The game was first released in December, 1995. Over the years, Decipher added 11 full expansions to the original card base, as well as numerous smaller expansions, special purpose sets, and promotional releases. The last set was released by Decipher in the fall of 2001.
At the end of 2001, Lucasfilm chose not to renew Decipher's license, and instead granted this license to Wizards of the Coast, which used the license to create their own game. Decipher can no longer legally create new expansions to SW:CCG; many cards that were in development can never be released to the public.
As of fall 2003 SW:CCG still has an active playing community. The game is now administered by a Players' Committee, which interprets rules, organizes tournaments, and releases "virtual expansions" which give alternate game text for existing cards.
Compared to other trading card games, SW:CCG is complex and has a high learning curve. It has more rules than other TCGs, and some of these rules are obscure and seldom-needed. Some of the basic concepts (such as the distinction between "battle damage" and "attrition" in battle) can be counter-intuitive.
On the other hand the basic mechanics are innovative and flexible, giving SW:CCG an impressive game depth that appeals to serious gamers.
One other feature distinguished SW:CCG from other TCGs: while Decipher oversaw the game, no card was ever banned from tournament play. Decipher chose instead a strategy of releasing "magic bullets," cards which were aimed against specific cards or strategies that were deemed too powerful. In some cases, Decipher also used errata - a modification to game text that supersedes what is printed on a card.
Decipher produced two other TCGs based on the Star Wars universe: Young Jedi, based on the second Star Wars trilogy, and Jedi Knights. Neither of these games matched the popularity of SW:CCG. Both were discontinued when Decipher lost the Star Wars license.