Why do we need physical cards?

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treadwell
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Why do we need physical cards?

Post by treadwell »

Back in my glory days, I played this game a lot and got pretty good. Going to the weekly tournaments and occasionally traveling to bigger events were some of my favorite memories. I made a ton of friends and—not to sound overdramatic—learned a lot about life. I grew up to become a lawyer (lol) and I always cite SWCCG as one of the primary factors that contributed to my success.

When decipher lost the license to SWCCG, I figured the game was dead. It had a good run, but all things must come to an end.

Many years later, I got the urge to play again and was elated to discover that the game lived on. A group of dedicated advocates formed the Player’s Committee (“PC”) and kept the game alive. Here is a really cool article about how the game transferred from Decipher to the PC, including Decipher’s involvement in and blessing of that transition: [https://www.theringer.com/2018/5/21/173 ... -community].

As you know, the PC has kept the game dynamic and balanced by continuously releasing virtual cards that modify old cards, as well as, creating entirely new cards. The Player’s Committee also has an awesome resource which provides high quality images of every original (non-virtual) card ever made. This was perfect for me, because like many returning players, I divested myself of my entire collection in the intervening 15 years.
I found an upcoming tournament and was ready, willing, and able to fly down there and throw my hat in the ring. I didn’t have a single card to my name at this point, so I emailed the PC and asked if I could simply print out the cards I needed, put them on top of a random card, and then put them in an opaque sleeve.

“No. You have to have the actual cards if you want to play.”

I was confused and a little disappointed when I got this reply. A lack of physical cards is one of the primary barriers to New and Returning Players (“NARPS”) meaningfully integrating into the community. I thought a game like SWCCG, which is no longer in public circulation and is not advertised, would welcome some “fresh blood.” So, naturally, I thought the focus would be on giving access to the game to as many people as possible.

So here is my question: Why do we still need to have the physical cards to play competitively? Why can’t we just print and use original cards the way we do virtual cards?

I have tried to answer this question for myself, but none of the explanations I can come up with are satisfactory. I’ve listed some below to get the discussion going.

1. Having printed cards on top of real cards will effect game play/ allow people to cheat/ you’d be able to tell which cards were printed—Full virtual cards, such as Rey, Keylo, etc., etc., are allowed in competitive play. They are cut out pieces of paper, put on top of a random card, and put in an opaque sleeve. An original card printed out would have the exact same look and feel.

2.Unlimited access to every card will cause chaos/imbalances—Maybe there is a fear that if everyone has unlimited to access to every card, we will see decks with like 45 Luke Skywalker Jedi Knights (“LSJK”). We need look no further than GEMP to dispel these fears. GEMP provides all players unlimited access and there is a lot of variety of decks. I’ve never lost a game on GEMP and blamed it on the fact my opponent had too many of a certain card. On the other hand, it would be frustrating to lose—not because I got outplayed or outmatched—but because I didn’t have the right rectangle of cardboard sitting around my house. I’d like to believe my opponent would not want to win that way either.

3. Perhaps the top players don’t want NARPS giving them additional competition—By restricting play to physical cards, many quality returning players may be prevented from competing, rising through the ranks, and dethroning the established hierarchy. As I understand it, the Match Play Championships (“MPC”) is usually done in person, but had to be online via GEMP due to Covid-19. I didn’t follow it that closely, but weren’t there a lot of upsets in the GeMPC? Could this be evidence of the destabilizing effect unlimited card access could have? No. To be clear, I think this entire line of reasoning is preposterous. It will take even the best returning players years to get back up to speed and threaten anyone even remotely established in the game. But more fundamentally, nobody plays this game to get rich and famous (imagine SWCCG groupies though!). We play this game because we love it. I truly believe that the top SWCCG brass would relish the arrival of a new serious challenger on the scene. So this is not the answer. I listed it only to show how much I’ve thought about this problem (and because I love a good conspiracy theory).

4. There are some legal/intellectual property issues that prevent us from printing and using cards from the original sets—I almost want this to be the answer. Why? Because it’s completely reasonable and can’t be argued with. It would allow me to say, “Ok, say no more. That makes perfect sense.” And then I would no longer be haunted by this mystery. However, my understanding from the article I posted above, and from other posts on the forum, is that the PC now owns the intellectual property and has the right to allow printing of original cards.

5. You can still buy physical cards—This is technically true, but is extremely cost prohibitive. The PC publishes a list of cards NARPS should seek to obtain. The list doesn’t include every card you will ever need, but provides a solid backbone. To buy all of those cards, if you can even find them, costs over $1,000.00. It is not difficult to imagine a NARP deciding not to get back into the game with such a high initial barrier to access. Also, as I have seen posted recently, the pool of original cards will be forever shrinking. Like animals at a vanishing watering hole, we just stand by and watch the game slowly evaporate.

6. Physical cards fund/support the PC—This is the most compelling reason I can think of. The dedicated members of the PC keep the game we love alive. That * aint free. In fact, I’m sure they spend their own money to keep things afloat. The card store is one of the ways the PC raises funds for all the wonderful services they provide. And I have no problem with that. However, I think the PC could make even more money if they made the access to print original cards a subscription service where a player pays a flat or monthly fee for access to the cards. I, for one, would have no problem paying $500 for access to the card database so I could play with ya’ll in person. Perhaps this has already been contemplated but the logistics are too difficult? If that’s the case, we should consider revisiting the idea now that we have a huge influx of NARPS due to Covid-19.

So what do you guys think? Can someone shed some light on this for me. Is it possible to ever change the policy of printing original cards?



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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by mingtown »

It's 4. The PC had an agreement with Lucasfilm to keep the game operating with physical cards that also constrains how virtual cards can be designed and implemented. We don't want Disney to shut us down.
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by TacoBill »

While 4 is the case, please don't let a lack of cards be the reason you don't play in events. For major events especially, there are plenty of people who will be willing to loan you entire decks.
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treadwell
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by treadwell »

Thanks for your replies.

Someone off thread pointed out how complex the agreement probably is. Considering all it would take is them saying "stop" for everything to be ruined, I totally understand the desire to be safe with the intellectual property.

And I definitely plan on going to some in-person events once things get back to normal.

Thanks guys.

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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by quesosauce37 »

treadwell wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:01 pm
Thanks for your replies.

Someone off thread pointed out how complex the agreement probably is. Considering all it would take is them saying "stop" for everything to be ruined, I totally understand the desire to be safe with the intellectual property.

And I definitely plan on going to some in-person events once things get back to normal.

Thanks guys.
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by The Franchise »

I am glad disney expanded the agreement. Actual general grevious is so much better than “cyborg commander”

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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by 3MW0J8 »

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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by fungineer »

The Franchise wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm
Actual general grevious is so much better than “cyborg commander”
Agree with this.

I am glad disney expanded the agreement.
:lol: Good one
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by Platypus »

fungineer wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:58 pm
The Franchise wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm
Actual general grevious is so much better than “cyborg commander”
Agree with this.

I am glad disney expanded the agreement.
:lol: Good one
Would have gone with “altered the deal”. :epic:
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by Therion »

The Franchise wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm
I am glad disney expanded the agreement. Actual general grevious is so much better than “cyborg commander”
At risk of jinxing it, does Disney even realize that we exist?

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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by quesosauce37 »

Therion wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 12:46 pm
The Franchise wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm
I am glad disney expanded the agreement. Actual general grevious is so much better than “cyborg commander”
At risk of jinxing it, does Disney even realize that we exist?
Lucasfilm knew about us, but i think Disney is relatively in the dark about us, but thats just a pure guess on my part
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by Corran »

quesosauce37 wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 2:27 pm
Therion wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 12:46 pm
The Franchise wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:30 pm
I am glad disney expanded the agreement. Actual general grevious is so much better than “cyborg commander”
At risk of jinxing it, does Disney even realize that we exist?
Lucasfilm knew about us, but i think Disney is relatively in the dark about us, but thats just a pure guess on my part
I thought the PC met with Disney 100 years ago.
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by fungineer »

Disney has always been PC... :lol:
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by rsersen »

I vaguely remember a similar thread where someone said that the PC had met/talked with Disney shortly after they acquired the IP, explained the situation with Decipher/LFL, and Disney basically didn’t care.

Could be misremembering and/or making all this up in my head though.
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by DTartagOne »

From what I understand, as long as the PC isn't making any money from the sell of virtual cards and keeping with the arranged agreement they don't really care.
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by Theatree84 »

I don't fault the PC for being EXTRA careful though. Disney is known for shutting down daycares because they put up murals with their characters on them.
Yes those may be businesses. Yes some jurisdictions have IP laws where companies have to aggressively defend or lose their IP laws but if Disney legal randomly got a wild hair up their dark sides and decided to shut this down this little operation, there's no way the PC has the $$$ to fight them (merits of any case be damned).

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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by TechTerror »

When I returned to the game in 2017, I owned zero cards, having gotten rid of them years prior, also mistakenly believing the game to be dead.

Your main question was adequately answered so I respond here to give you some insight into how having physical cards plays itself out.

You say the card pool is "shrinking." Yes- in that there are a limited number of physical cards out there. However the PC is choosing many commons/uncommon to virtualize, thus increasing the value of these cards that many considered just a waste of space in a box. This also increases the number of usable cards and if you owned say, 3 copies of Nebulon B Frigate, a DSII uncommon, you now own either 3X Profundity (arguably one of the best ships in the game) or 1 Profundity and two Frigates to use in a deck. Furthermore if you bought the DSII LS starter deck there were 3 Nebulon B Frigates in that box so I guarantee you that many players would just give you 2 of that card if you ask. So these cards use to sit in someone's drawer and would never get use but now they are getting play.

The other way to look at this is that once you start collecting SWCCG cards, there aren't any new booster packs being released, no sets that aren't printable and so once you own all the cards, you'll never have to buy them again. If you play Magic or any other game you will be spending money on that game as long as you still play in order to purchase the new cards. We merely spend a few dollars on printing v slips from office depot/max/kinkos etc.

Lastly I have been going to local/regional events and one major event over the last 3 years and you would be blown away by the generosity of this community. Prizes of decipher cards/packs are donated by players, other players have just given me cards to use as my own and offered to let me borrow anything I needed. I borrowed 5 Emperor Palpys at the Endor Grand Prix this year. Those players who do own all the cards they need are routinely declining their prizes of cards at tournaments to allow those other players who are still collecting to take in their stead. I have seen Quesosauce37 do this at every event we have played in and at Endor Grand Prix, DTartag declined his prizes from the consolation tournament so that other players would have them. At Bothawui Regionals, AdmiralMotti (Eric) donated an incredible amount of prizes to all those who participated and he wasn't event the tournament director for that event. At the first CO states that I was at, Queso gave every player two reflections foils from his own cards. I think if you start going to IRL events you will quickly start growing your collection of cards and be really blessed by the generosity of the players.
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by lsrubin »

What TechTerror said.

When I got back into the game in 2014, I spent a decent chunk of change to get cards that were printed after I stopped playing "back in the day." (Ep1 and Ref2/3.) But now I have them. Over the past 3-4 years, my biggest SWCCG expenses have been:

1. airfare to major tournaments
2. hotels at major tournaments
3. tournament entry fees
4. Kinko's to print out v-slips

and then maybe...

5. buying cards
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by quesosauce37 »

TechTerror wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 12:09 pm


Lastly I have been going to local/regional events and one major event over the last 3 years and you would be blown away by the generosity of this community. Prizes of decipher cards/packs are donated by players, other players have just given me cards to use as my own and offered to let me borrow anything I needed. I borrowed 5 Emperor Palpys at the Endor Grand Prix this year. Those players who do own all the cards they need are routinely declining their prizes of cards at tournaments to allow those other players who are still collecting to take in their stead. I have seen Quesosauce37 do this at every event we have played in and at Endor Grand Prix, DTartag declined his prizes from the consolation tournament so that other players would have them. At Bothawui Regionals, AdmiralMotti (Eric) donated an incredible amount of prizes to all those who participated and he wasn't event the tournament director for that event. At the first CO states that I was at, Queso gave every player two reflections foils from his own cards. I think if you start going to IRL events you will quickly start growing your collection of cards and be really blessed by the generosity of the players.
i do occasionally take prizes, but it is indeed rare for me these days! (usually just foil v slips because they sexy!)
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Re: Why do we need physical cards?

Post by TechTerror »

quesosauce37 wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 6:54 pm
TechTerror wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 12:09 pm


Lastly I have been going to local/regional events and one major event over the last 3 years and you would be blown away by the generosity of this community. Prizes of decipher cards/packs are donated by players, other players have just given me cards to use as my own and offered to let me borrow anything I needed. I borrowed 5 Emperor Palpys at the Endor Grand Prix this year. Those players who do own all the cards they need are routinely declining their prizes of cards at tournaments to allow those other players who are still collecting to take in their stead. I have seen Quesosauce37 do this at every event we have played in and at Endor Grand Prix, DTartag declined his prizes from the consolation tournament so that other players would have them. At Bothawui Regionals, AdmiralMotti (Eric) donated an incredible amount of prizes to all those who participated and he wasn't event the tournament director for that event. At the first CO states that I was at, Queso gave every player two reflections foils from his own cards. I think if you start going to IRL events you will quickly start growing your collection of cards and be really blessed by the generosity of the players.
i do occasionally take prizes, but it is indeed rare for me these days! (usually just foil v slips because they sexy!)
And those sexy foil v-slips are certainly not a shrinking pool!!
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