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Star Wars Customizable Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Questions about SWCCG rss

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Nan Zhou

Maryland
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So on a recent trip to my parents' house I dug up all my old SWCCG cards on a whim and was hit by a pretty potent wave of nostalgia. Suffice to say, these cards were a huge part of my childhood and it's almost inconceivable to me that the game has already been out of print nearly twice as long as it was active for.

I've always wondered how everything would have turned out if Decipher had managed to hold onto the license. I remember that in the early days of the game almost every kid I knew at school was collecting or playing, but that by the time Endor and DSII rolled around there were only a handful of people that were still interested. I guess part of it was just that we were all getting older, but even accounting for that it just seemed like interest in the game, and CCGs in general really, was constantly declining.

A few years after Decipher lost the license, I went around and finished completing sets of all the original trilogy expansions at relatively little expense. It always kind of irked me that by the time I finally had some of my own money to get all the cards I always wanted but never had, there wasn't anybody around to trade, play, or talk about the game with anymore.

In any event, I just have a couple questions about the current state of the game for anyone who's in the know about such matters.

- How has the value of the cards held up and how active is the game's community compared to other CCGs that came out around the same time?

- How much of the price discrepancy between different sets is due to availability versus demand? Were sets like Cloud City and Jabba's Palace just massively overprinted, or is it just that nobody wants the cards?

- Why are the Episode I sets so expensive, both for sealed product and singles? From what I remember these sets were just really sloppy and rushed, not to mention the movie itself was terrible. At the stores I frequented, the sealed product wasn't particularly scarce compared to the original trilogy sets, just that nobody was buying them because interest in the game was minimal by that point.

- If Decipher had held onto the license, is there any way the game would have survived and stayed popular enough for another 4-5 years to be able to put out a full set of prequel sets? Sure the movies themselves were awful but the epic scale, grand presentation, and lavish attention to detail seemed to be a perfect fit for a game like SWCCG.

- Do you think the game had any real lasting impact on the design of CCGs and just games in general? This was the first CCG I really got into and while I tried others like Magic and Pokemon they always seemed a bit too simplistic and crude in comparison to get me hooked. (What do you mean my cards can't move? Counters? Flipping coins? Dice? What is this barbarity?) Yet it doesn't seem like any game has really copied SWCCG's formula to huge success in the last decade.


EDIT - Just as a side note, I must say that the game gave me a pretty solid appreciation for the settings and side characters of the movies, and made the whole SW universe really come alive. When I was watching the prequel trilogy I definitely didn't pay as much attention to all the stuff going on the background, and I realized that it was probably because I didn't have any SWCCG cards of the aliens, ships, and other assorted paraphernalia to refer to. My favorite of all time has to be Bane Malar, what an odd and mysterious individual. I don't think he was even in the movie, though...
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Mike Compton
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This ought to answer your question about the current activity level of the community:

http://www.starwarsccg.org/
 
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Stephen Smith
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I'll take a stab at some of these:

Quote:
- How has the value of the cards held up and how active is the game's community compared to other CCGs that came out around the same time?

Ebay is likely your best bet here. I sold off the last of my rare/promo/foil cards about 6 years ago now and made a nice amount of money.

Quote:
- How much of the price discrepancy between different sets is due to availability versus demand? Were sets like Cloud City and Jabba's Palace just massively overprinted, or is it just that nobody wants the cards?

Cloud City and Jabba's Palace were overproduced. They were also collated with less randomization than most sets, so it was pretty easy to put together a set thus needing fewer boxes. Because of the overproduction, packs of these cards showed up all over the place in some of the premium products. They also showed up a lot in the Reflections sets. More than anything, it's a question of supply and demand.

Quote:
- Why are the Episode I sets so expensive, both for sealed product and singles? From what I remember these sets were just really sloppy and rushed, not to mention the movie itself was terrible. At the stores I frequented, the sealed product wasn't particularly scarce compared to the original trilogy sets, just that nobody was buying them because interest in the game was minimal by that point.

So the Episode I sets were all kind of rushed out so Decipher could get something from their work on them. The first set was fairly small (if I remember correctly) and it was easy to get everything you needed, even with the AI cards without buying a lot. This left the retailers and distributors with a lot of stock (and unhappy). When the second set came out, I believe a lot less was printed and ordered, so it was scarcer to begin with. However, it was double the size of the Tatooine set which meant people needed to purchase more to get what they wanted. It was hard to come by not too long after it came out if I remember correctly. The Naboo set was sized between these two and was right at the very end. If I remember correctly, with Reflections 3, that made 3 sets in one year.

Quote:
- If Decipher had held onto the license, is there any way the game would have survived and stayed popular enough for another 4-5 years to be able to put out a full set of prequel sets? Sure the movies themselves were awful but the epic scale, grand presentation, and lavish attention to detail seemed to be a perfect fit for a game like SWCCG.

Since it is still going via the player's committee, I think the answer there is definitely "yes".

Quote:
- Do you think the game had any real lasting impact on the design of CCGs and just games in general? This was the first CCG I really got into and while I tried others like Magic and Pokemon they always seemed a bit too simplistic and crude in comparison to get me hooked. (What do you mean my cards can't move? Counters? Flipping coins? Dice? What is this barbarity?) Yet it doesn't seem like any game has really copied SWCCG's formula to huge success in the last decade.

This is the first game I recall where cards served multiple functions. I think the idea of your life being tied to your deck was novel at the time. I think it was the first where card tracking and building your deck around the destiny numbers as a "randomizer" was a significant part of the game. I know a couple of others at the time used cards as randomizers but not in the same way or as significantly.
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Nan Zhou

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seppo21 wrote:
Cloud City and Jabba's Palace were overproduced. They were also collated with less randomization than most sets, so it was pretty easy to put together a set thus needing fewer boxes. Because of the overproduction, packs of these cards showed up all over the place in some of the premium products. They also showed up a lot in the Reflections sets. More than anything, it's a question of supply and demand.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the exact problem from Dagobah through Jabba's Palace that the rare sheet was just the same ordering of 40 cards repeated twice, rather than a randomization of two copies of each card? That would effectively halve the number of packs you would need to buy to put together a set.

I actually really liked Jabba's Palace from a flavor perspective, it was cool that it highlighted all the weird aliens and other riff-raff from the first act of Jedi. All of those character cards were just so useless though, most of them would never have been rares in any other set. I think there was one guy who buffed all your seekers, and then another guy whose entire gimmick was that he was a literal "scruffy looking nerf herder." All well and good if you're just buying in bulk on clearance, but buying single packs at full price when the set was new, you were just setting yourself up for disappointment.

Toward the end they were relying way too heavily on gimmicks to get you to buy their unsold inventory. The enhanced packs were definitely nice for giving easy access to mains, but it still felt kinda messed up since you knew you were paying $15 for just that one card. Hell, when EJP rolled around there was never a Mara Jade to be had, I believe the single was actually selling for more than retail by itself.

My favorite expansion was probably Endor, followed closely by Death Star II. Between those two you had a little bit of everything, and the cards all seemed pretty strong without being too blatantly broken to get you to buy as much as possible before the license ran out. The Endor foils were a nice touch, they brought back some collectability without making it seem like a requirement like the URs in DSII where the entire set practically revolved around those two cards. Although I never quite understood why the common foils had to be OF commons. I don't think anyone was doing backflips when they pulled a Biker Scout foil over an actual rare.

I distinctly remember Endor being pretty difficult to find, compared to Young Jedi which had come out and was freaking everywhere, and especially Pokemon which everyone seemed to be into at the time. When DSII hit, the comic shop I bought all my cards from refused to even order any. I definitely felt like a bit of a dinosaur with my sad devotion to that ancient CCG, though these days it's a minor point of pride that I didn't abandon something that I loved for the new fad.

I suppose the great thing about this game is that it's in some sense set in stone and nothing can ever go back and retroactively ruin it. I know there's virtual cards and the like, but there's no real permanence to that compared to putting out a real dud of a set. I like that the game sort of just ran its intended course, covering the entire original trilogy with just a sprinkling of EU from Ref II. If they had continued down that course we probably would've gotten a lot of unwanted detritus as they scraped the bottom of the barrel for more material.

The brief Episode I phase was regrettable, though I can't really fault Decipher for trying to cash in with the license expiring. Does just seem like a huge missed opportunity though to really do the game justice and put out a SWCCG 2nd Edition centering around the entire prequel trilogy without having to worry about how it would interact with the old cards. Would have also been a nice opportunity to wipe the slate clean, get rid of some of the clunkier mechanics and introduce some new ones to give it a distinct flavor.
 
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Nan Zhou

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Just another question about CCGs in general - how much do you think their overall appeal has been diminished by the elimination of the "trading" element?

A lot of the older CCGs like Star Wars were definitely balanced with the idea that players would be drawing upon a limited card pool. I definitely remember most of the mains and power cards being pretty hard to come by, and that if you wanted one you either had to hope you got lucky from a pack or offered the one person in your circle who had one a pretty massive pile of lesser cards. And if you're a middle school kid and a magazine tells you that your card is worth 50 bucks, you're gonna go out of your way to keep that thing in the best condition possible and rarely use it in an actual game.

These days it doesn't matter what game you're playing, you can pop onto eBay and put together any deck you want for a relatively reasonable price. Even if you're collecting, you're better off just buying complete sets that other people assembled instead of trying to do it the old fashioned way of buying a ton of packs and trading away your duplicates. I get that most competitive players welcome this as a removal of an unnecessary hassle, but I think it was one of those things that kept people interested in these games far longer than the average youth attention span would dictate.

I see a lot of games these days using the fixed expansion model, and while that is much easier on your wallet I find it ends up cutting off a lot of possibilities. If there's no reason that Random Cantina Alien #3582 should have a useful card when all players have access to all of the mains, there's no reason to make a card of him at all. And while that's good for eliminating a huge pile of useless junk from your collection, it also detracts from the immersive world-building which was SWCCG's biggest selling point by far.

Also, does anybody know why you can't register new accounts on the Players' Committee website, or if this feature will be enabled any time soon?
 
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Nan Zhou

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Admittedly I am looking at the game through rose-tinted glasses. Personally, I never had the money to buy boxes until Endor and my luck with pulls was always pretty bad, but somehow that delayed gratification kept me interested far longer than I should have been by any logical standard. And it's probably for the best that after all these years, the fond memories I have of SWCCG remain while all the bitterness and envy I had over not owning the best cards is long gone.

I guess the casual vs. competitive argument is bound to pop up in every game at some point. I played WoW (not the CCG) for a number of years and found that neither languishing as a scrub nor running with a top guild was fully satisfying. The only part of the game I truly enjoyed was making that climb up the ranks, improving my skills and being rewarded with new toys as a result. I suppose that the point of all game design is to make that particular phase of the experience as long and enjoyable as possible, and few ever manage to hit the sweet spot just right.

 
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Jason Emme
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CategoryOneGames wrote:
If you want to get information about pricing I can help you out. I'm the owner of http://CategoryOneGames.com and we specialize in SWCCG and Decipher history. Starting with Special through the end of the game, cards were more powerful in general and were not as overly produced as Dagobah through Jabba's.

How has the game done with pricing - good. A lot of junk rares like Let the Wookie Win from ANH and All Too Easy from CC are now good rares hard to find because they have been made into good cards by the Star Wars Players Committee through Virtual cards. These are card slips you put over cards with specific names to keep images or flavor text the same.

We have consistently had a 60+ person turnout to our worlds events since 2006.

If you have more questions, please ask.


Hey Scott. Thanks for mentioning your site. I have been thinking about buying some Star Wars CCG cards and completing some of my sets that I never was able to complete back when this game was big. Every time I thought about doing this, I decided against it because of the current going prices on eBay. At first glance, the prices look more reasonable on your site. I may have to give it a try. I really like that you offer free shipping on orders over $25. Thanks again.
 
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Jason Emme
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CategoryOneGames wrote:
Hey Jason, glad to hear it. You wouldn't believe the amount of former players that have mentioned basically what you did to me. I sell a lot of cards cheaper because I have them tiered by card grade and getting cards at 50% off normal price just because they have seen some play is a great way to pick up cards to finish off sets. I've been playing myself since 1995 and selling online since 1998. If there is ever anything you are needing but don't see in stock, let me know and I'll get it for you.


I appreciate that Scott, thanks!
 
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