We continue our look back at the Star Trek CCG with the First Contact expansion, which brought major changes to the game.
By the time the fall of 1997 had arrived, the Star Trek: The Next Generation CCG had seen the release of three major expansions, various promo cards and an introductory two-player version. But with even all that content, the game was already beginning to feel a bit stale.
There was an entire universe of Star Trek out there yet, due to the nature of the deal Decipher struck with Paramount, they could only use images and characters from The Next Generation television series. Where were the characters from Deep Space Nine or The Original Series?
Thankfully, with the success the game had experienced, the powers that be decided to give Decipher access to the whole of Star Trek. Every character, movie, television show and situation were now available to appear on a card and take the Star Trek CCG to places those who had been playing since day one only dreamed of.
The new arrangement resulted in the name of the game being changed to the much easier to say Star Trek Customizable Card Game. And the first new expansion to arrive on shelves was First Contact, based on the movie of the same name that was released the year before.
First Contact brought with 130 new cards and some major changes to the game. It naturally introduced the Borg affiliation and with it the Borg Queen. It also introduced two new card types, Objective and Time Location, and the ability to “download” cards from your deck into your hand.
Perhaps most importantly, Decipher decreased the number of cards in booster packs to just nine. While this may not seem like a plus at first glance, it was a blessing for those who had dealt with getting the same common cards over and over and over.
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I mean, do you know how many “Tricorder” cards I still own?
In addition, First Contact gave players and collectors brand new versions of all the Enterprise command crew to chase after, as well as Zefram Cochrane, the Enterprise-E and the Phoenix. All of which meant that it was not just players who were buying cards but Star Trek collectors as well. The cards themselves were gorgeous and and Decipher now included an icon to identify them as part of the First Contact set.
Even all these years later, First Contact is still one of the best expansions the game ever saw. Unlike the previous sets, if you and a friend just wanted to collect and play with cards from First Contact you could. Add in some extra cards and you could have hours of entertainment in front of you.
Plus there was the excitement of being able to play characters from what many still consider the best Next Generation movie ever released. Pulling a “Jean-Luc Picard” or “Borg Queen” from a booster was an incredible thrill, and not something that was ever replicated in future sets.
Around the same time Decipher also released The Fajo Collection, which took its inspiration from the episode “The Most Toys.” It was a set of 18 super rare cards and was limited to a production run of just 40,000. It included a binder, a poster and several notable cards, including Locutus of Borg, Guinan, Data’s cat Spot and many more.
Unfortunately, due to the scarce nature of the set, you almost never saw anyone use them in a game. It was something designed with just collectors in mind, in particular Star Trek collectors who might not even play the game. Most actual players were too busy buying up First Contact boosters to worry about it.
Next time we’ll look back at another expansion that turned the Star Trek CCG on its collective ear: Deep Space Nine.