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Strategy Articles

A Shape With Lion Body

by Alexey Korolev, Zero Hour Designer

3rd June 2017


Ceres Ecliptic

The original goal of D'Argo project was to "heal" weak or underused affiliations. Pretty soon our team realized, that Paranoia ES9 decks were going to be our main "patient". At the time, the only published Paranoia deck was titled something like "This deck is awful, never try to play it!". So, in the end, we designed 6 cards to complement this strategy and make it more competitive - second biggest sub-theme of Zero Hour after the combat theme.

The problem with Paranoia cards is that they give limited, situational or short-term bonuses at the cost of big long-term constraints. Therefore, to "un-binder fodder" them, we needed to make the bonuses more attractive (giving player a reason to actually play them) and offer a way to get rid of constraints (the only reliable way to destroy Paranoia events was Luther Sloan, who costs 3 counters). 

Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these cards:

Ceres Ecliptic

This mission, obviously, helps destroy Paranoia. But it also offers some protection from opponent's Commodity events and helps defend against a Dominion player who has three Founder Architects in play. It's in the same sector as Earth, so you can fly USS Excelsior there and back in the same turn.

There were a lot of debates about attribute requirements for this mission: cunning or strength? We chose strength, since it gives a reason to play Hollow Hospitality - it's possible to complete the mission with 5 people, and then destroy Hollow Hospitality, if your other missions require cunning.

"Sir, our scanners detected Harry Mudd's cargo ship full of commodities on direct course to Earth. It is crossing Ceres ecliptic!"
"What?! Red Alert! Battle stations! Let’s kick that nasty "kulak" out from the system!"

The Big PIcture

The Big Picture (previously known as Inglourious Basterds)

The only interrupt in Zero Hour gives another chance to get rid of extra Paranoia and allows to make use of those treacherous Admirals you will have in abundance anyway. Also, it has the Paranoia keyword – and may be discarded to activate Admirals abilities or be recycled with Valeris.

Desperate Counter

Another Paranoia event to choose from. It helps against Outclassed, but also offers a tempting opportunity if combined with Nelvana III (more on that later). The negative effect shouldn’t trigger too often, unless your play against Infiltrators.

Shaken Confidence

Since Desperate Counter is non-unique, you can easily make this dilemma cost zero. Not that bad! But, take into account that it is immune to Damaged Archer (who, I heard, was recently banned in Denmark?) and can be combined with Harsh Conditions.


A Paranoia cards' destiny is to end up in the discard pile sooner or later. Valeris helps to recycle them for later use. She is perfect match for Earth Odo - just imagine them dancing around the quadrant in paranoid circle of discarding and returning, discarding and returning... 


"What is the most suitable persona for this card? Colonel West?"
"Colonel? Star Trek continuity error... error... error..."

S'rrel (aka Admiral Garfield)

This cat has many uses. First of all, he is a non-unique personnel with an excellent skill set. There are as many as six Federation missions with Intelligence in its requirements - and, except Garvey and Davidson, there were no non-unique Federation Intelligence personnel. Now, Starfleet Intelligence Service may effectively counter the Romulan threat at Nelvana - and even strike back with USS Defiant or USS Valiant!

Second, he is an Admiral. So, he can not only see the bigger picture or socialize with Valeris, but also make USS Lakota a war-machine (in combo with Pulling Rank).

Third, he helps to make Honor a skill again. How many times have you cut a great character from your favorite series from your deck just because it was already too many Honor personnel there and you knew for sure, that Issue of Trust is around a corner? Of course, S'rrel doesn’t solve this problem, but at least, he helps to compensate for the risk. Speaking of other skill, Treachery, with Hollow Hospitality and Treachery present he becomes true beast with Strength = 8, on par with best Klingon warriors.

And his unique species helps Humans-heavy Paranoia decks against Intimidation - one of most popular dilemmas nowadays.

"John, why does S'rrel have Programming?"
"Because cats like laptops!"
"Purr... purr... purr…

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