I was thinking about space stuff and I remembered getting the Eve Card Game when it came out way back in 2006.
This is a customisable card game, along the lines of Magic, and is based on the world of the huge MMORPG space sim Eve Online.
It comes with a couple of starter sets and you build your collection by buying boosters, with common, uncommon and rare cards.
Or rather you would have done, because the game died almost immediately after it came out.
I bought the two starter sets when we were in Orlando eight years ago. These have two pre-built decks in them, one for each of the four races.
The cards are absolutely gorgeous, featuring a combination of artwork and screenshots from the Eve game itself.
The game itself is really very good. You are a leader of one of the races (actually a CEO, as they are all corporations) and your goal is to destroy the opponent’s starbase.
To help you do this you can build ships and send them out patrolling or mining in asteroid fields and even colonizing outer regions in space.
You gradually build up your fleet and finally make an attack on the opposition starbase.
Your ships, asteroid fields, other locations and outer regions all generate money which allows you to build ships faster, so an early target is to get a good economy going.
Each ship has a special ability which can make it good at defending, trading, mining, attacking, ambushing, etc.
There is also a neat gimmick where it can take up to four turns to assemble your ship and you track this by rotating the card each turn. This also means when you build one of the powerful cruisers, your opponent can see it being built and can get ready for it.
So, I dug out my starter sets and played a few games and it is really fun. You feel like you are expanding into the universe and commanding your fleets to fly between planets and into battles.
The starter decks behave the same as for all similar card games, in that they are far too random to make playing them very satisfying. There are too many cards that you don’t know what to do with because they are only in the deck to demonstrate the style of play of that particular faction.
Right now, I am not planning to spend the time to learn the ins and outs of this game or do any deck-building. I have plenty of other stuff to be busy with.
However, someday I certainly will as it is such a good flavourful game.
One of my general principles when it comes to games is to just go ahead and buy them because they can and do disappear. Doing a bit of browsing on Amazon and eBay soon established that this game did indeed go out of print back in the mid 2000’s and there is not much of it around any more.
My idea was to get a second set of the four starter decks, so that I can merge them and make new decks that are more focused and easier to play. This is a common approach in Magic, where you buy two copies of a relatively cheap theme deck and merge it them make them better.
I got these from Amazon. There were still a few of these around and they weren’t too expensive.
The next thing to consider is that they are not making new cards. There was an expansion that came out in 2007, but I probably don’t need to worry about that. It didn’t get very good reviews. If I do want to have more variety of cards to use in my future deckbuilding then a good idea would be to buy a box of boosters. These have 24 packs, each with 15 cards, so that is another 360 cards in total.
So I got one of these from eBay. The 24 packs give me 240 common cards, which should be approximately 3 each of the 80 different common cards, and 72 uncommon cards, which is close to one each of the 80 uncommons. Plus a few rares. That should do.
I just did a check online, and the starter packs are now going for £30 each, and a booster box for £35 plus shipping from the US. eBay is showing only 3 booster boxes available. I think I may have decided to stock up just in time.
One other aspect of playing a game that has not only been dead for eight years but also never really took off in the first place is that there is almost zero support on the internet.
The game’s homepage has been shut down long ago and now redirects to the Eve Online game. The boardgamegeek forum is pretty bleak. There are no fan sites. If you carefully google, pretty much all you can find are a few old reviews on games sites. I managed to track down one strategy article and some card lists. One guy had an rtf file where he had compiled a bunch of old strategy articles, none of which exist anywhere else.
I downloaded everything I could find. Along with my additional starter decks and boosters, I feel confident I will have everything I need to explore the game more fully when I get around to it.