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Catering to Nerds

I have some nerdy hobbies. This is neither surprising nor inappropriate, as I am a gigantic nerd. More gigantic by the day! One of my nerdy hobbies is a card game called "Vs." which is a CCG of superheroes fighting. I've played a lot of CCG's (Collectible Card Games) over the years, starting with the grandaddy, and a few others to boot. None of them got too much of a hold on me though, because they seemed more than anything to be a contest to collect, not to play.

But Vs. is different because it's half about deck construction, and half about solid play - and there are lots of good decks you can make without a huge amount of rare (thus expensive) cards. A few proxies, and you can play well without spending a fortune, and without being in an escalation to spend more and more in order to win. You COULD play that way, but you certainly don't have to - cacofunny is a perfect example of that - his decks are brutal and his play sharp, and he just started.

There are two stores locally where they sell these cards. While it doesn't cost a fortune to play, neither is it very cheap, either. That's one reason why I play just the one game - can't afford it! One of these stores has the right idea - foster competitive play amongst patrons with both hobby league tournaments and casual play, be enthusiastic about the product and give freebies with larger purchases, and more than anything - respect each patron's interest in the game. They sell lots of games - Magic, WoW TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh, all of 'em - as well as sports cards and other collectibles. And every person that comes in the owner talks to, tells them what's coming up, and is basically "into" whatever it is you're into when you walk in the door.

And there's the other place - that specializes in sports cards, but also carries plenty of TCGs, as many as the other place. And the owner there can't be bothered to find out anything about the games the customers play, is sort of supercilious, never, ever has people playing in the store - and more than anything seems to be subtly looking down at anyone who isn't into baseball cards. Why would I want to buy cards from that guy?

If you're in the business of selling things to nerds - I can't believe this needs saying, but for pants' sake, be nice to nerds!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 3rd, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
Game Empire in Pasadena is where Elizabeth plays in Pokemon tournaments on Sundays. Have you ever been there? They have a "play room" with tables and lots of scheduled events. And the staff is great.

Also, they have a section of used games and clearance stuff, which I mention because I have seen Vs. in the clearance box of card games. You should definitely check it out the next time you are over this way.

Dec. 3rd, 2008 04:54 am (UTC)
Dec. 3rd, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
The store I usually go to on Tuesday nights follows the model of your first example, though he does slant his inventory towards specific games. Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon, while sold, are more there for the random visitor. His stock and trade is in Magic and L5R (yeah, go figure!). I wanted to buy more of the Vs Legends cards but he doesn't have any at all. Only Legion of Super Heroes, Heralds and the one with Shadowpact (can't remember the set name).

I used to collect baseball cards as a kid. The card manufacturers completely obliterated the market. It used to be Topps set and Fleer set. Then Upper Deck came in with INCREDIBLE cards to compete. What did the other two do? Rather than improve upon their core sets, they launched a ton of additional sets. Market got flooded, card prices dropped, market sucks. Sad, really. It's been so long since the last time I looked at a baseball card, let alone bought one.

And yeah, CCGs are expensive. I'm doing three right now... ugh. What I don't recognize is TCG. What's that stand for?
Dec. 3rd, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
TCG - Trading Card Game. Same thing.

What makes a good baseball card vs. a bad baseball card?
Dec. 4th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
The card stock they used changed when Upper Deck came into the picture. I'm sure you're familiar with the classic cardboard feel of the old cards Topps put out, with the drab brown backing, glossy front and sharp corners. Fleer used the white card stock, thinner than the comic book backings, which still had a cheapish feel to them. Upper Deck came in and (a) thickened the card stock considerably and (b) introduced the concept of the hologram logo and special foil cards to entice collectors to buy far more random packs than they normally would have.

Because of this, Topps and Fleer were forced to compete on Upper Deck's level, yet rather than ditch the traditional style, they launched supplementary sets with similar card stock as Upper Deck's. So now, instead of having, say, three rookie cards on the market (Topps, Fleer, UD), you were getting 6-10 different rookie cards on the market (UD x1 or x2, Topps x2 or x3, Fleer x2 or x3). The traditional cards were poorly priced because of cost, the flood of rookie cards dropped one another's price down, and the entire market went to crap.

So for me, good cards vs bad cards is a date thing. Pre-UD is good. Post-UD Year One is bad.
Dec. 4th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
Got it. Thanks - I had no idea!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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