Star Wars Trading Card Game Development History

June 2nd marks the IDC’s anniversary and represents another year of keeping the game alive. We are celebrating this year by sharing a Star Wars Trading Card Game Expansion Development History, which includes a glimpse of future sets!

Phase I: Beginnings (April 2002 – September 2003)
·         Attack of the Clones
·         Sith Rising
·         A New Hope
·         Battle of Yavin
·         Jedi Guardians

Phase I includes the first 5 expansions of the game, introducing the 5 basic card types, Space, Ground, Character, Battle, and Mission, along with the 2 essential counter types, build and damage counters. Wizards of the Coast succeeded in fashioning a compelling new game based on that galaxy far, far away. The game developed a relatively modest, but loyal following, and this first batch of sets only features core mechanics and the 5 basic card types. 13 keywords were introduced in Phase I, including Critical Hit, Shields, Bombard, Ion Cannon, Deflect, Evade, Stun, Accuracy, Intercept, Pilot, Retaliate, Overkill, and Reserves.

Phase II: Evolutions (October 2003 – March 2005)
·         The Empire Strikes Back
·         Rogues and Scoundrels
·         The Phantom Menace
·         Return of the Jedi
·         Revenge of the Sith

Phase II includes the next 5 expansions of the game, introducing 2 new card types, Locations and Equipment as well as teasing 3 new counter types, credit counters, corruption counters, and mastery counters. These counter types would only be fully fleshed out in later phases. 7 new keywords were introduced, including Armor, Enhance, Bounty, Upkeep, Lucky, Hidden Cost, and Equip. With Revenge of the Sith, Wizards of the Coast stopped producing new sets for the game, so it was now up to the fans to keep the game alive.
Phase III: Rebirth (June 2006 – September 2009)
·         Fall of the Republic
·         Scum and Villainy
·         Battle of Endor
·         Clone Wars: Republic at War
·         Invasion of Naboo
·         Battle of Hoth

Phase III includes 6 expansions, serving as a continuation of the Star Wars Trading Card Game by the Independent Development Committee (IDC) after it was cancelled by Wizards of the Coast the previous year. This phase also included the first expansion based on a TV series, Clone Wars: Republic at War. 5 new keywords were introduced, including Parry, Stealth, Fury, Double Strike, and Switch. Corruption counter mechanics were expanded and multi-arena units were introduced at the end of this phase.

Phase IV: Legacies (December 2010 – December 2013)
·         Legacy of the Force: Bounty Hunters
·         Legacy of the Force: Mandalorians
·         Legacy of the Force: Sith
·         Legacy of the Force: Smugglers
·         Legacy of the Force: Jedi

Phase IV includes 5 expansions, all part of the Legacy of the Force line of sets focusing on different factions. This phase featured 2 new card types, Resource and Skill cards, with Skills being a specialized subtype for Equipment. 4 new keywords were introduced, including INSERT, Stack, Foresight, and Precision.

Phase V: Supply and Demand (July 2014 – December 2015)
·         Rule of Two
·         The Old Republic
·         Clone Wars: Separatist Offensive
·         Rogue Squadron
·         Empire Rising
·         Empire Eternal

Phase V includes 6 expansions, introducing the supply zone to the game. The supply would be home to the new Subordinate card type. This phase had 2 waves, with the first covering a trilogy of Old Republic and Republic sets, and the second covering a trilogy of New Republic era sets. Rule of Two was the first entirely Old Republic era set, and Rogue Squadron was the first entirely New Republic era set in the game. 3 new keywords were introduced, including Meditate, Alternative Cost, and Inspiration.

Phase VI: 10th Anniversary Celebration (January 2016 – September 2016)
·         The Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided
·         The Dark Times
·         Clones and Droids
·         The Force Awakens
·         Bonus set – 10th Anniversary

Phase VI includes 4 expansions, plus the special IDC 10 Year Anniversary set. This special set added 2 new promotional cards to each of the IDC’s first 20 sets, for a total of 40 anniversary cards. 1 new counter type, captivity counters, was introduced in The Dark Times, and credit and mastery counters, which were teased way back in Phase II, were finally fleshed out more in this phase. 2 new keywords were introduced in Clones and Droids, including Double Damage and Damage Control. This phase ended by celebrating the special anniversary event with the introduction of the new Event card type in The Force Awakens expansion.

Phase VII: Mission Impossible (October 2016 – December 2017)
·         The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime
·         The Old Republic: Tales and Legends
·         The New Jedi Order: Star by Star
·         The Old Republic: Days and Nights

Phase VII includes 4 expansions, alternating releases between The New Jedi Order sets and The Old Republic sets. This phase introduced 2 new Mission card types, Traps and Campaigns. The goal of this phase was to take on the seemingly impossible mission of condensing over 25,000 years’ worth of early Je’daii and Old Republic history into two Old Republic expansions, while also introducing some of the complex ideas from the landmark New Jedi Order series of books into two expansions. This led to the Yuuzhan Vong being added as a new side to the game, bringing the total number of sides to 4: Dark Side, Light Side, Neutral, and Yuuzhan Vong. 3 new keywords were introduced in this phase, including Avenge, Focus, and Forewarning.
Phase VIII: Defining Trait (January 2018 – August 2019)
·         The Clone Wars: Battle Lines
·         Rogue One
·         Battle of Starkiller Base
·         The Last Jedi
·         Spark of Rebellion
·         Battlefront

Phase VIII includes 6 expansions, with Rogue One introducing the final new card color type to the game, Traits, a specialized Equipment subtype with a bronze color border. Traits were first conceived for the Battlefront set, which would end up being released later. This phase also expanded the Resistance era with a second set covering The Force Awakens and a large set covering The Last Jedi. Spark of Rebellion and Battlefront round out this phase, which was focused primarily on newer Star Wars content. 8 new keywords were introduced in phase 8, including Ambush, Protect, Resilience, Ferocity, Backfire, Fortitude, Area Damage, and Reduced Cost.

Phase IX: Unity (September 2019 – November 2020)
·         Jedi Knight
·         The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
·         Battle of Crait
·         Solo
·         Bonus set – Marvel Cinematic Universe
·         Bonus set – Avengers: Endgame

Phase IX includes 4 expansions, with an evenly balanced split between Legends and new canon material. This phase had 2 waves, with the first wrapping up the Legends New Republic and New Jedi Order storyline, and the second covering recently released new canon films. Phase 9 also saw the release of 2 special sets based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Avengers: Endgame. 4 new keywords were introduced in this phase, including Riposte, Intimidation, Redirect, and Cunning.

Phase X: 15th Anniversary Celebration (December 2020 – November 2021)
·         The Old Republic: Knights and Exiles
·         The Mandalorian
·         The Rise of Skywalker
·         Apprentices and Assassins
·         Fires of Rebellion
·         Bonus set LEGO
·         Bonus set IDC 15th Anniversary

Phase X includes 5 expansions, plus a special LEGO set and 15th Anniversary fan’s choice set. This phase features expansions covering the major eras of Star Wars. It also introduced the final counter type to the game – redemption counters. In many ways, The Old Republic: Knights and Exiles expansion served as a template from which cards in later sets in this phase were designed. 2 new keywords, Absorb and Persuade, were introduced in this phase.

Phase XI: A Long Time Ago (December 2021 – May 2023)
·         Battle of the Sarlacc
·         The Mandalorian Way
·         The Book of Boba Fett
·         Battle at Exegol
·         A Long Time Ago
·         Bonus set Spider-Man
·        Mini set Imperial Assault
·         Mini set Empire at War
·         Mini set Boonta Eve Podrace

Phase XI includes 5 expansions, plus 4 bonus sets. This phase has two parts, with the first centered around the 9 films in the Skywalker saga, and including 2 expansions based on pivotal battles from the films and 2 expansions based on seasons of popular live-action Disney+ series. The second part is centered around the launch of mini sets to get more content into the game outside of full expansion releases. 3 new keywords, Surge, Barrage, and Velocity, will be introduced in this phase. This week’s card of the week is a special sneak preview of an Obi-Wan Kenobi card from A Long Time Ago:

Phase XII: Infinities (2023 and Beyond)
·         The Clone Wars: Legends of War
·         End of the Empire
·         Legacy of War: Yuuzhan Vong
·         Legacy
·         Mini sets Dynasty of Evil, Forces of Destiny, Droids and Ewoks, Visions, Infinities, and more bonus sets!        
·         Plus more full expansions based on Legends content, such as The Old Republic, and newer series, such as The Bad Batch, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, Ahsoka, The Mandalorian, and Resistance

Phase XII includes a variety of expansions, plus several mini sets. Focused on both Legends content and some new canon expanded material, this will be the end of an era for keyword development for the Star Wars Trading Card Game. 6 new keywords will be introduced in this phase, including the final new keyword in the game, bringing the total number of keywords up to 60 and the total number of full expansions up to 60. After the Star Wars Trading Card Game reaches its 60th expansion, there are a number of possibilities for future expansions, including everything ranging from sets covering additional Legends material to sets covering new films and streaming series.

As another anniversary comes to a close, thanks go to all the players and fans who have helped keep the game alive!


  1. I hope we eventually get some The High Republic expansion/mini set as more of that content develops and evolves. Thank you guys for everything up till now

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      You’re right that the High Republic has lots of potential. Once it develops a bit more, it would make for a good set – perhaps as an expansion to go along with the lead-up to The Acolyte series, set at the end of the High Republic era.


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