Earlier this year, we was back at my childhood home in Southern California, digging by some old boxes. Amidst assorted ball cards, long-forgotten school projects, sports trophies, and more, we located a small, slim white label box.
The box is unmarked, only for a tiny plaque in the top left-hand dilemma with my name on it. But we knew what it was the present we saw it: my whole collection of Star Trek Customizable Card Game (STCCG), substantially a couple hundred cards in total.
While we never had any A-List cards (I never lucked out on any Enterprise overpass organisation for instance), we fast found the few that we set aside in plastic sleeves: Lt. Jg. Jean-Luc Picard, Montgomery Scott, and even Mot the Barber. Nostalgia cleared over me. The cards were just as we had left them, likely some-more than two decades ago, full with slips of paper imprinting the opposite types: “Missions,” “Equipment,” “Federation Ships,” and more. This box hadn’t been non-stop given we put them divided back in high school.
Somewhere along the way, we had just stopped playing—I grew older, and we never knew that many people who also played CCG. Its village paled in comparison (in terms of distance at least) to deck-building label games that pennyless into the mainstream like Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon. These days, many people likely would never even have famous this diversion once existed if not for “The Greatest Generation” podcast. As a regular-listening fan, we sent them some packs from eBay back in April. By summer, those packs became partial of a new comedy bit on the show.
Nevertheless, we took those cards home after anticipating them that day. Months later, they sat dormant, a victim of the same old problems. we still didn’t have anyone to play with. Worse still, we didn’t even remember how to play. And that’s when we finally incited to the Internet on one still afternoon. Eventually, we detected 3 extraordinary facts.
First, CCG is strictly dead, its last central enlargement container was released in Dec 2007. However, a organisation of dedicated CCG fans have banded together online not only to keep its memory alive, but to play and classify tournaments an whole decade later.
Second, that group, which calls itself the Continuing Committee, creates new cards to supplement to the existent universe. And lastly, with the diversion out of imitation for so prolonged and the strange book company on financial life support, CCG is now wholly free to play.
This means you, associate Star Trek fan, can mix an online rug builder, a printer, and some plastic label sleeves to be personification within hours. And a vibrant, welcoming village gripping this diversion alive will be prepared and waiting.
License to nerd
I started my outing down CCG memory line like we would any nostalgia trip: Wikipedia. As you competence pattern formed on the loyalty this label diversion seems to inspire, the entrance on CCG is robust: it outlines the innumerable enlargement packs that came out prolonged after we stopped playing, circa 1996, including First Contact and Enterprise Edition. The very bottom of the Wikipedia entrance first introduced me to the Continuing Committee (CC), but we still had some-more questions than answers. What was the durability interest of this game; have we been blank out? And if we did get back into it, could we use the cards we already had?
Looking at the Continuing Committee website, it’s transparent this represents a labor of love. The site didn’t describe very easily on my iPhone. The “About Us” page was simply an org chart. But despite its primitive and cluttered design, all seemed to be active. Players were to this very date organizing themselves into tournaments in locales as sundry as a jazz bar in Vienna, Austria and a Panera Bread in Highland Heights, Ohio. A couple at the bottom of the site labeled “Rulebook” related to a six-page PDF surveying how to play what seemed to be a spinoff game, Tribbles. we was nowhere closer to re-learning the tangible STCCG game, but we positively was on to something.
Eventually, we connected with Maggie Geppert, a 37-year-old physics highbrow at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. She’s the new behaving executive of operations at the Continuing Committee, and she courteously connected with some card-finding foreigner for a scarcely two-hour phone call. we started by explaining my conditions and describing the cards now strewn opposite my desk.
“You have First Edition cards,” she patiently told me. In CCG lingo, these are famous as “1E” cards.
While the Wikipedia entry explained that there was a first and second book of the game, it wasn’t transparent that these iterations were not really concordant with one another. Yes, there are some cards that can be played opposite editions, but by and large, that’s not how it’s done.
“1E has to play other 1E,” Geppert said, explaining that 1E had mostly (sadly) depressed out of favor. So while my cards were neat keepsakes, we would have to get ahold of some 2E cards to really try personification again.
Decipher Inc., the Virginia-based publisher of CCG, expelled the first book and ran with those cards from 1994 until 2002. At that point, the diversion was redesigned to make it complicated and some-more streamlined. (Decipher’s some-more renouned label game, Star Wars: The Customizable Card Game, which ran from 1995 until 2001, has spawned a identical fan site, also called the Continuing Committee.) The company evidently had concerns about the grow and complexity that built up with 1E over time, and this done the diversion harder to learn and caused gameplay imbalances in certain ways. 2E ran for another 5 years before, as Geppert explained, “Decipher lost their license,” and the diversion ceased prolongation in 2007.
While we appreciated the story lesson, we was admittedly crestfallen. I couldn’t use the cards we already had? we had to scour eBay for 2E cards, which clearly were a bit some-more costly than 1E cards?
I didn’t need to spend a dime, Geppert reassured me. With the permit a thing of the past, the CC now offers a full list of printable cards, pre-made decks, and even an online rug builder. Most people don’t play with strictly done cards anymore, she said. They simply tone imitation the ones they wish and slip them in front of old CCG cards (or even Magic: The Gathering cards) in a plastic sleeve.
“We daunt people from copy them on cardstock given they are uncelebrated from cards that were produced—that would get us in trouble,” she said.
I remembered that like Magic, CCG’s decks could get into the dozens of cards. More cards meant a incomparable arsenal, but it also meant that it competence take longer to get to the heart of it and concede a strategy to unfold. The pre-made decks CC has accessible come with names like “Khaaaaaaaan! To kick Nick with” or “Where There’s Cake, There’s Hope (2.2).”
Geppert remained encouraging—I could learn again. She explained that she was taught the diversion by some friends back in college.
“They were like, ‘Here take all these additional cards, learn the diversion and you should come play with us,’” she said. “We had connected over Star Trek. My Dad and my Mom are both big Star Trek fans. I’d already watched TNG—I desired DS9—having this diversion that we could play with my friends was a lot of fun. We would lay around on Friday nights and watch Spike TV and watch reruns. We’d eat pizza and watch Star Trek and play Star Trek—that was the Friday nights.”
Geppert was speaking my language: many of my beginner year at UC Berkeley, Saturday nights at midnight Pacific Time meant diving into my station IRC Star Trek role personification game.
Eventually, Geppert found players as she changed around the US, in Boston and then larger Chicago. Years later, she found the CC and eventually rose by its all-volunteer ranks. The group, which has existed only as a organisation of associate fans with a website to date, is in the routine of incorporating as a grave 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
“[Gameplay-wise] it does feel like Star Trek: you have your missions, you play crew and ships and equipment, and you go off and do missions,” Geppert continued. “The competition keeps you from doing things that you wish to do. Or, you can use cards on your competition to keep them from doing what they wish to do.”
While the many required way is to play one on one, there are initial ways to play multiplayer. The CC tournaments are a series of one-on-one games, infrequently held on the sidelines of GenCon or other conventions. But some-more mostly than not, they’re held at people’s homes. Geppert pronounced she recently brought her husband and two immature sons on a highway outing to Denison, Texas, to play in a weekend tournament. In essence, it’s a big, nerdy party no matter the venue.
“It’s 22 people sitting at plastic folding tables in a guy’s vital room, eating boiled chicken, celebration a lot of alcohol, and derisive any other,” she said. “Some of them were new to me, or I’d only famous them online. We had a man from Minnesota, some guys from the DC area, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, and even the UK.”
The production highbrow clearly sees a durability interest of Decipher’s strange game, and she pronounced that by introducing new CC-sanctioned cards, it “keeps the diversion ceaselessly interesting.” She sees traffic on the CC website die down if it has been awhile given a newly combined expansion, for instance. But to that, Geppert mentioned that there were no stream plans to embody anything from the J.J. Abrams films or the new series, Star Trek: Discovery, out of an contentment of caution.
“We have motionless to play it protected in terms of the new material. We consider we’re flattering protected in terms of staying on the authorised side and gripping eyes off us if we hang with the shows that Decipher had a permit for,” she says. “They had permit for the 5 shows and 10 cinema including Nemesis. [Using that], we try to keep to a severe report of a new recover every 4 months.”
She estimated that the CC has “a few hundred active players” widespread opposite the globe, with “big playgroups” in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Seattle, Vancouver, London, Munich, Vienna, Sydney, and San Diego.
“The diversion is free, come play it!” she speedy me.
Listing picture by Cyrus Farivar