Friday, December 16, 2011

Continuing The Fair Game, With Little To Recommend It: "The Battle Of Naboo."

The Good: Decent sized images, Easy to learn game
The Bad: Incredibly overproduced, Lame game mechanic, Collectibility issues (with foil cards), disproportionately expensive by-the-pack
The Basics: An otherwise adequate expansion, for a generally dismal Trading Card Game, "Battle Of Naboo" is a fair way to invest one's Star Wars fan dollars.

As I continue to work my way through the various trading and gaming cards in my inventory for review, I find myself yet again sitting, staring at a set of Young Jedi cards. With the third expansion, "Battle Of Naboo," I found myself finally getting into some of the new characters, but increasingly bored with the game mechanic. And after all of this time, it is hard to go back and get psyched about products that were designed around capitalizing on the enthusiasm of Star Wars "Episode 1."

"Battle Of Naboo," rather predictably, expands the Young Jedi game to Naboo, so it is loaded with Gungans and royal court personnel, as well as battle droids. It might well be an average set for an average game, but it is still not the worst CCG I’ve ever played.

Basics/Set Composition

The "Battle Of Naboo" was the third set Decipher produced to capitalize on the excitement surrounding the release of The Phantom Menace. While their enormously popular Star Wars CCG would have expansions that contained characters and themes from Episode 1, that game was not designed for the heavy influence of Jedi Knights that the time period of The Phantom Menace demanded. As a result, they decided to create a new game, called Young Jedi. Young Jedi was also geared toward a slightly younger audience than the late-teen and twentysomething crowd that ate up the Star Wars CCG.

"Battle Of Naboo" is a 158 card gaming card set comprised of 60 common, 40 uncommon, 10 starter deck exclusive and 30 rare cards and eighteen foil reprint cards that were available approximately one in every nine packs. The cards were broken down between Light and Dark Side cards with each side getting seventy of each. The 140 unique cards for the set were comprised of 71 Character (cards picting personnel like Sio Bibble or OOM-9), 19 Weapon (cards illustrating weapons that enhance a character's ability to do battle, like Captain Tarpals' Electropole or Darth Maul's Electrobinoculars), 26 Battle (cards that provide playable actions for the characters, like A Thousand Terrible Things or Your Occupation Here Has Ended), 10 Effects (cards that create consequences to battle actions, like We Wish To Form An Alliance or After Her!), 6 Locations (cards that act as a "board" for the game, all of which are on Coruscant in this expansion) and 8 Starship cards (which provide vehicles to move characters from one location to another, like Amidala's Starship or a Droid Starfighter).

The images on the Young Jedi cards are as close to full bleed as possible, minimizing the borders and texts to provide cards that are actually nice to look at. "Battle Of Naboo" was originally released in boxes that had 36 packs of eleven cards each. Booster packs came with 1 rare, three uncommon and seven common cards. Foil cards replaced a rare in about every nine packs and finding loose packs is often indicative of culling for the foils. In other words, there is far less value to buying by the pack than getting a full box. The "Battle Of Naboo" cards are distinguished from subsequent sets by the small Queen Amidala head in the lower right corner of each card.


Young Jedi introduced a new gaming mechanic unique to this game. The game is played with sixty-card decks and the rulebook (not included in the booster packs or boxes) describes how to assemble a deck to play the game and achieve victory against your opponent. This is essentially a strategy game played with cards that have different values and functions. Players draw cards to their hand, stock up a location with characters and do battle.

With the "Battle Of Naboo" set all of the battles are fought on Naboo and the game may be won by either taking control of the three planets by winning each location or by playing in such a way that your opponent runs out of cards before you do. Either way, the game is not the most exciting CCG ever and truth be told the simplicity of it is likely to drive away players who like a good game of skill.

Most of the cards, especially the Battle cards define actions and tell the player how to use them. This is an easy game to learn, but consequently one that is not challenging to master and therefore less exciting to play over and over again.

Rule Changes

"Battle Of Naboo" is the third Young Jedi set. The starter decks come with a rulebook (not included in booster packs). Given that the rules take up 29 pages of a little book, it's not so much the point of a review to list the rules for readers. "Battle Of Naboo" follows the same rules laid out in "Menace Of Darth Maul" (reviewed here!) with no changes to the core game.

However, "Battle Of Naboo" does expand the game by adding a new planet to it. As a result, there are now rules added governing the movement of characters between planets and ways to achieve victory in the overall game with more than one planet in play. As well, there is the new card type, Effects. Effects essentially allow one to play cards together and most every one has text on it with explicit directions on how to use it for play.


Fans of The Phantom Menace will likely enjoy "Battle Of Naboo" for the images of a number of very popular Star Wars characters. In addition to familiar characters like R2-D2, Yoda and the young Obi-Wan, "Battle Of Naboo" includes such new favorites as Jar Jar Binks, Tarpals, Rune Haako, and Aurra Sing.

And for the best card of the set, I would have to go with 75 Aurra Sing, Mercenary. With five points power, she can hold her own with most of the Jedi. Sure, she only has three points damage, but she is a bounty hunter and they always look cool. As well, she may be augmented for greater damage with Aurra Sing's Blaster Rifle from one of the earlier sets and become a Jedi killer! She is a powerful rare and essential to winning the game for most Dark Side players!


"Battle Of Naboo" was grossly overproduced in relation to its demand. This is a very easy set of gaming cards to find and conversely one of the worst investments for those who look to trading and gaming cards to make money.

One of the big issues with "Battle Of Naboo," though, are the foil cards. Foil cards have rarities of their own and two of them are exceptionally rare, popping up one in every hundred packs or so. This makes is a ridiculous set to try to collect because of all of the extras one is left trying to assemble a master set with the foils. Moreover, it is not cost-effective for most dealers to break open the boxes to try to assemble sets for people, whatwith the lack of demand and the overall expense of assembling sets of these cards.


Young Jedi might be an agreeably diverting game, but "Battle Of Naboo" was so simplistic and overproduced it is almost astonishing that Decipher bothered to continue with this Episode 1 gaming set. Don't get me wrong, this is an adequate expansion, but especially by the pack, it is hard to get excited about this product!

This set utilizes images from Star Wars The Phantom Menace reviewed here!

"Battle Of Naboo" was preceded by "The Jedi Council" (reviewed here!) and followed by "Duel Of The Fates" (reviewed here!).


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

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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