Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jabba's Palace Is A Cool Set Of Star Wars CCG Cards!

The Good: Decent images, Fills in gaps
The Bad: Confusing rules when one does get them, Scriptlike demand of cards
The Basics: A generally average alien-filled set, "Jabba's Palace" is a pain to collect by-the-pack.

In the case of Star Wars Customizable Card Game cards, I find myself in a real bind as the sets go on. First, the game became more of an annoyance to play, but at the same time, Decipher (who made the cards) worked real hard to flesh out the full Star Wars universe. Thus, when they produced Jabba's Palace, it was a treasure trove of rare images, inside jokes and cool characters and ideas.  As it stands, Jabba's Palace is a more average set.

Jabba's Palace was only the third Star Wars CCG release that appeared only in limited, black border form. Unfortunately, it was also vastly overproduced and it suffered from a trend which had been growing for several sets. Jabba's Palace negates the "role playing" aspect of CCGs and replaces it with a “script like” game. 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 no longer plays the game, the gameplay of this game matters a lot less to me than to most.

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Wars Customizable Card Game “Jabba's Palace” set was the sixth Star Wars expansion set and it began the presentation of the third (or sixth, depending on one's perspective!) Star Wars film in the card game form. The "Jabba's Palace” set is a 180 card set focusing on characters, ships, alien races and scenarios presented in Return Of The Jedi, mostly the opening portion set on Tatooine. This set is centered on the events on Jabba's Palace where Leia, Lando, R2-D2, Chewbacca and C-3P0 find themselves attempting to rescue Han Solo and needing Luke Skywalker to come and rescue them all. 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 Jabba The Hutt and this also has new versions of Lando Calrissian and Princess Leia, which helps to keep fans buying it even now.

The 180 card set features 94 Characters (Droids, Rebels, Imperials and Aliens who make up the primary characters for playing with, like BG-J38 and Ree-Yees), 3 Creatures (cards representing non-sentient lifeforms, like a Rancor and a Worrt), 4 Devices (Equipment for characters to use, like a R2-D2's Holoprojector or Boba Fett's Jet Pack), 13 Effects (Changes to the situations which allow for movement during the game, like falling into a Den Of Thieves or sitting down at the Bargaining Table), 31 Interrupts (immediate changes to gaming conditions which may be played even by the player on the defensive, like a Blaster Deflection or revealing Hidden Weapons), 4 system locations (star systems which form the “board” of the game, like Nal Hutta and Kiffex), 13 Site locations (places on Tatooine or in Jabba's Palace or other large locations for characters to move around at, like the Audience Chamber or Rancor Pit), 3 Vehicle (cards representing planet-bound transport, like skiffs and Jabba's Sail Barge) and 7 Weapon cards (which feature equipment used to kill characters or destroy ships, like a Vibro-Ax or Thermal Detonator) . This set, unlike Return Of The Jedi 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 nine cards. The individual packs, though, tend to be the result of dealers culling through boxes for the cards they were looking for.


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 Jabba's Palace 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!) or the revised version from "Special Edition" (link below). In this set, there are no new card types nor rule changes.


Players, collectors and fans of Star Wars will appreciate the image quality of the situations from Return Of The Jedi in “Jabba's Palace,” especially because this fleshes out the aliens in the Star Wars universe very well and adds a lot of menace to the Light Side player's experience.

For a highlight, Princess Leia Organa is the easy choice. Yes, this is Princess Leia in her metal bikini and, frankly, what card could be more distracting to play?


The Jabba's Palace set has good collectability. Because it was only released in one printing (though later there would be a deluxe draft pack release of the same cards), the “Jabba's Palace” set is one of the sets which was rare enough to retain its value, so most collectors are likely to be pleased with it.

The cards come in packs of 9 cards that feature one rare, three uncommon and five common cards, usually split 4/5 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.

“Jabba's Palace” cards were found in packs as well as packs of Reflections products, the Anthology boxed set and later in Deluxe Draft Packs, so they are strangely common to have remained as valuable as they have.


The "Jabba's Palace" CCG is a set I still enjoy, mostly because I love the source material. Unfortunately, because the packs are disproportionately expensive, it is impossible to recommend this set being purchased in that form.

This set culls material from Return Of The Jedi, which is reviewed here!

This set was preceded by “Special Edition” (reviewed here!) and followed by the Star Wars CCG expansion "Endor," reviewed here!

This is a set of gaming cards I am proud to sell in my online store. For my current, extensive, inventory, please be sure to click here!


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

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

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