Star Wars Demo Decks For Beginners

The Star Wars Demo Decks are finally here to explain the game to new or returning players (NARPS) in a way that is in conformity with how the game is played today. Simply download the decks, cut out the cards and put them on top of any playing cards and into sleeves that are non-transparent on the backside. These cards are obviously not tournament legal, and have a different color border (“Sith” red for Dark Side and “Jedi” green for Light side) to identify them easily. These cards are only for demonstration purposes, and the Player’s Committee will never sell these decks as a product. You will need to purchase the real cards or use them from your collection, if you want to re-build these decks, and play the game with them competitively. We are offering these free demo decks, because not every-one will have access to enough cards to immediately start playing and learning the game. Nobody should be denied this pleasure. So, here are the…

Star Wars CCG Demo Decks 2017
Star Wars CCG Exclusive Promo Cards

Please print the demo decks exactly “as is” and make sure that any automatic scaling options are deactivated (USA usually uses letter format and Europe uses DIN-A 4).

In the following long article you will learn about the history of these demo decks, the card selection, and much more information. If you are somewhat familiar with the game and/or don’t care about the nostalgic part of how this was put together, you can immediately go to “Playing the game”.

History of the Demo Decks

This is a project that is very close to my heart. I’ve been trying to get it going for almost 8 years now, and I know others have tried, too, but unfortunately it was always rejected, because it did not meet the requirements of the players committee at the specific times. There were many serious attempts over the past years to create something like that.  I have tried at least 5 attempts myself over the years. As an advocate, I tried to give rebirth to the project, and finally had access to look at all the other proposals that were still archived. This finished product is a combination of all the previous ones, sort of a “best of” with all the unwanted features cut out. Let’s look as the history of such decks.

The original Decipher decks were all ok at some point, but it’s been over 15 years since their release. From these Decipher products the Death Star starters were fairly good for beginners, but they are very outdated. They further do not teach the basic concepts of how we play the game today. I like the way they were balanced, though, and they allowed for some interactive gameplay. That’s something that I wanted to include in the new demo decks. Our next choice was using some of the most popular and easy-to-learn deck types. Hunt Down and TRM seemed to be obvious choices to teach new players, but they are actually some of the worst choices. Teach some new players 10 times with these decks, and they think it’s normal to lose Force at the end of each turn. They will also think that it’s normal that LS goes first. I think these are still good decks for players who randomly return to the game, because the decks stay fairly consistent. They are not good for starting, teaching, or learning the game, though.

There have been starter decks created by a team from Texas (Michael Richards and friends). They used simpler text and basically created a whole set with new cards. They actually created v-slips in a completely finished PDF for that. The idea has its merits and the character selection was solid, but creating dozens of new cards is something the PC does not want right now (it’s a nightmare for D&D). An earlier version of mine was similar, but that was rejected as well. After spending much time with the project, I came to agree that it also doesn’t help, if new players have to learn cards that they will not be able to use in competitive game play later. They would just have to re-learn everything.

A completely different proposal came from Maven VanDriel, who created two scenario decks that are very epic, and capture the feeling of blowing up the Death Star (basically the last quarter of the movie A New Hope). Unfortunately, it also required some new v-cards and specific rules that were not conform with current Star Wars rules, since the concept didn’t require either player to deploy battlegrounds (to name one example). This would never work in constructed format, which was one of the requirements for creating “starter pack specific v-cards”. The decks further had the problem that they were also not teaching the basics, although they capture the flair very well. Of course it was never Maven’s intention to create beginners decks. He wanted scenario decks, which are a different project, and don’t necessarily aim at the same target player group. Both, scenario decks and demo decks, unfortunately lay dormant for too long, and fell into a “low priority hole” after the reset, since we first had to figure out how to handle these things under the new “rules”. Many things were decided during the reset, for example how much text goes on the cards (abbreviations are actually spelled out during design), not using “may be treated as…” (which had caused some disaster in an old legacy Mystril deck), how to prevent power creep, and many more. One new rule that came up was that there were not supposed to be cards that are not tournament legal. This led to many similar proposals not working anymore. We examined the scenario decks first as an alternative option for the demo decks, and then also as a separate project. It really did not meet any of the criteria that have been set up after the reset, and I’m especially sorry that it took “us” (the advocate council and all its members of the past few years) so long just to reject the project in the end.

The decks presented by Gosse “gossui” Zeilstra were next considered as beginners decks. They actually already feature everything you need to build NARP targeted Imperial Entanglements for DS and Diplomatic Mission To Alderaan decks for LS. They are certainly a step in the right direction, and you should still check them out. The intention for the demo decks was to create something even more basic, though. See the card selection part of this article for more info. One example, Gosse’s decks feature about 20 different characters with different card texts, but we were looking for a more basic approach for the first few games. 2 x EPP Vader and 2x EPP Mara is better for a beginner than Commander Desanne, Admiral Ozzel, Officer Evax, and Lieutenant Cabbel. Gosse chose to teach the game starting with 40 cards and then expanding to 60 cards later. That is also a nice idea, although we did not want that for the demo decks, because it “feels” different to play with less cards (as you may know from playing sealed tournaments). I also noticed that several players posted in Gosse’s forum that the “almost have all the cards to build this now”, and that it took them a long time. That’s where we noticed that we needed printable demos. Anyway, I can only say good things about these decks from Gosse and always said they were not obsolete, because of the demo decks, but rather “the next step”, once you have played enough with the demo decks. Please check them out here: A First Step Into A Larger World: Balanced Beginner Decks.

So, I was able to learn from all of these concepts and the advocates were also able to identify and establish the ground rules of what could be done and what not.  We needed a deck that can teach NARPS (new and returning players) how to play the game as it is right now. They need something they can cut out, and try right from the start (or use the same deck in an online version, which we will also provide in cooperation with Holotable and GEMP). The original goal was to use the commons and uncommons that the PC has, and build some starter decks from those, but after checking the stock list (so nicely counted and prepared by Advocate’s mom), it is obvious we would never be able to meet demand. We could create maybe 100 starter decks out of the C/U cards, but it would have taken an enormous amount of manpower. To my knowledge, this has already been done once before, and all the 100 decks were gone within 1-2 months. We would be back at the same point immediately (after that the stock would be depleted anyway).

The Card Selection

One of the main complaints from many new players, which you’re trying to teach the game with existing decks or Decipher starter decks, is that these decks are often missing favorite characters that make us all love this game so much. So, the demo decks needed a character selection that a) reflects a good mix of the different card types that are out there, and b) uses characters everybody knows (for example Vader, Stormtroopers, TIEs and the Emperor for DS), and c) some cool cards that are a staple in most decks.

This article is not meant to replace the introduction rules of Deciphers Star Wars CCG. A new player would still have to familiarize himself with the rules in the Beginners’ Rulebook, or have an experienced player explain them to him. The different kind of character cards have to be explained to a new player. The following is kind of a checklist you may want to consider when teaching NARPS.

For the DS you have imperials, Dark Jedi and Jedi masters (with Force icons), Sith characters (Asaij Ventress), aliens (Mara and Jabba), and droids (in the demo decks all with a battle droid icon). For LS you have rebels, aliens, republic (Ahsoka), and resistance (Chewie). A new player would need to know the difference between a permanent weapon icon and a warrior icon (weapon cards will come later), how pilots add the power of game text only, and the special functions “react” (Stormtrooper Patrol, Leia, Lobot) and “spy” (Probot and Corran Horn).

For space there are capital starships (the Star Destroyers and Rebel Fleet), Starfighters (Boba Fett, Azure Angel and others). New players need to know that not all starships have permanent pilots (Azure Angel), and that most ships are by default “imperial” or “rebel”, and some have special icons for independent starships (Boba, Booster), and Republic/Clone Army (Azure Angel). The AT-AT Tempest 1 as the single combat vehicle in both decks needs to be explained to NARPs as well.

The location selection is fairly straight forward. DS uses only Tatooine and exterior planet sites, which are similar to what you would use in an Imperial Entanglements (IE) deck later. LS uses Bespin and mainly interior mobile sites, which are similar to what you would use in a Quite Mining Colony (QMC) deck later. So, why not simply use IE or QMC as a “learning ground” for new players? There are several reasons why it’s not the same. The IE deck limits your character selection, and players would have to leave behind favorite characters like Boba Fett, Jabba, Dooku, Asaij and others (in later demo expansions). The QMC objective on the other hand is just really bad to learn with. The main flip condition is on an Effect and not on the actual objective, which leads to a “wall of text” the new player has to remember just to flip. This was exactly one of the things we had the reset for. We didn’t want players to have to look in awkward places for their flip conditions. But again, these 2 decks and/or the starter decks from Gosse Zeilstra mentioned above are great decks to continue with after you have mastered these demo decks and their expansions. To round up the location selection both sides feature a docking bay (interior/exterior and docking bay free movement have to be explained) and a “twix” (Boss Nass Chamber and Blockade Flagship: Bridge) site, which gives “2 force to you, and none to the opponent”.

The effects are mirrored on each side and are very basic effects that you will see in many decks. Grabber (Something Special Planned For Them/Strikeforce), Battle Plan/Order, and retrieval prevention (Secret Plans/Aim High) are main effects every-one has to know about. Aim High is “useless” for the retrieval part, since there is few DS retrieval. You have 2x EPP Han and EPP Leia and EPP Bowie (Chewie with Bowcaster) to make use of the “2 weapons shoot = power +5” part of the card. All these effect will further be replaced by new effects and their defensive shield counter parts in the first expansion. The Tatooine Occupation and Cloud City Celebration are of course some main strategic Star Wars effects, and the new objectives, although very basic and in general “weaker” than most objectives, have the unique advantage of pulling these effects.

The goal with the interrupt selection was to find the best “basic” interrupts that every player has to know about, most of which are mirrored on both sides. First you have Sense/Alter/Control, which allow you to cancel key cards in strategic relevant situations. Then there is weapon protection (Force Field/Blaster Deflection), special movement (Elis Helrot/Nabrun Leids), blocking characters (Rebel and Imperial Barrier), twix pullers (We Must Accelerate Our Plans/Wesa Gotta Grand Army) with some important “side functions”, as well as “character removal” (Dark Strike and You are Beaten for DS and Sorry About The Mess and Clash Of Sabers for LS). There are also the hologram/Dejarik pullers (Masterful Move/Escape Pod) and the respective holograms for “too many cards in hand” (Monnok/Grimtaash) and “beat down prevention” (Ghhhk/Houjix).

There are a few “staple Interrupts” on each side that are often used, but will be unique for each side in the demo decks (that does not necessarily mean that there isn’t an equivalent for the other side). DS uses Imperial Command (to get all those admirals and generals), Force Lightning (to “grill” characters with Emperor/Dooku) and Stunning Leader (to further prevent Battles or to initiate a “droid/trooper beat down” on some poor ability <3 LS alien). LS uses the all-purpose battle canceller It’s A Trap, It Could Be Worse (for some unique force loss prevention, you may want to grab this card as the DS player), as well as (the special Cloud City movement card) Path Of Least Resistance, which can be used offensively as well as defensively.

Most of the effects and interrupts are intentionally the same on each side, so that players have an easier time to learn both sides, which is something they should do. I have often seen players “share the card pool” and one player is playing “always DS” and the other “always LS”. While I understand that this is easier in the beginning, it is not to be recommended in the long run. Each side uses different concepts (damage on the DS and retrieval on the LS for example), and the sides have a different “feeling” when being played. Learning to play both sides from the start will be helpful later. I recommend playing one deck 2-3 times, and then alternating sides.

As you may have noticed, I intentionally left out any cards that I considered “too complicated” for the first games of an already complicated game. Combo cards (cards that combine 2 characters like Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba, or 2 interrupts), maintenance cards (for better or worse they belong to the game; the little icon in Jabba’s game text is a “maintenance icon”), Starting effects & defensive shields, starting interrupts with 3-effect or 12-hand start, and other mechanisms, card types (squadrons, sectors, weapons), or more complex essential interrupts/effects (for example: A Dark Time For The Rebellion V and Imperial Justice V show how multiple destinies can be prevented) . All these items will follow in later expansions, where we will take out a couple of cards and replace them with others to explain these things.

Technicalities of the Demo Decks

The complete PDF features one deck of each side (Light Side/Dark Side), and consists entirely out of existing cards (looking exactly like the originals, no AIs), including 4 exclusive cards that will be tournament legal latest as of the next set following the demo decks. The decks have a special colored border like we did for some special formats back in legacy events. There is a “Sith” red border for DS and a “Jedi Luke” green border for LS. That may also help new players to better recognize which side the cards are from. The cards have the word “Demo Deck 2017” printed on them (the year is in case we should update this set in a few years), as well as the sentence “Not For Tournament Use – For Demonstration Purposes Only)” at the side.

You can cut out the 60 starter deck and put the full sleeves on ANY common card to build a deck. The border color shows immediately that they are not “regular” cards. Yes, that makes these cards strictly speaking “proxies”, and is the one exception we do in this case. They should only be used for demo purposes, but they should also always be available for any new players, so that they can download them print them out on the website. These cards would never be printed by the PC, or sold as printed packs.

As stated above, they are not tournament legal. They are for demo purposes, and for teaching the game only. A dedicated tournament director with the respective card resources might want to prepare a pair of these starter demo decks with REAL black border cards. This would help new and returning players to jump in play with a deck they are familiar with. I’m by now probably considered one of the grey haired grandfathers of SW CCG, and therefore always fondly remember the “good old days” where Decipher hosted some pre-release tournaments at the important game fairs. The special intro packs they used for these events always had some exclusive cards (EPPs in the original packs, Cloud City EPPs, objectives in JP Sealed decks, etc.). I wanted to honor that tradition, and held a “Friday Mystery event” at the MPC in January 2017. The 2 exclusive objectives and 2 exclusive EPP cards were officially shown there for the first time. I printed and cut 40 decks, Tom Haid was gracious enough to donate the sleeves for them, and Chris Gogolen pre-sleeved all the cards, so that we could give 20 players a deck for each side. The 4 exclusive cards in the decks have the line “MPC 2017 preview card only – Text and contents are subjective to change” printed on them. If you were one of the lucky players to get a deck, please make sure that you don’t use the exclusive cards anymore, and exchange them for the new corrected version I will post in the Mystery Event forum. The objectives were only slightly changed, but the EPPs were toned down quite a bit. The pre-release helped us gather some more data on the interaction, and the 4 exclusive cards received an additional 2 months playtesting period to make sure that they are balanced.

The 4 exclusive cards (Objectives and EPPs)

Design advocate Matt Carulli and I have created the starter objectives according to what I’m trying to accomplish with the decks. They are already established in a way, so that players have it easier to advance to QMC/IE after they’ve learned the game with these. The 4 cards have been tested quite a bit, and following are the texts after playtesting (the text might change slightly after proofing, please refer to the actual cards for the final text).

DARK SIDE Objective

   

LIGHT SIDE Objective

  

CHARACTERS

   

The characters are fun and somewhat unique EPP characters, although I have to apologize to the NARPs at this point. They have kind of mutated into being these complex characters that should probably be the last thing to include into decks aimed at new and returning players. The targeting of multiple characters makes it too complicated for new players. Veterans my use Fallen Portal as a reference point on how to handle targeting. Basically, you decide, if you want to swing at one guy (for free) or at two guys (for 1 Force total cost). The opponent can then chose to manipulate the whole targeting (for example play Force Field to protect Vader and any guy targeted with him). If the targeting gets through you draw 2 destinies (opponent could now subtract from that with Wesa Gotta Grand Army or A Dark Time Of The Rebellion), and if your total weapon destiny is greater than the total of opponent’s defense value (both guys’ value), you have “hit” both of them, and each is Forfeit -2. So, the text is not easy, but the cards are somewhat thematic, and do the long overdue characters justice. The padawans slaughter down the armies, while the big Jedis duke it out with the Dark Jedis. Both characters actually use 2 lightsabers, and that is reflected well on the cards, too. They also feature some non-rebel and non-imperial icons (Sith and Republic, respectively), so we will probably see both characters in several kind of decks, especially since they are also weenie killing meta cards, that will help against Trooper swarms and speed decks. Again, in my opinion these are great thematic cards that belong in a starter deck, but I apologize for them ending up a bit on the complicated side.

The black border version of these 4 promo cards (the two objectives and Ahsoka and Asajj)can be found in the above link, and these are fully tournament legal (valid for tournaments as of 3rd March 2017). These black border cards are regular v-cards.
They are not a part of Set 6, but rather can be thought of as an “Enhanced” expansion (think EJP and ECC). That’s why you’ll see the old Decipher Premium icon. The “P” icon in the bottom right denotes it is a premium virtual set. Just remember that the cards with colored borders are not tournament legal, and they say as much on the card.

Playing The Game

This was actually supposed to be the largest part of the article, but the whole creation of the finished PDF with all the cards took much longer than expected. The project was constantly changed and improved due to feedback from players, play testers, etc.

The basic strategy is pretty straight forward, and almost self-explaining by the objectives. The DS wants to occupy the Tatooine system, and then control 2 Tatooine sites, one of those with a Dark Jedi. The LS wants to do the same on Bespin and with Cloud City sites. Usually you would draw your ground characters together after flipping to prevent an early beat down.

I recommend starting with the “grabber” as your starting effect for Twilek Advisor/The Signal, since it can help you to get rid of an opponent’s key interrupt (Sense, Elis Helrot/Nabrun Leids, It Could Be Worse, etc.). It can also help you to get starship back, if absolutely necessary.

Back to the locations: You can deploy a site from reserve deck from both sides of the objective, so that’s very helpful and allows some early flipping, if you have a good hand. You usually want to deploy the 2/1 locations first. For DS you want to set up at the Moisture Farm for a drain of 2 thanks to the location site. The Desert Heart allows you to trap your opponent, since characters need land speed +1, which they don’t have, to move from there. You can use the AT-AT to move from there, or shuttle people up (for 1 force each) to a capital starship at the same system. As the DS player you ideally want Admiral Chiraneau in a Stardestroyer at the Tatooine system to drain for 2, a strong guy at the Moisture Farm to drain for 2, Emperor and Janus at a site to drain for 2, and do damage for each site with the Tatooine Occupation effect. Emperor and Dooku are cards you might want on Tatooine to get the extra force icon. Keep a Force Lightning handy, which can be used with both. General Veers and Tempest 1 are only good at exterior sites, so you also want them on Tatooine (or at a Docking Bay). Vader and Tarkin could be played on Tatooine or Cloud City, it depends on the situation. Try to keep a Stormtrooper Patrol in hand and 3 Force activated, so that you can react to any site that you need to defend. Asaij Ventress, Mara Jade (together with Jabba for double her power), P-59 and P-60 can be used as strike force. Probot is a spy and can deploy to Boss Nass chamber for some late game drain there (same as Corran Horn can go to the Blockade Flagship site).

LS wants to set up at the Bespin system as soon as possible, because that makes DS characters (and vehicles) deploy +1 to Cloud City sites. You ideally want to set up at the CC: North Corridor, since that site allows you to cancel an opponent’s related force drain for 1 Force. They have a similar text on their side of the location, so that’s another reason you don’t want them there. Try to deploy this site last, so that you can deploy there with a few guys to protect it. All other CC 2/1 sites have Force drain -1 for the opponent, so that makes it unattractive for them. The CC: West Gallery allows for some shenanigans with the site text. If there is a battle at the nearest related exterior site, which is only the CC: Docking Bay in this match up, your character at the West Gallery can fire into the battle (even though the character at the Gallery is otherwise not participating in the battle). It doesn’t work the other way around, though. If there’s a battle at the Gallery itself, your characters would not be allowed to fire “out of” the battle at a character at another site. When using long-range weapons, you always fire “into” battles, not out of them. However, your blaster characters at the CC: West Gallery could also use the interrupt Sorry About The Mess to fire during the control phase at characters at the related Docking Bay. You have 3 characters with Blasters in the deck: 2x Han With Heavy Blaster Pistol and 1x Leia with Blaster Rifle. You also have Chewie With Bowcaster, which is not a Blaster, so he won’t work for the site. But all 4 characters work for the effect Aim High, which makes your total power +5, if you fire two weapons (except lightsabers) in a battle. You have EPP Obi-Wan, EPP Luke and EPP Ahsoka to use offensively or defensively, depending on the situation. Lobot deploys free to all your CC sites, since they all have a scomp link icon, and can deploy Lando, Chewie, Mirax or Pucumir (in rare cases). Lando would be the obvious first choice, since he deploys free then, and can also cancel the game text of a Dark Jedi (except Vader). He’s best against Maul, who will come in a later “demo expansion”, but can also cancel Emperor or Dooku’s text and immunity. Lando can take Lobot (if not deployed by him) or Pucumir into hand, when deployed. Pucumir is your key card for the deck, since he allows you to drain for +1 at all Cloud City sites, even his own. I would not deploy him as a react with Lobot unless you are sure, he will be alive at the end of the battle. If the opponent attacks with an EPP character and can hit him with a saber, I would not deploy him. Although if you have for example Lando and Lobot in a battle versus Tarkin and a Stormtrooper Patrol, then you could deploy Pucumir using Lobot’s text. Regardless of how the battle goes, and what destinies are drawn, the forfeit of Lando and Lobot should be enough, so that you still have Pucumir at the end of battle. It is your turn next, and you would have your +1 drain machine already in place, so that’s nice. Protect Pucumir with either a bunch of guys at the North Corridor, or leave him alone and keep at least 1-3 defense cards in hand to make sure he’ll survive. Rebel Barrier, It’s A Trap and Path Of Least Resistance are such defensive cards, and you have to use them to make sure that Pucumir will live a long healthy life on Bespin.

The space for both sides is relatively equal. LS is faster thanks to the cheaper ships like Azure Angel (needs a pilot, though), Booster In Pulsar Skate (V), Gold Leader In Gold 1 (V) and Tantive IV (V). Most of the LS characters are also pilots, which makes them a lot more flexible. Anakin, Corran Horn and Captain Hera Syndulla are almost equally good on the ground as in space. Mirax, Wedge (V) and Admiral Ackbar (V) are mainly for space of course. The Home One adds some staying power and Spiral is a cheap “react” ship, which should be kept in hand, leaving 2 Force activated.

The DS is a bit slower with its expensive Star Destroyers Devastator and Chimaera. The Accuser functions in a similar way as the Spiral, and deploys as a “react”, same as the TIE defender Colonel Jendon In Onyx 1. Fan favorite Boba Fett In Slave I (V) can hold his own in space, and is an all-around good ship. The DS had some problems in early playtesting due to some ships having no immunity, and LS being faster. We added a few more pilots to the space fleet to balance things out. Imperial Command is a game breaking interrupt (and good choice to “grab”), since it can add a destiny with your admiral (or general) or limit the opponent from drawing more than one destiny. It also pulls your admirals/generals. Admiral Ozzel is often a first choice, since he deploys for free. If you have Tempest 1 in hand, you might want General Veers, otherwise Thrawn for the extra destiny or Chiraneau for the +1 Force drain.

Both sides use their “twix pullers” (DS has We Must Accelerate Our Plans and LS has Wesa Gotta Grand Army) to deploy the 2/0 site first. After that, DS usually wants to pull the effect Secret Plans out to make LS retrieval more expensive. LS has no effect pullers, but since they may retrieve The Signal (the starting interrupt) with the Cloud City Celebration. The Signal could then be used to get an effect. Battle Plan and Battle Order are often used in SW CCG to slow the opponent down, if they start setting up early drains but are not in both theatres, space and ground, yet. The other interrupt cards have been described above in the “Card Selection” topic. Usually new player get rid of the “red cards” and throw them away to a Force drain or battle damage, but I’ve chosen a very basic selection of must-have SW interrupt. As a NARP, you really should use these interrupts and get to know them. If you have played 4-5 games with each side and have not used them (or any other cards) yet, then put them into your starting hand at the beginning of the game and draw only “up to” 8 remaining cards, so that you can make sure to play them in the next game. You should be familiar with all the cards of both sides before you continue with the first “demo deck expansion”.

The above strategy is only a very basic game plan of how to play these demo decks. When we had the 20 player “mystery” event using these decks at the MPC 2017 you could see that there were actually many strategies that players tried. Some games had the DS player being sorely on Bespin, while all LS characters and ships were at Tatooine. Good players agreed that the LS might be a bit stronger, although it is more difficult to play. In a game where both players left each other alone and tried to drain race, the LS would probably win due to the retrieval, even if the DS made a bit more damage. LS is faster, so the DS player cannot really leave the LS player alone. Since they have to go to Cloud City anyway at some point, they might want to invade Bespin first, so that they don’t have the additional deploy cost from the system, and might even want to prevent the LS from flipping. Some DS locations have no -1 force drain for the LS, so that might make it attractive for the LS player to go there.

In general it really often depends on your opening hand and on what the opponent does. One of the things that makes SW CCG different from many other card games on the market in my opinion is that, while the game is complex, complicated and has tons of game text, it really is very flexible, and games using the same decks can often go different. If you use a set of starter decks for a “traditional” game, and play 10 games the results in 7-8 of 10 of these games are often the same. With Star Wars CCG you can have more like 6-7 different outcomes, since it is such a different structured game. It is less the “luck of draw” that influences this, but rather the versatile set-up. The location layout and move phase, as well as the elegant use of the life force as payment resource, those are some of the main things that make it strategically so appealing for many veteran players. That’s what makes us hang around for decades and why many of us consider this to be the best trading card game ever.

So, all you new and returning players hang in there, and play with these demo decks for a while until you get the hang of it. I hope we can provide you with some additional information soon. We have planned some articles, pod casts, maybe a video match up, and I wouldn’t mind, if we would see some strategy articles from other players for these decks as well.

The Expansion Multi Step Program

As mentioned above there are some themes and concepts that should only be taught in a second or third step to make the game more accessible for new players. After the players have played 5-6 times with each side of the demo decks, they should go through the decks again, and read and make sure they know all the cards. If not, play a few more games and check again. If there are still cards you have not used by then, then put them into your starting hand at the beginning of the next game and draw only “up to” 8 remaining cards. Make sure that you play them in the next game. I know that I repeat myself (it is intentional), but you should be familiar with all the cards of both sides before you continue with the first “demo deck expansion”.

After you have played enough with the 60 card demo deck, you would use the “Demo deck Expansion Set 1, which will be released very shortly after the basic demo decks. In the second step you use a sideboard of 22-23 new cards for each side from a new “expansion set 1” PDF sheet. These cards also have the special border color, the “demo” sign and can go over “any card”. They are of course also not tournament legal. They are just step 2 for teaching the NARPS.

Demo Deck Expansion 1
In this expansion you will exchange several cards. For example, the starting interrupt for beginners was The Signal/Twilek Advisor, since starting with more than one effect is too much to take in early on. In step 2 you will exchange those against Heading For The Medical Frigate/Prepared Defenses to start with 3 effects instead of 1. Both sides will use an effect (Squadron Assignments/Combat Response) that allows the deployment of pilots and their matching starships. These are not as card effective as having a starship with permanent pilot (as we have only 1 card), but the matching pairs are usually stronger and often have more staying power. We will also see some new card types: Weapon cards (starship and character weapons), sectors (Cloud City) and squadrons (Emperor’s Sword), as well as some often used cards like Baron Fel, Wokling and Dash in his Outrider.

The most important change will be adding the starting effect (with 4 shields) from the demo expansion. This will exchange the already familiar Battle Plan/Battle Order and Aim High/Secret Plans effects from the basic demo decks into the shield version. The 2 anti-Sense/Alter shields will be added as new cards.

Further Demo Expansions
I originally intended there to be 3-5 expansions. The first one will be available soon to let you see where this is headed. The second one will be released a few months after the first. Play a lot with these, and we will add more complex concepts like matching weapons/vehicles, maintenance cards, alternate starting interrupts (12 hand start for LS and Emperor start for DS), Zuckuss in Mist Hunter, Imperial Justice (V)/Evacuation Control (V), Combo cards (Sense & Recoil in Fear or Dr. Evazan & Ponda Baba),  Admiral’s Orders, and Episode 7 cards. Once new players are finished playing with all these “demo expansions”, they are supposed to be “real” Star Wars players.

Beyond the Starter Packs
After you have played with the demos and exchanged some expansion cards, and have familiarized yourself with all those cards, then it might be time to get some real cards. You could start by playing the decks from gossui for beginners as a next step. Those use relatively accessible cards to start with. Another option would be to play Imperial Entanglements and/or Quite Mining Colony next. The starter decks intentionally use the same battle areas, so those 2 decks would be a natural follow up. A player that started with a relatively tame objective with Tatooine and pullable battlegrounds each turn would surely be super exited to play with a deck that starts the Devastator! QMC has equally interesting features that separate it from the demo deck objective. Go try these out.

I hope you have fun with these demo decks and that it will help you learning or teaching the game! Enjoy and let us know your experience with them!

Additional Articles and Info:
If you want to know more, then make sure that you’ve read the following helpful articles or forums:
Forum for Demo Deck Questions
NARP article about the demo deck promo cards by Lenny Rubin
Holonet Transmission Podcast about Demo Expansion 1 by Camden Yanaga
– Demo Deck Expansion 1 Article 
– Demo Deck Expansion 2 Article

May the Force be with you!

Chris (Euro Emperor) Menzel

Marketing Advocate