|Playing time||~ 30 minutes|
|Random chance||Medium to high|
|Skill(s) required||Card playing
Young Jedi Collectible Card Game is a defunct product of Decipher, Inc., released in 1999 and set in the Star Wars universe. It revolves around the events and characters of the movie The Phantom Menace. A total of seven expansions were released before the game was discontinued in September 2001.
Young Jedi was awarded "CCG of the Year" by magazine Gamers Inquest in its annual fan poll.
Young Jedi was released in 1999, just following the first Star Wars Celebration (held in the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, CO). Pre-release events were held during the Star Wars Celebration.
The game was the second Star Wars licensed game produced by Decipher (Chuck Kallenbach is listed as the lead designer). The name of the product, "Young Jedi," was in hopes of getting the then-Pokémon playing youth movement of the trading card game player base, and transitioning them into the more adult and complex Star Wars Customizable Card Game, which had been released four years earlier.
The complexity of the game was low, and the player base for the game was far more limited than the older sibling. However, Decipher did support the game with a full range of competitive events, including national and international championships.
1 Unofficial. Decipher cancelled DecipherCon 2001 due to the proximity to the 9/11 attacks. A player-run replacement, following the same rules and qualification process, was held at the convention, Freedom Con 2001.
Decks were built using a colored dot system which limited you to only 10 cards from each color group. There were no additional card limitations put in place. There were a total of six dot colors, and the deck limit was a strict 60 cards.
Decipher later introduced the concept of a white or no-color dot which acted as a wild card during deck construction. You were limited to only one wild card replacement per color and a total of six in a deck.
There were two win conditions in Young Jedi: run your opponent out of cards, or claim two out of the three planets which acted as battlegrounds for the game (Tatooine, Naboo, and Coruscant).
Each character card had a damage value; this was the number of cards you discarded from your draw deck if the character was defeated.
A planet site was claimed if, at the end of any turn, your opponent had no cards in play at that location.
A well-recognized Decipher game mechanic was used in Young Jedi. Weapons, unlike in SW:CCG, would not "kill" opposing characters, but instead increased the power of a character and included in most cases a "Destiny" draw. Each card had a number between 1 and 6 in the top right corner. This number when revealed as a destiny draw would then be added to your character's power.
The mechanic around which combat was based. A battle plan involved each player taking all the character and weapon cards at a site and arranging the order in which they would battle. A "battle card" was usable during this phase of the game and acted as an unknown variable which could change the otherwise predicted outcome of any particular encounter.
Decipher's volunteer marketing and event organization corps. This program used players across the world to promote their game, provide a cheap line of communication to local stores, and organize and run competitive events on a local to regional level. These "product champions" did not receive financial compensation, but did receive Decipher product.
Colorado, USA gained a reputation as being a strong area for Decipher games, home to several of the top 10 players and holding the #1 player spot for the majority of Young Jedi's lifespan. Other active communities included Virginia, USA, and Germany. Ian Vincent, the 2000 world champion, was British.
Decipher inducted a few Young Jedi players and volunteers into their short-lived Hall of Fame program. The only name which could be verified to have been inducted was Colorado-based Mark Ponting. As a volunteer for the Jedi Council, Ponting had only one notable playing achievement, which was to win the North American Continental Championship in 2001. Ponting is also credited for building the decks used by 2001 world champion Katie Billings and was given credit by 2000 World Champion Ian Vincent in a post-tournament interview for designing at least one of the decks he used in his victory. Ponting was also a writer for Decipher's web sites and dedicated much of his free time working with Colorado vendors and players; Ponting, along with the other volunteers, worked hard to assure the success of the game in the state of Colorado.
After Decipher lost the license for Star Wars to the Hasbro-owned Wizards of the Coast, a Players Committee was set up to try to continue the games. Due to licensing issues, they would only be permitted to alter existing cards, so they utilized "virtual" cards which changed the game text by creating inserts which would be placed with the card it was adjusting.
While the SW:CCG product still has an active player base (as of 2014), Young Jedi appears to have been dropped and no longer has any support.