30

DispatchMetaGameplay

by The Regional Nation of The Northern Light. . 519 reads.

The Monthly Snapshot - Issue 2


- (1) -. (2) . (3) . (4) . (5) . (6) . (7) . (8) . (9)


Overview

The Monthly Snapshot is a regular publishing of information in regards to happenings within the NationStates Cards. It details overall market use (by players), the most notable cards, the most recognizable traders, card events, and more!


Why Should I Read This?

As to why it is advisable to read the Snapshot, it is due to the fact that NationStates Cards is a growing and expanding feature. It was supposed to have only been an April Fools event in 2018, but it was later kept due to a massive effort by players to keep the feature. Therefore, administrators and players have been tirelessly working to make cards more interesting, and the Monthly Snapshot serves to highlight ongoing things players might've skimmed past (due to the relatively new addition of cards as a whole).


(1) . - (2) - . (3) . (4) . (5) . (6) . (7) . (8) . (9)

||| Backstory ||| | ||| Overall Reasons ||| | ||| Conclusion
.


Narrated by current Guildmaster Praeceps.

Backstory

Back when cards first came out during April Fools, r3n considered in private the potential for cards to be used for regional development. A year and a half ago, the first public mention of using cards for regional development was discussed by yours truly. A couple months later, the first use of cards for regional development in NationStates began in The North Pacific. A year and a half down since cards were first publicly discussed, The North Pacific has utilized cards in a number of ways to grow the region in aspects from citizenship, to endorsing others, participating in the military, and more. The North Pacific Cards Guild, founded just over seven months ago now has nearly 100 members - more participants than many communities have roleplayers or members of their military. As a result of cards programs, we have seen a quantitative increase in WA endorsements, citizens, and individuals getting involved in other aspects that they would not have originally.

Abroad, almost every major region has used cards at some point for regional development or has privately looked into them. These regions have committed to cards to varying degrees; the majority of them are continuing to grow their cards community and programs at different paces. Yet, despite the amount of time that cards have been around, the amount of time that regions have had to use them, and the results that regions have shown by using them, not that many regions are using cards.

Why not? The only reason I can imagine is that regions remain unconvinced of the benefits. Regions that have not yet committed to using cards should begin doing so for the better of their regions; regions that are not fully invested into cards should be. There are a number of reasons which make cards so attractive for regions (all of which have been provided below):


Overall Reasons

1. A Community Unto Itself

Any region which is attempting to holistically engage in NationStates should be engaging in cards as there is a significant community there. Much like roleplay, military, spam games, and general discussions, offering cards as an activity for a nation to get involved in will help recruit and retain them. After a nation has gotten involved, there is the potential for this nation to then get involved in other aspects of the region. Many nations which joined TNP for the Cards Guild have then gotten involved in the Regional Assembly, the World Assembly or the North Pacific Army - all ancillary benefits received at a time when the government was not expressly encouraging those individuals to get involved in those activities.

2. Can Be Done Alone or With Others

A benefit of the cards game is that a member of a region is able to participate without needing others to participate as well. This can be a weakness of other activities such as spam games and R/D in that it typically necessitates another individual from that region to be participating. This can be expressly challenging in R/D when people have to be online at the same time. It can be difficult to start communities where a group of people are needed to get it going. While it is obviously slower for a cards community to grow when starting with one player as opposed to several, a player alone is still able to fully participate in the cards game without having others. When other players join in of course, the benefits for the regional community exponentially increase initially, as there is opportunity for discussion and collaboration among those players.

3. Ability for Varying Commitment from Governments

As seen through the regions which have ongoing card programs, those that had a cards program for a while, and those without any, there are many different approaches regions can take to cards. A benefit of cards is that regional governments are able to take different commitment levels to it (obviously, the greater the commitment, the better the return). If a government is not able for whatever reason to fully commit resources to cards and in a sustainable fashion, there remains options for the region. The government can hold a cards event for a short period - TNP has done this at multiple times. This offers the potential for returns without needing to commit resources for the long-term; the rewards brought in by these efforts can be long-term as well. Other areas in which governments dedicate resources might necessitate a long-term commitment to have impact: such as R/D, stopping training of new players, etc. will result in a negative impact down the line if resources are removed.

4. Within The Game

A number of other activities in NationStates popular among regions necessitates that players get involved off-site in order for communication. This is especially true among major regions to participate in their forum RP, military, or government. Nations can be more hesitant to join these aspects of the region as they take more commitment than just playing NationStates. By having cards as a focus for the region, it helps to retain new nations to the region. Then, it provides a way to help those nations then integrate to other parts of the region either passively or actively (eg. "come join our Discord server where we talk about cards").

5. Incentive Potential

Cards have an amazing incentive potential: they are in-game, tangible, and valuable. Other rewards used in NationStates such as images of ribbons and trophies can be less impactful without the value associated. With cards, as long as the nation is interested in them, they are extremely enticing. Furthermore, cards can be used as other incentives instead of just as prizes for competitions. Cards can be used to entice nations to participate in certain activities (e.g. endorsing the Delegate, voting in an election, etc.) by offering cards to a select number of (or all) participants. The incentive that cards offer is remarkable when put into effect.


Conclusion

TNP has been able to benefit from all of these diverse attributes effectively. When developing our cards programs, we kept all these characteristics in mind. Obviously, I am quite aware of the benefits to regions from cards; how did others which have started cards programs get motivated? I was curious to know how what I would call the second most developed regional cards program was motivated to get started. HumanSanity (HS) is in charge of 10000 Islands's (XKI) cards program. He explained to me that he was in charge of regional events and was wanting to incentivize players to participate in the events (Reason #5!). Despite not having a government cards program, XKI did have a cards community that was supported by having a Discord channel (Reason #3!). HS specifically mentioned that they were wanting to use a reward that was tangible (instead of a badge that would go in a signature) and "the explicit intent of using that to help us integrate on-site users to the off-site community". HS has now descended down the rabbit hole that is the trading cards game and XKI now has programs to help XKI's cards community specifically (Reason #1!).

It is clear that there are a variety of benefits to regions from those individuals that have been administering regional cards programs. The only question I have, is if your region has not started to use cards yet, why not?


(1) . (2) . - (3) - . (4) . (5) . (6) . (7) . (8) . (9)


What's Been Going On?

For the last two months, many more changes and additions have been made within the cards community. This includes the following:

1. Auctions Can No Longer Extend Past 1 Hour - To be more accurate, one hour and one minute. This change was implemented by game administrator Ballotonia as a direct result of an immensely long auction of a card that will be discussed more in detail later. The auction was extended to the point where it lasted more than ten days, and the process of extending it caused massive server loading issues when pulling up the information for that card, leading to auctions no longer being extendable past one hour + one minute.

2. Additional World Assembly Resolutions Have Been Passed that Discussed Cards - It might come off as a shocker to some, but the one written by Bormiar would not become the only Security Council resolution that includes content relating to international artwork. Though this took several months after the passing of Security Resolution #287 to come to fruition, three more have been added to the list of passed resolutions! This includes: 1) Security Council Resolution #303 - Commend Destructive Government Economic System by 9003, 2) Security Council Resolution #305 - Condemn Psychotic Dictatorships by Morover, and 3) Security Council #309 - Commend Vilita and Turori by Francois Isidore.

The latter two resolutions make rather passing mentions of cards, which, while it doesn't particularly make cards the main topic of discussion for those resolutions, allows for international artwork to truly be seen as something worth writing about in these widely-read resolutions. And of course, for Security Council Resolution #303, this point of making cards a notable venture within the World Assembly is further enhanced by the fact that, like Security Council Resolution #287, this particular piece solely discusses actions taken within the international artwork industry, allowing for cards to be a stand-alone reason for the World Assembly to be seeking out candidates for future proposals such as the ones written!

Overall, the passing of these three resolutions has led to nations confirming (whether to themselves or other nations) the fact that cards truly are topics of note within other large bodies within NationStates - particularly the World Assembly itself!

3. Gambling Has Been Introduced to the International Artwork Trade - In this case, a legal form. Instigated by Harmonic Empire, cards have seen an interesting utilization in which one player, as seen in this example, is forced to sacrifice one of their cards in the hopes that they'll win a much more valuable one in the future! Seeing that this is solely a card-based gambling system, it is completely legal and therefore likely to continue in the future.

Due to the widespread interest this event caused (including participation from traders such as Ballotonia, Xoriet, and more), one must wonder as to whether other users may take inspiration from this creation and start their own gambling-based events within their own time.

4. Ownership of the Only Official Means to Promote Your Collections Has Changed - Due to its status as a pinned thread, this particular forum topic has long been the only mod/admin-endorsed method for traders to promulgate their collections. However, the curator of this topic (i.e. Ponderosa) had lately stopped maintaining the thread for unknown reasons, leading them to permit Giovanniland - a known trader within the trading community - to create their own thread. This aforementioned creation has now replaced the one created by Ponderosa, and is regularly being updated by the host in order to include as many nations' collections as possible!

5. Card Duplication Has Become a Fully Exploited Feature of the Game - At least 1 month ago, it had been discovered that continuously bidding on a card (during its auction) will lead to more copies of that card being generated from packs. This knowledge has led to immense success regarding the pulling of hard-to-obtain cards. In fact, this success has become so notable that it has also raised controversy as to whether this system should even remain within the trading community.


The Future of Auctions?

With auctions now having a 1-hour time limit placed upon their extension period, you may be asking yourself as to how this new change will affect future auctions:

Realistically, this will do very little with regards to the auction meta, seeing that, while auction extension time now has a limit, the actual auction duration is unaffected due to players still being able to increase said duration by 1 minute each time they overbid or reduce an ask.

For long-term auctions that either 1) seek to break a world record or 2) wish to pull specific cards out of packs, however, traders will expect to find themselves monitoring these more closely in the future. This is due to the fact that they can no longer extend these as long as they want to, having to let the auction reduce in time before being allowed to increase its overall duration again. With this in mind, collaborative auctions - auctions that are tended to by multipla traders - will likely be utilized more often should the goal (for those auctions) be long-term.

With these facts in mind, it ultimately depends on which type of auction a trader is dealing with. If it is a normal auction to obtain a card, then the aforementioned changes will affect a trader's dealing (with that auction) by a bare minimum, but if it is a specialized auction that is intended to last for an extended period of time, then increased efforts may be required in order to maintain the existence of said auction.


Why Has the Card Duplication System Become Controversial?

As to why said controversy is as such, this is due to the fact that, should many copies be generated as a result of this card duplication system: 1) it is possible to easily Linkinflate your nation's deck value - using those duplicated copies - to the top of the leaderboard, or 2) deflating a card's market value becomes much simpler due to the amount of sales that will come from selling off those extra/generated copies.

Some traders will doubtlessly take offense as to how their long-made effort to achieve their rank in deck value gets suddenly overtaken via quick use of the card duplication system, while other traders will be annoyed if that same system leads so many copies of a card they own to be generated (due to the increased supply overall lowering their owned card's value), leading to an uncertain future as to whether this system will continue to be in place, let alone be promoted by the traderbase!


(1) . (2) . (3) . - (4) - . (5) . (6) . (7) . (8) . (9)


General Trends

Link

Link

Thanks to Racoda for making the GIF!


Any Noticeable Shifts?

Since the beginning of 4/1/2020 to 5/31/2020, overall trading activity has continued to increase, just as it has been for the previous months.

For auction activity, it has gone up by at least 500 average trades, therefore leading the new mean to be 3000 daily auctions.

As for gifting activity, it has increased from the previous average of 1000 to an estimated 1200 per day. As in the previous edition, there seems to be no definite trader(s) that are causing this increase, and it can only be deduced that this upward trend has been a result of a growing increase in artwork trading by the international community.

And finally, when taking a look at seasonal trends, overall trading activity for Season 1 cards has slightly increased as of 4/1/2020 as a result of increased trading activity by the entire playerbase. It currently sits at a minimum 500+ trades (an increase in comparison to the 400 it was sustaining before April), though this momentary increase might not last due to Season 1 cards being difficult to obtain. In contrast to Season 1 activity, Season 2's daily trades are faring much better. Like Season 1, Season 2's activity has increased, but (unlike the former) its mean has increased by an entire 1000 trades, therefore making daily trading activity an estimated 3000-4000 at any given moment!


(1) . (2) . (3) . (4) . - (5) - . (6) . (7) . (8) . (9)


Section written by Noahs Second Country.

General Trends

Link

Thanks to Racoda for making the GIF!


Any Trend Shifts?

Starting from 4/1/2020, rarity trends have continued to increase, with daily activities per rarity (barring legendary cards) being upped by a minimum 100-200 since the end of March!


Overall Trend Differences?

Over the past 2 months, we've seen quite a few changes in the number of each rarity traded.

At the beginning of April, it is clear that the number of rare transactions spiked, becoming the most traded rarity for a short term before slowly falling off, peaking at nearly 2500 rares traded on the market in a single day. This occurrence was the first time this year that commons were overtaken in total trades by another rarity. The cause? S2 Rares Collector began their mission to collect every single rare card of Season 2, cleaning up all of the preexisting asks over a relatively short period, a process that consisted of bidding on more than 11000 cards. 3 days later, Mara Jade-Skywalker pulled a similar stunt, buying Season 1 rares hundreds at a time for their own volume collection. Once the easier cards were bought, trades on rares slowed down significantly. By the end of May, auction trades of rare cards seem to have stabilized around 400 trades per day.

A small spike in the number of epic trades came as a result of The Northern Light gifting out hundreds of epics to Keepers of the North for Security Council Week. Besides this, epic trading over the 2 month period generally moved with the rest of the market, rising when the market was more active (presumably as a result of farmers opening packs), and falling on off days. This level of steadiness can primarily be attributed to Frisbeeteria, who has consistently offered junk value for epics throughout the season, a deal taken by many traders throughout the cards sphere.

Legendary cards continue to be the least traded and most consistently traded card rarity. There are no visible spikes or changes that apply to other rarities, most likely as a result of their scarcity, especially when most legendary cards end up in the deck of traders such as Mikeswill or Koem Kab.

Ultra rare cards also show predictable market activity, with very few fluctuations in terms of total trades. With an ultra rare mass collection being completed early in the season, there are very few people actively collecting large numbers of ultra rares.

Uncommons and commons have unsurprisingly dominated the market for nearly every day except for the few where rares overtook them. The cheap cost and high spawn rate mean that they will be traded at a much higher frequency.

In perhaps the most significant event of the above visual, trades of rares, commons, uncommons, and epics all spiked as a result of 9003's Olympics ending. With contestants competing to purchase the most cards of a given rarity, all of these cards were purchased at junk value en masse. Most notable is the increase in uncommons, which came as a result of fierce competition in the category between Noahs Second Country, Bawkie, and Morover. We can expect a similar trend going into future months, with 9003 expressing their intentions to continue Olympics of this type.

Overall, commons remain the most traded rarity at nearly 2200 trades/day for their accessibility, followed by uncommons with 500-600 trades/day and epics at 400-500 trades/day (overtaking rares from the last snapshot). Rares, though seeing an explosion of activity during mid-April, have slowed down to a mere 400 trades per day, while ultra rares lag behind at only 300-400 trades per day. Predictably enough, there only seem to be around 100-150 legendary trades per day, with nearly half being gifts in most cases.


(1) . (2) . (3) . (4) . (5) . - (6) - . (7) . (8) . (9)


Card Description - Season 1 Valentine Z

Number of Owners: 110

Total Number of Trades (Including Gifts): 289

Number of Collections Season 1 Valentine Z is Featured in: 42

Junk Value: 0.50

Market Value: 18.50

Highest Sale of Card: 4/10/2020 for 93.09 bank

Most Recent Sale of Card: 5/12/2020 for 14.00 bank

Most Recent Gift of Card: 5/20/2020 by Carthyastan


Why is this Card So Popular?

Season 1 Valentine Z is the card of the popular roleplaying user, Valentine Z, that recently was subject to a gamebreaking auction that lasted at least ten days!

This card's auction was instigated by trader Destructive Government Economic System on 3/28/2020, who initially extended the auction by (at minimum) 48 hours. After this, several other traders (most notably 9003, Noahs Second Country, Inven, Evrigenis, and Pangurstan) began to aid in the process of extending the auction as long as possible. Season 1 Valentine Z's auction would then last past the entire duration of the 2020 World Assembly Secretary-General elections (during that time, the auction for Valentine Z's card was even used as material for the actual user's campaign!), with the auction's timer - at one point - being extended to the milestone of Link100 hours.

Notably, this was the one auction in which Linkdirect administrative action became a result. This is due to the fact that the process of reaching the 100-hour milestone involved continuously overbidding a trader's offer to the point where the auction's history of "recent moves" was clogged with - in a literal sense - thousands of these moves, leading to severe loading issues for that card's page. Said administrative action involved the limiting of extending an auction's timer to merely 1 hour + 1 minute, leading to Valentine Z's auction to no longer be extendable beyond the already-extended timer (though people still kept extending it once they were within the 1 hour + 1 minute extension limit - this continued for several more days).

The auction for this card became the last known example of an auction whose timer was extended past the minimum milestone of 1 day, and is the only known proof where auctions could only sustain 2 digits in terms of timer length (if the timer were extended to 3 digits, for example, 100 hours, then the timer would simply roll over to another set of 2 digits). In addition, several players were able to pull this card during the 10+ days the auction lasted, leading the card's auction to (effectively) serve as a pull event for some. With all this in mind, this card became extremely famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) for breaking what the international artwork community thought was possible!

[Note: full details regarding the auction can be found here.]


(1) . (2) . (3) . (4) . (5) . (6) . - (7) - . (8) . (9)

||| Trader Profile ||| | ||| Interview |||
.


Trader Profile - Farrakhan

Farrakhan is a notorious trader who is the only known trader to have Linksurpassed Koem Kab in deck value for a brief time. The thought that Koem Kab would ever be overtaken (even if for a short while) in the #1 spot in this leaderboard is nearly unthinkable, yet Farrakhan - with immense dedication to their exploits in trading - managed to do so!

After analyzing their trading methods, it seems that they had managed to achieve this feat by the self-imposed inflation of their own card, and collecting that card to the point where their card's inflated market value, with respect to the amount of copies of their card they possessed, had effectively multiplied to the point where they were able to make it to the very top of the deck value leaderboard. As to how said inflation occurred, this was done by Farrakhan continuously purchasing copies of their own card for exorbitantly high prices, with the funding that allowed them to perform such high purchases coming from multiple nations utilized for card-based actions, the most notable of these being their satellite state Gold Crescent Alistan.

No doubt that these purchases, while clearly intended to benefit Farrakhan themselves, also led many players to scramble to obtain a copy of this trader's card in order to sell for immense profits, leading the overall reputation for Farrakhan to be quite mixed: on one hand, they are infamous for being the largest example of utilizing inflation to manipulate the market, while they've also received positive feedback from the traderbase for (quite effectively) making even the most unknown of traders extremely wealthy within the span of a few hours!


Interview

Due to efforts by The North Pacific Cards Guild, NationStates had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interview Farrakhan! Here's what the user had to offer:

1. What was your primary goal when increasing your card's market value to such an extreme?

Farrakhan: I work in Financial Services and have always enjoyed the numbers/statistical aspect of NationStates. For years, I focused on answering issues and climbing the World and Regional Rankings for aspects of the game that would create the type of Nation I would ideally like to live under (ie. Human Development Index, Health, Environment, Intelligence, Integrity, Lifespan, Safety). Once I started paying attention to what Card Trading actually was (late March of Season 1) it was natural for me to dive into the value/mathematics element of Trading Cards. Being so far behind other players who were already well versed in the mechanics of the game gave me an incentive to be creative in developing my own system. For added fun, I gave myself a deadline (end of the year) to reach the top Deck Value. So from my perspective, it was a race against time, nine months or fail. In practice, I accomplished my goal in late July (just over 4 months).

I started with the question, how is wealth built? If one looks to the real world, the wealthiest men in society (ie. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Warren Buffet) are first and foremost owners of a tremendous amount of shares in their own company's stock. They use market strategies (stock options, share buybacks, market-making) to strategically increase trading volume, stagger velocity and enhance their shareholder value. So my first strategy was to learn from what works and commit to building a position in one specific card (in this case Farrakhan) that was at the outset undervalued by the market (ie. low trading volume and price, but with active players from whom I could solicit purchases from). From the moment I started, I knew using the Multiplier Effect was the most logical and efficient way to achieve my objective. Conversely, the development of Farrakhan (my wealth card) was essential to fulfilling the potential of the multiplier effect. The two worked hand in glove.

The four-step formula was:

i. Build volume in a wealth card (in this case copies of Farrakhan)
ii. Capital Formation (ie. Card Farming)
iii. Saving (ie. Reserve Bank)
iv. Investment (ie. Strategic Trading)

2. What was your biggest challenge in keeping that market value up?

Farrakhan: Maintaining a specific market value was never a challenge. The system I created used a Reserve Bank (I'll give further insights later on) to set a daily MV target range for both Open Market Standing Bids (set at 10% of Reserve Bank Capitalization) and Direct Market Operations (which would range from 25% to 33% of Total Wealth/Reserve Bank Savings). There was never a price outside of that which the Farrakhan card had to be, and any event (market hazard) that caused a temporary fluctuation below could be easily absorbed by the system as a momentary blip. With consistent Card Farming, my savings base was always readily re-capitalized (I would farm between $30 - $350 of value per day depending upon the composition of the cards produced and sold at auction).

The biggest challenge was to balance hitting my Deck Value goal with-in the self-imposed time frame, while not compromising the fiscal discipline needed for my Reserve Banking system to be successful. As I was working under opposing constraints, one would eventually have to come at the expense of the other. There was always going to have to be a trade-off. In looking back at the Trade History log, that moment came in early July. Farrakhan had reached a sufficient combination of volume/CMV with-in the algorithm that there was enough total savings on hand between my Wealth and Reserve Banks to use the multiplier effect to hit the top DV in the immediate term, but that was only if I was willing to allocate the capital without adhering to the system restraints. I knew the math and the consequences involved, but I decided it was worth doing to accomplish the overall mission. It was like a soldier in a wartime situation, you make the sacrifice. I hit my mark a few weeks later.

3. Would you encourage others to increase their own card's market value?

Farrakhan: It depends on the personality and style of play that appeals to each person. I highly doubt that those who are content with a casual one card Bingo style of play (no active card farming, play passively from the capital stock of one nation) would find the necessary time investment, discipline, and level of strategy required to be appealing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the Bingo approach (it constitutes the vast majority of NS players, and there is an art to playing with scarce resources) but it's not a logical mix with the ways of the Market-Maker. Square peg doesn't fit the round hole.

Stamp Collector style players (some degree of card farming, outwardly driven traders) may enjoy elements of building wealth through a multiplier effect, but their success would be hampered by their proclivity to follow the trends of multiple positions outside of their direct control. Again, there's nothing wrong with the SC approach, but the inability to commit fully to a system that is inverse and contrarian to how they normally play probably wouldn't be much fun for them.

I would encourage the Market-Maker approach for those who have an independent streak/Alpha type personality. In contrast to the above styles, a Market-Maker is a direct builder of wealth. All other cards are mere tools to serve you and your system. For example, if you open a pack with an Ex-Legendary card like Soops trading at 1000, most Bingo or Stamp Collectors would likely be content to hold and store it as a Holy Grail in their portfolio. That's not true of a Market-Maker! For the MM, that Soops is to be liquidated into the Herd of Bingo and Stamp Collectors bidding at Auction. The capital from the sale is to then be strategically redeployed into buying 20 copies of A Wealth Card, with a Reserve Bank pegging the Market Value to 51, knowing in the future it will go well beyond by way of your own initiative. Success with this style takes a mix of intensity, focus, intelligence, confidence, drive, and some luck. Definitely not for everyone, but it can be a highly rewarding distraction from the real daily lives of those who naturally click with the vibe described.

4. How much time do you devote to cards each day?

Farrakhan: Today, very little if any time at all. I still buy the occasional Season 1 Farrakhan and a Season 2 Farrakhan here and there, but not much comes from farming. If the mood hits me once in a blue moon, I can will myself to quickly knock out 10 accounts and call it a day. During my peak in Season 1, I invested almost three hours on workdays while commuting. I would farm a minimum of 100 cards each cycle. Looking back, the routine was pretty Spartan, hard for me to believe!

5. How many alternate accounts/puppet nations do you have (for card farming purposes)?

Farrakhan: Luckily, I still have them to count in my browser's Autofill! In total there are 598. Twenty puppets were satellite feeders for my Reserve Bank (Gold Crescent Alistan). All the others were running in numeric and alphabetic cycles to directly feed Farrakhan.

6. Are there any other card players who you possess respect for?

Farrakhan: I respect everyone who plays the game. When I was at the peak of my card farming routine, I would at times get one of the transfer cards of players who were engaged mid auction. So I would Gift those cards (usually of small value) to players like Kwaj, Rain Delay, and The Northern Light so they could add it into their collection. I know how much time and effort the CF process can take, so I was happy to do it.

The first player who inspired my passion for the game was Captain Lard. As a newbie, I was opening up my packs and came across his card with a Bid of 69! I was shocked, at the moment this seemed like a fortune to me. In time, I would go on to buy my own card from other players for more than ten times that. If the players on the other end of the transaction were able to get the same type of emotion I did as a rookie from Captain Lard, I'm happy I was able to pay it forward. Thanks, Captain!

I also have to tip my hat to Koem Kab. His style of play (Stamp Collector) is the inverse of mine, but he is the absolute master of his craft and his dominance speaks for itself. I don't think anyone playing the same Stamp Collecting style will ever match his Deck Value, I see his reign on top continuing until the day he chooses (if ever) to relinquish the crown on his own terms.

I also appreciate the efforts of players like Frisbeeteria who help to facilitate an efficient market and those players who have gone above and beyond in creating entities like The North Pacific Cards Guild and Card Market Watch. We have so many talented people in this community, the output is super impressive!

7. We've noticed that your overall trading activity has decreased lately. What caused this trend?

Farrakhan: After I achieved my goal of taking the top Deck Value, I was content to slowly back off and play much more casually. The time I would spend Card Farming during my commute time to and from work has been replaced with binge-watching TV shows on my iPod Touch! As part of an exit strategy from active trading, toward the end of my run, I started building positions in low ownership Ex-Nation cards. Long term, as the few other cardholders likely expire and/or cease to be active, those are the best types of cards to hold in terms of market-making potential/return on investment (serve utility to my system as transfer units, low volume, a velocity that can be controlled with the benefits of the multiplier effect). So if an intense trading bug ever hits me again, I still have an arsenal of tertiary tools in place to quickly go back to work.

8. How do you see yourself among the entire cards community?

Farrakhan: It's funny because if you log onto the NS Trading Card Discord server, and type in the term Farrakhan, you will find conversations archived that conspire to devalue the Market Value of my card and actively root for its decline. Even more hilarious are the archived reactions of those same people when their hopes and dreams fell short, as Farrakhan continued to rise all the way to taking the top Deck Value in the entire game (at least for a little while). It provides a teachable moment about how markets function and inspire emotions in those involved. That type of passion (taking things personally, cheering for winners and losers) exists in the real world on Wall Street as well. The lesson is the same, in global financial markets as in NationStates, disciplined, and effective market-making rules the day.

I am a system builder, who entered into the Trading Card community at the great disadvantage of being many months behind my peers. Yet in the face of a deep deficit in Deck Value, in just over four months, without a single Legendary card in my entire collection (or an active card of any classification other than my own) I achieved my goal well before schedule. It was a great challenge and the journey was a heck of a lot of fun, and while it may never buy me a cup of coffee, it's something I'll always look back at with a sense of pride whenever logging into NS while hoping for an elusive Easter Egg issue.

9. Is there any final advice you would like to give regarding NationStates Cards trading?

Farrakhan: Sure. My first piece of advice for new NS players (or long time players who are just now taking an interest in Card Trading) is not to be intimidated or take this stuff too seriously. It is never too late to start, there is no 'right' way to play this game, and independent of whatever anyone else is doing, you can have fun and find a way to achieve success, however, you chose to define it.

In terms of Market-Maker strategy, here are some tips some players may find helpful:

*Reserve Banking System: taking the time to develop an account (Gold Crescent Alistan) to house a large portion of my savings offered a great ROTI. It made my Card Farming process flow seamlessly, allowed me to cover Open Market Bids with a Put, enabled Direct Market Operations that could handle simultaneous transactions in real-time, and just made the game more fun to play.

*Development tips: create a separate tier of Card Farm nations (ie. 20) to feed Common, UnCommon and Rare cards to your Reserve Bank. This can be used as a Piggy Bank to transfer funds to the main tier of Card Farm nations that may face solvency issues. For example, when Account A gets a Legendary card, but only has .80 Bank on hand (needed .20 to transfer the card to the Wealth Nation) the Reserve Bank will be there to fund the issue by gifting the needed amount. Your operations will never be stuck.

*Capitalizing your Reserve Bank: the easiest way to transfer money is a Direct Market Operation involving the Wealth Account and Wealth Card. This has the added benefit of increasing/solidifying the MV of the Wealth Card.

*Reserve Bank to Wealth Account Savings Ratio: Ideally target your Reserve Bank to Wealth Account cash ratio at 1:1. The Reserve Bank needs enough funds to both place an Open Bid floor on the Wealth Card and fiscal latitude to effect Direct Market Operations during Auctions under real-time conditions.

*Direct Market Operations: Ideally target your Direct Market Operations at no less than .25 and no more than .33 of Total Liquidity between each account (ie. 1000/1000 set trade at 250 on low, 333 on high). Disciplining yourself to maintain these types of ratios and recapitalize before moving forward will pay dividends over the long haul.

*Open Market Bids: Ideally target your Open Market Bids on your Wealth Card at no more than 10% of Total Liquidity in your Reserve Bank. This will allow you enough liquidity to cover multiple purchases from those looking to immediately liquidate. Your Wealth Account should never have to carry this burden.

*Dealing with Market Hazard: Short sales below MV, Alternate Open Market Bids set by third parties above your target rate, alternate bids above/below target during an auction are bound to occur. Expect the unexpected and embrace the challenges that pop up. Be confident in your ability to adapt.

*Be disciplined in feeding your Wealth Nation with cash flow. Without exception, immediately sell all Legendary and high MV Cards at auction. This includes cards with stand-alone bids listed at a deep discount. After hundreds of sales, my experience has been that the auction process will always generate long lines of Bingos and Stamp Collectors to bid prices up. Don't delay.

*Dollar-cost averaging down is always your friend. Don't be afraid of fluctuations downward in your MV. If your system is run tight, these offer great long term ROI.

*Conversely, when the discipline imposed by the ratios align, there is no price too high to pay for your wealth card. Given the multiplier effect, there is no better alternative investment in the game.

*Most importantly, be good to yourself. Keep things in perspective. It's a game, enjoy the ride for however long you want for it to last. All the best, stay safe, have fun, and happy trading!

[All questions were asked by Praeceps, current Guildmaster of The North Pacific Cards Guild.]


(1) . (2) . (3) . (4) . (5) . (6) . (7) . - (8) - . (9)


What is the TMCCC?

The "TMCCC" is the shortened term that stands for The Monthly Card Collection Competition. It was first started by The North Pacific Cards Guild on LinkDecember 14, 2019 by order of the first Guildmaster Praeceps.

As to what the TMCCC does, it is (essentially) a contest between all traders within the cards community to see whose collection fits the month's theme (whatever theme it may be) the most! The month's theme (which is decided by Guild leadership) can be anything, ranging from cards that relate to comedy or collections that solely deal with the topic of love.

At the end of each month, two winners are decided (one by regular Guild members, and the other by Guild leadership), and each winner is awarded a legendary card for fitting that month's theme the best! With that in mind, it is highly encouraged to participate in the TMCCC, since you may find yourself a much-needed asset (should you win) in the form of highly valuable cards!


April 2020 Theme

On May 2, 2020, the Linkvote for April 2020 was held, with the theme for April being fools and jesters.

After the deliberations concluded, Sleazy Pigeon's collection was hilarious enough to become the winner for both competitions, with the competitor receiving a Season 2 Choistan and Season 2 Mograpelandia as an award. Congratulations to them for being the dual-winner for this month's theme!


May 2020 Theme

For May 2020, the theme was chosen to be May Day, with deliberations starting on June 3, 2020.

Shoddy Pigeon's collection would win the Member's Choice vote due to its detailed historical descriptions, while Wernher Magnus Maximilian Von Braun's collection would win the Master's Choice due to its stand-alone respect to theme.

Shoddy Pigeon later received a Season 2 Sacara, while Wernher Magnus Maximilian Von Braun was awarded a Season 2 Jakker. Thanks to both for submitting such interesting collections to the competition!


(1) . (2) . (3) . (4) . (5) . (6) . (7) . (8) . - (9) -


Section written by Noahs Second Country.

What are Pull Events?

Pull events are auctions in which traders deliberately sell rare/valuable card(s) that they own to themselves (or other players, should they be trusted enough) in an attempt to have other nations pull those cards (from packs) during the auction's duration. Pull events usually have a set time and date as to when they occur (along with prior notice given before they actually start) in order to give the chance for players to prepare (whether by saving up card packs or doing other tasks that allow them to participate in the event), and these events typically yield a greater chance to pull rare nations' cards than when opening packs on a normal day (a.k.a. during a time when that card is not being auctioned).

The North Pacific hosts these pull events each month, with the card to be auctioned (and pulled) being chosen by a nomination + vote from players within and outside of The North Pacific Cards Guild. At times, should The Northern Light possess enough bank, multiple cards may even be selected for the monthly pull event!

Seeing that The North Pacific regularly hosts these pull events, we've decided to regularly update the card playerbase on what went down during these exciting times, including 1) what cards were chosen (by the Guild) to be pulled, 2) who contributed to the ability to even auction the chosen card(s) for the event, and 3) who were the ones lucky enough to pull those cards. See below for each month's pull event!


April 2020 Pull Event

Following the typical nominations and voting period, the two cards selected for the April pull event were Escade S2 and Soops S1. Escade was formerly a low owner, CTEd rare, while Soops was the highest valued card in history, worth more than 1000 per copy. As a result, both of these cards drew in many participants, with the event being the most successful guild sponsored pull event ever as a result. The reason for the increased success(beyond the greater volume of packs) was a change to the format, where it was announced that an additional bid would be placed every minute in an attempt to manipulate card mechanics based on observations from previous pull events(note: as of writing this article, this is more or less the best pull event strategy, with this event being among the first of its kind). On April 26th, the bids were matched and increased for around an hour, where the event was then called off due to the extreme volume of card copies spawned. Compared to the 7 hour March event, this was much shorter, yet produced a significantly higher yield.

There were so many finds that it was not worth listing out the individual puppets
Feu de Glace - 10 times
Noahs Second Country - 6 times
One Small Island - 4 times
Destructive Government Economic System - 3 times
Leto II Atreides - 3 times
The Northern Light - 3 times
Refuge Isle - 3 times
Koem Kab - 2 times
Giovanniland - 2 times
9003 - 2 times
Mikeswill - 2 times
[nation]Dr. Hooves[/nation] - 2 times
Ransium - 2 times
Ter Voland - 2 times
Ballotonia - 2 times
Big Shot - 2 times
SherpDaWerp - 1 time
Recuecn - 1 time
Demeter - 1 time
Racoda - 1 time
Pangurstan - 1 time
Fuentana - 1 time
Teralyon - 1 time

As for the event itself, this was the first time a highly publicized pull event was run with the bidding mechanic, though it would be overshadowed by events later in the day on Mindless contempt and Pergamon.


May 2020 Pull Event

That?s right? not a single pull

So why were there so little pulls? In addition to the 3 cards went up, in a coordinated effort separate from that of TNP's pull event, 8 other cards were listed, and traders began to pull those cards rather than the nominated cards. On the bright side, The Northern Light was able to purchase a copy of Anime Daisuki to fulfill a long-standing card request. This event is known to be the first-ever documented happening in which having too many cards up to be pulled removed the pull potential of other cards.

Have an interesting idea for an article about Cards you want to share with the world? YOU can write for the Snapshot. Reach out to Praeceps or Destructive Government Economic System

RawReport