Force Tip of the Day: What are the Main Determining Factors of Card Value?

Let me start off by saying that value is a subjective situation, as intrinsically, it depends on the person to determine how much a card is worth to them. To one individual, a card may be worth very little, where to someone else, it may be worth exponentially more. Of course, certain value standards are applied to specific cards, which are universally accepted, but even that may fluctuate based on the person. That brings about the question of determining the different variables that contribute to a card’s BASE value.

Rarity/Card Count

With no gameplay element in the Star Wars app, the game becomes more about amassing the biggest collection. Rarity is almost the largest part of the value pie, solely because supply and demand will force collectors to have a more difficult time adding the card to the collection. That doesnt mean that its the ONLY factor, but a rare card has a much more likely chance to be higher in the value spectrum than one that is higher in count. That’s also not saying that a readily available card cant also be valuable, not in any way. That being said, in terms of the CHANCE that the card could reach the high side, a low count helps.

Universe

Right now, I would categorize the SW app into three universes, with each having its own point of contribution to a card’s value. The most valuable of the universes is the original trilogy, more specifically Episodes IV and V. Anything attributed directly to the original trilogy will LIKELY have more value potential than a card from the other two.

The second on the list is obviously the new trilogy of movies, followed by anything associated with any of the cartoons. Considering that there are certain users that wont go out of their way to obtain cards built around the cartoon universe, it should not be surprising that this presents the least chance of adding value to a card.

Character

This one should be a no brainer, as I have mentioned prior that using certain characters is automatically going to make things more attractive to collectors. Guys like Darth Vader (not Annakin), Maul, and Han Solo will always have more potential than someone like a random droid or a random soldier – even in spite of any of the other elements on this list. I would even go so far as saying that Han Solo is focused upon as much as he is due to the Vintage card that has taken over the game. Normally I would put him below some of the other characters in popularity, but he is the Clayton Kershaw/Mike Trout of this game.

Because Character is almost 100% in line with the universe the belong to, or are presented in, that can also be a big factor. A card of Darth Vader from the original trilogy is likely going to be less valuable than a Darth Vader cartoon card, all other things being equal.

Marathon Status / Awards

I could just talk about this element as the probability of getting awards adding to a card’s value, but its more than that with the marathons in place. If a card is designated as a weekly insert, the value will automatically be higher than if it is not. If an award is expired, like we have seen with Planets, the value will drop, regardless of the other factors in this post.

Marathon cards are a very unique situation, as everyone wants to complete their sets, as long as they have most of the set. The further away from the set a person is, the more likely that type of card will be worth less to them.

We all know that the community has put Vintage atop the mountain in terms of which marathon set is worth the most, yet Widevision, Topps Choice, and Connections all have very similar appeal as well. If the marathon was not in play, the cards would not be as sought after. There was no clearer example of this than what happened with Jek Porkins card value the second that marathon text was added to that article. It went from a trade compliment to a trade centerpiece overnight.

Let me put it this way – an extremely limited version of an active marathon card from the original trilogy that features a popular character will be the most valuable card in the game.

Availability / Pack Format / Age

Im going to close with this factor, because its the biggest wild card in my opinion. Cards that have odd pack formats can sometimes be more valuable than ones that just have a regular format. Same thing can be said about cards received through awards vs cards that are pulled from packs. Rare cards you pull will be likely more valuable than rare cards you get as an award. Im not sure why that is the case, but it seems to be true.

Similarly, if a card’s pack format limits the availability, the value can be severely increased or sometimes decreased. The weirder the way to obtain the card, the more the value will change. Its quite surprising.

More important than any of these factors is age. If a card is new or newer, it will automatically be more valuable than older cards of a similar construct, with few exceptions. I have seen new cards from a set go for double the value of older cards from the same set that have lower circulation. Crazy.

Bottom line, value as a whole is something that makes the game go ’round. Now, Im not saying that you should run out and find a price guide, or even use eBay as a marker. That will only serve to make this game less fun. There is nothing more satisfying that finding that certain trade partner that perfectly fits your needs, giving up something that perfectly fits their needs. Desire will trump value in most cases, as a user’s preference can be a powerful tool. Dont ever forget that.

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Bunt Tip of the Day: Breaking Down the Pros and Cons of New Contest System

When 2015 Bunt Started, I was really excited to see that there was going to be a change to the way the fantasy sports elements of the game were going to operate. Last year’s structure was a grind for 162 game season, forcing users be a slave to the MLB scoreboard in order to achieve any of the top spots. With contests, it was a day by day opportunity to start from scratch, adopting the Fan Duel one day league structure. I thought it was going to be awesome. The question still remains of whether or not it is working as well as I had thought it would.

Positive Elements

If you have the time and the collection, contests can be a VERY lucrative venture. With each contest offering a relatively big prize, you can make quite a bit of coinage if you can operate similarly to last year. Even if you dont have the time, playing at least one or two contests per day will get you some nice little bumps in the amount of spending power you have.

Additionally, Best of Bunt is now a one day contest as opposed to a week long contest. Its much easier to plan out a lineup with a focus on the specific players you will need to finish in the top part of the contest week by week. Like we saw in Huddle with the throwdowns, people can stock up all month for a specific few games, and really kill the competition.

There are also a number of free elements to the game that give casual players a place to participate without risk, and still walk away with a shot at some coins. If you play the three contests each day, you will get an opportunity to make a lot of extra daily coins without paying in at all.

Lastly, as discussed above there is no longer a tie to the scoreboard on a daily basis. You play when you want to play, which can provide a lot of respite when you need it. So many times I crapped out on a week last week because I had to miss a night here and there. Not anymore. Missing time doesnt cripple you anymore.

Negative Elements

Its pretty clear that points isnt as big of a deal this year. Because there isnt the weekly and yearly chase to rise to the top, the competition is only between a few select people that still love playing along. Last year, more than 5000 users would compete and play during the course of the week, where as this year, only a few hundred play the daily contests.

I think it has to do with a lot of different reasons, but the fact that the chase doesnt extend past that one contest is a big deal. There is no incentive to play and play hard on a regular basis unless you want more coins to spend the next day. That isnt a good situation for the people who were driven by the competition that lasted the full year in 2014.

This is only exacerbated by the fact that the Champions packs are still relatively uneventful. Although they guarantee a Gold and an Insert, those prizes just dont have a good reason to dive in. Coins are great, but doesnt really do much for a lot of people from what it looks like.

Lastly, having the same contests available every day isnt really keeping things fresh. Although its a lot of work to build new contests, I dont see much variety, other than the occasional fun one that gets loaded here and there.

My Feedback

I thought we would have more opportunity to have contests that were SUPER unique. We need more variety and we need a bigger reason to play every day.

Contests need to be changed and build on a daily basis. Make them fun. Something like ONLY 9 cards allowed, or ONLY pitchers, or ONLY hitters, maybe game by game one day. Hell, what about ONLY players that have been in the majors more than 5 years? Make it really fun. Do a contest where you can ONLY play one type of boost, or a contest where only inserts are allowed. The best part is, you can still have these along side the normal contests in case people dont like them. Its only a day long commitment to the format at a time, so if something doesnt work, it doesnt need to come back for a second day.

The Champions packs need their own draw. Add in a raffle ticket for a special insert only available in those packs. Add in coin cards that deliver some big bonuses like 100k or something like that. Develop insert sets that are only available in those packs, maybe something like the Bowman Diamond cards last year. Have the opportunity to pull a card that when traded to the producers gives you one level up on your VIP. Something awesome like that.

I would also add in some sort of weekly leaderboard. Give points for winning a contest, and then scale down those points for finishing in the money. Create a reward for people who finish with the most points on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Starting in May is okay, we know things are new and will be adjusted. Dont write off a yearly contest because it got started late.

I realize the IT, design, and development commitment that will be necessary to build these elements, but I feel like it will be worth everyone’s time. These are just suggestions that dont factor in those limitations that we know exist. Hopefully some of them are possible.

Overall, make points a focus again, and do it by something other that FORCING people into a 10k challenge to drive up numbers. Do it the right way.

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Force Tip of the Day: Award Card Mania Begins Tomorrow!

Its here, its finally here! The day when all that time, money and energy you put into collecting the first 10 weeks of the marathons comes to fruition. The articles have made it very clear how important it is to collect the sets, and I cant wait to see how the awards shake out. This is always one of my favorite times in the app, as the award cards can be extremely exciting and also extremely valuable.

Background

Award cards and yearly marathons started back with 2014 Bunt, and continued through every app that Topps did. Each game has their own weekly sets, some being the cornerstone of the game, others being less important aspects of why the fans keep coming back. In Bunt, some of the weekly cards were so rare, that only a handful of people were able to complete the entire chase. It made for some very valuable cards.

Potential Counts

In SWCT, the lowest count insert in any of the Marathons is 1500, which will present a very interesting situation when we start to see how many people eventually got all of the cards required for each award. Remember, just because the count is 1500, does not mean that all 1500 will have the means to collect the whole set. My guess is that Vintage will be 300-400 copies, and the others will hover around 550-650 in the amount of the sets that got done.  Galactic will probably have the most as many of the cards were 5k in count and above.

Value

This is where things get tricky. I mentioned before that the award cards will not be worth as much as the main cards in the game. Vintage Han will still be the top card. Widevision Obi Wan and Sith Connections will still be worth more than the Vintage award too. Those cards just have too much of a reputation to be unseated atop the heap.

People like the chase in the Topps apps, sometimes to a fault, but they care more about the chase cards instead of the award cards in most cases. The sig rewards in Bunt have been a big exception to the rule, but it all depends on how the cards are created. If they are cool and special, people will want them.

At the same time, I can see Topps not wanting to waste their best material on a card that cant be pulled from a pack. That would kill the spending potential in that respect. Expect something that is really cool, but not game changing like we all believe it should be. If the Vintage award ends up being Darth Vader, ill be shocked.

Future State

I have already resigned myself that its going to be very difficult to complete the 5 sets I completed this time around. Ill probably sit on Vintage as most will, and continue to build the set. I have managed to get 10 dupes, so maybe I can trade for ones I dont have to complete the next leg. Then again, it all depends on the way the award cards are done. If they are a let down for one set, but awesome for another, that could be a big factor.

Color me very excited for tomorrow. Very excited. May the force be with you in your awards this week.

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Huddle’s Offseason Blitz Continues: Post Draft and Other Sets

I have been thoroughly impressed with Huddle’s offseason so far. Not only have they done some amazing things with the draft, but they have put out some of the best looking cards since the change to headshots. If you havent checked in lately, you are definitely missing out.

Draft Duals and Triples

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The draft cards are easily some of my favorite of the entire year, even more than some of the action shot stuff that came before week 2. Being that this is one of my favorite events of the year, I will fully support more cards as the offseason moves along.

The dual player and triple player cards are awesome, with variants adding to the chase that was already very difficult. The value of the top picks has been very high, as people have responded to the first opportunity to get cards of their team’s new weapons. I would love to see some more work get done with these, especially if the NFLPA will allow huddle to take things a step further. There are thousands of photos out there from years worth of rookie combines to use, and I would love to see what TOPPSALFRED can do with the new pictures.

Verdict: Game Winning Touchdown

Offseason Sigs

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When the first batch was released a few months ago, I absolutely fell in love with the design. It makes me wish that this was the way the head shot sigs looked all season, as the cards look more dynamic this way with the chalkboard theme.

The award sigs are even cooler, with the silver and gold to represent the white set and the variant set. Overall, these have been a tough chase, but are a big win for the people who stuck around. Very well done.

Verdict: Touchdown

Die Cut Series

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I was never a huge fan of the die cut series, mainly because I was a points player, and they didnt score. Although the black design is actually really cool, the blue design isnt one I like. I was happy to see that the award is Teddy Bridgewater, so obviously I chased down all five, but I think a cool re-design would be something worth everyone’s time.

Verdict: Field Goal

Limited Series

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This design is a huge upgrade over the original, and I think that the checklist has been pretty good as well. Because the cards are so rare, it can be veeeeeery difficult to collect the set, and I expect that Phillip Rivers will be one of the more exclusive award cards to pick up.

Verdict: Touchdown

Street Series

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This round of Street had a great checklist with Luck, Brees and company, and I think that the new design looks better than the original (as good as that was). My only complaint is that the award card is TY Hilton, which put a damper on everything. Hilton played very well in 2014, but has yet to really be someone that is worth collecting a set for. Just my thoughts.

Verdict: Field Goal

Overall, I cannot wait to see what Huddle has in store for the rest of the offseason, especially as the season draws closer. We all know that 2016 will depend on a lot of different factors, and based on what we are seeing, there are some definite bright lights at the end of this tunnel.

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Star Wars Unwrapped: My Five Favorite Insert Sets So Far

We all know that the inserts drive the game, and many of them are so valuable that they can shut down the servers across all four apps. Star Wars has had a number of really cool sets, and I think its worth talking about some of my favorites so far. Remember, these arent necessarily the most valuable, just the ones I like the most.

1. Film Quotes

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Star Wars has always been as much about the characters as it has been about the story or environment. Many of the quotes from the movie are among the most iconic in the history of cinema, which is why I love this set so much. Not only that, but it looks cool as a horizontal presentation with the film cell look to it.

2. Shred

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These cards are supposed to represent the feeling of opening up a real pack of cards, and I think they look really cool. The design easily accomplishes the theme they were going for, and the checklist has been awesome as well. I love the look of these cards.

3.  Widevision

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From a look and feel perspective, Widevision is the best of the weekly inserts in my opinion. It is a celebration of some of the best scenes in the movie series, and the movie theater like approach does many of these scenes the justice they deserve.

4. Vintage

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Star Wars and Nostalgia go together like lightsabers and focusing crystals. Vintage is the embodiment of that nostalgia, wrapping the fun of the original film series in a set that commemorates some of the great moments. The bent corners and creases add that extra level of old age.

5. Bounty

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This is a really fun concept, and I am actually surprised they have found a way to stretch it as far as it has already gone. The “wanted” poster style look is quite impressive, with futuristic twist, something I was a fan of since the beginning. I just think its a cool way to showcase some of the universe’s biggest villains.

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Bunt Tip of the Day – Why Are Sigs Such a Big Deal?

Ever since Bunt brought the sig to the app back in 2013, they have been a driver of the trade economy like no other sets. Although other cards like Limited can be more valuable because of rarity, they dont have the same draw as the signature series cards released every Wednesday.

Background

Baseball and autographs go back more than a century, with many of the game’s biggest pieces of memorabilia being signed items from before 1900. In the 20s and 30s, Babe Ruth became the game’s first real celebrity, and with his iconic stature, many people took autographs to a whole new level. Babe was notorious for signing baseballs by the hundreds, more than any other player of his time. Since that point, the autograph has become synonymous with sports, even to the point of parody.

Because autograph culture is woven into the fabric of the game, it was only a matter of time before trading cards got involved. Around 1990 and 1991, the first autograph baseball card was inserted into packs. Before then, fans took it upon themselves to get autographs on their favorite cards, but they were never available in packs. Fast forward to 2015, there are baseball card products that are almost 100% dedicated to bringing autograph content to collectors, some costing as much 500 dollars per pack.

When Bunt launched in 2012, it was a while before inserts really took hold. As the insert availability grew within the game, it should come as no shock that they would want autograph content to be a focus of that part of the experience. Even though its digital, the history of its necessary inclusion is well documented.

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Community Views

Being that it was one of the rarest inserts in the game during the first years of Bunt, and remains so today, the community puts a value on the cards above and beyond 99% of the other cards in the game. Sigs are a pure collection piece, many of which have zero gameplay advantage. They are status symbols within the app, which means that a top collection of sigs will warrant all those ooohs and ahhhs that fuel collector’s vanity based existence in the collecting world.

They are also the cards that have the longest odds, which means that it can take a lot of effort and money to obtain the ones you want. With the added Variant sigs to the pool of chase cards, it only gets crazier.

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Now, that doesnt mean that all sigs have the same value as the ones that populate the main set. Some of this is due to the marathon chase of collecting all the cards, but it also has to do with a bit of over-saturation. For many of the sigs that arent part of the main set, there isnt that chase that drives people to build a huge collection over the course of the entire season. The community of Bunt traders can be quite fickle about which sigs are valuable and which are less so, but overall, if a card has that signed name, its going to be desired.

The secondary part of the value comes from the rarity of the cards, as many of them remain the lowest count among many of the marathon inserts that are available. So far in 2015, there have been no sigs above 400, and even the dual sig is low at 660. Rarity always adds an element of trade value, as there arent as many floating around.

Chasing the Dragon

If you are like me, sigs drive your existence in the collecting part of the game more than anything. Its a rush to get the newest card, and its rare that one of your collection goes without a lock. Trading away sigs is a cardinal sin, and with every glance at a trade offer, that scan of the person’s card sheet for new targets becomes a habit.

Not everyone wants to get involved, though. Because of the cost, there are a lot of users who just cant afford to chase the most valuable cards in the game. To them, quantity can be just as important as quality, meaning their sigs will be traded to get a better collection of cards they like too.

It is an addiction of sorts. Its a way to stay on your toes, and when award card day rolls around, its like a second birthday party. I love that feeling, almost too much.

Transition to Other Apps

The success of the signature series program was immediately transitioned to Huddle and Kick from their inception, leading to a very similar culture among the new communities. Although Star Wars does not have a sig that they can use (actor’s likenesses are likely not covered or not desired under their digital license), that did not stop all the crossover traffic from deeming the Vintage series as the “sig equivalent.”

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Huddle has a unique situation, as the gameplay is almost more important than the collecting aspect due to their licensing. Sigs on boosted cards take more precedence in that environment, but the concept still holds true. What is a Topps sports game without sigs?

Future

Last year during the playoffs, we got our first taste of Parallax sigs, as well as a few other concepts that played really well. There are a lot of opportunities before we reach a point where people just dont care any longer, and I believe that Bunt will definitely take some enormous risks in that space. Sigs are their bag, and it makes more sense to build and strengthen that brand rather than just maintain it.

I would guess some really fun stuff is going to be coming down the pike, and I would love to see stuff like animation and sound be brought into the equation. Of course, that opens up a few complicated licensing issues, but nothing insurmountable.

Ultimately, it lies on us and our desire to keep participating in the sig game. I know Im on board this wagon until the wheels fall off. Time will tell for everyone else.

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Five Things I Would Love To See in Star Wars Card Trader

Being that the app is still very new by any stretch of the imagination, it may be a bit early to start lobbing ideas in this fashion. At the same time, when something is in it’s infancy, there is something to be said that this is the best time to be offering feedback on what the users are looking for. Here are some of the ideas I would love to see come to life.

1 – Movie Posters

Star Wars took the one sheet and single-handedly brought it back from obscurity back in the late 70s. The movie posters for each movie are a thing of legend – and for good reason. Where movie posters used to be a display of some of the best artistic talent, some of that luster was lost after the golden age of cinema concluded. The influence of the Star Wars movie posters has been felt as recently as today, even more so with the influx of superhero films that use the style. It would be great to do a six card run that celebrates the iconic stature of these posters. There is a reason people will pay thousands of dollars for the originals, lets bring them to the app.

2 – Weapons

We are already onto a new encouter with Bespin, something that I know a lot of the users love to chase. With Hoth and Geonosis, the sets dove deep into everything the planets had to offer, and I would love to see the same thing done for the different weapons in the movies. I mean, it could go as deep as trying to collect all the pieces of a lightsaber to get the finished product as the award card. How cool would that be?

3 – Anyone But Han Solo

We get it. Vintage Han in the Millenium Falcon is the best card in the game. That being said, he has more cards in the game than anyone else. Considering that Darth Vader is the number one movie villain of all time, and he has yet to be featured as prominently as many of the cartoons is almost a travesty in its own right. That being said, I love Han as a character, and see him as a defining character in the original trilogy. Regardless of my feelings, its time to go a different direction.

4 – Ships

The special effects in Star Wars were groundbreaking, if not only because of how well done they represented a futuristic era of space travel. The ships of the six movies are some of the most amazing accomplishments of that work, and they need to be celebrated. The game seems to focus a lot on the characters and less about the environment itself – something that made Star Wars so much more than just a movie series.

5 – Iconic Topps Sports Designs

One of the best things about the company that produces the app is that they have almost 75 years of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey designs. Some of them would be awesome to see translated into a digital format with the characters we love. Although we have gotten a taste of what they might look like through sketches in the recent Star Wars physical card products, I think there is room for more. They may want to keep the brands separate, but I think that is a huge mistake. Star Wars is all about nostalgia in much of its appeal, and this only furthers that sentiment. I would even go as far as saying this could be its own marathon.

I encourage everyone to reach out to them and continue to provide ideas, as I know they listen to what we have to say. If there is something you are looking for, make sure you let them know. Hopefully they can make some of our ideas real and you can see how your influence makes a difference.

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