I guess like most of the people here the story being in high school in the 90s!
I was one of those people that thought Star Trek was one of those things dorks watched. But my best friend watched it and he would talk to another kid about it in line for lunch at school. So I decided to "give it a go". The first thing I ever saw was Star Trek VI, and I like the movie but I didn't understand the history behind it (Klingons in TOS, David Marcus murder in STIII, etc).
But then I started watching TNG and the first episode I saw was Conundrum, and I loved it. Ro and Riker still give me the vapors LOL. My best friend had kind of explained some of the show to me so imagine Conundrum is the first episode you ever see, and you don't understand that Keiran McDuff (where is his card BTW, CC!) is not supposed to be there lol. I was a bit confused but enjoyed it. Then I saw BoBW part 1 later on, and I was hooked forever.
We lived in Massachusetts at the time and I believe it was in 1995 (I know it was before AU, only premier existed when we started) that my mother went to California for some sort of medical conference. She saw the STCCG cards somewhere about bough starters decks and a few boosters for me and my best friend. I had a bunch of Romulan/Federation (and a treaty to make them work) stuff and he had a bunch of Klingon stuff, so that's what we played for a good year. We didn't have a lot of extra cards so customizing didn't happen much lol
I god blown up a lot because the best ship I had was USS Nebula and he had a vor'cha and a couple k'vorts. I some point I came across a
My parents let me spend $5 on a Kurlan Naiskos at a card shop one day while visiting my grandparents in Connecticut. I had the Brady Games guide book and only dreamed of having some of the cards in there. Buying the Kurlan was like having pure gold in my hands. I was going to get the sucker on my d'deridex and then see how tough my Klingon friend felt. Yeah. Fly your little k'vort over here, bitch! lol
It proved harder to pull off than I thought lol. First, he had a Kevin Uxbridge, second I literally owned one CIVILIAN, Alexander Rozhenko. So being a Fed civilian I couldn't attack with him on board, BUT at least I could move about the spaceline with impunity. I believe I got an Ishara Yar at some point and then I could dump off the Feds and let my NA/Rom crew go nuts.
I spent most games:
Trying to get the Kurlan
Trying to dodge the Kevin Uxbridge
Waiting to draw into a Civilian
but when i did pull it off, I laid waste to him lol
When Decipher opened their message boards (remember threaded boards, I do! You can still see some in the decipher wayback machine.) I logged on an everyone was on there with names like Data, Picard, Jean-Luc Data, Data Picard, and I was like, just give me something unassuming that 1000 people aren't going to have some similar variation of. I like Romulans, and so I took Takket. Name has stuck with me through my whole life lol. I use it on every forum I post on... not just Star Trek CCG stuff.
When I went to college I kept playing. I went to Syracuse and "Major Rakal" Kathy McCraken was running tournaments out of a chemistry lab at Cornell in Ithica NY. Never played against her (she was the TD for these events) but did at least get to meet her. At Syracuse I met "Jono" (as he's known on these boards), and to borrow a Star wars term he taught me the "true nature of the force". I.E., you may actually want to get some decent cards and embrace the metagame if you don't want to get your ass kicked every week.
Jono brought me to the 1997 Decipher Exhibition Tournament Weekend in Rochester NY. (I played a constructed deck, don't remember what, and a sealed deck in what I believe was Decipher's first ever sanctioned sealed deck tournament.) That event was part of the "first ten years of STCCG" article Major Rakal wrote which someone actually found and posted here:
That sealed deck was I guess my peak as a STCCG player. I won the tournament and one of the Decipher gift boxes. These things:
https://cardguide.fandom.com/wiki/Premi ... pened.jpeg
I'd love to say it was skill... it was stupid luck. I pulled a bunch of those premier "engineering" missions. we all got Montgomery Scott in a warp pack. I also got a Wesley Crusher and I think an engineering kit too, so I just red shirted dilemmas and blew through all of the engineering missions to win my games.
At some point I won premier uncut sheets as well, but alas, they died in a basement floor about 15 years ago or so.
In 1999 I got married and moved to Michigan. Played in a few regionals here but never had much success. Cheese decks were all the rage and I hated them, so I always lost. I didn't play for a long time after that but I kept collecting and keeping up with game rules. After Decipher collapsed I discovered CC sometime later, and began playing again in 2018/2019, just in time for the pandemic to shut everything down!!! lol but i hope to do much more playing in the future.