Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game

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Babylon 5
Babylong 5 CCG cardback.jpg
Babylon 5 CCG card back
Designer(s) Ran Ackels, Edi Birsan, David Hewitt, Paul Brown, John Myler, Kevin Tewart
Publisher(s) Precedence Entertainment
Players 2+ but typically 4 or 5
Setup time 10+ minutes, excluding deck construction
Playing time max 2 hours (tournament)
Random chance limited (draw)
Skill(s) required CCG knowledgeable
Interpersonal communication

The Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game (B5 CCG) is a discontinued collectible card game set in the Babylon 5 universe. The game is ideally set for 5 players but can be played from a minimum of two players to as many as 20 if using multiple Non-Aligned Factions and Home Factions. This CCG is distinct from most others of the genre for being specifically designed to be played by more than two players. The gameplay tends to have strong political elements encouraging significant player interaction aka "table talk" which is appropriate for a game based on a series which featured such a strong element of political intrigue. During its brief six-year existence under the Precedence Entertainment banner it released two core sets, five expansions sets and one revision set. There were three World Championships during that time. The game still continues to have a cult following as further expansions were made available online.


Initially hoping for a November release, the game hit store shelves on December 11, 1997 in North America with the release of Premiere.[1] Precedence then began hiring more staff to promote the B5 CCG as quickly and completely as possible.[2] A large part of their success came with their promoting of the game. Not only would they give free starter decks at major conventions[3] but they offered solid prize support for local tournaments through their Ranger program. Precedence was also the first company to begin a successful promo chase card program, where various promo cards were made available through different means of acquiring them, some more difficult then others. This, as opposed to other companies who offered relatively common cards as promos, gave Precedence an edge in marketing not seen before.[4] They followed up their debut with the Shadows expansion and within the same year released the Deluxe edition, a reprint of the Premier Edition (minus the starter decks) and the Great War expansion. By the beginning of 1999, they found themselves near the top of the CCG market at that time.[5]

"1998 was a year of triple digit growth for Precedence, much of it spurred on by the broad based international success of our Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game," reports Precedence Entertainment CEO Paul W. Brown III[6]

"For some months now, Babylon 5 has been one of the best selling and most played hobby card games in every country where the game is sold; particularly in North America, the UK and as far abroad as Australia. The enthusiasm and support of the fans has been overwhelming," stated Brown. "We're most proud of the game's reputation for being true to the show. When your die- hard players even include people who have written for the actual series, like Babylon 5's original executive story editor Larry Ditillio, you know you're doing something right."[7]

In 1999, Precedence and Warner Brothers came to an agreement to renew the licensing to continue use of the Babylon 5 franchise until June 2001.[8]

After their breakout year they released Psi Corps, an expansion dedicated to the world of telepaths. To promote this release, Precedence ran a contest where booster pack purchasers could collect 5 randomly inserted psi corps identicards (chase cards) to redeem them for a chance to have dinner with Walter Koenig, the actor who portrayed Alfred Bester on the show.[9] This was followed by Severed Dreams the same year and in 2000, Wheel of Fire and Crusade.

In June 2001 Warner Brothers chose not to renew Precedence's license to produce the game. This brought the game to an abrupt ending and they could no longer print, sell B5 CCG product and found themselves unable to provide tournament prizes in the form of Babylon 5 cards could no longer be provided.[10] This caused the cancellation of the Collector's set which was already at the printers, and the well into development Anla'shok expansion. The company closed its doors in 2002 although this was not as a direct result of the ending of the Babylon 5 licensing agreement with WB.[11]

Product History[edit]

The Babylon 5 CCG was released as a base set (Premier) and the following expansions:

  • The Shadows
  • Deluxe (basically a reprint of Premier including the "fixed" cards from the starter decks but no starter decks themselves)
  • Great War
  • Psi Corps
  • Severed Dreams
  • Wheel of Fire
  • Crusade

The Collectors Set was at the printers at the time that the games production was stopped.

A number of fan sets have been created and there is an active Facebook group led by Bruce Mason, one of the senior Rangers, that is re-imagining the game under the name the B5 Virtual Card Game (B5VCG)

World Championships[edit]

The sixteen finalists at the first B5 CCG World Championships in Pomona, California. Pictured center holding the Vorlon action figure is Inaugural B5 CCG World Champion Serge Lavergne.
Kevin Tewart, organised play coordinator for Precedence Publishing, supervising the final table of the 2nd World Championships, Aachen.

During the course of the B5 CCG lifespan, Precedence Entertainment held two World Championships before declining sales force them to abandon the practice. Each featured a large proportion of players from around the world and fierce competition:

First World Championship[edit]

The first B5 CCG World Championship was held at Vorcon 1 in Pomona, California, October 16–18, 1998. Held at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, the eventual winner was Canadian champion, Serge Lavergne of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He had used a Narn hybrid Vorlon military speed deck with the “Order Above All” winning agenda.[12][13]

Opposition came from Australians Steve Green and Les Allen, Marcel Kopper of Germany, UK Champion Mike Pemberthy, Pan-European Champion Hayden Gittings, as well as Americans John Paiva, Pete Simpson, Kyle Bennick, Mike Jasperson, Anthony Oshmago, David Sisson, Paul Beaman, Kyle Sykora and John and Johnna Golden.[14]

Second World Championship[edit]

The second B5 CCG World Championship was in Aachen, Germany, October 8–10, 1999. The champion there was Martin Franz who used a Human deck with the agenda “A Rising Power”. The Final table comprised Marco Schütz (Narn), Michael Brand (Minbari), Peter Ender (Centauri) and Paul Sheward (Non-Aligned).[15]

The second World Championship again featured national qualifiers, but there was also a pre-qualifying tournament run the day before. This allowed a number of locally based players to qualify for the World Championship itself and led to the makeup of the "top table" i.e. 4 out of the 5 players were "local" Germans. It was commented upon that this turned the World Final into a team event with the German players ensuring that one of them won the tournament.

Cancelation of World Championships[edit]

In January 2000, Precedence announced that it was cancelling the planned third B5 CCG World Championships. This brought to an abrupt end a very popular aspect of the game.
No further World Championships were ever sanctioned or held by Precedence afterwards.[16]

Zeta Squadron[edit]

Zeta Squadron was the official member club of B5 CCG players registered with Precedence publishing. They received newsletters which informed them of upcoming events and expansions. They also received promo cards such as the Na'Toth (variant).[17]

An equivalent newsletter "Black Omega" was published in the United Kingdom supporting the European player base.

The Rangers[edit]

The Rangers were tournament organizers from around the world who conducted sanctioned tournaments, game demonstrations and arranged playtesting on behalf of Precedence.[18]

Tournament Formats[edit]

There are several variant tournament formats that can be used when playing the B5 CCG. Below is a listed of most commonly used formats.

Game Cards, Mechanics and Rules[edit]

Comprehensive lists of all published B5 CCG cards can be found on the Vorlon Space website together with the game rules and addendum[19]

A distilled version of the material published on Vorlon Space can be found here[20][better source needed]

Online Play[edit]

Programs such as LackeyCCG and Vassal allow players to meet and play online.[21]


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"Gaming News From Precedence Publishing.", Precedence and Warner Brothers Renew Contract for Babylon 5 CCG – Crusade Expansion Green Lighted, FORAY Roleplaying Journal, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Top 5 … Popular CCGs Before 1999 Not Called Magic", 5. Babylon 5, The Cardboard Republic, retrieved April 8, 2016 

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"Gaming News From Precedence Publishing", Precedence Entertainment Ups The Ante On The “Get The Best Of Bester” Contest, FORAY Roleplaying Journal, retrieved April 6, 2016 

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Precedence Entertainment, retrieved April 6, 2016 

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"Vorlon Space", The Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game Collector’s Set – The Cards, Mahasamatman, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Press Release", "War Without End": Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game Introduces Entry Level Two-Player Set, The Zocalo, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Anla'shok", Background,, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Anla'shok", Resources,, retrieved April 6, 2016 

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"VOR Convention USA", Precedence Announces World Championships For Babylon 5 Card Game, Vorcon1, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Vorlons Take Vorcon" (PDF), Serge Lavergene Wins B5CCG World Championship,, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Vorlon Space", The Road To The World Championships, Mahasamatman, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Worlds Collide" (PDF), Championship Cancelled,, retrieved April 6, 2016 

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"New Sets", Virtual Sets,, retrieved April 6, 2016 

"Vassal: The Open-Source Boardgame Engine", Module: Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game, Vassal, retrieved April 6, 2016 

External links[edit]