The Star Wars Customizable Card Game Part 9: Tatooine, Coruscant and Theed Palace
In 2001, the Star Wars CCG finally incorporated the Episode I film into the game by releasing Tatooine in May, Coruscant in August, and Theed Palace in November. Unfortunately, former Decipher employees said these sets did not sell very well and this ultimately led to the demise of the game after a nearly six-year run. Starting in 1999, Lucasfilm put pressure on its licensees to promote the prequel era. This continued in the leadup to Episode II which would debut in 2002, so after the CCG completed sets for the original 3 films, the game had to shift focus to the prequel era. This presented a variety of problems for the CCG, one of which had to do with gameplay. The game had always stayed true to continuity by having rules that, for example, did not allow snowspeeders on Tatooine or Jawas on Hoth. How could you allow Nute Gunray or Qui-Gon Jinn to fight alongside Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker without breaking the “continuity” of the franchise?
An idea was floated for a prequel era format of the game that only allowed cards from the prequel era with an Episode I icon. The issue with creating a new format was the lack of a sufficient card-pool of Episode I cards in comparison to previous sets without the icon. Therefore, the new format was planned to be phased-in only after several prequal era sets were available, which never came to fruition since Theed Palace was the CCG’s final expansion prior to losing the license. The result was the new format never being implemented leaving the three Episode I-era expansions able to be played alongside the prior classic trilogy card-pool. Worse yet, there was substantial power-creep in the Coruscant and Theed Palace expansions which all but required competitive decks to play certain Episode I icon cards like Destroyer Doid or Darth Maul with Lightsaber. This turned the game from an in-continuity cinematic open adventure, into a world where Trade Federation laser canons deployed on Star Destroyers and Mace Windu could participate in a Rebel Alliance assault on the Endor shield generator. I personally thought these scenarios where Padme could fight alongside Luke and Leia or droid starfighters could battle X-wings were ridiculous and ruined the realism of the game. Competitive players nonetheless had no choice but to use the best cards available for their decks regardless of the mixture of prequel or classic trilogy content within the same deck.
The Tatooine and Coruscant sets also had some classic trilogy era character cards mixed in, even though most cards were from Episode I. Tatooine even had a few cards that used characters from the Holiday Special cantina scene, such as the Talz Caldera Righim and the Ithorian Deneb Both, giving them both official names in the Expanded Universe. Theed Palace, on the other hand, was entirely Episode I-focused. But like the classic trilogy sets, the three prequel era sets each also had game cards that added to EU lore mostly in the case of naming characters from the films that were not previously named. (As included in the article)
Despite my personal opinion of these sets and their effect on the game, Coruscant and Theed Palace are highly sought-after by collectors of the game and are some of the most valuable sets due to the many competitive cards they contain. Sealed booster boxes of these sets can be sold for over $1,000 and complete sets will fetch several hundreds. Tatooine is still fairly affordable and although it doesn’t have the ideal versions of Kenobi, Qui-Gon, Padme, or Maul, it does offer a budgetary alternative for using these characters in your games. Join me next time when I discuss the final set of the Star Wars CCG: Reflections III.