Babylon 5 Collectible Card Game
Babylon 5 CCG Card (reverse)
|Designer(s)||Ran Ackels, Edi Birsan, David Hewitt, Paul Brown, John Myler, Kevin Tewart|
|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
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 two World Championships during that time. The game still continues to have a cult following as two further releases were made available online.
- 1 History
- 2 Zeta Squadron
- 3 Rangers
- 4 Cards
- 5 Game Mechanics
- 6 Preparing to Play
- 7 Online Playing
- 8 References
- 9 External links
After the successful release of Premiere, which hit store shelves on December 11, 1997 in North America, Precedence began to hire more staff to promote the B5 CCG as quickly and completely as possible. A large part of their success came with their promoting of the game. Not only would they give free starter decks at major conventions  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. They followed up their debut with the Shadows expansion and within the same year released the Deluxe edition, which was a cleaner slimmer version of Premiere (minus the starter decks) and the Great War stand alone expansion, an expansion pits the greater forces of the shadows and the Vorlons against each other and includes the First Ones, this may have been a replacement for the cancelled War of Worlds starter expansion which never materialized. By the beginning of 1999, they found themselves near the top of the CCG market at that time.
"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 
"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." 
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.
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. This was followed by Severed Dreams the same tear 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. 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.
The Precedence website is still active.
During its run between 1997 and 2001, Precedence Entertainment released two base sets, four expansions and two stand alone expansion for the B5 CCG. Two further expansions were released through the secondary market.
During the course of the B5 CCG lifespan, Precedence Entertainment held two World Championships before declining sales force them to abandon the practice. Both featured a large proportion of players from around the world and fierce competition.
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.
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.
The second and final 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).
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
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.
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).
The Rangers were tournament organizers from around the world who conducted sanctioned tournaments, game demonstration events on behalf of Precedence in support of the B5 CCG.
There are several variant tournament formats that can be used when playing the B5 CCG. Below is a listed of most commonly used formats.
|Basic Constructed Deck||Players have a 60 card minimum deck and can have a 20 card reserve which they can use to transfer cards to and from between rounds.|
|Sealed Deck||Players are given one sealed starter deck and normally two or three booster packs. From those cards they must create a 60 card deck to play with|
|Third Age||Third Age is a variant of Basic Constructed Deck, with the following additional rules:
1.Any card, except for characters and fleets, that was printed in Premier or Deluxe is banned in this format. Cards which were in Premier/Deluxe and were reprinted in the Non-Aligned or Psi Corps starter decks, such as Earth, Universe Today Feature, and Trade Pact, are banned (again, characters and fleets are NOT affected, so Drazi Sunhawk and Talia Winters are still allowed).
2.Zhabar is banned.
3.Promotional cards released at the time of Premier or Deluxe are not banned as they are not part of the standard print run.
|Battle for Earth||Battle for Earth Tournaments use the standard Basic Constructed Deck Tournament rules, with the following exceptions:
1. There are three factions, all Human. The starting factional ambassadors are Jeffrey Sinclair, William Morgan Clark, and Bester.
2. All factions have a starting tension of 5 towards all other Human factions.
3. Babylon 5's influence start the game at 0, and no effect in the game can raise or lower this starting value.
4. There are no effects that can generate a Babylon 5 vote. Effects that would do so are ignored.
|Spoo||Also known as the "Highlander Tournament", this is a variant of the "Constructed Deck Tournament" but players may only have one copy of any given card.|
|Master of All||Same as Basic Constructed but deck size is set at 45.|
Below is a list of each type of card and what each will allow you to do and when they are permitted to be played. All cards have the following information on them when possible or needed:
- 1. Name (top)
- Identifies who or what the cards represents.
- 2. Cost (bottom right corner)
- The influence cost to bring the card into play.
- 3. Type ( center below image)
- The type of card is listed here, (character, fleet location, etc.( as well as any other restrictions (race, etc.)
- 4. Abilities (left side of image)
- Characters, fleets and locations may possess abilities (if an ability is not listed it is considered zero).
- 5. Effects (bottom area)
- This area covers ant special rules a card may have when being played and what its effects will be when played. Also, any special title will be marked in bold type. The special titles will be used during game play at certain times when called upon by other cards or at specific times during the game.
- 6. Marks (bottom left corner)
- Some cards are marked, causing them to have special abilities or receive negative effects.
Shadow and Vorlon marks cannot be found in the same playing field. Thus a player having Shadow marks cannot gain any Vorlon marks and the opposite for a player who has Vorlon marks cannot gain Shadow marks. Marks of Strife increase the damage inflicted during an attack. Other marks (Conspiracy. Destiny, Doom) have effects related to other cards played.
- 7. Caption (bottom of card)
- Quote from the Babylon 5 Universe. Has no effect on game play.
- Card Types
All cards in the B5 CCG collection are color coded to help differentiate them from one another. This in turn allows easy sorting and allows ease of play when cards are combined, joined or overlapped on the playing field.
Influence represents a player's raw strength. It is used to play cards and use cards on the playing field.
The base influence that a player has represents his Power total. Other cards can increase this total if certain conditions are met. At the start of the turn, players can check for Victory requirements.
Preparing to Play
- Deck construction
Building B5 CCG decks have the following restrictions: - Each must have a Starting Ambassador - Each must have a minimum of 45 cards - They may only have 3 of any specific card (unless marked Unique which would be one only)
- Choosing a Race
Only one of each Race may be in play at any time unless the Home Faction rules are in play. There are five races to choose from: - Centauri Republic - Earth Alliance - Minbari Federation - Narn Regime - Non-Aligned Worlds There are four Home Factions that can be used: - Centauri - Earth - Minbari - Narn There is one alternate Faction that can be used - Psi Corps
- Starting hand
Your starting hand must have four cards with one being your Starting Ambassador. The remaining cards may not be of the same type. You may not have more than one additional character, fleet, agenda, etc.
- Playing Field
A part of you playing area should be kept for tracking tensions, unrest, and influence for Babylon 5 the Shadows and Vorlons. Cards are played at specific areas as shown in the diagram below. The row with your Ambassador is known as your Inner Circle, this is where you promote characters. Aftermath cards that remain into play should be placed under the cards that they affect. Agendas should be placed to the left of your Ambassador. New characters, groups and locations are put in a row below your Inner Circle, this is known as your Supporting Row.
Some of the items that seasoned players may use that are not included with the B5 CCG are: dice, glass beads, coins
- Set Tension Tokens
Certain Races have predetermined Tension ratings prior to the game starting and must be set. As the game progresses certain cards may alter these settings. Tension setting are:
- Set Influence Tokens
Influence tokens should be set above the Ambassador. Spent influence should be moved below the Ambassador.
The game is played in turns, each turn is sub-divided into rounds. Each turn play progresses through the following rounds:
- Ready round
- Sustained Actions
- Ready and Rotated cards
- Conflict round
- Action round
- Resolution round
- Draw round
During each a game of the B5 CCG, certain situations may arise, below is a list of what you may encounter.
- Triggered effects
- Tension and Unrest
- Unconditional Surrender
- Legal Targets
- Cumulative Effects
- Dual Race
- Alternate Faction
- Negative Power
- Cards with no printed costs
- Specialty Texts
- Boldface Text
Since this game is no longer in production, there has been a decrease in the number of players for this game. For those who can not find others to play with in person, programs such as LackeyCCG and Vassal allow players to meet and play online.
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