It's Dead, Jim

I just read the news that Decipher's Star Trek Collectible Card Game is coming to an end with their last expansion, and I'd just like to take a moment to pay homage to that great game.

I remember the CCG craze very well, and I'm sorry, but I could never get behind Magic: The Gathering. What a DULL game. Sorry. Just little fantasy paintings fighting each other, stat vs. stat. So when STCCG came out in 1994, I started buying packs. At first because I was a Trekkie, and then because it had this fun story-telling mechanic. Your personnel boarded ships and completed missions at planets. Simple, but effective. Over the next 10+ years, they churned many quality expansions with great images pulled from Trek, and game play that reproduced every facet of the show. I bought them all and tried to collect as many as I could.

I became VERY involved in the game in their message boards over those 10 years, writing thousands of articles there, and creating thousands of "dream cards". Eventually, they even paid me to write articles for them, paid me in cards, and I would regularly get boxes in the mail. It was a glorious time. Since 'tis the season, here's the silvery Christmas card they used to send their freelancers back then. Cool, huh?
Then 2nd edition happened.

It looked GREAT, and Decipher had certainly learned from previous mistakes. They had to do it too, because the game's nifty story-telling aspects were modular rather than integrated, and STCCG had become a bloated beast with a loooooong FAQ and Glossary. The new game didn't just look cooler, it was much more playable, with rules that could stay the same and yet be adapted to new concepts. But it also read more mechanically. What I had termed "Trek Sense" became much murkier as rules superceded the storytelling aspect, at least in style. And it also meant that us old schoolers had to start all over again.

So like anything, after more than 10 years, I got tired. I was doing daily features across multiple boards at the time, and the projects, which had always been meant to be impossible to finish, were getting in the way of other projects I can't possibly finish. So after 7 years, I simply stopped what must be the longest daily card-of-the-day series in existence. Energies previously spent on Star Trek projects were given over to Doctor Who and a new job (see how I prioritized that?), and that was that.

But while all good things must come to an end, I still owe a debt of gratitude to Decipher for creating this game (and others after it), thus fueling 13 years of geekery (and counting). My Doctor Who CCG project is directly inspired by their games, especially the way the fake game company website is set up, but the whole storytelling style of the game as well. STCCG, we lost touch these past few years, but I salute you from the deepest part of my heart.


BlackmarketPies said...

Sad news, indeed. STCCG is what brought me back into Star Trek, and I continued to buy packs from every expansion even after my friends had moved on to MMORPGs and the "Second Renaissance" of D&D. I lost interest just before "The Motion Pictures" came out, but I still visited the site regularly, and I tried getting into 2E, but the scarcity of the "Necessary Evil" expansion turned me off of the company and Decipher and I parted ways. I've still got a box full of cards, lying dormant on the shelf, waiting for the day when they'll be worth thousands. Sigh.

This makes me worry about Decipher's future - they recently ended the LOTR TCG, and now they've lost ST... surely they're not going to continue on the back of "How to Host a Murder" alone, are they?

Siskoid said...

I'm certainly not sure what to make of the fact another company has been named as distributor, etc. It looks like Decipher is throwing in the towel with the end of its two licensing deals.

Colin said...

Like I said elsewhere, I owe most of the friends I have now to ones I made while collecting the Trek CCG, so obviously I'm sorry to see it go.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is really old. But for the sake of people finding it via google, I would like to mention that STCCG is the CCG with perhaps the best fan-based continuation at
2E has several virtual expansions, 1E has started slowly with a small new set of really good-looking cards at the end of 2009 and more in preparation.

Me personally, I gave up on collecting STCCG with the launch of 2E and called my collection complete. The backward-compatible cards from 2E don't fit in too well graphically and sometimes create conversion problems. So I was disappointed with each Siskoid's card of the day article that was about a 2E card, taking away the space from a 1E card.

I found this blog because I wanted to read old Card of the Day articles and remebered the name Siskoid from Decipher's message boards. True story.

Greetings from Germany,

Siskoid said...

Hope you found the Rolodex over at

Sorry about the 2E focus! :)


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