Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Leftovers From "Premiere:" Decipher's "A New Hope" CCG Set Finishes Off Star Wars!

The Good: Decent images, Fills in gaps
The Bad: No rulebook, Confusing rules when one does get them, Overproduced
The Basics: A lackluster CCG set, "A New Hope" is no more playable than "Premiere" and has less recognizable characters featured in it.

There are few gaming card sets that I do not truly find some reason to enjoy. Nevertheless, the Decipher "A New Hope" set is probably one of the most valuable Star Wars CCG collections that I have no real interest in. The reason is simple: this expansion - like Premiere - was released in Limited (black border) and Unlimited (white border) forms. Either way, though, the set seems to be obsessed with filling in the gaps from "Premiere" (like making cards of R2-D2 and Chewbacca) and the material is nowhere near as inspired as the first set.

In fact, in retrospect, the only reason to pick up a box of "A New Hope" is for the collectible value of them. While Premiere and several other early Star Wars CCG sets were massively overproduced, "A New Hope" even in its unlimited form seems to have been less printed and thus maintained a value most of the early sets have not.

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Wars Customizable Card Game "A New Hope" set was the first Star Wars expansion set and it finished off the presentation of the first Star Wars film in the card game form. The "A New Hope" set is a 162 card set focusing on characters, ships, alien races and scenarios presented in "A New Hope," mostly the latter half. This set continues where "Premiere" left off. The set consists of 81 Light Side and 81 Dark Side cards which form sets of 56 common cards, 56 uncommon cards and 54 rare cards, with the most popular characters and scenarios being given rare status and the background supernumeraries filling out the more common cards. Sadly, this is mostly packed with obscure characters and none of the big names (those were in "Premiere").

The 162 card set features 52 Characters (Droids, Rebels, Imperials and Aliens who make up the primary characters for playing with, like R2-D2 and Greedo), 1 Creature (in this case the Dianoga living in the trash compactor!), 10 Devices (Equipment for characters to use, like a Fire Extinguisher or a Hypo), 2 Epic Effect (long-term changes for the game which make primary missions, in this case the Attack Run on the Death Star and the Primary Ignition of the Death Star's superlaser!), 25 Effects (Changes to the situations which allow for movement during the game, like experiencing an Astromech Shortage or being trapped in Cell 2187), 29 Interrupts (immediate changes to gaming conditions which may be played even by the player on the defensive, like Sabotage or the sudden actions of a Sniper), 8 system locations (star systems which form the "board" of the game, like Kashyyyk or Kiffex), 9 Site locations (places on planets for characters to move around at, like Tatooine: Bluffs or Yavin 4: Briefing Room), 10 Ship (cards that transport characters from star system to star system and engage in space battles, like the Tantiv IV or a Victory-Class Star Destroyer), 4 Vehicle (cards representing planetbound transports which move players from site to site, like a Rogue Bantha or a Mobquet A-1 Deluxe Floater), and 9 Weapon cards (which feature equipment used to kill characters or destroy ships, like a Jawa Ion Gun or a Superlaser) . This set, unlike the film "A New Hope" is evenly split between the Empire and the Rebellion, though the Rebellion has more recognizable characters in this set based on the bias from the film.

The booster pack box comes with forty packs of fifteen cards.


At its most basic level, this is a board game where one constructs the board and pieces out of a selection of cards. The starting purpose of the game is to drain your opponent of Force without depleting your own Force and to survive the trip around the Star Wars Universe with whatever your player throws at you. The basic idea is to assemble a sixty card deck (for beginners), lay out the board (spaceline) and play against an opponent. In laying out the board, players get the power from the Force they need to play other cards.

Locations form the board for the game and almost all of them have an indicator which puts into play Light Side and Dark Side Force points, which the player may then tap into to "buy" characters, ships, weapons and tactical cards to thwart their opponent. Events represent the obstacles that opponents can use to make the game more than just a basic search and kill game. The rulebook clearly defines what each deck must possess in terms of numbers of the card types. But basically, one starts by laying out a board, assembling a starship and its crew and traveling along the planets and through space to either crush the Empire or put down the Rebellion.

This is a very complex customizable card game, but it represents a level of gaming sophistication designed to appeal to younger adults and actually challenge them, which is a decent idea given the thematic complexity of the Star Wars universe. The problem, of course, is that most people who would be most stimulated by this game do not have the time or effort/interest to learn to play it. As a result, the late-teens that basically run the CCG players world seem to have had mixed impressions about this game.

It takes a great deal of time and energy to learn the game and the truth is, I've never mastered it. I've played a few times, I tap into my Force pretty quick, get a staffed ship up and running and the moment my opponent can afford to play their ship card, I blow it up. That was a lot of prep for about five minutes worth of gameplay.

Rules/Rule Changes

There is no rulebook in this set of cards. Instead, one has to get a rulebook from the Premiere set (reviewed here!). In this set, there was the addition of the Epic Events, which played on the table longer and the Creature cards. Outside the new cards, there were no changes to gameplay; it was still a bear to try to learn to play this CCG!


Players, collectors and fans of Star Wars will appreciate the image quality of the characters and scenarios from "A New Hope." The "A New Hope" set fills in some nice gaps left by the "Premiere" set, most notably Chewbacca, R2-D2 and Greedo, as well as the ship Tantive IV.

For a highlight, I would have to go with the System card of the Death Star. Playing this uber-powerful card puts into play a location with three Dark Side Force points and nothing for the Light Side. The location can be outfitted with weaponry and is almost completely invulnerable. Sure, playing it lets the Light Side player go first, but with a starting 3 Force, the Dark Side has a clear advantage and can whip their opponent easily.


The white border set has absolutely terrible collectibility, but the black border version was fairly uncommon. Either way, the "A New Hope" set seems to be one of the earliest sets which was rare enough to retain its value, so most fans are likely to be pleased with it.

The cards come in packs of 15 cards that feature one rare, four uncommon and ten common cards, usually split 7/8 between Light and Dark Side cards (packs tend to go either way). This means that even with a box of forty packs it is unlikely a collector will be able to assemble a few common sets and at least one uncommon set. A full master set takes two boxes with ideal collation.

"A New Hope" cards were found in packs as well as packs of Reflections products and the Tournament boxed set, so they are strangely common to have remained as valuable as they have.


This might be a nice place for fans to continue their gameplay and collecting, but as one who has never mastered the game, "A New Hope" is more frustrating than fun and it seems like it is only popular because of its value.

This set culls material from Star Wars: A New Hope, which is reviewed here!

This set was preceded by "Premiere" (link above) and followed by the Star Wars CCG expansion "Hoth," reviewed here!

This is a set of gaming cards that I sell in my online store!  Click here for my current inventory!


For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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