The Enterprise is taking part in a war game, and some twattish alien called Sirna Kolrami is on board. Apparently his race are all tactical geniuses, although as Worf points out, their tactical proficiency has never actually been tested in battle. Kolrami has melty cheeks. As Picard explains, since there's a Borg thread, they want to test their combat skills.
Riker picks his team which will go on board the aging ship, the Hathaway, which they will need to take into combat with the Enterprise. He interrupts Worf building something out of matchsticks. Also he challenges Kolrami to a game of Strategema, which involves putting cow milking things on your fingers and waggling them at a holographic display. Riker loses badly, but Pulaski wants Data to challenge Kolrami and take him down a notch.
Finally they arrive at the Hathaway.... which is just the Stargazer model again, with what looks like one of the movie bridge sets. They have two days to get it in working order which, judging by the mess, might be a big ask.
Pulaski emotionally blackmails Data into challenging Kolrami at Strategema. Clever, considering Data doesn't have emotions.
Meanwhile, Worf has come up with a cunning plan! He's going to use his Enterprise security access to fool the other ship into thinking there's another enemy. Always change your passwords. Wesley requests he visit the Enterprise to check on an experiment he left running. Once there, he stealthily beams the experiment over to the Hathaway.
Data loses to Strategema, much to Pulaski's dismay and Data's puzzlement. Kolrami returns to the bridge to make disparaging remarks about Riker's abilities, and Picard tells him off. Meanwhile Troi talks to Data, who's removed himself from bridge duty to perform a systems check. Pulaski tells Data off for sulking in his quarters. The two women go to Picard and explain what's up with Data. He sighs and talks Data into going back on duty, getting him to perform an analysis on Riker's likely tactics.
The battle begins! Because this is Trek, it's just bridge shots with people talking about maneuvres and firing. Suddenly the Enterprise detects a Romulan warbird and is distracted long enough for the Hathaway to score a couple of hits. The warbird is a fake. The battle continues... and suddenly a Ferengi ship turns up. Problem is, it's a real one, and it damages the Enterprise while it has fake shields up.
Despite Kolrami's demands that the Enterprise withdraw, Picard stays put. They contact the Ferengi ship, which apparently is captained by Quark. The Ferengi are confused about what's going on.
Riker says the Hathaway has two-seconds worth of warp drive, and Data comes up with a cunning plan - they're going to fire photo torpedoes at the Hathaway, and it will warp away a millisecond before the torpedoes explode, making it look like they've been destroyed.
The plan works, but the Ferengi are annoyed and go to destroy the Enterprise. Fortunately Worf makes another fake ship appear, scaring the Ferengi off. Kolrami is impressed.
Data and Kolrami have another Strategema game, which ends in Kolrami storming out because Data was holding the game at a stalemate.
This episode was sorta cool. Even though all the starship battling action took place in the last ten minutes or so.