was playing a four-player game using the Type S Scout preconstructed deck and got inspired by how I had all of the infrastructure to tackle contracts that are normally difficult for the Scout to successfully resolve.

Before getting to the deck list, let’s go over the process I used to build this deck.



Pick an idea and commit to it without be a slave to it.

The idea was a simple one:  be able to complete  that the Type S Scout, with its single multi-capability, could not do natively.  As an additional feature, the deck would only use cards available in the Scout and Free Trader preconstructed decks, as I wanted to start where the most players could engage.


First Step

I first started with .  I was looking for as much ability to get additional capability tokens, which is actually not all that easy with the Scout due to the limited number of slots for .

Modular Hold is my top priority.  Yes, I put in a LSP Multi-Phased Array and a Luxury Suite because I don’t tend to be a fan of overly focused decks [an article for another time], but I expect the Modular Hold to give the most  return.

Stellar Anomaly Log is a key piece of a more common Scout archetype – the / Scout deck [let’s refer to this archetype as the 4S].  I include it here as a way to make use of the  slot and because this deck is all about racing quickly to 20  and any sort of additional  generation is worth considering.

SureShot Missile Turret struck me as the most efficient way to have more , knowing that moving the Scout’s   of 1 up to 2 was going to be crucial for dealing with and for being an irritant to anyone who might want to pirate me.  The of 2,  cost, and even the ability to remove a corsair (which I used in its inaugural game) all fit with efficiency for how this deck wants to play.


Second Step

 is the card type that most competes with itself across all ships.  As a general rule, whatever is most limiting makes sense as a place to start with deck building.

Frontier Shipping Co. is a bit of a risk as this deck really needs to win fast or it will be threatened with bankruptcy.  The other organization, Rhal’Kais Syndicate, is also not quite amazing for this deck.  Both serve as additional token options for a deck that doesn’t want to get stalled due to lack of resource tokens.

I wouldn’t say Advanced Solutions, Inc. or Finch and Cho, CPAs are bad choices, just not as in my mechanical theme of producing more tokens.

Llaegzko’s “Surplus” Outlet got more of a nod over Starship Graveyard for trying to get the infrastructure set up earlier over “recovery”.  Admittedly, when I play Scout decks, I so often burn through my decks that there are usually cards I want to return to play very quickly.

Yuryehke, Aslan Trader may be the most pure representative of this deck’s theme.  Where gaining tokens for  often requires guessing or having been stalled out, this deck will often know it needs additional capability tokens just to resolve a , regardless as to what the  end up requiring.  Also, with the current card pool, getting rid of a  is more difficult than getting rid of an , so Yuryehke isn’t likely to go away.

Yuryehke’s token generation is key to the deck’s concept


Third Step

Finally, on to … no, wait, not yet.

Adventure cards.

Before getting to , I wanted to look at what skills would be my main ones for scoring  and for dealing with  associated with the I wanted to run.

This deck wasn’t so easy to put together.  I was looking for high  (taking  into account) with reasonable , at first.  When I still had a good number of slots that needed to be filled, I branched out to not quite as ideal / combinations.  I tried to avoid  with low , normally a good answer for Scout decks to the hard to complete  other ship decks often like to run, in part to be different but ended up putting some back in to fill out the deck.

Universal World Profile Update isn’t just a prime  for the 4S archetype but should be an easy 4  for this deck with the added bonus of being a little more costly for slower ships.  Opportunistic Raider should be an easy  unless an opponent goes out of the way to mess with the SureShot Missile Turret.

Normally, Witness Relocation is not great for the Scout not so much because it’s that much harder to resolve than the Universal World Profile Update but because it’s so easy for other ships to resolve.  Here, however, we plan on having multiple capability tokens.

X-Boat Route Review is great … Hostile Psionic Coven is … harsh.  Makes me want to run Deshaun Jasso, but there was a limit to how many cards I could put in the Captain’s Deck.  Gravimetric Probe Retrieval has a huge potential payoff, where Rika Honami covers 2 possible .  Though, even with  of 2, I had an idea that it would be very expensive to pursue this .  Plus more potential for  stymieing me, which could be painful.

A lot of  token requirements either in the contract or in the .  Four Buccaneers, so getting that  2 is essential for me and my opponents.


Fourth Step

Finally.  .

Still likely not enough, especially given how redundant I went and how Freelancer allows you to get around the normal limit.  Flexibility in Aminah’s and George’s cases, while focus in Flint’s and Rika’s cases.

A critical card to get around the Scout’s dismal slot limits


Fifth Step

and .

Looking for more skills, ways to gain skills even if temporary*, and a little bit of messing with my opponents because you can’t win the race if someone else crosses the finish line first.

*  Keep in mind I don’t need to just think about my game but how my opponents may put out  that require more skills.



How ironic is it that I look at  last?

Well, maybe not so much given that I’ve played with our cards as much as anyone not from the future.  I know Freelancer, Just a Little Longer …, Calling in a Marker, Bwap Advisors, and Consultant Call are going to be fixtures in the deck.  What was really interesting was how I cut one of the Calling in a Markers because this deck should not struggle as much with  that just require an additional token.  And, how much I got excited by Glitch in this deck.

A seemingly humble card with surprising value.

Glitch can be played after using, say, Modular Hold, allowing for double use.  Probably won’t be used with SureShot but could be.  Can also be used with Luxury Suite (this may be less intuitive, aka more surprising).


The Prepared Scout

  Type S Scout



1x  Down the Main // Myriad Difficulties

2x  Dwarf Planet Survey // Electro-Magnetic Interference

2x  Gravimetric Probe Retrieval // There’s Always Something

1x  Group Package // Unexpected Booking

2x  Humanitarian Evacuation // Buccaneer

1x  Reach for the Stars // Firmware Update Errors

2x  Red Zone Prospecting // Vargr Raiders

2x  Smuggler’s Run // Crooked Customs

2x  Stellar Luminosity Study // Buccaneer

2x  Universal World Profile Update // Opportunistic Raider

2x  Witness Relocation // Wanted!

1x  X-Boat Route Review // Hostile Psionic Coven




1x  Frontier Shipping Co.

2x  Llaegzko’s “Surplus” Outlet

1x  Rhal’Kais Syndicate

1x  Starship Graveyard

2x  Yuryehke, Aslan Trader


3x  Aminah Darzi, M.D.

2x  Flint

3x  George Zamepiimaakha

3x  Rika Honami


3x  Bwap Advisors

2x  Calling in a Marker

3x  Consultant Call

3x  Freelancer

2x  Glitch

2x  Just a Little Longer …

2x  Predatory Tactics


3x  Body Pistol

2x  Cognition Wafer

1x  Densitometer

2x  Panacea Autojector


1x  Inspired Oration

1x  Lost and Found

2x  Polymath

2x  Remember That Time …


1x  LSP Multi-Phased Array

1x  Luxury Suite

3x  Modular Hold

3x  Stellar Anomaly Log

3x  SureShot Missile Turret


Now, this deck is definitely aiming at addressing a Scout weakness rather than a Scout strength, even if it does run a lot of expensive , feeding into the Scout’s special ability.  This is a deck that fits in more with the other ships rather than trying to push a  agenda hard to cut off other ships from easy scores.

Still, in terms of rough card ratios, this strikes me as not that unusual.  Another deck might run fewer  and definitely more ; 15-18 is the number I give people for what expect with  much of the time.  On the other hand, I think this deck is still light on , certainly light on flexibility of , so maybe cut a Stellar Anomaly Log for another .  Take out some of the duplicates in  for more diversity to get more flexibility from Freelancer.  Maybe drop a Modular Hold or Frontier Shipping Co. for a third Yuryehke.

And, be aware that this deck is very expensive to operate.  While extra tokens are coming from permanents, those permanents cost to use.

In a future installment, I might come back and update this deck with cards from the rest of the available card pool.  With a modest sized card pool, I view Traveller as having a vast number of possible builds due to the relatively low number of restrictions on putting together the two decks.

One Comment
  1. I played this deck at DunDraCon and the burn rate on cards remains incredible. I should have lost a game I won with zero cards left in both hand and deck. In one match, I had more than 30 cards in my discard pile on round two. Also, something I didn’t speak to is that the deck doesn’t do anything extra to slow an opponent down. It really needs to race opponents barring more contentious games with three/four players.

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