The Good: Can be found cheap enough
The Bad: No rulebook, Not clear to play, Computer-generated images, Not at all collectible.
The Basics: Arguably the worst Star Wars product - and worst product period - ever produced by Decipher, "Jedi Knights" is a lame game!
Have you ever encountered a game that you've taken on the challenge of reviewing only to wonder "what's the point?" I mean, some things are just so poorly made that it's hard to muster up the energy to bother with reviewing them. That's where I am with my consideration of Star Wars "Jedi Knights," arguably the lamest gaming set to ever be created by Decipher, Inc.
The thing is, Decipher had an amazing game with Star Wars Customizable Card Game. It was popular, it survived the release of The Phantom Menace and fans and collectors found great value in it. With the release of The Phantom Menace (reviewed here!), Decipher released "Young Jedi," a new game mechanic to allow players to play with more Jedi knights and all sorts of fun that way. It was more of a kid's game, but it tied in with the movie well and there was a purpose; it prevented Decipher from having to do a complete overhaul on the game because of the sudden prevalence of Jedi in the Star Wars universe. Why then they ever created "Jedi Knights" is a complete and utter mystery.
"Jedi Knights" is the first in a limited gaming mechanic by the same name. "Jedi Knights" included 154 gaming cards unique to this set, all of which feature computer generated artwork images of characters and situations from the original Star Wars trilogy (reviewed here!). As a result, there are computer-generated images that look like airbrushed images of Grand Moff Tarkin, Boba Fett, Leia, Emperor Palpatine and Luke Skywalker. Cards came in packs of nine cards, with thirty-six packs per box.
In addition to looking terribly ugly, there is nothing exceptional or unique here; many of the cards actually have the same titles as earlier cards from the vastly superior "Star Wars CCG." That said, the cards are broken down more or less evenly between Light and Dark Side cards and the set is comprised of 40 Common, 40 Uncommon, 50 Rare and 24 Fixed cards that are only available in the starter decks.
The cards are broken down as: 17 Alliance Character (cards featuring heroes to play with as agents of the Light Side, like Luke or Han Solo), 18 Independent Character (cards featuring neutral character for either side to play with, like Momaw Nadon or Greedo), 23 Empire Character (cards featuring villains like Darth Vader or Grand Moff Tarkin), 36 Event (cards featuring temporary conditions, like Local Trouble or realizing That's No Moon), 15 Starship (cards featuring means of transport, like Gold Five or the Millennium Falcon), 3 Theme (cards featuring longer-term conditions in the game, like The Force Is Strong In That One or You Like Me Because I'm A Scoundrel), 22 Weapon (cards featuring means of harming other character cards, like Han Solo's Blaster or Boba Fett's Blaster Rifle), 10 Force (cards depicting actions of the force, more mechanical to the game than interesting), and 8 Location cards (which form the playing field for the game).
This is a terrible game when it comes to game mechanics. First off, there is no rulebook in the booster boxes, so one needs to pick up starter decks just to get the rules. This is a customizable card game that involves a payment system; that's where the Force cards come in. After drawing Force, you spend it on bringing characters, weapons, ships into play and playing them against your opponent; the goal of the game is not entirely clear, save to kill your opponent's characters and not get shot yourself (in the game or in real life, I suppose).
The thing is, the game alternates between utterly incomprehensible and so simplistic as to not be fun at all. The best CCGs are games with strategy that have some element of cunning to playing them. This is much more a game of luck and a poor one at that.
As this is the first set, there are no rule changes. Rules are laid out in a thirty page rulebook not found in this pack.
This is such a tough sell as it is. First, in a rather irksome twist, many of the rares have a left and right version which are used when put in a pair of special glasses (not included) to provide the lame artwork in three-d. This is another desperate attempt to sell a lame looking, poor card and it failed completely. Thus, in addition to more cards to collect and devices needed to get the most out of them, the artwork is so poor that it's hard to say any cards are better than the others. Moreover, as far as playability goes, there's no highlight because the game is so random in how it is played.
I'm going with 46R - Boba Fett, Relentless Hunter. At least it looks cool.
This set was vastly overproduced in relation to its demand. As a result, these cards are ridiculously easy to find. Gimmicks like the left and right card versions for the stereoscopic viewers actually devalued the rares more than enhanced their value. As well, Decipher attempted a lame trick where they slapped a "First Day Of Printing" sticker on random packs. This did not increase the value of the packs or the cards inside.
In other words, the poor game mechanic, lame images and overproduction of "Jedi Knights" made it virtually worthless.
There are plenty of great trading card games out there. This is not one of them. If you're looking for things to get signed at conventions, these cards - featuring poor CG-renditions of characters - represent the lowest possible form of card to get signed. There is nothing to recommend spending any money, time or attention on this product.
For other gaming card reviews, please be sure to check out my takes on:
Star Wars CCG White Border Premiere
Star Wars Young Jedi The Menace Of Darth Maul
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game The Fellowship Of The Ring
Star Trek: The Next Generation CCG White Border Premiere
For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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