Wing Commander CCG

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
As I've never bought a starter, can someone tell me the contents of a typical starter deck? AKA how should a beginner dek (without deckbuilding) look to get into the game. Any rules of thumb?

Also: Are there any good/interesting deck builds out there that one could copy to get a feel for the game?

Note: I am not looking for the best deck, rather some that are good for learning an are about equal in strength for casual play.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
I seem to recall having bought two pairs of starter decks (two Kilrathi and two Confed decks), and my observation was that it (like most CCGs of the period) was completely random. For example, my first Confed starter decks had a fairly strong run of commons/uncommons, a bunch of generic pilots and a few nav points, and no Victory card. In the second deck, I had Cobra, Flint, Paladin, Blair, and a Victory.

Occurs to me I never actually played the game the way it was meant to be played (i.e. through the use of Power Points). A friend of mine played once to get the other's carrier torped. Game ended in a draw after a couple of hours, IIRC.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
The starters include a picture of the home carrier on the back of the box, so in the case that you don't get one, you can just cut that out and use it instead.

Out of about 60 cards, the first thing you have is your home carrier and a handful of nav points to create your star system. The instructions have a simple geometric pattern, but you can make your own. The 2-vs-2 player option is actually really good.

You'll need at least several fighter cards to actually be your playable pieces. The pilots, weapon systems and medal awards are supplements that boost the power of your fighters. They help a lot, although they are not absolutely required. The same goes for crew of your carrier. Since things have a cost to deploy, you can think strategically about whether you're better off launching more average fighters or fewer beefed up squadrons.

The luck, maneuver and battle damage cards are the fun part of the game. If you really get into it, with these cards, you can create an awesome real life RPG-style multiplayer dogfight with the cards you play and everyone's reactions. Again, there's an element of strategy here. Luck cards have a straight cost, but maneuvers/battle damage card costs are related to the maneuverability of your craft, so there's actual pros and cons to to taking light versus heavy fighters. In this way, it's got a better combat system than most multiplayer fighter sims.

Secret Orders and Nav Point Modifiers add an extra level of strategy, but aren't really necessary at all for beginner players.

So you can sprinkle a little bit of everything in to make a simple deck, but you'd probably want to put more fighters, luck, maneuver and battle damage cards in to begin with.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Yes, I remember Don Perrin explaining back in the Usenet days that that was exactly why they added the carrier to the box, because they couldn't guarantee it would be included randomly.

There is a set breakdown for number of rare/uncommon/common cards per booster/starter, but I can't for the life of me find it (Google has completely ruined their Usenet archive, which would have held the answer in years past.) I believe it may be three rares per starter and two rares per pack (one per side) but I'm not 100% sure.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
So there was nothing in the distribution that guaranteed a semi well playable deck? Just the rare/common/uncommon cards?

If so what card distribution would you suggest for a beginner. eg: 20% Ships, 20% Actions, ... Just a rule of thumb.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
It's been a while since I've played the CCG, so my strategy is probably a bit rusty. Probably though, you'd want something like half of your deck as fighters of various types, with the other half as modifier cards of varying types (equipment, pilots, etc.). As Chris Reid pointed out, your fighters are your basic units of combat, and in my experience if you have an opponent who's worth their salt you won't get anywhere near their carrier - if you're going to win, you should try to wear down their Power Points. A lot of fighters helps.

Might have to bust out the game again, just for old time's sake.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
So there was nothing in the distribution that guaranteed a semi well playable deck? Just the rare/common/uncommon cards?
Well, it's absolutely no different than hundreds of other customizable card games that have come and gone. A single starter deck (per person) is absolutely playable. However, you get 3 or so Rare cards in a Starter or maybe 2 per Booster, and there's a 121 rare cards out of 363 total cards in the set, so like every CCG, the system is set up for you to buy lots and lots of cards. :) Of course, the Rare cards are generally awesome/fun, and the commons are relative filler, but there's some real good uncommon cards, and you just go from there.

If so what card distribution would you suggest for a beginner. eg: 20% Ships, 20% Actions, ... Just a rule of thumb.
It kind of doesn't matter? One person might go 20% ships and another person 60%, based on their strategy. That's why ever starter is playable. Like I mentioned above, the real meat of the game is in Luck, Maneuvers and Battle Damage. Just in rough terms, about half your deck should be those cards. 10-15% of the deck could be nav points/nav point modifiers/carrier/carrier/secret orders. The rest can be ships, or you split the rest evenly between ships, pilots and weapon systems depending on your strategy of throwing more cannon fodder out there or crafting elite tricked out fighter squadrons.

Probably though, you'd want something like half of your deck as fighters of various types, with the other half as modifier cards of varying types (equipment, pilots, etc.). As Chris Reid pointed out, your fighters are your basic units of combat, and in my experience if you have an opponent who's worth their salt you won't get anywhere near their carrier - if you're going to win, you should try to wear down their Power Points. A lot of fighters helps.
If you don't bring manuevers, battle damage and luck cards, all the fighter squadrons in the universe won't last long. A lot of fighters can also hurt, since it costs power points to launch them. A classic rookie mistake is to fill space with fighters, thus depleting most of your power points, and then get mowed down by a flight of highly maneuverable Arrows.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Since the initial sets for CCGs were designed to be playable from randomized starter decks, a good deal of the game design balances around that. So one thing you can do when thinking about decks is look at the overall card breakdown:

Fighter - 104 (35.6%)
Maneuver - 46 (15.8%)
Luck - 31 (10.6%)
Pilot - 29 (9.9%)
Weapon System - 20 (6.8%)
Battle Damage - 20 (6.8%)
Modifier - 17 (5.8%)
Secret Orders - 10 (3.4%)
Crew - 7 (2.4%)
Pilot Award - 6 (2.1%)
Carrier - 2 (0.7%)

... and probably a better thing to look at is the breakdown of commons, since that's going to form the basis of most of the average starter:

Fighter - 39 (43.3%)
Maneuver - 24 (26.7%)
Weapons System - 14 (15.6%)
Pilot - 6 (6.7%)
Luck - 4 (4.4%)
Crew - 2 (2.2%)
Pilot Award - 1 (1.1%)
 
Top