Remembering the Star Wars LCG

Ah yes, there was indeed a Star Wars living card game. Running for six years, between 2012 and 2018, the game took in the breadth of the Star Wars galaxy from across the original three movies (including Rogue One) and the expanded universe, filling five deluxe expansions and six complete cycles of Force Packs. That’s a lot of cards, though due to the unique structure of the game’s Objective Set deck building rules, the number of unique cards is probably lower than you might think.

I really loved this game, and bought it up consistently for the first few years of its life. When the content started to drift into including Rebels stuff in the fifth cycle, however, I called it a day; in retrospect, if I’d have known that I only had two more cycles to pick up, I might have stuck it out. But, it is what it is, and while a part of me has been thinking that maybe I’ll see if I can still get some of the later packs, I do feel a bit like my resources might be best used elsewhere…

I’m planning to try it out with my wife at some point in the future though, since Jemma did suggest having regular games nights, and we have played a variety of card games now. It’s also pretty newbie-friendly, I think, having the Objective Set structure behind it, as you don’t need to worry too much about building a deck. I’m planning to get just a couple of interesting decks built up, and seeing what she thinks of it, so here’s hoping that I’ll be successful in that!

For all that it’s straightforward in terms of the deck building, which can be as easy or as complex as you like, I think that the game itself plays really quite interestingly. I mean, it almost doesn’t play like any other card game I have tried. The Star Wars thing of having infantry defend against starships is handled well, I think, by having the game basically be about the struggle of light vs dark, and you’re using the unit cards to represent your overall power and might, and not throwing bodies against vehicles, etc.

When you get into the nitty gritty of focus tokens and edge battles, I think the game really comes into its own as this kind of struggle for overall dominance, and it’s something that I really, really enjoy. The fact that it’s done with my favourite cast of heroes and villains, is really just the icing on the cake, I suppose!

I really like the idea of focusing cards to use them. It really gives the game some nice design space when you talk about multiple uses of cards, and making decisions on how many resources to generate from those cards that have the potential to give big returns, but then losing its utility until you’ve been able to clear the tokens from it. Having the asymmetrical gameplay is another thing I like (though of course, it’s not in the same league as Netrunner in this regard).

I’ve gone for two decks to start with, Jedi vs Sith, and have tried to keep them interesting but not overwhelming. In case I’m able to succeed, I’ve got decks built up for the other four factions as well. I’m hoping that things will go my way, and the game will grab Jemma’s attention! I have previously taught her to play Magic, which she got without too much fuss, and she continually surprises me at how competitive she gets in games, so I’m hoping that she’ll like it enough to play more!

One of the big draws for this game now, of course, is that it is finished. That may sound a bit weird, and don’t get me wrong, I love a game that continues to get support, but when you find yourself in a position like this, it’s kinda interesting because it almost becomes a board game, with finite pieces. There may be hundreds of different cards, but you have that finite resource to draw from, and it does feel, to a fairly large degree, that you are dipping into a board game, rather than flicking through endless reams of cards. Another plus point for the Objective Set system is that you assemble a deck fairly quickly from the library, and set up consequently doesn’t take very long at all.

I suppose when the expanded universe was washed away, the writing was on the wall for this game’s survival, so entrenched was it by that point. The material was predominantly movie based, of course, but legends characters like Mara Jade were involved, and while Doctor Aphra has since made an appearance too, I don’t think it was a good move to have that sort of mix. FFG were perhaps rightly looking elsewhere, and Destiny came out with content firmly in the Disney canon. The LCG was therefore allowed to die off with a whimper, and the company has moved on to other outlets for the Star Wars license, mainly X-Wing and Legion. Games like Outer Rim getting an expansion was a surprise, as they do seem to otherwise be very low-key with the Star Wars license, which continually surprises me as I would have thought we’d have seen plenty to exploit the new content that we’re getting! But I wonder if Disney are trying to pull the license back to themselves, and so might be looking at different avenues for the future. Star Wars and gaming have gone hand in hand since time immemorial, so it seems baffling to me that more games aren’t being produced.

At any rate, it’s been so good to get my collection out of the attic, and I’m really looking forward to trying this game out once more!

It’s a shame, really, that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to convince Jemma to try Warhammer Invasion, or Conquest!! 🤣

A Good Friday, indeed!

Hey everybody,
I always like to have a bit of a Star Wars fest around Easter time, and this year is no different. I’ve been watching the movies in chronological order for the last few weeks, and last weekend it was the turn of Rogue One. I’ve seen a lot of stuff out on social media recently that calls it the most underrated Star Wars movie, and while I tend to think that belongs more to Solo, nevertheless I think these anthology movies do tend to lie forgotten while the main saga movies get all the attention. I do wonder if we might be in for more soon – I’m sure I’ve heard that Disney are going to be making an announcement soon about future movies? I hope so, at any rate!

At any rate, I do like Rogue One. While Solo will forever astound me for the fact that it shows us Corellia and Kessel, planets that loom so large from the EU lore it’s ridiculous, I think Rogue One succeeds brilliantly in providing a direct prequel to A New Hope, the uncanny valley CGI notwithstanding. Seeing a planet like Jedha just blows my mind as to the possibilities for more of that kind of fall out from the Jedi Purge, and I hope we do see some similar stuff in the Kenobi and Ahsoka shows, which might afford a glimpse into the religious underground, almost.

Rogue One Jedha

The movie definitely has that retro look down, and fits perfectly into the feel of A New Hope with the clunky tech, and even the hairstyles of some of the actors. While the story does at times have that feel of a video game or RPG adventure, as the heroes go from place to place in their search for the next clue, I like the fact that it follows that structure, somehow, seeing as how the story of the Death Star plans was originally told through those sorts of media.

Scarif Rogue One Star Wars

Of course, we also have the Andor show to look forward to, which will hopefully give us yet more of the gritty reality of the Rebellion. I loved the idea that we get a side of the Rebels that the movies never really shows – the grim and dirty stuff that these people do just to survive. The Empire is, after all, a totalitarian dictatorship, and it stands to reason there would be some pretty horrible stuff being done on both sides of the war. It’ll be interesting to see how far the TV show takes that narrative, though with Forrest Whitaker back as Saw Gerrera as well, I imagine we’ll get some fairly grim war story type of stuff coming our way.

As is my tradition this time of year, I’ve also been taking a look at some of the old West End Games roleplaying game books that I have. I love these things, and I think I pretty much have the full set (might be one or two still to find) It always feels like coming back to my Star Wars roots, somehow, when I crack open one of these with their breadth of creativity and those black and white drawings.

Hideouts and Strongholds is the sort of resource book that WEG churned out throughout their tenure with the Star Wars licence, where they produced plenty of things that you could copy and paste into an adventure or campaign with little to no difficulty. As perhaps you might expect, it’s full to the brim with story hooks and stats for a huge variety of locations, which might serve as a base of operations or a bolt hole for a particular group, either your own adventuring group or for the enemy, and you have to go in there and crack it open like an egg. A huge variety of stuff is on display, from rebel outposts to Imperial installations, crashed starships to glacier fortresses. There’s an extensive rundown of starports, and we even get such tidbits that tell us how precisely moisture vaporators work. It really is a treasure trove, every type of base has a map that describes the layout and features shown, and any defensive weaponry has stats for use in the game. Given that the overall idea of the book is to provide you with ideas and so on, it’s one of those that would very easily translate from game system to game system, especially if the system you’re using already has stats for, say, an anti-infantry laser battery.

No Disintegrations is an adventure sourcebook for bounty hunters, a class of character that was well-supported during the WEG line (they even had their own Galaxy Guide). There are five full adventures to play through with bounty hunter groups, which come complete with a whole host of twists and turns to be thrown at the players. The adventures range from recovering artefacts, tracking gamblers, to evading the bounty posted on themselves. I always like to see how these books incorporate the larger (legends) universe, and the adventures take us to Abegado-rae to The Wheel, as well as a host of other planets, some of which were created for this book. It goes to show how big a role the WEG stuff played in those early years of Star Wars development.

Both of these books were quite late additions to the line, of course (I have a feeling that Hideouts and Strongholds was one of the last to be published), so had a lot to fall back on by this point. Even when they were coming to the end of the licence, it’s great to see this kind of detail still being produced, and it’s the sort of thing that makes me a bit sad that I never got round to playing this back in the day!