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... And Now, a Word about the Demons

by Michael Shea, Designer

25th April 2021

"Half a century ago they conquered two primitive races, the Tarlac and the Ellora, and then integrated them into their culture as a labor class. ...Look at this. The Son'a are known to have produced vast quantities of the narcotic ketracel-white. Their ships are rumored to be equipped with isolytc subspace weapons outlawed by the second Khitomer Accords." - Cmdr. Will Riker, Star Trek Insurrection

"Damar: The Defiant is returning to Federation space. I'm ordering our ships to pursue.
Weyoun: No. Divert them to the Son'a outpost on Devos Two.
Damar: Why?
Weyoun: We need their to help protect the new Ketracel white facility. The Federation has been made aware of its location.
Damar: Can't the Son'a protect it?
Weyoun: Are you questioning my orders? That would be foolish." - Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Penumbra
.

Just over twenty years ago, Star Trek, Insurrection debuted in American movie theaters. Some fans have come to regard the movie as one of the most "trekkish" films in the whole canon, dealing with the kinds of moral questions that were at the heart of The Original Series. Decipher released content related to Insurrection in 2002 in the First Edition expansion The Motion Pictures. But, with the exception of a scattering of dilemmas and verbs and a few noteable personnel, Second Edition has largely ignored Insurrection, until Heroes and Demons.

Li'seria

Much of the content in Heroes and Demons was originally conceived and intended to be released along with the content of Apocalypse Rising as one large expansion themed around the war for the Alpha Quadrant - that is one of the reasons why the Founder Leader's text reads to reference the Son'a even though there were none in that set. As part of that original conception, the Son'a were conceived as full allies of the Dominion - which was very likely the case by 2375 in the late stages of the Dominion War. As an aside, the design team was and is aware that this decision would not be without some controversy, given that in First Edition the Son'a were conceived as non-aligned, and a fruitful discussion of the pros and cons of that design decision is unfolding in the article thread for the set's intro article by Richard New. While I will not be adding to the substance of that debate in this article, I will say that I was delighted to see that as the First Edition set The Dogs of War was revealed, it appeared both First and Second Edition design seemed to be taking a similar design narrative where the Son'a were concerned.

Today, we get our first detailed look at the Son'a of Heroes and Demons. The Son'a are a hedonistic, materialistic, and narcissistic culture, and they have no moral reservations about conquering, enslaving, and even killing other species to get what they want. This last trait is aptly reflected in the ability text of the Son'a flagship Li'seria. The ship reads, "when an opponent's personnel at this mission is killed in combat or an engagement, you may place a [Dom] Son'a from hand aboard this ship." That ability fits very well with what we know of the character of the Son'a, but also feels like an ability that would be quite at home on a [Dom] card. Fly the Li'seria over to an opponent's mission and let the murder commence. You'll get a reward for your efforts in the form of placing a [Dom] Son'a from hand aboard this ship - an ability very similar in feel to that of the Tykk. In terms of staffing and attributes, the ship is comparable to the Dominion Galor, with a very respectable 8-8-8, though that can certainly be boosted if need be with a simple combo. As the Art Manager for Second Edition, I really hope you enjoy the extra work the Art Team did on this card.

Sam'po

The corresponding Commander of the Li'seria complements the synergy of the Son'a with existing Dominion mechanics. Sam'po is a 3-6-6 personnel with a [Cmd] and five skills for cost 2 - not a bad deal. But, if you manage to kill an opponent's personnel in combat or an engagement involving him, that opponent discards the top two cards of their deck. Without giving too much away, I will say that it would not be unwarranted to expect more cards that benefit from that ability to appear in future. In addition to that ability, Sam'po's skills of Archaeology, Engineer, Navigation, Security and Treachery come in handy when attempting the recently revealed persona of Bak'u Planet or of Metreon Cloud (one of my favorite images in the set). But those skills also come in handy when facing several popular dilemmas, from the much-maligned Bread and Circuses to the ever-popular Pest Control to the classic Gravimetric Distortion. I wouldn't be surprised if this personnel finds his way into a few decks - especially when death is on the line.

It would be remiss of me not to spend a little time on Metreon Cloud. The second Briar Patch mission revealed in this set, this space mission is an interesting 35-pointer with a Span of 4 and the Nebula keyword. So, cards like Brave Words; Emergency Repairs; Hurried Departure; Miles O'Brien, Conn Officer; and Alternatives to Fighting all interact with this mission in interesting ways. The mission is attempt-able by both the Dominion and The Federation, which makes sense given the themes of the set and the events of Insurrection, and there are sets of requirements that seem tailored to the strengths of each. For the Dominion player, the inclusion of this mission means Crom's ability can't be used, which could offer some interesting deck-building options that rely a little less on downloading. But the most interesting aspect  of the mission has got to be the Order text. Unusual for a mission, the text of this Order states that any player may - during their Orders Phase - begin an engagement at this mission with the winner scoring 5 points. Yes, this is legal in the same way that text on cards like I.K.S. Negh'Var, Imperial Flagship and Queen's Borg Cube override the restriction on combat or engagements at a headquarters. Our hope is that the promise of 5 points might be enough to tempt some adventurous opponent to come to the mission and interact, but if not then maybe cards like Artifical Wormhole will do the trick and get that opponent's ship within striking distance so cards like Vargas, Shell-shocked or Weyoun, Shrewd Strategist can shine.

In Your Face

Finally, I'll talk a little about In Your Face. First, I'll confirm that the Creative Team knowingly engaged in a bit of dark humor here, and I hope that players will enjoy that. This 0-cost Paranoia event can be used to fuel cards like I Won't Miss Him or Paradise Lost. But, in games in which your opponent is racking up those completed missions just a little too quickly, you can destroy this event and kill one of your Treachery personnel to download an Assault or Maneuver event. There might be benefits to killing a Treachery personnel just to replay that same personnel - for example Gelnon, Aloof Tactician or Leyton, Chief of Starfleet Operations. For the Dominion player, between In Your Face and Dukat, Interstellar Despot, one should rarely find oneself without the ability to start an engagement if the strategy depends on it.

I hope you've enjoyed the Heroes and Demons cards revealed today. Our hope is that the cards in this set give players who are interested in more interactive games some tools with which to build decks that both excite them and bring them victories. We also hope that we've captured the themes of Insurrection in a way that is both interesting and faithful to the source material while also being mechanically sound for the game. In any case, we hope you have at least as much fun playing with cards in this set as we volunteers had in producing them. Stay tuned for more from Heroes and Demons.


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