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The Old Undead Vorta Ploy

by Michael Shea, Designer

12th October 2017

It’s probably no secret that my favorite franchise in the Star Trek universe is Deep Space Nine, and Keevan was always my favorite Vorta. Don’t get me wrong, I love Weyoun, and Jeffrey Combs does a marvelous job with that character. But, to me, Keevan really captured the essence of the ultra-treacherous Vorta – manipulating his Jem’Hadar to maintain control over them for as long as could, while simultaneously manipulating the Federation forces stranded on that desolate world into killing those Jem’Hadar before they killed him. In “Rocks and Shoals”, Keevan is the master manipulator. And that’s why it’s so satisfying to see his re-animated corpse used in a prisoner exchange in "The Magnificent Ferengi" later that season, to out-manipulate an opponent one last time.

Allow me to introduce the equipment Keevan. Keevan As a re-animated decoy, this former-Vorta can be used to save your crew or away team from certain death. Need to hold off that murderous horde of Jem’Hadar? Just keep zombie Keevan handy. Out of Escapes while facing that copy of Tsiolkovsky Infection  or Whisper in the Dark? Keevan’s your, em, guy. It goes to your opponent's hand after, and what that opponent does with him, er it, after that, well ... that's hardly your concern as you speed away from near-certain doom. This card is effective, fun, and limit-pushing kill prevention, and it was a blast to help design.

You may know that Ashur was designed in teams – one team handling the theme of pushing limits; the other with the theme of equipment. Both of us pitched a version of Keevan, both versions of which were remarkably similar. At some point along the way, between rounds of playtesting and revision, one of us came up with the idea of making Keevan an equipment, after all when he’s used to fool Yelgrun, can it really be said that he is any longer a Vorta, now that he’s dead? Metaphysical questions aside, the idea caught on and we as a team were unanimous in our desire to see this card made in this way. Playtesters also enjoyed the idea.

Making an equipment with the same card title as a personnel wasn’t uncontroversial. There were some who feared that it could lead to rules complications, or to regrettable design decisions down the line. For example, is this Keevan affected by the text on Sent Back? After an intense, yet respectful debate, it was determined that the rules had already anticipated just such an interaction. The answer: no. You can’t use Sent Back to return the equipment Keevan to your opponent’s hand. But, the question remained: is it a good idea to have card titles cross over card types? In the case of Keevan, this design team came down forcefully on the side of “yes”. It’s a perfect marriage of the set’s two main themes, it’s a needed effect, and it was fun to design. I hope you’ll enjoy playing Keevan as much as we enjoyed designing it. Him. It. Whatever.


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