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The Task Force Cliffhanger

by Paddy Tye, Drinking with Morn in the Bar

20th September 2016

What do you remember most about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? Trying to design a single card to sum up my favourite Star Trek show (especially after a whole block of DS9 cards) should have been a really hard job. Fortunately, one of the largest arcs from the show hadn't really been covered in great detail by the Continuing Committee as yet: The Dominion War. 
Combined Task Force
In the summer of 1997, while Janeway was making a treaty with the Borg, the crew of Deep Space Nine had been preparing for the inevitable war with the Dominion in "A Call to Arms" - the Season 5 finale. Things had been looking pretty bleak: overwhelming Dominion reinforcements had forced Captain Sisko to mine the entrance to the Wormhole. Despite a kick-ass battle (always good to see the Station using its upgraded weapons) the Federation withdrew from the Bajoran sector. Gul Dukat was back in charge of Terok Nor. But using a simple baseball, Captain Sisko had left a powerful message that they would return. And then, you saw the Defiant and the Rotarran flying away towards... Is that a starfield? No, wait, it's a massive Combined Task Force of Federation and Klingon ships - a sight we'd never seen before on Trek. And then, the Defiant and the Rotarran turned, joined with the fleet, and headed back towards the direction they'd just come from - implying they were heading straight back to the fight!

That whole sequence left my 16-year-old self awestruck. I rewatched that sequence over and over. It was a defining moment of DS9 for me, the best image of the whole Dominion war. The cliffhanger may not have been resolved as quickly as the ship movement implied (and in fact, the intensity of that cliffhanger was actually accidental as the effects guys and the director had different ideas as to how that final sequence should go). 

Roll on 2015 - I've joined the Project Chandelier design team and we are throwing around key moments from the shows and movies - so what moment instantly springs to mind when discussing DS9? Yup, that cliffhanger shot from "A Call To Arms". 

Around the same time as we were discussing these ideas, Smiley had just released "First Edition and the Future, part II" - describing the next three planned blocks that design would focus on. The community reaction was generally accepting that they'd probably need to wait at least three more years to get any more cards focused on DS9 and the Dominion War. However, the Design team spotted an opportunity. With just one card, and a classic image, we had the opportunity to open up a whole new deck type and give the community a taste of what they had been craving. The Combined Task Force deck. 

Finally you can reap the benefits of playing as the Federation / Klingon alliance from the start of the Dominion War. As expected with a Reactor Core card, you are limited to DS9 property personnel and ships. Also, like in the show, you can't be in control of a Nor, and you're cut off from alliances with the Romulans or the Bajorans (or even Non-Aligned). But the pay-off is the lifting of the normal (pesky) Federation attack restrictions. It's only one free report but, given the Homefront text, it's clearly meant to be stacked with a Homeworld (or even 2 Homeworlds - if you're willing to spread your forces out). Between the Klingons and the Federation, there are plenty of personnel and ships for this decktype already. A nice bit of Blood Oath perhaps? Lots of leaders will be able to report for free to Headquarters (Gowron, Martok, Admiral Ross) so those should combine well. We even got the last missing main character from DS9 - a handily battle oriented Worf - in the 20th Anniversary collection. And there's still plenty of material left from the Dominion War, so no doubt the Continuing Committee will give us more toys in future. 

So, hopefully, you will use this special 50th Anniversary DS9-inspired card to try out your own Dominion War based decks and explore the later years of DS9. Just don't rely on the Prophets to take out all of your opponent's reinforcements...

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