Friday, November 25, 2011

An Ambitious Recycled Set: "Reflections III" Becomes The Star Wars CCG Penultimate Collection!

The Good: Good exclusive cards, Collectible value, Some great foils!
The Bad: Vastly overpriced
The Basics: A pretty exceptional Star Wars CCG recycled product, "Reflections III" is not a bad investment at all, despite having a lot of extra cards most fans will already have.

As Decipher moved toward losing its license for the Star Wars CCG, they looked to clear out some of their stock, fast. Whether it was in a bid to rebuy the license or an attempt to make sales while they legally still could, it was unclear. But to get rid of their overstock, they fell back on a tried and true formula: Reflections sets. Adding foil versions of cards from "Reflections II" which was already a notoriously hard set to collect and assemble added value to the "Reflections III" set. While the actual set of premium cards is pretty cool, the box is still largely packed with recycled product, much of which has far less value than the exclusive cards.

"Reflections III,” as a set, is split between the all-foil reprint set and the premium card set. This is intended for collectors, players and investors and it lives up to the expectations of all three, at least with the premium set.

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Wars Customizable Card Game “Reflections III” set was one of the last Star Wars expansion sets and it both reprinted the most popular cards from the entire run of Decipher’s Star Wars game and added new cards to the game. It also unloaded loads of Decipher's overstock. The "Reflections III” foil set is a 100 card set focusing on characters, ships, alien races and scenarios that were most powerful in the game and as a result is one of the most popular sets in terms of content. This is a foil set without the loser cards that act as filler. The entire foil set is reprinted rare cards, which means that they are the hardest to find and most sought after cards from the earliest sets. Thus, this set includes characters like Chewbacca, Xizor, the Emperor, and Episode I characters like Jar Jar Binks, Anakin Skywalker, Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn. The set consists of 50 Light Side and 50 Dark Side cards which form sets of 100 foil cards.

The real meat of this set, though, is in the 100 premium cards inserted two per pack in "Reflections III." The set consists of 50 Light Side and 50 Dark Side cards which are exclusive to the "Reflections III" packs. The 100 card set features 13 Characters (Droids, Rebels, Imperials and Aliens who make up the primary characters for playing with, like Horace Vancil or Boba Fett), 34 Defensive Shields (cards which help block specific assaults, like Battle Plan or Crossfire), 21 Effects (Changes to the situations which allow for movement during the game, like the the appearance of an Opee Sea Killer or being forced to ask Where Are Those Droidekas?!), 3 Epic Events (cards which illustrate very long-term effects and missions for the game conditions, like the double-sided We'll Handle This/Duel Of The Fates or the Deep Hatred of the Sith), 15 Interrupts (immediate changes to gaming conditions which may be played even by the player on the defensive, like Diversionary Tactics or a Blow Parried), 4 locations (which form the board for the game, like Naboo: Theed Palace Generator), 1 Ships (cards for vehicles for interplanetary travel, in this case Han, Chewie And The Falcon), 1 Vehicle (planetbound transports, in this case the Blizzard 4 walker), and 5 weapons (ship or person-bound armaments which allow them to damage or kill others, like Qui-Gon's Lightsaber or Aurra Sing's Blaster Rifle). This set is evenly split between the Empire and the Rebellion, though this is a set that truly beefs up the Sith and gives players the chance to take on more "Episode I" based missions.

Rather smartly, this set focuses on characters, ships and weapons with more gameplay cards filling out the set as the more common foil cards. As a result, fans often use Reflections III foil cards to get the rare characters that might be too expensive for them in the initial run. This can be an affordable way to get Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader cards as the foils sell frequently for less than the original black border versions of the same cards. They also tend to like the alternate versions of main characters offered in the premium assortment.

The booster pack box comes with twenty-four packs of eighteen cards. The packs are filled out with single cards from:
A New Hope
Cloud City
Special Edition
Jabba’s Palace
Death Star II
and Coruscant in addition to the one foil reprint card and two premium cards in each pack.


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 Reflections III 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. As well, "Reflections III" is not playable right out of the pack because there are not enough cards in the actual set to form a single deck.

Rules/Rule Changes

There is no rulebook in this set of cards. Instead, one has to get a revised rulebook from the Special Edition set (link above). In this set, there are no new card types nor rule changes. There are also Defensive Shield cards which were introduced in "Tatooine."


Players, collectors and fans of Star Wars will appreciate the image quality of most of the foils, as well the concentration of valuable characters in the set. This is a set that offers fans a final Boba Fett, Chewie and another Qui-Gon card. There's also a new Jabba the Hutt card, all of which could be highlights. The set even has a few cool weapons and vehicles.

But, for a highlight I have to go with Lord Maul. The Darth Maul card exclusive to "Reflections III" is costly at 8 Force, but that cost can be reduced when on Naboo, so it makes sense to start him killing there. And kill he will, with a Power of 7 and an Ability of 6! With special skills that make him immune to disarming cards and an ability to drain Force by winning lightsaber battles, Lord Maul is a huge asset that is immune to less than five Attrition, so he doesn't go away!


The Reflections III foil set had terrible collectability. The boxes and packs of the cards had absolutely terrible collation with the Ultra Rare Foils being virtually impossible to find, even within a case! As an investor set, it was great, as fans quickly became tired of trying to assemble their own sets and dumped boxes of these hoping dealers would buy them up and make the sets themselves. And dealers did, but they ended up with a lot of crap and few full sets. Conversely, the Reflections III premium card set was a great investment and has easy collation. Usually, any three boxes would net the complete 100 card premium set.

The cards come in packs of 18 cards that feature one foil card, two premiums and a crapshoot of rares, uncommon, common and fixed deck cards. There is no rhyme or reason to the boxes and this became a great way for Decipher to unload its merchandise without regard to the fans. A full master set usually takes two cases, because of the Ultra Rare Foils.


The "Reflections III" CCG was a set of gaming cards that Decipher got right. As the final recycled Star Wars product, "Reflections III" fills in a ton of the gaps and got fans excited about the final set of Star Wars gaming cards.

This set culls material from the original Star Wars Trilogy, which and The Phantom Menace, which is reviewed here!

This set was preceded by “Coruscant” (link above) and followed by the Star Wars CCG expansion "Theed Palace," reviewed 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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