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I must say that when Decipher first announced a Star Wars version of Young Jedi, I was psyched. I mean Young Jedi is a good game and the thought that I would be able to mess around with Han and Wedge without having to worry about Force drains and the like was appealing. Of course I realized that some things would have to change since the "Classic" era was much different than the "Prequel" era. Still, I was confident that Decipher would handle the transition smoothly.

Then came the revelation a while later that Big D was steering the Star Wars version of YJ away from the YJ concept and more towards its own thing. This didn't make me all that happy. At this point Young Jedi was starting to struggle and I was really looking forward to the Classic expansions picking the game back up. I also was weary about another Star Wars game. I mean the Star Wars gaming community was seemingly at a point that the Core game was coming to a close with DSII on the horizon and no Episode I in sight. On top of that many players who wanted to learn the game were too initimidated to join in at such a late stage. The common concensus on Young Jedi was that it was getting stale not to mention the players were NOT looking forward to the Wild Cards. Basically it looked to me as though another Star Wars game would do more harm than good. I was very attached to the other two games and I felt that there was still a lot of potential for both of them assuming Decipher really wanted to work at it. I guess from a distance it appeared that Decipher was thinking of phasing out Star Wars and Young Jedi in favor of a fresh new game.

But things definately started to look up when Decipher announced their desire to begin addressing some of the Expaned Universe stuff and later that Episode I would in fact be a part of the game. And then they released Duel of the Fates followed by the details for Young Jedi Reflections. This told me that Decipher had not forgotten about their other two games and that they were committed to bringing them to the next level. Great, so those two fears were alleviated, but there was still the problem of where the player base was going to come from. I mean we are living at a time where everything is being made into a CCG--from Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo to the Surivivor TV show--and there just can't be a lot of players left who are willing to buy into yet another card game (let alone Decipher's players base who is already stretched between three major games and several of whom are looking forward to the Lord of the Rings TCG). Or so it seemed.

As a member of Decipher's Rebel Strike Team I began to see first hand that perhaps getting a player base wouldn't be as difficult as I imagined. In the beginning it seemed that Jedi Knights biggest supporters were in fact the Young Jedi players, many of whom wanted to get into a Classic Star Wars card game , but didn't have the money or time to spend on the Star Wars CCG. And as more information came out that the game would be relatively easy to get into (see Jim's Toydarian Trader for more information) more and more people began asking me about it. But it wasn't until the game was finally released on the 25th that I really saw the interest in the game come out. It seemed that the demos that the Strike Team had done had worked. Because players were able to see how the game was gonna work months in advance as well as see the cards on Decipher's website, they were sold on at least trying the game. Even a couple of the players that told me that they probably weren't gonna get into it, got swept up in the hype and changed their mind.

But Jedi Knights has exacted casualties. Already I am seeing posts from Young Jedi and Star Wars players who wish to liquedate their collection in the name of Jedi Knights. But I wonder if this may not be a blessing in disguise. For the players that JK is attracting are the players who are either tired of losing to Star Wars opponents who own big-money decks or are bored waiting for Young Jedi to get fixed. This "pruning" process leaves all three games with a truly loyal player base. And with the mid-level Jedi Knights TCG the players can no longer complain that Young Jedi is too easy and that Star Wars is too difficult. I guess I also have to admit that I underestimated the power of Star Wars and the size of Decipher's player base. To be honest, Decipher's player base is so large between Wars, Trek, and Young Jedi that they don't NEED anyone from the "outside" (though they certainly are more than welcome).

So do I still have misgivings? Yeah, they are still there. I wonder what will happen as more expansions come out and more people see how the game works. I have a feeling that the fact that Jedi Knights is a multi-player game (and a pretty awesome one from what I heard) will really start drawing players...especially when it becomes a tournament format. Right now it's the only game that Decipher has that was made to play as a Team Sport and I gotta believe that people will get into JK just for that reason alone. So in the end, will Jedi Knights live up to its hype? Will it kill Star Wars? Young Jedi? Both? Or will it bring players back into the Decipher fold and cause them to maybe take another look at the other two games? I guess the only thing to do is to take Qui-Gon's advice: "We will be patient..." Meanwhile, anyone wanna play against my Han deck...

Josh "Hitman" Radke
Red 84, Kashyyyk (Clan CT)

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