In 2007, Decipher Inc. released its final official expansion pack for the Star Trek Customizable Card Game. For most games, when the company that produces it ends support that means the end of the game.
But for the Star Trek Customizable Card Game, or STCCG, the opposite happened. Instead of dying out with car collections stashed away and accumulating dust in the attics of players, the game has not only survived but thrives thanks to the efforts of dedicated fans.
As reported by Ars Technica, STCCG continues to have dedicated fans and still has organized tournaments nearly a decade after the final official expansion was released and, thanks to the efforts of a group called the Continuing Committee, new cards are continuously added to the universe. The end result is a game that is now free to play and continues to thrive.
Back in 1994, Decipher Inc. released the first edition of STCCG and ran with those cards and expansions until 2002, when the game was redesigned and re-released in a second edition. That edition continued for five more years until Decipher lost the license to produce the game. And that's where the story of STCCG could have ended, but the Continuing Committee stepped in to keep the game alive. The group offers printable cards, pre-made decks, and an online deck builder that anyone can use to get started with the game in a matter of hours. All they have to do is print the cards they want to use, put them in a plastic sleeve, and start playing, though the Continuing Committee's acting director of operations Maggie Geppert told Ars Technica that users are discouraged from using cardstock for their home-printed cards.
"We discourage people from printing them on cardstock because they are indistinguishable from cards that were produced -- that would get us in trouble," Geppert explained.
Another area the Continuing Committee is careful with involves new material. Items from the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films or Star Trek: Discovery are off-limits for the Continuing Committee.
"We have decided to play it safe in terms of the new material," Geppert explained. "We think we're pretty safe in terms of staying on the legal side and keeping an eye off us if we stick with the shows that Decipher had a license for. They had license for the five shows and 10 movies including Nemesis. [Using that], we try to keep a rough schedule of a new release of every four months."
As for the company who originally created the game, Decipher -- which sold the intellectual property to STCCG after an $8.9 million embezzlement that resulted in a sharp downsizing of the company -- bears no ill to those continuing the game. Quite the opposite, Decipher president Cindy Thornburg told Ars Technica in an email.
"We think it's great that enthusiastic players continue to play the game," Thornburg wrote. "We had very talented game designers, and it's a testimony to them and the players that the CCGs are still vibrant and active today."