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What is SWTCG?

By Aaron Brogdon

Star Wars Trading Card Game (SWTCG) is a Star Wars based card game produced by Wizards of the Coast. Released in April 2002, the premiere set featured content from Attack of the Clones, giving players a chance to recreate the exciting battles seen in Episode 2. Expansion sets have added more cards to the game and feature characters, starships, and events from both the prequel and classic Star Wars movies as well as some Expanded Universe (Star Wars comics and books).  All expansion sets are compatible with each other, meaning you can have Luke Skywalker and Mace Windu in battle together if you want.

Using custom decks of cards that you create, your opponent and you face off on opposing sides.  The Dark Side and Light Side battle using the Force for control of three arenas of combat. These arenas are called the Space, Ground, and Character arenas, and battle takes place in all 3 consecutively.

In SWTCG there are 6 card types:
Space units. Starships of all kinds that fight in the space arena.
Ground units. Infantry and vehicles that fight in the ground arena.
Character units. Star Wars characters that fight in the character arena.
Mission Cards. Cards that represent things that happen in the Star Wars universe.
Battle Cards. Cards that represent actions and tactics during battle.
Location Cards. Cards that represent special places and fields of battle in the Star Wars universe which can affect the game in general by providing various effects.

Space, Ground, and Character cards (referred to as units) are the primary players in the battles.  They have 5 key elements:
Build Cost: Determines how much it costs to place the unit/card in battle.
Speed: Determines when that unit attacks. The fastest units attack first.
Power: How many six-sided dice you roll for that unit to attack another card. Every 4, 5, or 6 rolled causes damage.
Health: How many hits or damage that unit can take before it is discarded.
Text Box: Lists the special abilities a card may have and/or flavor text that highlights some aspect of the Star Wars universe. Abilities help both in defense and offense. Some examples of these abilities are:

"Evade"-blocking damage.
"Deflect"-blocking damage and sending it back to the attacker.
"Shields"-automatic reduction of power for anyone attacking a card with that ability.
"Critical Hit"-extra damage given when a die rolled ends up a 6.
"Stun"-reducing the power of opponent's units you attack.
"Accuracy"-adding to a unit?s rolled die result, such as making a 3 miss into a 4 hit.
"Piloting"-allows a Character unit with this ability to leap onto certain Ground vehicles and Space units and give one or more bonuses or special abilities to their vessel.
"Armor"-Makes a unit harder to hit since it is only hit by 4 and 5 die rolls
"Bombard"-Allows a Space unit to attack a Ground unit
"Ion Cannon"-Allows a Ground unit to attack a Space unit
"Intercept"-Allows a unit to absorb an attack directed against another unit you do not want attacked
"Reserves"-Special abilities that may be used by retreated units not in battle.
"Retaliate"-Allows a unit to retaliate with an extra attack every time it is attacked by one of your opponent's units.

Many Character units (such as Anakin Skywalker) or Starship units (like Slave 1) have multiple versions that can be used independently or that can be stacked together for extra power. Each different version has a different letter to represent it (Anakin A, Anakin B, etc.). Stacking characters during a game is similar to a character that gains experience or strength as it goes through life.

Throughout the game, you have to successfully manage two important resources, Build Points and Force. Build Points are used for placing units in battle or for completing Mission cards. Force is spent to use a unit's abilities or to apply Battle Cards in battle. Both are a limited resource and how you use them can greatly affect the outcome of the game.  Certain game actions or cards can greatly increase the amount of Build Points and Force you have compared to your opponent, giving you a significant advantage.

Before the game starts, players go through a setup process to place units into the battle arenas.  After setup, the game starts. Each turn of the game has three phases where players battle in all three arenas simultaneously and reinforce their units where needed.

Players battle back and forth until one player wins control of two of the three arenas and wins the game.

This basic description of the game can help you to gain a better understanding of Star Wars Trading Card Game, but for more information try out this game demo (Shockwave Plug-in required) or browse through TFN's SWTCG Section.

Last Updated 24 Mar 2004

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