Resource Card Tutorial
By C.J. Williams

Some players may not fully understand how the Resource card works. I would like to help everyone be able to benefit from Resource cards and use them to their fullest potential. For those already familiar with Resource cards, stick around for some pointers.


When I was first presented with the Resource card type to write the rules on (most of which were already sketched out by tgo, who came up with them), they were called “Epic Missions”. They reminded me of an idea I had, a long time ago, for master Locations you keep in your build zone. But these had some unique features that intrigued me. Along with a first draft of Bounty Hunter Arsenal, I was sent the following original concept:
Epic Missions: It's a mission with an effect duration of "until end of game". When you draw your initial hand at the beginning of the game you may draw one fewer card. If you do, you may search your deck for an epic mission card, reveal it to your opponent, and add it to your hand. You must announce your intent to draw one fewer before drawing any cards. Epic missions may be deployed during the setup phase. A player may deploy only one epic mission card in a game.

I immediately hated the name, and I wasn’t quite sure how to take the card’s costs, which seemed to be no cost at all and weren’t addressed at all in the concept I was sent. However, I had more immediate concerns in working on the effects for the expansion at the time and put my concerns regarding it on the back burner.

I addressed the name within a week. I gave a few alternate suggestions. The first I tried was “Faction card” and submitted it that way, but upon looking at the cards they intended to make this way, I realized that they would be better suited called something like “Resource card” or “Asset card” (ala “SWCCG”). So I submitted the names for consideration and demonstrated my preference, “Resource card”, (because I wanted to shy away from copying the SWCCG) on the card images. In the end, The_Great_One chose “Resource card” as the name.

It was Resource cards that prompted me to do a clean rewrite of the Rulebook. As I was rewriting the Rulebook, several issues came to mind about how Resource cards should work. If I hadn’t been rewriting the Rulebook, most or all of those issues might not have come up.

Grand Moff Nicodemus Fett also came up with the question about whether “Add X counters” was legal to use, so with insidious delight, I responded to him with: “I will make it legal.” As we developed them, I asked them about whether you could replace Resource cards. You can’t.

They also suggested to me that they wanted to have Resource card effects work while in setup, not just be put in their place then. It was already unusual to let a non-unit card be grabbed from the deck during setup, but letting them use their effects during setup seemed to be a quagmire, particularly with confusing players about effects during setup. So I told them that if they add text to the card itself that overrides the rules, they can do it, (per the second and third of the 3 primary rules) but I wasn’t going to codify it in the rules. So far, they haven’t needed the text at all.

As this time passed, I finally came to fully understand Resource cards and appreciate them.


You only get to play one Resource card at a time and it goes on the opposite side of the play mat from your deck and discard pile. To play your Resource card, you pay a one-time build cost for deploying the card that pays for the long-term use of the card, similar to Locations.

But instead of one effect that works from round to round, you have to activate the effect by adding or removing resource counters to or from the Resource card. Adding and removing resource counters to and from the card allows you to trickle different effects from round to round that can apply to any part of the game. However, you can only play one resource effect each turn, and you can only use that effect once per turn. Remember, that’s just one effect per round unless the Resource card has an effect that says otherwise.

Preparation & Setup

Resource cards are the first and only non-unit card that you can build during setup.

During the preparation phase, before you shuffle, you can search your deck for your Resource card, after which you do your normal shuffle and draw. Even with the Resource card in hand, you still can only have a total of 7 cards in hand. And for whatever weird reason you should want to, you can even not search for your Resource and even discard it among your mulligans.

During setup, you can then finish your Resource card, or build on it as the last card in setup, just like any unit. Though, like units, its effects are not playable until after setup.

Activating Resource Effects

You can activate a resource effect only during the battle phase unless the effect says otherwise. So simply treat it like you would a Battle card or activated effect. It’s as simple as that.

The words “Add X counters” mean that you may add that number of counters to the Resource card and “Remove X counters” means that you may remove that number of counters from the Resource card. Those counters are called “resource counters”. Not naming the counter type in the cost is simply a shorthand designed especially for Resource cards. They can’t be assumed to be any other type of counter.

But playing a Resource card isn’t just about activating effects. It’s about the economy of the card.

The Economy of Resource Cards

The Resource card’s economy is the special quality of Resource cards. By understanding its economy, you understand how to play it.

When you first look at the Resource card, it seems very strange. Like I did, you may think that the player is getting something for nothing. But don’t forget that the player is only getting one effect per round, so it’s really nothing more than a Location. Except with this card type you’re actually paying for what you get with the build, which is generally more expensive than Locations, for having only 1 effect from round to round.

Though it may not seem like it, adding and removing resource counters is a true cost. Consider it a timeshare. You are using time as a currency on the Resource card. How often you use it affects when you get its effects, so be sure to us it every round.

While each of the effects that require you to add a counter aren’t quite worth the cost you pay for the card and only let you use one such effect each round, after you acquire a certain number of resource counters, you can then spend them all for a big effect that will help you for one round, after which you will have to build up resource counters again and won’t be able to use the big effect again for several rounds.

By the time you are able to use that big effect, the card has paid for itself, so the big effect is essentially free. However, because it takes so long before you can get that effect, and takes vigilant attention to make sure it happens when it does, it might never happen because the game ends sooner.

Also, some effects with “Add 0 counters” don’t allow you to put any resource counters on the card, which means they cost you another turn before being able to use the big effect down the line instead of helping you do it sooner. Adding more resource counters by activating an effect cost with a positive numerical value, however, causes you to be able to use the big effect sooner.

Other Uses for Resource Counters

You have already experienced cards in the Sith expansion that allow you to remove resource counters from your own Resource card to get an extra benefit, so Resource cards are now living up to their name. They can help you to pay costs of effects, which affects future card design, providing another alternate build cost.

In the future, there may be effects that will help you add resource counters for a cost or cause resource counters to be removed to prevent you from benefiting from the last ability. You could also spend resource counters to fulfill other effects, such as Missions, Battle cards, and activated ability, essentially sacrificing a turn or two to play the final effect for the benefit of the other effect for which you’re using the resource counters. Also, a card could say that for each effect in which counters are added (even “0” counter additions), add 1 more or for every counter added (only “1” counter additions), add 1 more, which would allow you to play the end effect sooner. There are many possibilities for Resource cards.


So now that you understand how to use Resource cards, let’s discuss reasons why you should use Resource cards and how you can do so in a way that is advantageous.

The Advantages of Resource Cards Over Missions and Locations

The closest comparable cards to Resource cards are Missions and Locations due to their build costs and effects that typically last throughout the round.

Resource cards are like Locations with activated abilities. In fact, Locations are really nothing more than Missions that stick around. So a Resource card is just another type of Mission. But these Missions usually cost a little more than normal Missions or Locations.

Missions usually only give you an effect that lasts only for that turn, and Locations provide effects that are active for as long as the card is active, but with Resource cards, you not only get an effect from turn to turn, you can change the effect you choose to use at a certain point. Not just this, but eventually you can get a one-off effect that causes the card to well exceed its value.

Locations can be replaced with your opponent’s own Locations, but your opponent’s Resource card doesn’t replace yours. Thus the reason for the cost difference.

Likewise Locations and Missions are both disruptable, but Resource cards currently have no disrupts. It would take an effect to remove your Resource card, and perhaps in the future there will be effects that disrupt resource effect activations. The unique nature of Resource cards not found in a Mission or Location card is that its counters can be used as another alternative cost for activated abilities as found on Darth Bane (C) and Darth Krayt (C), and likely eventually for Battle cards and Equipment.

Resource cards are the only non-unit cards that you can build during setup. This also gives a unique advantage of allowing it to be played during setup if the effect specifies it. But that’s for the future. No card currently allows such.

Using the Advantages of Resource Cards

We see so far that the advantages of Resource cards is their longevity, their ability to switch effects, to switch to an effect that makes the card worth more than its cost, to build the card during setup, to use its counters to pay costs, and its inability to be disrupted or replaced.

The build you’re paying in setup for the Resource card is an investment in a general advantage that your opponent has a hard time getting at. Thus, you’re investing in stability, and even predictability.

The special feature of the Resource card is its effect economy. So never miss your chance to activate a Resource effect.

Resource cards usually provide more than 2 effects. This gives you the opportunity to choose which one to use.

“Add 2 counter” resource effects tend to provide less or very limited effects. “Add 1 counter” resource effects tend to provide fairly useful round after round effects. “Add 0 counters” effects tend to provide exceptional effects that delay you from getting the ultimate effect. The ultimate effect is dependent upon you removing counters and provides a whiz-bang effect often equivalent to at least half the cards cost.

If the card has an “add 0 counters” effect, you can get best benefit from that particular effect if you simply use that throughout the game, as if the Resource were a Location.

Example: Bounty Hunter Arsenal would be ideal for a deck that depends upon Equipment, netting you the equivalent to 1 build point per turn. When used in conjunction with effects that negate the costs of equipping Equipment, this can make the Equipment extremely effective.

However, you can also use it to augment the other effects for emergency purposes or to get the effect in the first turn.

Example: Bounty Hunter Arsenal’s “Add 0 counters” effect would let you search for an Equipment to be able to begin to load up Dash Rendar (B) in the first turn as long as you have a Bounty Hunter, or prepare to equip Boba Fett’s Armor to Boba Fett in the first turn.

In order to get the most benefit from the big effect, it’s generally best to try and get to it as quickly as possible. So you will want to play the effects that add the most counters to the card and then play your big effect as soon as you can after you have enough counters.

Example: Playing the “Add 0 counters” effect on Bounty Hunter Arsenal would hold you back 1 round each time you use it. But if you stick to the “Add 1 counter” effect every round, you will be able to use the “Remove 6 counters” effect on the seventh turn, assuming the game lasts that long.

However, a card like Defend the Homeworld really has no controlled economy, only drawbacks and benefits. Though, if you stick to the “Remove 1 counter” effect, you can also benefit from other cards (currently only units) that have you remove a counter from your Resource card to pay another effect, so you still benefit fully with no additional drawback.

Each Resource card has its own dynamic character not found in any other card type. It is interactive and responsive. It gives a dynamic feel to the game that can’t be had any other way or anywhere else. It’s the first card type of its kind in any TCG. Don’t cheat yourself by passing this card type up as “not needed”. Every card type has its use and is “needed” if you build your deck with a focus toward its unique use.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and found it instructive. There are currently only 9 Resource cards in the game, but this will continue to grow slowly for now because we’re giving attention to the specific subtypes in the Legacy of the Force block of expansions, but after the Smugglers, Jedi and Yuuzhan Vong expansions, we will be giving more attention to Resource cards, many with a broader application.

Thoughts or comments? Visit the message board thread for this article here.

About the Author
C. J. has been a player of the game since 2003 and has worked on every IDC set in some capacity since FOTR. He is currently the Rules Chairperson and Graphic Design Chairperson. C. J. has written many other articles for the IDC, Rebelbasers.com, and the old DiehardOnline and has been a member of both the Wizards and Rebelbasers forums since January of 2004..

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