- Scott Johnson
The Star Wars Customizable Card Game Part 6: Special Edition & Enhanced Sets
By Scott Johnson
November 1998 saw the release of the Special Edition expansion and Enhanced Premiere sets followed by Enhanced Cloud City and Enhanced Jabba’s Palace in December 1999 and January 2000, respectively. Special Edition featured cards from the 1997 film remakes and was the first set to release objective cards which sped up the setup and significantly improved gameplay. Players no longer spent the first few turns trying to accumulate a decent hand without deploying anything. Objectives were played instead of a starting location but allowed for players to immediately search out and deploy several cards from their deck along with their starting effect which got battles rolling as soon as turn one. Special Edition featured 324 total cards and was sold as either 9 card booster packs or 60 card semi-random starter decks containing 22 fixed cards and 38 other random cards usually two of which were rare.
Background characters from the film that were first named by Decipher in the Special Edition set included:
· Bren Quersey, rebel pilot (an anagram of Decipher’s Jonathan Quesenberry)
· Bron Burs, rebel commando (an anagram of Decipher’s Rob Burns) Burs's card lore references the character "The Ugly" from the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
· Feyn Gospic, rebel colonel
· Debnoli, smuggler and bounty hunter (an anagram of actor Clint Eastwood's character "Blondie" from the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
· Elyhek Rue, rebel pilot (an anagram of Decipher’s Kyle Heuer)
· Firin Morett, rebel engineer
· General McQuarrie, rebel officer (based on Ralph McQuarrie’s cameo in The Empire Strikes Back)
· Grondorn Muse, Corellian militia member
· Harc Seff, Jabba’s accountant (an anagram of Decipher’s Mark Schaffer)
· Hol Okand, rebel pilot
· Lieutenant Lepira, rebel pilot
· Lieutenant Naytaan, rebel pilot
· Lieutenant Tarn Mison, rebel pilot (an anagram of Decipher’s Bill Martinson)
· Major Palo Torshan, rebel officer
· Neb Dulo, of the Tocoyan species
· Ryle Torsyn, rebel pilot
· Sergeant Hollis, rebel special forces
· Soth Petikkin, rebel recruiter
· Tawss Khaa, rebel scout
· Thedit, Jawa leader
· Theron Nett, rebel pilot
· Uutkik, Jawa thief
· Boelo, gang member
· Brangus Glee, gambler (an anagram of “Snuggle Bear”)
· Chyler, ISB agent (named after Decipher’s Chuck Kallenbach’s wife Cheryl)
· Corporal Grenwick, Imperial officer
· Corporal Prescott, Imperial officer
· Gela Yeens, smuggler (an anagram of “Angel Eyes” from the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
· Iasa, Jawa who takes an interest in Luke’s speeder
· Lobel, alien that later appears in SWTOR
· Makurth, alien that later appears in Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
· Niado Duegad, alien (an anagaram of “Dianoga Dude”)
· RR'uruurrr, Tusken Raider
· Ur'Ru'r, Tusken Raider
· Sergeant Major Bursk, snowtrooper
· Sergeant Major Enfield, Imperial officer
· Sergeant Narthax, snowtrooper
· Sergeant Torent, Imperial officer
Additionally, Special Edition included original CGI for certain characters and starships which did not appear in the film such as the Medium Bulk Freighter and Jabba's Space Cruiser cards, providing not only EU lore but also providing visual representations.
Enhanced Premiere contained one of six exclusive main character and weapon combo cards featuring Luke, Leia, Han, Obi-Wan, Boba Fett, or Vader and four additional Premiere booster packs. Prior to these exclusive combo cards, main character cards were difficult to acquire. Players could go through an entire 36 pack booster box and only end up pulling one or two main characters. According to Inquest Magazine, as late as 1998 a single Han Solo card could fetch as much as $80. Priced at a mere $15, Enhanced Premiere products granted much easier access to main characters so players could build competitive decks with multiple copies of what would otherwise be budget-breaking cards. Enhanced Cloud City and Enhanced Jabba’s Palace included three of 24 all new Cloud City and Jabba’s Palace cards and four Cloud City or Jabba’s Palace boosters. Four of the new Cloud City and Jabba’s Palace cards were entirely from the Expanded Universe. Those four cards were Mara Jade, Mara Jade’s Lightsaber, Jodo Kast, and Z-95 Bespin Defense Fighter and all of these saw some competitive play.
While the other three cards were created by Decipher’s art department, Lucasfilm and Decipher did an open casting for the Mara Jade live action model to be used in the photoshoot. Professional model and make up artist, Shannon McRandle got the role in 1999 and was featured on the Mara Jade card. Upon hearing about the casting appointment, Shannon ran out to purchase a few of the comics and one of the Zahn novels to research the character. She developed a strong affinity for the character right away and was a guest at DecipherCon that year when her card debuted. Shannon was also on the front cover of Insider 47 in January 2000. Since the photoshoot, Shannon has been a fan favorite at several conventions and a strong supporter and ambassador of the Expanded Universe over the years. Her face was also scanned at the San Diego Comicon for a Gentle Giant figurine released two years later.
Only one of the photos from the original shoot was used in Enhanced Jabba’s Palace. The others would be used in later sets (and even other games). More on that in future articles.
Another exclusive product of note first released in May 1998 was the Official Tournament Sealed Deck. Designed for sealed deck gameplay, the Official Tournament Sealed Deck contained 18 exclusive cards as well as four Premiere packs and one A New Hope pack. One notable card from this product was the exclusive Dreadnaught-Class Heavy Cruiser card which was created by the Decipher art department. Another Z-95 Headhunter card was also included as an exclusive.
Background characters from the film that were first named by cards exclusive to the Decipher in the Official Tournament Sealed Deck included:
· Chall Bekan, Imperial agent (an anagram of Decipher’s Chuck Kallenbach)
· Arleil Schous, rebel mercenary (an anagram of Decipher’s Charles Louis “Chuck” Kallenbach)
Join me next time when I explore the next two sets, Endor and Death Star II. Stay tuned.