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  • Scott Johnson

The Star Wars Trading Card Game by Wizards of the Coast

Hey there folks! Jump back in time with me to April 2002. Decipher, who was the original license holder for Star Wars card games, had just lost the gaming license and West End Games, who was the Star Wars RPG license holder, had just given up the license to Wizards of the Coast in 2000. Lucasfilm was hoping to bring both gaming licenses under one roof and this eventually happened with Wizards picking up the card game license as well, in preparation to release the Star Wars Trading Card Game. Devised by Magic the Gathering designer Richard Garfield, the Star Wars TCG was a new card game completely different from Decipher’s CCG. The Star Wars TCG first expansion coincided with the release of Attack of the Clones and all the cards from the first two sets were from this film.

The new card game lacked the system and site engine of the old CCG and replaced it was three “arenas” for ground, space, and character cards to deploy to. Certain cards did add bonuses to other arenas and occasionally could target other arenas in battle (such as a Death Star in the space arena targeting all ground units). However, the TCG did not have the open-ended movement and cinematic nature of the CCG. The new TCG instead focused on direct combat instead of movement and the goal of the game was to control two of the three arenas at a given time, similar to Decipher’s Young Jedi card game.

The TCG was produced over a three-year period, from 2002 to 2005, finally concluding

with the Revenge of the Sith expansion. However, like the Star Wars Customizable Card Game Player’s Committee, the Star Wars TCG has a similar group continuing to support the game called the Independent Development Committee. The IDC as continued to release virtual expansions of the game from 2006 to the present, those expansions also including very deep Expanded Universe content during the 2008 to 2019 period.

Main Sets

Attack of the Clones – April 2002

Sith Rising – July 2002

A New Hope – October 2002

Battle of Yavin – February 2003

Jedi Guardians – June 2003

The Empire Strikes Back – October 2003

Rogues and Scoundrels – March 2004

The Phantom Menace – May 2004

Return of the Jedi – October 2004

Revenge of the Sith – March 2005

Virtual Sets

Fall of the Republic – June 2006

Scum and Villainy – October 2006

Battle of Endor – June 2007

Clone Wars: Republic at War – April 2008

Invasion of Naboo – May 2009

Battle of Hoth – September 2009

Legacy of the Force: Bounty Hunters – December 2010

Legacy of the Force: Mandalorians – April 2011

Legacy of the Force: Sith – September 2011

Legacy of the Force: Smugglers – February 2013

Legacy of the Force: Jedi – December 2013

Rule of Two – July 2014

The Old Republic – December 2014

Clone Wars: Separatist Offensive – September 2015

Rogue Squadron – October 2015

Empire Rising – November 2015

Empire Eternal – December 2015

The Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided – March 2016

The Dark Times – May 2016

Clones and Droids – July 2016

10th Anniversary – August 2016

The Force Awakens – September 2016

The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime – November 2016

The Old Republic: Tales and Legends – January 2017

The New Jedi Order: Star By Star – June 2017

The Old Republic: Days and Nights – December 2017

The Clone Wars: Battle Lines – April 2018

Rogue One – June 2018

Battle of Starkiller Base – August 2018

The Last Jedi – December 2018

Spark of Rebellion – July 2019

Battlefront – August 2019

Jedi Knight – October 2019

The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force – December 2019

Battle of Crait – April 2020

Solo – September 2020

The Old Republic: Knights and Exiles – December 2020

The Mandalorian – April 2021

As you can see many of the virtual sets cover much of the Expanded Universe with several sets covering the New Jedi Order, several video games, comics, and other novels. The original printed sets from Wizards of the Coast also featured several Expanded Universe cards as well. Expanded Universe fans should especially appreciate Rogues and Scoundrels March 2004 set and The Phantom Menace May 2004 sets. Rogues and Scoundrels features Dash Rendar, Kyle Katarn, Leebo, Guri, Prince Xizor, Mara Jade, and more. The Phantom Menace features Yinchorri Fighters, Dark Woman, Quinlan Vos, A’Sharad Hett, Durge, Vilmarh “Villie” Grahrk, and the Inferno. One of the Mara Jade cards even utilized one of the unused Shannon McRandle pictures from the Decipher photo shoot. This Mara Jade card is available in all The Empire Strikes Back Starter Decks.

Overall, the Star Wars TCG never matched the success of the Star Wars CCG, but nonetheless has a significant following, even today. Cards from most sets are somewhat expensive but not necessarily out of reach. The best fan site cataloging the game can be found here. The website for the Independent Development Committee can be found here. When the game was released both my brother and I bought starter decks and a handful of packs from the first few sets. Unlike the Star Wars CCG, which was harder to find in stores in my area, the Star Wars TCG could be bought at Target and other mainline retailers. However, product for many of the newer sets was hard to find. They tended to sell out immediately of newer sets and did not restock except for the base set and starter decks which were overprinted and often available in clearance bins. To this day, most of the expensive sets tend to be those released from 2003 to 2005 rather than the 2002 sets. Nowadays, the best way acquire cards are to buy small lots on Ebay, or if your hunting down specific sets, purchase specific booster packs. I was recently able to round out several cards I needed by buying a handful of The Phantom Menace booster packs, which I could never find in stores. Although packs ranged around $15, enough rares from the set are worth around that same price point to still make opening packs worthwhile. In fact, your chances for pulling an Expanded Universe rare, like Dark Woman, are somewhat good. Even Durge, which can fetch over $10, is just an uncommon from the set.

Did you ever play the Star Wars TCG? Do you have any cards in your collection? Let me know in the comments below!

1 comment

1 Comment

3 days ago

Love this game!! Me and my Dad played it back in the day, and still do sometimes. We made our own cards, some of which are really goofy like Nolan Ryan and Reese's Pieces! I know most people don't comment on websites but I'd like to buck that trend haha. Found you from Google. Good times with this game!!

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