Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Overly Complicated By The Time Of "Tatooine," The Star Wars CCG Offers Little Value.

The Good: Fills in a few gaps.
The Bad: Small set, Disproportionate value in boxes, Not inspired for players
The Basics: With fewer cards and less interesting and less playable ones, "Tatooine" is a poor expansion for the Star Wars CCG.

The Star Wars Customizable Card Game had some real highs and some real lows. As Decipher moved ever closer to losing the license for one of its two establishing products (the other being the Star Trek CCG), it seemed to get more and more lazy. Players became disenchanted because the game began to follow more of a script format and less of the creative play they had within the Star Wars universe from the beginning.

"Tatooine" was released after The Phantom Menace and awkwardly combined elements from the original Star Wars Trilogy with newer elements from the earlier time frame. The thing is, "Tatooine" was a much smaller set than most of Decipher's Star Wars products, which devalued the already near-worthless common and uncommon sets while at the same time making the rares disproportionately more expensive. The result is that boxes have a lot of worthless cards and very few cards of value and note.

Basics/Set Composition

"Tatooine" was the penultimate set in the Star Wars CCG and combined elements from both the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequel timeframe. The set focused on the role Tatooine played in the three films (at that time) the planet had appeared in. As a result, there are podraces, Jedi and laying traps for Luke Skywalker. The set is focuses on characters naturally on Tatooine and those who wander there during the first prequel film.

"Tatooine" consists of one hundred gaming cards from Decipher, Inc. Packs consisted of eleven cards and boxes had forty packs. Each pack had seven commons, three uncommons and one rare card. Cards were broken down fairly evenly between Light Side and Dark Side cards. The set consisted of thirty common, thirty uncommon, and forty rare cards. Of those forty rares, nine of them are reprints bearing the same game text, but an alternate image of the character. As a result, there are two versions of the card for Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn and Aurra Sing (among others).

The "Tatooine" set is broken down into: 31 Character (cards focusing on the droids, aliens and other people of the Trilogy, like Sebulba and Grugnak), 1 Device (tools used to aid a character's natural abilities, in this case Darth Maul's Electrobinoculars), 17 Effect (cards that change the parameters of the game, like "A Million Voices Crying Out" when Alderraan is destroyed or Brisky Morning Munchen rejuvenating a Gungan), 3 Epic Events (cards with longer term changes to the game like the Boonta Eve Podrace), 26 Interrupts (immediate changes in the game, like Entering The Arena or Fanfare), 8 Locations (cards depicting places that form the "board" for the game, like Tatooine: Mos Espa or Tatooine: Slave Quarters), 5 Podracer (cards depicting the new, unique vehicles from The Phantom Menace), 1 Vehicle (creatures are devices used to move between locations, in this case an Eopie) and 3 Weapons (cards to arm characters with, in this case Maul's Lightsaber and Qui-Gon Jinn's Lightsaber).


By this point in the game, the game is completely unplayable. There have been so many rule changes and addendum that it is virtually impossible to play without owning each and every card Decipher put out for the game. As it stands, "Tatooine" is not playable on its own out of the box, there are too few cards to reasonably make a deck. This is intended solely as a supplemental set.

The basic idea behind the game is to assemble a deck of locations, people, equipment and action cards and either embody the Dark or Light Side powers in the Star Wars universe. Using that side, originally, the concept was to have free play to either control the galaxy and crush rebellion or fight for freedom. By this point, though, the game follows more of a script. As a result, specific cards counter other, specific cards with little ability for the player to be creative within the field of play anymore. The boxes of Tatooine cards do not come with a full guide to playing the game.

Rule Changes

The box of "Tatooine" cards comes with a single sheet of rule changes and a checklist for the set. The rule changes for this set simply govern the sidegame for the podrace. As a result, one might divert from the usual game, which involves tapping force and combating your opponent to waste some time racing. The side game is hardly interesting and so long as one player has Anakin and his podracer in play, the deck is more or less loaded against the Dark Side Players.

Outside that, the sheet has a few notes about technical changes from misprints and clarifications. There are no huge rule changes in this edition.


Fans of the Star Wars Saga are likely to enjoy the fact that this set mixes both prequel and original Star Wars concepts. The result is a richer sense of the universe for the game and fans can test their thoughts on pitting Darth Maul against Luke Skywalker (well, with cards from other sets, not this one as there is no Luke in the "Tatooine" set, but the concept holds).

With so many great Jedi and Sith to play, I still find myself drawn to Aurra Sing. Aurra Sing is a bounty hunter revealed momentarily in The Phantom Menace and her presence within the card game illustrates how popular the bounty hunters are with fans. In this form - and she appears with both a standard version and an Alternate Image version - Sing is a Force Sensitive character who costs four to play but has a forfeit of only three. She does not initially appear to be a value, until one checks out her ability. She can use any stolen lightsaber and once per turn she can steal a lightsaber! She is immune to some attrition and has both a power and ability of four. In other words, she lives up to a bounty hunter's reputation for survival and has some skills to bring into play to weaken a well-armed Light Side player!


Unfortunately, by this point the Star Wars Customizable Card Game had pretty much tapped out its core audience. As a result, by the time one tries to get into "Tatooine," they are hampered by not having much of a market left to try to sell to. This set is remarkably easy to collect as it does not have any ultra rares or foils to hunt down.

Unfortunately, the lack of excitement, as well as the lower number of cards in the set left "Tatooine" with less enduring value than most would like to admit. However, this was also severely short-printed and that gives it a little value it would not otherwise have. Investors seem to do well with this set, though how they find collectors to buy is a mystery to me.


"Tatooine" is too insubstantial a set to please me. As a result of how little there is, the Alternate Image cards not changing anything as far as the playability of those rares, and the tiny common and uncommon sets, boxes are far more expensive than whole sets are, which is the opposite of how things usually are. Go figure!

This set culls images from:
The Phantom Menace
A New Hope
Return Of The Jedi

This set was preceded by "Death Star II" (reviewed here!) and followed by "Coruscant" (review pending).


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

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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