February 4th, 2013
One of my most memorable card gaming experiences happened early in my “journey” – actually, 1996 to be precise. I was getting bored of Magic: the Gathering, and thanks to my cousin’s persuasive powers, I was lured into the Star Wars Customizable Card Game (SW CCG), made by Decipher Inc.
Decipher was cashing in on the card game craze then, and Magic was still two years old at the time, but already making massive inroads. Mind you, I actually bought a starter deck in Penang, of all places.
The SW CCG was, for all intents and purposes, the first Star Wars-licensed card game. It had all the trappings of a typical card game then: loads of pricey but staple “main” character cards (we just called them “mains” in short) such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader; engaging but otherwise lengthy playtimes by today’s standards (each player had to have both Light and Dark Side decks, 60 cards each, and you had to duel each other twice with both decks, easily taking an hour per game), and a huge amount of useless cards, if one bought the cards via packs (well, not every 36-pack booster box would have a main character).
Looking back, it’s even a wonder that the card game even did well at all. For the longest time, SW CCG ranked a close second to Magic, until the cutesy Japanese anime/manga card games starting arriving.
Seeing games such as SW CCG hit and disappear, as well as the evolution of Magic itself, really gives us a perspective on how far the card games of today have come. Deckbuilding games, and Fantasy Flight Games’ Living Card Games, extract the more successful themes and concepts from the older games, giving us thoroughly refined experiences.
One common change though, is the time factor. I honestly think that today’s card games have less of a chance to do well if it gets too complex, plays for too long, and is too expensive to collect.
Need to play a card game but don’t want to ever study tournament results and create decks? Deckbuilding games would be up your alley, as the setup and play is immediate, straight from the box.
Looking for something meatier and easy to collect and play, but not as time-consuming and involving as TCGs? Then LCGs could be it. It has fixed assortments, that is, card sets that have cards which are distributed in non-random fashion, as well as good out-of-the-box playability, with customization options for advanced players.
Well, I have to say, I won’t miss my SW CCG days too much. Though the artwork (actual screenshots of the movies) on those things, are still brilliant and flawless I have to say!
Ever played SW CCG and its ilk? Do tweet me at www.twitter.com/arcturus_mengsk or leave me feedback below.