LucasArts and Sony have announced Champions of the Force, a new virtual trading card game being launched as part of the Star Wars Galaxies fifth anniversary celebrations.

Champions of the Force is an online-only collectible card game, available to subscribers with a valid and fully-paid subscription to Star Wars Galaxies. Starter and Booster Packs will be available for purchase through the Sony Online Entertainment Station Store, and players will also receive five free booster packs per month as part of their subscription cost. Decks can be built for either the light or the dark side of the Force, allowing players to engage in trading card combat on behalf of either the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance.

The game will include both story-based solo play as well as one-on-one matches, “Heroic Encounters” and planned tournaments. Over 20 “loot cards” will also be included in the initial Champions of the Force release, which can be traded for virtual items to be used in Star Wars Galaxies.

All-faction “Empire Day” festivities are also scheduled to begin this week, marking the half-decade anniversary with events including Imperial parades, appearances by Princess Leia, in-game fireworks and more. All players will also receive in-game items including an Empire Strikes Back virtual poster, wearable goggles inscribed with a “V,” and the opportunity to vote in the Star Wars Galaxies Fifth Anniversary Fan Art Contest.

Champions of the Force is set to launch in late summer 2008.

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