Creating a Player Base

First, to start this article, I think it best to introduce myself, because I am sure that many of you have no idea who I am. My name is Brandon Ruck from Nashville, TN. I have been playing this amazing game since I was a junior in high school back in 1997. At that time, Dagobah was a new set and Premiere was getting ready to go out of print. Like most people who start playing a card game, I stunk at first, but I kept playing and going to tournaments until finally I won one. I will never forget that feeling of victory because at that moment in time, I was the best player in the store. It was a victory that I earned from hours of building decks and playing for fun. These are reasons that I am sure many of you still play to this day. There are many card games that can give you this feeling, but to this day, there is no game that can compare to Star Wars CCG.

I had quit the game in May of 2001 when I lost at the states tournament. Like most people who quit, I sold the really high end cards but kept the rest. The whole time I was away from the game, my life was missing something. It was something that I continually tried to find in other things, like jobs, sports, or movies. Although these things were fun and meaningful, they didn’t give me the same feeling that playing Star Wars CCG did. Through the two and half years I was away, I always wished there was a place I could go and play a game or two. This seemed too difficult because everytime I would look for a tournament or go to a store to find a player, I was out of luck. There seemed to be no reason to ever come back. There just didn’t seem to be any players left.

I believe the game although different will never truly go away. The only way to keep this from happening is to continue to play and update the cards til there is truly no one left who remembers it. In this article you will see that there really is a very simply way to bring back the game to all areas around the states if not the world. I have taken the time to create a four step process that if put to work can bring a turn out of over 100 again to Worlds in 2005.

On that note, we who still sign onto the Star Wars CCG side of Decktech have the power to bring this game back to glory. It will never be what it was, but that is ok because this way is better. Now, the players themselves have more control of where the game goes. Just look at what the Player’s Committee has done for the game, V – Set Eight alone has completely changed the way that decks are built giving a new way to start away from objectives. There is no telling whether or not this would have happened if the game was still made by Decipher. We complain that there are never going to be new cards made from Episode 2 or 3, (which does stink because we will never get to play with Jango Fett or Yoda’s Lightsaber,) but HEY, when the game came out in 1995, the new movies weren’t even in the making. It was the idea of the game to be just about the main three movies and that is what we have. There are move than enough cards to build decks with and even more than enough that can be made into V – Cards. Now, if the Player’s Committee did not exist, then the game truly would be dead, long ago. So, the problem is not in the cards or the game not being able to grow and change. So what is it then? Players…..

The game can only continue if there are people to play it. That alone is what needs to happen for the game to continue and become strong again…..

“But Brandon, there just aren’t any players left in my area.”

Well, ask yourself this, Why? The answer to that question lies in the main reason people play a card game that I stated in the beginning of this article,…………to compete. As you read this article you will see that it is not as hard as you think to bring back a player base to your area.

I believe that any area has the ability to become a strong base for the game. The key is in four steps: 1)Tournaments
2) Getting old players back in
3) Teaching new players
4) Collecting lots of cards

Each of these steps are needed for this to work but the most important of the four is the first one, TOURNAMEMTS…..

Having tournaments are exactly how the Nasvhille area has built a nice size player base that is only growing as the months go by. Now, we have a turn out of 8 to 10 people at every tournament, which currently we have once a month. The only reason I even got back into the game was because I just happened to look at the tournament locator to see that one of the only stores left in the Nasvhille area (Franklin, TN to be exact) was having a Star Wars CCG tournament in February. I was not able to make that tournament, but when I turned up in March. There were a few players from the old days, but mainly it was new players who had been collecting up the cards and just never had a time to play them. There were even two players that had driven over 3 hours to be there. Now, lets think about this, why would a dead game still have people that are willing to drive 3 hours to play it.

At that tournament, I was reconnected to my now two good friends Micah Wooten and Danny Pack. We had each quit the game at different times and decided to come back at the exact same time. None of us had any V – Cards or Shields in our decks, but we came anyway because it sounded fun. We had no idea if there would be anyone there or if we even had a prayer of winning a game, but we showed up because it was there on Sat, we had the cards, and we still knew how to play. In the end we exchanged numbers and got together to play and re-learn the game. In that year, the Micah and Danny went to Origins, and the three of us made the trip to Worlds at Gen Con. All three of us played in day two. Currently we try to play once a week. By playing, we have become better and due to the fact that we always have a tournament, new players are popping up every week. We are also teaching new players how to become better, making them like the game more and in turn gets them to bring out their own friends.

By now you are getting my point, without tournaments, there is no reason to play. Tournaments provide advertising on the net as well as in the store. When people are playing in a competitive way, the game has meaning. You remember the way it used to be. You would schedule work, school, even dates around being able to play in the local tournament. So now you see the key, you, yes you sitting there reading this article has the ability to run a tournament in your area or a near by area. Even if the first one is just you and a friend, you can put up cards for the winnings, the point is that you will be posting it to the net and playing at a store where other gamers can see you and remember that the game still exists.

From there you get to the second step, GETTING OLD PLAYER INTERESTED IN THE GAME AGAIN

Most old players still have a lot of their cards lying around in boxes or notebooks rarely looked at sitting in a closet. They just don’t have a reason to come out. Seeing you playing at the store will remind them of those boxes as well as let them see what new cards are out there and how the game has changed. There are a lot of former players that are probably thinking about playing again, but they don’t know that there are players out there. Many of you I am sure have some old friends that maybe played even before Special Edition who would not objective to coming back even for a fun game. The way the game is currently, it really is not that hard to get back into it. I myself did not own a single card past Tatooine. All it took was buying some shields on ebay, printing out the v-cards and BAM, I was back in. It is that easy for other players too, but they have to know that if they spend that money there will be a place to use them.

The third step has always been important when it comes to a card game, TEACHING NEW PLAYERS HOW TO PLAY

There are a lot of gamers out there. No telling how many Magic players there are hanging out at your local stores. I find that when I go to a local store, there is always a few guys hanging out with nothing to do providing a perfect opportunity to learn a new game. Most people will learn any game if it gives them something to do. The game can be very hard to teach a new player, but because most players have played other games, they already have the mindset for how to play this game. The key is just getting them into the idea of playing in the Star Wars universe over another one like Lord of the Rings or Star Trek. After you have someone interested and understanding the mechanics, they will want to get some cards. Many players complain that it is hard to find the cards because most stores don’t kept even a box of Unlimited in stock. BUT, to be honest, Star Wars CCG is probably one of the cheapest card games anyone can get into. I mean look at the other options, WARS and Magic are like 3.50/4.00 a pack. You can find the cards all over the net i.e. ebay, card vault and other ccg sites. In fact, this day and time also provides a great way to get players without them even having to purchase cards themselves.

Bring up my last step, COLLECTING LOTS OF CARDS

The biggest problem that WARS is having is that all of us Star Wars players already have the cards to play, while if we want to get into a game like WARS, it would require throwing down hundreds of dollars to even have the ability to be a top player. Now a new player thinks the same way, “Am I going to have to spend a lot of money to be able to get into this?” and the answer is no. Players like us who have a lot of cards and a clear passion for the game can easily make multiple decks and in turn have extra decks for new players to start with, once they have the love and drive to be better. The “need” to have their own cards will form. This can only start if YOU yourself have enough cards.

At first you may be supplying all the decks for the whole base of new players, but hey if you have six people all playing SWCCG, does it really matter where the cards came from. So, as part of our drive to create a player base you must form a god like collection. Now, I don’t mean just go out and buy 15 ‘Darth Vaders’ or 10 boxes of Reflections. The key is just having multiples of the cards that go in all decks that might be somewhat harder to come by, i.e. ‘Zuckess’ and ‘Mist Hunter’ to be made into the V versions. You must keep in mind that you are the example for the base in your area, the better collection, the better the base. I myself have put together 10 decks that could be played in a tournament. They are all at different levels of skills and ability, but all viable in todays tournament environment.

*********(The idea behind this last step mainly applies to areas that really don’t have any players at all.)**********

As you can see by now, nothing I have stated is really that difficult for anyone to do. All it takes is starting with one person. If they learn to play and love it, then it can grow. In the end it will become more than just gamers playing in a tournament or for fun, but a tight group of friends that get together and enjoy something that many probably will never understand. We are a very unique group of people who still hold tight to something that many have left for dead. As long as there are players out there who love to play this game, it will never be at an end.

Think about it.