Star Wars Customizable Card Game

From Academic Kids

Star Wars Customizable Card Game (SW:CCG) is a collectible card game based on the Star Wars fictional universe. It was created by Decipher, Inc., which also produces Star Trek Customizable Card Game and The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game.

Contents

History

The game was first released in December, 1995. Over the years, Decipher added 11 full expansions to the original card base, as well as numerous smaller expansions, special purpose sets, and promotional releases. The last set was released by Decipher in the fall of 2001. The game spanned all of the classic Star Wars trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) as well as The Phantom Menace.

At the end of 2001, Lucasfilm chose not to renew Decipher's license to use the Star Wars intellectual property, and instead granted this license to Wizards of the Coast, which used the license to create their own game. Decipher can no longer legally create new expansions to SW:CCG; many cards that were in development can never be released to the public.

As of 2005, SW:CCG still has an active playing community. The game is now administered by a Players' Committee, which interprets rules, organizes tournaments, and releases "virtual expansions" which give alternate game text for existing cards. The new "virtual cards" function as entirely new cards and keep the game changing. The "virtual card" overlays are available for free on the Players' Committee website, though you must have the original card to use its "virtual" version.

Gameplay

Each game requires one player to play the Light Side while the other plays the Dark Side of the Force. In friendly play, a player can specialize in one side or the other. In tournament play, players need two decks, one for playing Dark and the other for playing Light.

The objective of the game is to deplete the other player's deck.

Star Wars CCG had more basic card types than most CCGs; the game began with 8 card types, most of which contained several subtypes. Later expansions added new basic card types.

The original card types were:

  • Character
  • Starship
  • Vehicle
  • Equipment
  • Weapon
  • Interrupt
  • Effect
  • Location

Card types introduced later:

  • Epic Event
  • Creature
  • Jedi Test
  • Objective
  • Admiral's Order
  • Defensive Shield

Distinguishing features

Compared to other trading card games, SW:CCG is complex and has a steep learning curve. It has more rules than other TCGs, with some of these rules being obscure and seldom-needed. Some of the basic concepts (such as the distinction between "battle damage" and "attrition" in battle) can be counter-intuitive.

On the other hand the basic mechanics are innovative and flexible, giving SW:CCG a game depth that appeals to serious gamers.

One other feature distinguished SW:CCG from many other TCGs: while Decipher oversaw the game, no card was ever banned from tournament play. Instead, when a card or strategy was deemed abusive or too powerful, Decipher chose to release "magic bullets," new cards which were specifically designed to counter the offending strategy. In some cases, Decipher also used errata, modifications to game text of a card that supersede the actual printed version. The use of errata also contributes to a steep learning curve, since players need to be aware of errata in order to use the affected cards properly.

Tournament Formats

There are two major constructed formats for tournament play - Open and Classic, which differ only in deck construction rules.

In the Open format, every card is legal. The only deck restrictions are that each deck must contain 60 cards from the same side of the Force and no more than 1 Objective card.

Classic format is intended to recreate the environment of the game before the Episode I sets (Tatooine, Theed Palace, Coruscant, and Reflections III), which many players viewed to have unbalanced game mechanics and broken continuity. The Classic format has the same deck construction rules as the Open format, but includes the following list of banned cards:

  1. Any card with the Episode I icon
  2. Any card with a Maintenance Cost
  3. Watch Your Step/This Place Can Be a Little Rough

The World Championships and most events in the World Tournament Circuit are played in the Open format.

Related games

Decipher produced two other TCGs based on the Star Wars universe: Young Jedi, based on the second Star Wars trilogy, and Jedi Knights. Neither of these games matched the popularity of SW:CCG. Both were discontinued when Decipher lost the Star Wars license.

In April, 2004, Decipher announced that it was creating a new game, Wars TCG, based on the game mechanics of SW:CCG. The new game is set in a proprietary science fiction universe created specially for the game and owned by Decipher.

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