The Good: Decent sized images, Easy to learn game
The Bad: Incredibly overproduced, Lame game mechanic, Collectibility issues (with foil cards)
The Basics: An adequate expansion, "The Jedi Council" sadly trundles along in a deeply unsatisfying game!
As the year winds down and I find more products still needing to be reviewed, I consider my future as a reviewer and it seems strangely bright to me. Even with my ratings philosophy (check it out here!), I feel confident, because I never seem to be in a rut for things to review and, frankly, to pan. So while some might complain that they're almost through all of the things they like, I continue to prolifically produce, knowing that there is a decent balance of items left for me to weigh in on, including a large number of things I find average.
I consider this while looking over "The Jedi Council," the first expansion to the "Young Jedi" set after its debut. It was not a popular game and the mechanic is generally lousy, but "The Jedi Council" adequately continued the series as it was begun. The problem is, even at its best, the game is still a disappointing waste of time and money.
The "The Jedi Council" was the second 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.
"The Jedi Council" 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 74 Character (cards depicting personnel like Ki-Adi Mundi or a Galactic Delegate), 26 Weapon (cards illustrating weapons that enhance a character's ability to do battle, like Adi Gallia's Lightsaber or a Multi Troop Transport), 28 Battle (cards that provide playable actions for the characters, like Let Them Make The First Move or ), 6 Locations (cards that act as a "board" for the game, all of which are on Coruscant in this expansion) and 6 Starship cards (which provide vehicles to move characters from one location to another, like Radiant VII or a Sith Infiltrator).
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. "The Jedi Council" 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. The "The Jedi Council" cards are distinguished from subsequent sets by the small Mace Windu 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 "The Jedi Council" set all of the battles are fought on Coruscant and the game may be won by either taking control of the planet 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.
"The Jedi Council" is the first 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. "The Jedi Council" follows the same rules laid out in "Menace Of Darth Maul," with no changes to the core game.
However, "The Jedi Council" 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.
Fans of The Phantom Menace will likely enjoy "The Jedi Council" 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, "The Jedi Council" includes such new favorites as Ki-Adi Mundi, Valorum, Watto and Nute Gunray.
But for the best card of the set, I'd have to go with card 7 Mace Windu, Senior Jedi Council Member. In addition to having a great shot of a very laid-back looking Samuel L. Jackson, the card is arguably the most powerful one in the deck. With more power than Darth Sidious and more damage than Darth Maul, Mace Windu is the perfect defense against the Dark Side in this game. Yes, this card alone can take on one of the Droid Army tanks . . . and win!
"The Jedi Council" 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 "The Jedi Council," 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 "The Jedi Council" 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 the game is still not worth it!
This set utilizes images from Star Wars The Phantom Menace reviewed here!
"The Jedi Council" was preceded by "Menace Of Darth Maul" (reviewed here!) and followed by "Battle Of Naboo" (reviewed here!).
For other card reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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