Security Guard

SITUATION -
Play on any Situation/Object in play.  If your opponent attempts to
remove a Situation/Object from play, discard one Security Guard assigned to that
Situation/Object instead.  If the Situation/Object leaves play, so do all Security
Guards assigned to it.  (Restricted to 3 per version)

Well, here's our first in a series of The Gathering card reviews.  As with
many cards, Security Guard helps to protect certain cards you may wish to keep
in play longer than is typically possible.

Game mechanics questions first.  A Security Guard that is the target of Focus is turned face down and has no
effect on play, as is normal.

In the case of a Guarded Situation targeted by Focus, it is _not_ considered to
have been removed from play.  So if the Situation is Focussed, the
Security Guards remain on it.

By the same token, Security Guard/Sit will not protect a Situation from
being Focussed, since Focussing does not remove the Situation from play.

Security Guard/Object is much more straightforward.  It protects the Object.
In the case of both Security Guards, if any and all Security Guards attached
to a particular Ally or Object or Focused, that item can be removed with
impunity.

So that's how they work:  what can you do with them?

In general, don't use Security Guards unless you are using other Situations as
well.  As Allen notes below, three Security Guards and no other Situations
means an opponent can easily remove them with the typical Police/Remove Sits
which might otherwise clog his hand.  Ditto for Focus.

As of the release of the Gathering, there are 17 Ally/Situations.  Of these,
(Carl, Garfield, Jack Donovan, Rachel Ellenstein, Dr. Anne Lindsey, Hideo
Koto, Joe Dawson, James Horton, Lt. John Stenn) are discard-to-use, or
otherwise easily removable, and may not be worth protecting.

On the other hand, some are more powerful and thus you may want to assure they
stay in play long enough for you to use them.  This can be particularly
important for Dr. Lindsey, Hideo Koto, Dawson, and Horton, who may not become
useful until later in the game.  You may very well want to try to keep them
out until you need them.

Of the other Allies, some are just not that impressive (Tessa, Louise Marcus,
Brenda Wyatt).  Avery Hoskins can be useful in a forced-Exertion deck.  The
rest may prove useful to specific strategies you may design.  If you think
keeping that Ally/Situation out is important, put in some Security Guard/Ally
cards.

Situation/Allies are rarely Persona-specific, so which Personas should use
them is dependent more on the particular strategy you devise using them.  If
Duncan is using a forced-Exertion strategy, then he should consider using
Security Guards to protect Avery.  And so on.

Security Guard/Object's importance is clearer.  The recent addition of Hogg
gives an Object that you seriously want to keep in play as long as possible.
Ancestral Blade, now Restricted to 1, is also an Object that you will want to
keep out.

New The Gathering cards like MacLeod Bagpipes, Skull Helmet, Trenchcoat, Corda
and Reno's Flying Machines (particularly Wings), and Forged Armor further
demonstrate that Objects will continue to increase in quantity and quality.

So who should use Security Guard/Object?  Any of the Personas who can use the
Objects just mentioned:  either MacLeod, the Kurgan, Corda and Reno, Khan,
Amanda (who needs Ancestral Blade worse than practically anyone), and Kern.

Kern and Corda and Reno in particular should use Security Guard, since Hogg
and Flying Machine/Wings cause ability loss if they are removed from play.
Hogg has forced more people to use Misfortune, and Flying Machine/Wings will
further enhance that trend.  Security Guard lets them both avoid the ability
loss, and keep the Object in play.

If you use a deck that has generic Objects, you'll have to decide whether some
or all of them are worth protecting.  Having a Security Guard hold your
Trenchcoat can assure that you're able to continue attacking your opponent
while avoiding some lock strategies.  Even Watcher's Chronicle and Watcher
Database can prove useful if you want to target an opponent using a
Quickening, and you want to put a particular Nemesis in play.  Assuming you
were lucky enough to have that particular Nemesis in your deck, of course.

So overall, Steve gives Security Guard/Ally a _6_, and Security Guard/Object a
_9_.  They are both useful cards, but as Objects become more prevalent, and if
some remain as powerful as Ancestral Blade, Hogg, Flying Machine/Wings, Skull
Helmet, and Forged Armor, it will be important to keep them in play using
Security Guards.  Allies will hopefully also become more powerful as more
expansions are released, and thus be worthy of protection.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - [Ally]  Eh.  This card means that you get to keep your generic
Forethoughts from ME2 (editor's note:  Lt. John Stenn) or your Avery Hoskins
in play even with Police.  Does little good against Simple Mind, given that
the Security Guards are Situations, too.  Less powerful than its cousin.
[Object]  Icky.  As if Hogg wasn't bad enough, now we have a garage for it to
stay out of the elements. =(  Also helps with Ancestral Blades, etc.  No
longer will you be able to play just one Misfortune or Thief in a deck.  Mark
my words: this is the card that will drive Hogg into errata.

Hank - Powerful cards, especially in tournament play, with certain cards being
limited to one per deck (Ancestral Blade, for example), Security Guard is very
useful for supporting your cards.

Alan - (Ally) Great card to protect those precious Carls, Dr. Anne Lindsay's,
etc.  Should see more and more use as more and more Ally/Situations become
available.  (Object) Must-have for any and all decks that use and/or rely
heavily on Objects (especially Kern, Khan, Richie).  As more and more Objects
become available, this card should see more use in more and more decks of
different Personae.

Jim - A great pro-Ally card.  This card will become more useful as the number
of Situation Allies grows.  As for Security Guard/Object, an essential card in
any Object-heavy deck.  Khan should definitely use this card.

Wayne - (Ally) This cards simply serves as an extra layer of protection for
Situations.  Not very useful in today's environment of Renee Delaney lock
decks being played everywhere, but may be a somewhat better card in the
future.  (Object) Great protection for Hogg, Ancestral Blade, etc.  This card
could possibly be used effectively in some decks.

Prodipto - Abstain

Allen - (Ally) ME2 will provide us with a influx of cards allowing Police to
remove more than one Situation, and all Situations with the same name.  Given
this new wrinkle, Security Guard/Ally will become very valuable to Ally-using
decks.  Its use is fairly straightforward, and with the release of ME2 will
often be more useful than simply playing another of the same Ally you wish to
keep in play.  [Object] A good boost for Object-using decks.  Given the
presence of Thief, simply playing a second of any Object is never a good way
to ensure that you keep one in play.  Besides, with many Objects you can only
have one in play at a time anyway.  The use of SG/Object is obvious.  However,
the standard Situation warning applies.  If you use this card you must also
use other Situations, and hopefully use ones that your opponent will want to
remove.  Otherwise all you are
doing is giving your opponent an easy way to unclog his hand of Police and
Focus.

Bruce - With the availability of Precinct and Detective Walter Bedsoe in ME2,
I find using a Situation to protect another Situation an odd concept.  The use
of a Situation to protect an Object, however, is another matter entirely.  If
your opponent does not remove your Object immediately, they need a more
versatile deck to accomplish their goal.

Ratings Overall (for SG/Ally and SG/Object, respectively):

Steve                 6/9
Jeff                  4/8
Hank                  8/8
Alan                  7/8
Jim                   7/6
Wayne                 5/5
Prodipto              N/A
Allen                 5/7
Bruce                 4/7

Average:                5.75/7.25