The Best Card Game I Ever Played 'Died' 13 Years Ago

The Best Card Game I Ever Played 'Died' 13 Years Ago

In 2001, gaming company Decipher Inc. got dealt a hand that should have been a fatal blow to their popular Star Wars: Customisable Card Game - they lost the Star Wars licence.

Unable to come to terms on a new deal with Lucasfilm, Decipher watched as the Star Wars licence passed to Wizards of the Coast. After six years and 12 expansions, they were dead in the water, stuck with cards in pre-production that would never see the light of day. That should have been the end of this story, but it's not.

The Best Card Game I Ever Played 'Died' 13 Years Ago

(Three of the original Star Wars CCG cards)

Decipher could no longer legally print and sell Star Wars cards, but they weren't about to abandon the community they'd spent six years building. Rather than pack up shop up and go home, Decipher created a volunteer group called the Star Wars Customisable Card Game Players Committee (PC for short), and handed off all operation and oversight of the game to them.

Free to run the game as they saw fit, the Players Committee starting creating new 'official' expansion packs that players could download for free, print, and use in official SW: CCG tournaments. Some packs covered material from the prequels, others dug deep into the Expanded Universe. The game continued to grow and expand, and 13 years and nine new sets later, it's still here.

The Best Card Game I Ever Played 'Died' 13 Years Ago

(Two of the newest cards created by the PC. You can download them here.)

The Players Committee now holds multiple official tournaments every month, and their World Championships are taking place this weekend in Toronto. Outside of those high-level offerings, the official PC website also has a forum for players to coordinate smaller tournaments, and they released a virtual Holotable for players to play online.

It might have been struck down, but the SW: CCG has become more powerful than we could possibly imagine, and that's why I'm writing about it today. One common complaint I see from tabletop players in Magic or to a lesser extent Hearthstone is that it's hard to compete at a high level without investing some serious cash in a deck. That used to be the case with the SW:CCG - I can't imagine how many hundreds of dollars I sunk into my card collection - but that barrier to entry is gone. Every card is free to download and use, and with a new Star Wars trilogy set to release next year, I can't think of a better time for a new player to jump in.

The Best Card Game I Ever Played 'Died' 13 Years Ago

(How a game of the Star Wars: CCG can look. Thanks to the SW CCG PC Facebook page for the picture)

The Star Wars: CCG is far and away my favourite card game that I've ever played. Unlike other 1v1 card games, battles take place on specific location cards that also supply passive status effects. This opens up a wide range of strategy like choosing whether to attack on multiple fronts or staging a full-scale frontal assault. Games also move at a more methodical pace. You're not going to lose in three turns because your opponent happens to draw the right overpowered card combination into his hand.

If you're bored with the current card landscape, or if you need something to scratch your Star Wars itch before December 18, 2015, this is the game you should be playing.


Comments

    I played this over the period of the base set and the first expansion and my memory is that it was completely broken at both high-level and casual play - high-level due to severe balance issues and an unenjoyable game state, and casual due to the high cost of obtaining cards necessary for a casually competitive deck. I guess they fixed both these problems in the long run?

      I am pretty sure they fixed the cost problem :)

      Last edited 25/08/14 9:08 pm

    That's actually a really cool story. I've never been into card batter games but to see this thriving makes me happy! I had friends that used to play this when I was in school.

    I played the Star Trek CCG for a while last year.
    Also made by decipher it's now handled by a private community too. Trekcc.org
    One of the good games, it just took alot of energy to get into.
    I seriously Reccomend both, awesome games.

    I collected the cards back in secondary school. Never played it but was obsessed with collecting as many cards as possible. I still have my collection :D not many options available to buy from though these days.

    Star Wars CCG was absolutely rad. I must have put thousands into it as a teenager, played from the original release all the way through to the point they started doing Episode 1 stuff. I still have all of my collection too.

    The biggest issue it had was that it became incredibly unfriendly for new players. New rules kept coming in over and over, but noting got simplified or reissued. There were too many rules to pick up and too much errata and edge cases for a new player to come in and not be overwhelmed.

    Had never realized they kept it going post-shutdown with community-made expansions though. How interesting.

    My personal favourite moment was going to a tournament with a friend of mine who placed really high using a deck that was built around jawas. He'd pile a ton of jawas inside a sandcrawler using the special internal sandcrawler location, lock the door, put a security droid in to buff them all, then roll the sandcrawler around tatooine, picking up random enemy characters with a suction tube and dumping them into a fight with 10+ buffed up Jawas. Only took a couple of fights like that to win the game when it worked. It wasn't hard to counter, but it was so unexpected that hardly anyone was able to react to it.

    I have just about every card from all sets. Missing maybe 5 - 10 cards in all.
    Never played. Cards are awesome, as they give an insight into each character. One series went off the wall with hilarious card names and descriptions. May have been Cloud City - description of Luke getting his hand cut off is fantastic!

    Hah, glad to see lots of other people collected them without ever playing- I did the same in high school, collected the Star Wars and Star Trek CCGs just for the sake of collecting what I loved. Simpler times...

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