Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Trading Card Game

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope the festive period has been awesome for all, and that the snow has not caused too much disruption. Turns out when you leave school, snow is not what it once was (although i have still used it as an excuse not to go to uni!)

Before we get started, i just wanted to let everyone know that i am pricing up my entire collection to sell. I am basically pricing at the buy prices of the major uk traders. I will then offer everything at these cheaper than Ebay prices to all the guys in Leeds, and whatever is left i will sell off to a UK trader. I will have the lot on here in a couple days, and wil have my folders priced up and with me over the next couple of wednesdays as well.

Anyways, so i havent had much to write about over the last couple weeks, being pretty busy over christmas and all that. Now that im back in Leeds...i still dont really have much to say. The season is at a pretty quiet point, with no tournaments too close to the horizon, although mercifully it is getting to the point where extended will be the hot topic for a couple months.

With this in mind i decided to write an article about trading, because i few recent experiances made me realise both how fundamental trading is to a person's experiance playing magic the gathering, and also how much of a moral issue it is (at least for me), and after all, magic is a trading card game i guess.

So what's the big issue with trading?

Trading magic cards is pretty simple on the surface, you swap folders, point at a card then go away happy right?

i have until pretty recently felt pretty awkwark about trading because the above scenario almost never happens. What actually happens is there is scuffling over the supposed value of certain cards, when both players are using different sources for the secondary market (a completely fluid and dynamic entity) for there values etc all gets very boring and then you both walk away from a deal.

The result of my finding trading awkward is that basically i let people get good trades with me because i would get cards i want out of it. Im not saying i got absolutely ripped off, but i would get something for my standard deck and they would get something more valuable. Ill still happily give good trades to people i know and like, because i respect them enough to return the favour, but the sad thing is that im sure others will have felt the same; and its sad that less experianced players may be put off trading, particularly when it can be one of the most fun and sociable things about the game.

not really sure where this is going, looks like this had just turned into some sort of rant about how much i hate 90% of magic players, so i guess thats where we'll leave it.

Anyway, the main point of this article is people getting ripped off in trades.

From personal experiance, i know that there are certain people that will trade their misty rainforest for my shivan dragon (p.s. there's no fucking way i would trade my 11p shivan dragon for a misty rainforest), and obviously you walk away feeling pretty damn good. However, this is pretty bad right, i mean is it really worth the misty rainforest to do this to someone?

I think there a lot of factors which come into apparently simple world of trading which guide my consistantly faulty moral compass as to how hard i can push a trade

this is my normal trading process, which i think is the best way to ensure i get decent trades and the person im leaving with goes away happy, without a massive hassle and borrowing the TO's computer to check how much X and Y are on starcitygames or something (this has happened to me)

  • look experiance of a player

The experiance of a player is for me the biggest factor in rinsing someone. If im trading with johnny 10 years old, then im not going to rip him off, but a seasoned veteran should know the score, and i will happily go for a busted trade - the main problem here is that the best trades come from the less experianced player.

  • let them know the value of the cards

This is a pretty grey area, because iv already said that card value is fairly subjective. By this i mainly mean that when im about to get a trade that i think is ridiculous i say that i think the stuff i want is worth more than the stuff they want.

  • Ask them to take more

this is normally the follow up for the above point. When the guy your trading with adds a devout lightcaster to the shivan dragon he wants, you sigh and say thats ok

  • Ask them if they are happy

I find this is the best way to avoid bullying, not that i would intentionally do it in any form. I think, especially when dealing with younger or less experianced players, asking them if they are ok with a trade adds the final nail to the moral coffin, and ill happily walk away with the misty rainforest at this point

  • At a later date, give away a good trade

as iv already said, for a long time i gave away good trades just because trading is pretty awkward, and still now i will trade away stuff of mine which i know to be more valuable. Why? well most of the time im happy to get cards i want to play with, which is far more important than nonsence dragon being worth 50p more. Also, it may make me feel better about a criminal trade i may have done before.

Im not really sure if any of this article is of any use to anyone, but its something for me to write and you to read i guess. I think the point is that there are ways to get hugely profitable deals without either being a bully or a massive twat; and more importantly both parties can leave happy and informed. The horrible temptation with trading is of course that the less informed someone is then the better trade you can get, so i think it's a massive moral issue. I think the way people trade magic cards is a massive indication of people's character, and i find it really interesting watching people trade.

O well hope you enjoyed this, and im really interested in hearing other people's views on trading, paeticularly if they differ from mine. Im fully aware that there are people that are of the view that the players have a responsibility to know the value of their cards etc and this means that you can rip people at will, but i dont know.

Maybe i just wanted to write this to make myself out as a robin hood type character, the allure of pantaloons is once again my downfall.

Anyway, next time you are trading your one with nothing for a Garruk, in a vain attempt to make coverage, consider the above.

See you all soon,


As always, feel free to post comments underneath. If you would like to contribute anything to the blog, email anything you want published to (for severe editing!)

1 comment:

  1. I agree. The values of cards are subjective, but they tend to be distributed around a mean value and so long as those two mean values don't look too different then it's probably fine. I'm happy to lose value in a trade if I am getting rid of cards I will never play and would otherwise struggle to get rid of (since those cards are currently worth £0 to me, the trade is like free money). I will happily rip someone off if I have made it clear of how I value cards (which I always do honestly).