Monday, June 13, 2011

A Good Set In An Increasingly Complicated Game: Dagobah CCG Expands The Star Wars CCG!

The Good: Decent images, Fills in gaps, Rule page is limited
The Bad: Confusing rules when one does get them, Somewhat overproduced
The Basics: Despite getting more difficult to play and being the final set that had both white and black border card types, “Dagobah” is cool as it is loaded with bounty hunters!

As I continue my way through the Star Wars CCG releases, I find myself enjoying the nostalgia of going through the cards again. This probably has to do with the fact that right now I am in the middle of the block that put The Empire Strikes Back into Star Wars CCG gameplay. As well, with Dagobah, I have finally reached the final set where the collectability of the cards no longer becomes a liability. With Dagobah, like all of the early Decipher Star Wars CCG products, the set was released in Limited (black border) and Unlimited (white border) forms. This was annoying to collectors as the die-hards came to feel like they were being milked for the same product twice and it was hardly fun to collect.

But Dagobah was the last major release that happened for (there were a few preview cards which would later be released as white border before the prime, black border, release) and that begins a turnaround for Decipher and the Star Wars CCG. Unfortunately, as many players have indicated to me, this is also the set which started the turnaround where the game became more “script like.” By that, very specific cards tended to be required to get out of certain situations and as a result, the game stopped being a creative play within the Star Wars universe and more of a recreation of the movies as players played cards back and forth. As one who doesn’t play the game (anymore, for sure), the gameplay of this game matters a lot less to me than to most.

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Wars Customizable Card Game “Dagobah” set was the third Star Wars expansion set and it continued the presentation of the second Star Wars film in the card game form. The "Dagobah” set is a 180 card set focusing on characters, ships, alien races and scenarios presented in The Empire Strikes Back, mostly the middle portion. This set begins with the fleeing from Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back through the escape from the Empire in the asteroid belt for Han, Leia and Chewie and Luke working on his training on Dagobah. The set consists of 90 Light Side and 90 Dark Side cards which form sets of 50 common cards, 50 uncommon cards and 80 rare cards, with the most popular characters and vehicles being given rare status and the background supernumeraries filling out the more common cards. This is the first CCG set to feature Yoda and this also has most of the bounty hunters, which accounts for a large portion of the set’s enduring value.

The 180 card set features 19 Characters (Droids, Rebels, Imperials and Aliens who make up the primary characters for playing with, like Yoda and Bossk),9 Creature (animals that were seen or encountered from the Space Slug to the Sleen in the swamp of Dagobah), 7 Devices (Equipment for characters to use, like Han’s Toolkit or the Droid Sensorscope on R2-D2), 51 Effects (Changes to the situations which allow for movement during the game, like the Empire going on a Bombing Run or Luke finding himself At Peace), 47 Interrupts (immediate changes to gaming conditions which may be played even by the player on the defensive, like an Unexpected Interruption or realizing that This Is No Cave), 5 Jedi Test (cards which give Jedi characters specific tasks to fill to help them grow more powerful, like realizing that Size Matter Not), 8 system locations (star systems which form the “board” of the game, like Dagobah or the Asteroid Belt), 14 Site locations (places on the planet Dagobah or other large locations for characters to move around at, like Dagobah: Yoda’s Hut or Executor: Holotheatre), 8 Ship (cards that transport characters from star system to star system and engage in space battles, like the Mist Hunter or star destroyer Avenger), and 7 Weapon cards (which feature equipment used to kill characters or destroy ships, like 4-LOM’s Concussion Rifle or Proton Bombs) . This set, unlike The Empire Strikes Back is evenly split between the Empire and the Rebellion, though this is another set that truly beefs up the Empire and the Dark Side, making it a lot of fun for people like me who had been waiting for strong, meaningful villains to come into the game.

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.

Unfortunately, many of the cards in Dagobah require specific opposing cards to progress with the game. As a result, it is quite possible for an opponent to stop a player with a card and if they do not have one of the specific cards needed to remedy that card in their hand, they cannot progress with the game. I found this to be an additional detraction to playing the game.

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, the only new card type was the Jedi Test card. These cards basically create a side mission for padawans to begin bulking up their Jedi character and this can be seen as a real boon or an annoying distraction to the main game.


Players, collectors and fans of Star Wars will appreciate the image quality of the situations from The Empire Strikes Back in “Dagobah,” even if it is not the most character-rich expansion set. The “Dagobah” set fleshes out the game with some awesome Dark Side characters, like Bossk, 4-LOM, and Zuckuss, as well as a few good Rebel characters. In fact, this finally gives Light Side players a new Luke with the Son Of Skywalker card! In fact, the real surprise for this set is that there is not a new Millennium Falcon card.

For a highlight, it’s no surprise in a set designed to help bury the Light Side that my highlight would be the IG-88 card. IG-88 is the droid bounty hunter seen briefly in the background in the Bounty Hunter Scene of The Empire Strikes Back and he bursts into the game with the Dagobah set. In addition to having decent power (4) and great armor (5) to hold its own against most of the main characters, IG-88 can use two weapons at once and is able to immediately remove from play any character it hits. This means, a fully armed IG-88 can take out two Rebels each turn and it cannot be stopped through the usual droid stop methods of a Restraining Bolt or Purchase. This makes this relatively inexpensive (it costs five Force points to bring into the game) to play and a huge asset to the Dark Side!


The white border set has only fair collectability, but the black border version was sufficiently uncommon so it maintained its value for years. Either way, the “Dagobah” set is 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.

“Dagobah” cards were found in packs as well as packs of Reflections products and the Anthology boxed set, so they are strangely common to have remained as valuable as they have.


The "Dagobah" CCG is a set I still enjoy, mostly because I love the source material. The game is overly complex by this point, but the presence of so many bounty hunter characters makes it worth buying in my book!

This set culls material from The Empire Strikes Back, which is reviewed here!

This set was preceded by “Hoth” (reviewed here!) and followed by the Star Wars CCG expansion "Cloud City," reviewed here.

This is a set of Star Wars gaming cards I proudly sell in my online store! Please check out my current inventory of them here and here!


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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