(written from a Production point of view)
The Star Trek Customizable Card Game is a competitive strategy game set in the Star Trek universe and produced by Decipher. Each card represents an element of the Star Trek universe, such as a starship, a character, a planet or space mission, or an event. Winning involves strategy both during a game session and before playing, through the preparation of an effective play deck, chosen from a player's entire collection of cards. Players compete by attempting to complete missions to score points according to a complex set of rules. The Star Trek: Customizable Card Game system includes several thousand cards, making each game session unique.
- From http://www.decipher.com
- Welcome to a universe with endless possibilities. Most card games have just one deck of cards that never changes, but a customizable card game (or CCG) works differently. In a CCG, you personalize your playing deck using cards from your collection.
- The Star Trek Customizable Card Game provides two or more players with adventures set in the rich universe of Star Trek. This allows you to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations – to boldly go where no one has gone before.
- Each player's cards include a number of personnel, each represented by a different card. Other cards represent the equipment, events, and interrupts that help support them, the ships that will take them out into the galaxy, and the missions they will attempt to complete.
- Each time a player's personnel attempt to complete a mission, they may face dilemmas – obstacles selected by an opponent. These dangerous twists must be overcome before the mission is completed and its points are scored.
- The risks will prove even greater against opponents not content with peaceful exploration of the galaxy. Your personnel may find themselves in combat, or even in the confines of an opponent's brig. Your ships may be damaged in engagements, even destroyed by powerful and persistent attacks.
- If you reach 100 points, and your personnel have completed missions both on a planet and in space, you are the winner!
First and Second Edition
Initially released in 1994, the First Edition of the Star Trek Customizable Card Game was the first commercial offering from Decipher. Expansion sets were soon added, including "Alternate Universe" and "Q Continuum" card sets. The game was updated and re-released in 2002 as the Second Edition. It quickly added more expansion sets and continued to be printed until December 5th, 2007, when the last set was sold to Hill's Wholesale Gaming. The game utilized material from from all five live-action series, each Star Trek motion picture, at least one video game, Activision's Star Trek: Armada, and a board game, Decipher's Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Klingon Challenge.
The First Edition of the Star Trek Customizable Card Game was initially offered to the public as the Star Trek: The Next Generation Customizable Card Game(ST:TNG CCG). A combination of the game's popularity and comments by players stating that the game held a great bias towards the Federation affiliation led to the release of several expansion sets that included material from the motion pictures, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, The Original Series, and eventually Enterprise. While production of full expansions for the First Edition stopped with the development of the Second Edition, special boutique expansion sets were made, such as the Enterprise Collection. The Second Edition cards greatly expanded the range of game play, allowing players to score points not just from completing missions and overcoming dilemmas, but also by defeating opponents in battle.
In addition, many cards released in the Second Edition are backwards compatible -- that is, they may be used in First Edition games. However, cards from the First Edition are not allowed in Second Edition games. With a run of over thirteen years across two editions, the Star Trek Customizable Card Game proved to be both very popular and profitable for Decipher.
Differences between the First and Second Editions
When the First Edition was first produced, Decipher only had license for Next Generation material. As the game grew in popularity, Decipher gained licenses for the rest of the franchise. Because of this, the game grew over time. Original rules combined with new concepts caused loopholes in the game. Additional rules and cards were created to try to stem this problem. In the game's last years, it had grown too complex for new players to understand. To fix this problem, the Second Edition was created. The Second Edition was more streamlined, and had rules that were easier to understand.
Another difference was the card design. The First Edition cards were very limited in what was printed on them due to the template that was used. This also caused new rules and new cards to be produced to add instruction and clarity. Second Edition cards are more expansive in their use of the card.
The full rules for both editions of this game can be found on The Continuing Committee webpage (see External links below). Decipher no longer maintains any information on the ST CCGs on their website. A comprehensive list of the rules and all updates on expansions made by Decipher can be found at stccg.germes.org (see External links below).
Types of cards
In this CCG (2nd edition), the cards are arranged into different groups, depending on their function in the game. These are: Personnel, Ships, Equipment, Missions, Events, Interrupts and Dilemmas.
Personnel and Ships were further divided into specific affiliations. The existing affiliations are: Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Bajoran, Cardassian, Borg, Dominion, Ferengi, Starfleet (Enterprise era), and Non-Aligned. Additionally some personnel and ships have additional mini-affiliation identities: Maquis, Deep Space 9, Terok Nor, Earth, The Original Series, The Next Generation, and Voyager.
Equipment cards represent tools, weapons, and other items that personnel might use to assist them in completing missions or interacting with an opponent's personnel.
Mission cards are divided into three types: headquarters missions, where cards of a particular affiliation may be played; planet missions, and space missions. The latter two types have requirements for earning their point values. Requirements typically include having several particular skills and a minimum total of an attribute from the personnel attempting to complete the mission.
Dilemma cards come in three types: planet-only, space-only, and dual. They are used in a separate deck to provide obstacles to the opponent's personnel attempting a mission. Some dilemmas have requirements which must be met or else a consequence is faced by the personnel. Other dilemmas simply have a consequence.
Event and Interrupt cards provide additional gameplay functions. Events typically have a longer-lasting effect on gameplay, while interrupts typically are used once for temporary effects. Many events and interrupts are affiliation-specific or have other requirements for playing them or using their effects.
Personnel, Ships, Equipment and Events all have cost (in counters) to play them during the "Play and Draw Cards" phase of a player's turn. Dilemmas also have a cost and are drawn when an opponent attempts one of his or her missions.
The cards are usually available to buy in eleven-card booster packs, either individually or in thirty-pack boxes. They can be purchased online from various outlets, listed on Decipher's Star Trek CCG site.
All Second Edition cards have collector's numbering information in the lower right corner, in the format 1 A 23. The first number corresponds to the set, while the middle letter corresponds to the card's rarity (Common, Uncommon, Rare, Promo, Archive, etc.), and the last number corresponds to the card number within that set.
The First Edition of the game had several more card types including Artifacts, Facilities, Q-cards, Doorways, Objectives, Incidents, Tactics, Tribbles, Troubles, and Sites. In addition to the affiliations mentioned above, the First Edition also included the Kazon, Vidiian, and Hirogen affiliations.
As well as collecting the cards, players could also use Decipher's online version (formerly at http://startrekccg.decipher.com/). Players paid money to obtain digital cards identical to their physical counterparts. From there, players could play, trade, and collect any cards in the Star Trek CCG universe they desired. Unfortunately, when Decipher lost their Star Trek license, the online game was discontinued.
The major product releases for the Star Trek CCG were:
- Premiere Edition Black Border Limited - PREM - 363 cards -(release: November, 1994) Premiere was based entirely on Star Trek: The Next Generation and included the following card types: Artifact, Dilemma, Event, Equipment, Facility (Outposts), Interrupt, Mission, Personnel, and Ship. A player could choose to play as Federation, Klingon, and Romulan. In addition, it contained "Non-allied" Personnel and Ships that could be used in any player's deck. PREM was available in randomized 60-card starter boxes that were not playable right out of the box and 15-card expansion packs.
- Premiere Edition White Border Unlimited Alpha - PREM - 363 cards -(release: December 1994) This set had a white border, making the black bordered cards rarer, even though that color would become the staple of all later sets. In fact, all printings after the first were planned to be white bordered, but no more multiple printings were made. White borders continued to be used for promotional purposes.
- Warp Pack - 12 cards - (release: May, 1995) The Warp Pack was a selection of 12 white bordered common cards that were either reprints or previews (Including a new Facility type:Station); available for free from the Decipher website. Warp Pack was distributed to help make decks playable out of the box; as well as to fill the year long gap between Premiere's release and the first true expansion, Alternate Universe, which was delayed repeatedly.
- Premiere Edition White Border Unlimited Beta - PREM - 363 cards -(release: June 1995) Reprint of the white border set with a new copyright line. In addition, it was discovered that several cards had misspellings and other errors in the Alpha release. This version corrects the errors.
- Data Laughing - 1 card - (release: September, 1995) A promotional card that had ties to the first three sets. It was available as a mail-in redemption included in the Official Player's Guide, a handbook sold to promote the game. It later became part of the Introductory 2-Player Game.
- Alternate Universe - AU - 122 cards - (release: November, 1995) The Alternate Universe was a collection of cards that focused on the past, future, and alternate timelines. It also introduced a new card type: Doorway, and contained the first ultra-rare card, the Future Enterprise (3X as rare as a normal card). AU was released in 15-card expansion packs.
- Premiere Edition - Collector's Tin - 363 cards -(release: October 1995) This collector's item had a limited run of 30,000 units and contained complete set of the premier cards with silver borders.
- Q-Continuum QC - 121 cards - (release: October, 1996) Based around the mischief of Q, this set included two Side Decks, extra stacks of cards from which you could draw under certain circumstances (This became a predecessor to downloading and was the first time you could exercise any control over what you would draw); and introduced several new card-types:'Q-related' Events, Interrupts and Dilemmas. QC was released in 15-card expansion packs.
- Introductory Two-Player Game - 2PG - 18 NEW cards - (release: January, 1997) This set was released in two versions. Edition #1 in the blue box and Edition #2 in the red box each contained 3 cards not available in the other (#1 had exclusive black bordered Federation personnel while #2 contained exclusive black bordered Klingons.) Both contained two pre-customized 60-card decks (one Federation, one Klingon: both of which were white bordered.) Each edition also included an additional three premium cards (a black bordered Admiral McCoy and Data Laughing and a white bordered Spock) and 11 new white bordered mission cards (The other 125 cards were identical).
- The First Anthology - 1A - 6 PREVIEW cards - (release: June, 1997) The First Anthology included six white border preview cards that would all later be featured in upcoming sets. It was the first time the game featured cards that were not exclusive to The Next Generation. Its most notable addition was Dr. Telek R'Mor from Voyager, a card to make Romulan space decks incredibly fast and strong. The box contained two white bordered Premiere 60-card starter decks, two 15-card packs of white bordered Premiere, two 15-card packs each of Alternate Universe and Q Continuum, and the Warp Pack; packaged in a box designed to store your collection.
- First Contact - FC - 130 cards - (release: December, 1997) Based entirely on the movie of the same name, First Contact greatly changed the game by making The Borg a new playable affiliation, two new card types: Objective and Time Location, a mechanism called downloading which allowed easy access to specific cards in your deck, and also introduced the concept of an icon on each card in the expansion for ease in identification. FC was released in 9-card expansion packs (greatly reducing the number of repeat common cards).
- The Fajo Collection - Fajo - 18 cards - (release: December, 1997) This special collection contained 18 super-rare and very powerful cards, including the only Triple-Affiliation personnel, the first Neutral-Affiliation card, Multiple Personnel on a single card, cards printed with special inks and more. This product also incorporates the only card that was created based on a design by a player of the game. Each set contained a presentation binder, a signed Certificate of Authenticity, a Fajo Collection rules document, a collectible art poster showcasing the entire Star Trek CCG universe to date, a business card, and a stick of gum . Fajo was only sold on the Decipher website and it was limited to 40,000, however no numbers above 15,000 have been seen on the market.
- Away Team Pack - AT - 2 cards - (release: May, 1998) This pack contained two cards featuring The Traveler and The Emissary. These had been designed to honor Decipher's Star Trek CCG traveling game evangelists who went by those pseudonyms. These packs were made available in an issue of Scyre magazine and were handed out by the traveling evangelists themselves.
- Offical Tournament Sealed Deck - OTSD - 20 cards - (release: May, 1998) To help Sealed Deck tournaments, this box included 5 booster packs (4 Premiere, 1 Alternate Universe) and 20 fixed premium cards. OTSD was bundled in a random card storage box with one of 6 affiliation symbols printed on it. These special boxes were then foil wrapped to ensure the surprise.
- Deep Space Nine - DS9 - 276 cards - (release: July, 1998) Deep Space 9 featured the characters, aliens, and more from the Deep Space 9 TV show. The 275 card set introduced two new affiliations: the Bajorans and the Cardassians, new card types: Sites (depicting different areas of a Station) and Headquarters (A Facility card for homeworlds), as well as brought about a new area of space to explore - The Gamma Quadrant! The white bordered U.S.S. Defiant, that was secretly added as an ultra-rare (2X) preview and would later be released normally in The Dominion, brought the set total to 276. DS9 was available in both randomized 60-card starter decks and 9-card expansion packs.
- Starter Deck II - SD2 - 8 cards - (release: December, 1998) This set attempted to once again solve the problems of playing the game straight from the box by including a re-release of the Premiere set and eight new cards (6 missions, 1 outpost and 1 event that allowed all affiliations to become one playable team). A collaboration with Activision included a giveaway of a SD2 with the pre-order of Star Trek: Hidden Evil.
- Enhanced First Contact - EFC - 12 cards - (release: January, 1999) The Enhanced First Contact was essentially four packs of the First Contact expansion packaged with three new cards and one transparent Borg overlay. There were four different assortments of the new cards, so each group of three would always occur together in the same package, along one of the transparent Borg overlays, making it easy to collect each set.
- The Dominion - DOM - 130 cards - (release: January, 1999) Introducing its namesake affiliation, this set fleshed out the Deep Space Nine strategies, and included four special white bordered preview cards that would all be reprinted in normal expansions. DOM was released in 9-card expansion packs.
- Blaze of Glory - BOG - 130 cards - (release: August, 1999) Considered by many players to be the high point of the game, Blaze of Glory enhanced the battling mechanic with the introduction of a new card type: Tactic, which was playable using a new side deck. Blaze of Glory featured many cards that made Klingons a more balanced affiliation. It also featured an 18-card foil subset - Blaze of Glory Foils - the first in any Star Trek CCG expansion. (18 cards, foil reprints from the Blaze of Glory Expansion) BOB was released in 9-card expansion packs.
- The Rules of Acquisition - ROA - 130 cards - (release: December, 1999) This expansion introduced the Ferengi affiliation and added several small strategies while balancing gameplay, but adding little else.
- U.S.S. Jupiter - 1 card - (release: 2000) This special card featuring the U.S.S. Jupiter from Star Trek Armada was inserted into the PC game by Activision as a promotional tie-in.
- The Second Anthology - 2A - 6 cards - (release: March, 2000) Like the First Anthology, this was a collection of decks and packs (two Starter Deck IIs, two First Contact expansion packs, two Deep Space Nine expansion packs, and two Dominion expansion packs) with 6 cards added to a printed storage box. However, the 6 new cards here were premium and would not become available anywhere else.
- The Trouble with Tribbles - TWT - 141 cards (+ variants) - (release: July, 2000) The Original Series finally became a property of Decipher when SkyBox International lost its license and was premiered in this set. In addition to the creation of another side deck including two new card types: Troubles and Tribbles. Special features included pre-constructed starter decks with premium cards in each and the return of ultra-rare cards inserted into packs, as well as an independent card game that could be played using the cards from the side deck. This expansion featured an ultra-rare Dr. McCoy, as DeForest Kelley had died the previous year. It was sold in two pre-constructed 60-card starter decks and 11-card expansion packs.*Note: many of the cards in the pre-constructed decks were augmented with tribbles added into the backgrounds.
- Enhanced Premiere - EP - 21 cards - (release: November, 2000) Six different Enhanced Premiere packages were available. Each contained four packs of white bordered Premiere and five new premium cards. There were a total of twenty-one new premium cards: twelve were fixed and nine were randomized. Six were Combo Dilemmas, six were Dual Personnel that played as two people forming a team, and nine were the second versions of missions that had originally appeared in the Premier set. The cards were upgraded with new gameplay and images of space stations found in Activision's video game Star Trek: Armada as another cross-promotional tie. EP also introduced the Warp Speed format for quicker games and drafting capabilities.
- Reflections - 105 foil reprints of existing cards - (release: November, 2000) The Reflections set was subtitled The First Five Year Mission. It consisted of 18-card packs that contained 17 random cards (from Premiere, Alternative Universe, Q Continuum, First Contact, The Dominion, and Deep Space Nine) and a special foil card. 100 of the best rare cards were reproduced as foil versions and presented in the packs. Reflections also introduced "topper" cards. Four of these premium foil cards appeared randomly, one per display, on top of the packs inside the 30-pack display box. In addition, a case of display boxes was topped with a final Seven of Nine foil.
- Mirror, Mirror - MM - 131 cards - (release: December, 2000) Drawing both from the original series and the DS9 episodes, this expansion introduced the alternate reality characters and situations in the form of a new Quadrant. MM included an ultra-rare Mirror Universe First Officer Spock inserted into the expansion packs and was released in 11-card expansion packs.
- Voyager - VOY - 201 cards - (release: May, 2001) This set introduced the Delta Quadrant factions of Voyager: the Kazon, and the Vidiians. It included an ultra-rare Pendari Champion inserted into the expansion packs. The Pendari Champion was played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a WWF Smackdown! (now WWE Smackdown!) cross-promotion. VOY was available in 60-card starter decks (with 20 cards preconstructed and 40 cards randomly inserted) and 11-card expansion packs. This set also introduced the Voyager-only environment for sanctioned gameplay.
- The Borg - Borg - 131 cards - (release: September, 2001) The Borg continued the introduction of the Delta Quadrant with a re-introduction to the Borg including cards that allow them to compete again with affiliations that had become much more powerful due to the new card types. The set also brought the Hirogen to playable affiliation. Borg included an ultra-rare Reginald Barclay and was released in 11-card expansion packs.
- Holodeck Adventures - HA - (release: December, 2001) Holodeck Adventures expanded on the Holograms that have been available since the Premier set. The name of the set itself was originally planed as the fourth full set before the original license was expanded. The set was created with that nostalgia in mind as it had links to Q Continuum. HA included an ultra-rare Jean-Luc Picard as Dixon Hill inserted into 11-card expansion packs.
- The Motion Pictures - TMP - 131 cards - (release: April, 2002) The Motion Pictures featured all nine of the Star Trek movies available at the time (Nemesis was not out at that time) and the Voyager episode Flashback, which ties in to Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country. It included an ultra-rare 24th-century James T. Kirk inserted into the expansion packs. This was also the last set released before the announcement of the end of the game and the move to 2E. TMP was released in 11-card expansion packs.
- All Good Things - AGT - 40 cards - (release: July, 2003) All Good Things featured 41 new cards that provided new gameplay and mend the so-called "broken links" in the first edition – cards that were referenced directly or indirectly on other cards but had not yet been released. The "anthology-style" collector's box included ten Reflections expansion packs, a Starter Deck II, the U.S.S. Jupiter premium card, and a comprehensive card list. The name of the set itself comes from the last episode of The Next Generation and was the proposed last set of the game before the license expanded and this was to be the last set of First Edition cards, using the First Edition card templates. AGT was sold out before release through preorders. Boxes are nearly impossible and expensive to buy.
- The Enterprise Collection - ENT - 18 foil cards - (release: July 7, 2006) With the inclusion of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2E, it was felt that 1E players should be able to have the tools necessary to play as that affiliation too. This set of 18 cards (and a supply of First Edition compatible cards from 2E) was intended to make that possible. This set came as something of a surprise to fans of the First Edition of the game because of Decipher's statements that there would be no further First Edition sets after All Good Things. AGT were sold exclusively from Decipher's website.
- Special Foils - In addition to the above releases, Decipher produced 25 different foil versions of previous cards as tournament prize support, redemption offers, and other promotions. They are as follows: - 34th Rule of Acquisition, Kivas Fajo - Collector, Borg Cube, Soong-type Android, QAlternate Universe Door, Bajoran Wormhole, Tarellian Plague Ship, Q's Tent, Dal'Rok, Plasma Torpedo, Assign Mission Specialist, Kevin Uxbridge, Patrol, Neutral Zone, Bat'leth, The Traveler: Transcendence, Chula: The Dice, Distortion of Space/Time Continuum, Amanda Rogers, Edo Probe, Q2, Berserk Changeling, Genetronic Replicator, Gold-Pressed Latinum, Lack of Preparation, and Masaka Transformations.
In total, almost 2,500 different cards were printed.
First Edition's problems
Some of Decipher's concerns included the complexity and bloat that the game had built over seven years; there was no balanced "cost" system for cards, causing stopgap and complex systems to be added to the game over time. As well, the game had embraced many different and not fully compatible ideas over time; this made for long, corrective rules documents and a steep learning curve for beginners. In addition, the number of cards types went from nine to over seventeen in just a couple of years, which made the game much more difficult to learn.
At first, the game designers sought to introduce an entirely new game based on Star Trek; it would be simpler and be targeted to beginners, while the original game still produced expansions, but on a slower schedule. This concept was abandoned when the sales figures showed that the original game could not continue on its own merits.
- Second Edition - 415 cards - Including both four starter decks (Klingon, Romulan, TNG Federation, and Deep Space 9) and booster packs. It also introduced the Bajoran and Cardassian affiliations.
- Energize - 180 cards - Introduced the Maquis affiliation.
- Call to Arms - 208 cards - Including Borg and Dominion starter decks and booster packs.
- Necessary Evil - 180 cards, 18 foil cards
- Tenth Anniversary Collection - 18 foil cards - 9 ships and their matching commanders.
- Fractured Time - 40 cards - This product came with a random starter deck from either Premiere or Call to Arms and several booster packs, all packed into a box.
- Reflections 2.0 - 61 foil cards and 60 foil reprints - Each pack held one new card, one foil reprint, and 16 cards from earlier sets.
- Strange New Worlds - 120 cards, 18 foil cards - Introducing the Ferengi affiliation and hologram and android sub-strategies.
- Adversaries Anthology - 2 cards, 18 foil reprints, and several packs and starter decks from previous expansions in a long box.
- To Boldly Go - 120 cards, 18 foil cards - Introducing the Starfleet affiliation (Enterprise era).
- Dangerous Missions - 18 foil cards - Designed for sealed deck play, these packs include one of three sets of cards, and 4 booster packs of earlier expansions.
- Captain's Log - 120 cards, 18 foil cards - Introducing the Voyager affiliation
- Genesis - 27 foil cards as a boutique product, sold out, but will be reprinted
- These are the Voyages - 122 cards, 18 foil cards - Introducing the Original Series affiliation
- In a Mirror, Darkly - 122 cards, 18 foil cards, from the mirror universe and other alternate realities.
- What You Leave Behind - cards adding new strategies for the existing affiliations.
- Archive Cards - A collection of archive and portrait cards that were released throughout the series.
- Promotional Cards - A collection of cards for tournament prizes and other promotional events.
- Star Trek Customizable Card Game at Wikipedia
- The Continuing Committee - player-managed tournament sponsor and proponent of the STCCG, including downloadable "virtual" expansions for both 1E and 2E
- StarTrekCCGFC - Star Trek 1st Edition Virtual CCG Cards
- STCCG.Germes.org - All 1st Edition Rules and Regulations in PDF format
- Wixiban - a Star Trek fan site with card images from both the First and Second Editions as well as information about other Star Trek collectibles