zondag 29 september 2013

Wonderbook: Book of Spells - the 18th Platinum

I guess this is what one calls a pure hatrick, 3 Platinum trophies in 3 days.  Talk about that 'flaring up' and now really putting the pressure on Team AnRoDr if they want to still win this thing.

Now, this is how the plan goes for these sort of 'kiddy' games.  The Munchkin gets them, starts to play them, and when he no longer touches them for months on end (last time he played this particular one, was the beginning of july), the 'clean-up crew' aka moi moves in to see if we can round it out.

Hence to say, this game is about 80% property of the little guy, but with the sequel up and comming, and the rumours that like with The Walking Dead it is 'advisable' that you have finished the first game, I used this free afternoon to step in and clean it up swiftly, it was after all only about 'an hours work' for an experienced gamer / no-lifer like me.

Now, the technology with the whole Move setting is quit marvelous, but the downside is that when you're not capable of sitting still for hours on end, you'll be calibrating an awful lot, something bound to happen with young kids making their magic wand movements a bit to, erm, enthousiastic.

But in the end, it was enjoyable to see the little guy enjoy it, and once it ran it's course, I must say it was all a bit to simplistic for an adult (wave left, wave right, *poink, trophy*) so now I'm curious how he is going to react to the second one once it appears (prolly somewhere around the next school holiday if the websites are anything to go by).

For me, it's time to get those Autobots and Decepticons on the move again, next platinum goal: Transformers, Dark of the Moon (though I doubt it will be a 4 plats on 4 days perforcmance, but I'll try my best).

Sunday Ramblings: The Geek Life episode 16

What a week, what a week, what a week.  I managed to finish my Saint Seiya countdown, to platinum no less then 2 different games, and went to the opening of the LEGO store.

Somewhere in between I managed to find a seller that has 3 of my still missing Saint Seiya cards, more of that when they arrive, but it involves Andy down the line, and the final months before the GP Antwerp are upon us.  The big Magic event, right in my backgarden...

... and I am not going.

Sometimes, life just forces you into other priorities, like in this case the only weekend the whole family could get mobilised in order to get to the amusement park in the Netherlands called 'De Efteling'.  Give it say two or three years ago, I would have gone out playing cards, but I just can't get it over my heart towards the munchkin... so exit GP Antwerp.  This results as well as not bothering to go out and play the GPT's and stuff, no use to stress over trying to get one or more byes when you cannot use them anyways in the end.

Which, like I stated last week, is also going to be for the GP calendar 2014, as the 'sure shots' in vincinity are at a bad moment in time.  Guess I won't be playing to much cards the comming months, oh well, that tends to happen in real life.

What Have I Been Playing?

Apart from said two platinums from the past two days, I also finished the storyline of Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince.  I'm not a fan of how the game looks, but it ain't the baddest of licensed games from mega movies either, I'd flunk it in the whole world of video games, but still might give it a 3 or so.  Not really a chance though that I'm going to put in the effort to platinum it for the Challenge.

A challenge where monthly victories is now 6 for me vs 3 for Andy, though if I had waited for the site to update like it finally did again past night, it would have been 7-2.  No stress, I'm still on my personal schedule that I drew up in january on the matter of finishing games, having calculated that if I could have the number of achieved platinums on 20 games in total after the whole year, I would have a mathematical certainty of 87.03% of taking along the win.  3 more to go then... with 3 months to go ;-)

What Have I Been Collecting?

New promo card added to the collection, wieeeeej... 'Inherited Cloth' from series 02 of Saint Seiya Omega.

From the celebration - which in Japan is like what we call a release event, but it just works differently, not with tournaments and such, but when you get in certain shops and just, well, buy the new series. Think of it as a Buy a Box promo, but as those promos are actually in the boxes and as such available as long as there are boxes, this is well, a buy a buy a box promo or so. 

OMG, Japanese can complicate some things sometimes really well...

What Have I Been Bricking?

Technically, nothing really.  But the munchkin loves playing with LEGO sets and the minifigures in particular, while I prefer to actually build the thingies from the box.  So we now achieved a synchronising rhytm, as he loses intrest about 1/3rd down the instructions of actually building the stuff, and I can silently take over and do the build effort.

Usually, as we set down to build some of his sets, I'm going to make sure there is a small set somewhere as well, that he can just manage to put together before he starts having the characters declare war on each other hehehe...

That is it for this week though, I got a lot 'in the pipeline' but my calendar and budget are slowly starting to focus and resolve around FACTS the 19th, and I must shift my attention to finishing off Andy as well in the challenge, so I guess those will be the main things for the upcomming months.

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to handle the FACTS coverage this year (as I have to go out to dinner that evening for the father-in-law-to-be's birthday), so I'll probably will be doing a big post with impressions as a Sunday Episode Special.  I'll have to think about that...

And play some Streetfighter X Tekken, which was the Plus freebie this week on the VITA.  I suck at that game, but talking su****g, gaddamn!!!!  She can poison my mind anytime...

zaterdag 28 september 2013

LEGO Batman 2 (VITA) - the 17th Platinum

Two platinums in just as many days... talk about flaring up for sure hehe.  And for the first time in the history of the Playstation Challenge, I actually have a lead over team AnRoDr in case of Platinums achieved, leading 17 to 16 now.

LEGO Batman 2 on the VITA is like a souped down version of the Playstation game, as you don't have the whole travel through Gotham part, instead just hopping from level to level.  On the other hand, there is one bloody annoying trophy which took me like, 4 months(!!!!!) to complete, being the final gold trophy (and that going into the platinum that way) for finishing all the 5 Justice League matches on Gold rating.

The trick there is, you need to battle through 8 waves and only can have yourself killed a maximum of 4 times per level, and your Red Bricks like extra life and immortality don't work, nor do you actually have a choice in which character you use.

It's not that this trophy is sickly insane, it's just extremely demotivating, and it is only due to two factors I finally managed to get the last three of the five required levels to gold:

1. I need space on the memory card of the VITA, and as this was a digital version, I can now free up it's Mbs for something else.

2. The GF who really supported me today, almost to the point I would have felt guilty NOT to get the platinum... Thanks honey, love you so much xxx

The game itself is the usual LEGO feature of inside jokes and oddjob solutions to some problems, but like I said before, I still think the PS3 Pirates of the Carribean is still the greatest LEGO game they released so far, and it was a heap funnier when the characters didn't talk, something they started doing since Lord of the Rings.  Bar for the Chima game, I kind of think it looses on the 'magic of the bricks'.

Now let's see what the Marvel games will be like next month, and in the meantime, let the hunt for the next platinum (which will probably by the GF rounding off Book of Spells, or me with Transformers Dark of the Moon) continue...

The Playstation Challenge: Part 9 of 12

Okay, let's do this.  On the contrary to what I mentioned yesterday in my Platinum post, I'm going to do this today already... I just got to much to do the comming days and now I have the gap (and available brain capacity) to do the mathematics.  Okay, so that might mean Andy wins this month as I had a small marathon the past two days (modest, but good for a few points, for about 8% in the level advancement, about 650 points roughly), though I'm not sure it would have been enough to snatch the monthly victory, and if it did, it would be for a 'status quo result' at best...

But I do not despair, Andy hasn't really got that much of a lead this month and the points tally is still highly manageable, so as I said earlier, I'm going to go for the whole nine yards the comming month, right until the end of the upcomming school vacation at the end of october.

After that, I'm wrapping the competition up at my end, going to focus on some none trophy supported PS2 games, and play some of those 'last forever for a bronze' japanese games like Gundam Unicorn.

But heck, has this competition been fun already, and it is a great motivator to get some games at least finished for the storyline part, whom have been lying around, just, well, lying around.

Deciding the winner:

Less then a gap of 8400 is a victory for me, more then 9000 points gap is a victory for Andy, and in between those two extremes it becomes a draw

The oversight of gained spoils, updated after every monthly update post.

Last update: 25st of September 2013


Points: 58.005 + 1770 points
Level: 17 - 25% + 23%

Platinum Trophies: 15 + 0
Gold Trophies: 152 + 7
Silver Trophies: 442 + 13
Bronze Trophies: 1891 + 50

Games played: 335 + 5
Games Beaten: 40 + 1


Points: 56.250 + 2310 points
Level: 17 - 3% + 29%, + 1 level

Platinum Trophies: 16 + 1
Gold Trophies: 148 + 10
Silver Trophies: 423 + 12
Bronze Trophies: 1824 + 58

Games played: 225 + 3
Games Beaten: 34 + 4

This means Andy starts the year with a lead of 8670 points, currently the gap is - 1750 (WIN TOMSCHE)

As you can see, Andy has outscored me on every line this month, but only managed to reduce the gap by 545 points, so that is a to small a margin for the chance he had during September.  He is still 10750 points down to be able to win this with 3 months of game time in the pipeline, meaning he'll have to outscore me by 3585 points every month.  A feat I only managed myself once during June, when I knoced down 8000 points to outscore by 4500, so this might be hard to achieve still.

To grab a draw and end the competition on a status quo after 12 months (as our prognoses where), he would need to make good 10150 points, or 3385 a month as the margins are getting close after 9 months of frantic trophy hunting.

I can't give any worldwide overviews, as PSNProfiles, to whom I've switched during the past months gradually to keep the scores is in maintenance, and YGC seems to have it's server imploded upon itself for months now, I fear that'll be a game over story...

So that is the battle and the advances both warring factions have made so far after a pregnancy of campaigning, and now we really enter the 'money time' zone as the final quarter of the year is beginning.

Will Andy be able to snatch away an almost certainly victory for my camp?  What will be for dinner?  Will I ever get the munchkin 'do me a favor' and finish that bloody Book of Spells for the platinum?  And how many hard copy games am I still going to be able to end?  Will that bloody Vita Batman ever get rounded out (I HATE that Justice League part by now)..., and how many hours will I be doing the maths the last day of 2013 to make the complete overview of the competition spread over 365 days...

So many questions, but all the puzzlepieces will hopefully fall together in the comming, epic, conclusion of... THE PLAYSTATION CHALLENGEEEEEE!!!!!

vrijdag 27 september 2013

The Walking Dead (VITA) - the 16th Platinum

Once again I managed to come to equal platinum level with Andy, but boy is he forcing me to keep my game up these days, after I've been cutting slack for the past months.

Like I said earlier, I'm going to flare up once again during october, but after that it is game and competition over for me, if he manages to snatch victory away still then, he will deserve it rightly so.  He will probably be winning this months round as well, though the points difference doesn't seem to turn out THAT immense, yet still I'll have to keep being on my toes just to not get a smashing in the last three months.

He has the benefit I had before school, namely be home a lot.

Now about this platinum, i can be rather short.  It is the exact same game + DLC from the PS3, ported to my beloved handheld, BUT it has one major benefit, and one major drawback.

The good thing is, due to the touchscreen and smaller screen, you can input commands in the 'hectic' scenes a lot faster, like when having to search and grab for a weapon.

The drawback is that it stutters more then the PS version, but now that I finished this, and the second season should appear, I can tackle it on the VITA and the GF can handle the PS3 version, seeing how it will turn out with our vastly different decision making styles.

It was a good experience, and now it's time to count the days till the second season arrives...

The monthly challenge report will be up one of these days as well, I'm just waiting for the PSNProfiles site to finish maintenance ("somewhere during the weekend... hopefully") and then I can make the tally for the month.

LEGO store Antwerp

It finally happened, an official LEGO store has opened it`s doors in Belgium, and it`s only a few kilometres away from my door.  So of course I went on a pilgrimage yesterday morning at it`s official opening.


Located in the new wing of the Wijnegem Shopping Center (store 526, ground floor, Section 8) it has the look of the other store I visited last february in London.

Inside there was a heap of people.  Even though it was the first day the new wing had opened, barely 50 people in all walked around between the shops.  It seemed like double that amount was in the LEGO store alone though at 10.15, barely after opening of the shopping mall.

Everywhere you looked that morning, you saw the infamous `yellow bags with the red brick`, right down to the bus I took back home around 12.15.

I was also lucky in still getting this months promo item, the mini Creator VW Camper Van (76pcs), and all people got a free to assemble minifig, I went for a bathing suit Ginny Weasley look alike with broom (well, because the Smurf never wanted to give me his sexy redhead, I had to have one of my own).

Further purchases where all for the lil` un, taking home the Dragon tower set from the Castle range, the new Star Wars advent calendar and 8 bags of Series 11 Minifigs.

And the big guy of LEGO Northern Europe, a brit called Dean apparently, was there as well to watch the newest gem in their family (not that I know him, but I heard him make introductions when I took the picture to someone).

The store also has of course the Pick A Brick wall, which should be handy to finally complete most of my old sets, and some projects long overdue to build...

Another benefit now is that it has my 2 `wet dream` LEGO sets in the store, and the store now also means an easy access to web exclusives.

Them being still that large scale R2-D2 and the Tower of Orthanc set.

And now I don`t have any excuses anymore to save up and get Bilbo`s House easily, this store means trouble for the local toy stores I tended to buy my LEGO, as the prices are the same, but now I can get VIP points AND not have to pay for shipping anymore.

I`m one Happy Bricker!!!!!

The Saint Countdown: and the winner is...


Yes, this is him, the one saint I absolutely find the coolest one around over all the series.  Had the Lost Canvas not been producedm Hyoga would have been standing here, and Deathmask would barely, if all, have made the top-10, but being a Cancer, it was a great relief to find the Gold Saints in that storyline at least to be all loyal to Athena (no traitors like in about every other series), and the fact that the Cancer saint was not a psychopathic killer like in all it`s other incarnations (Deathmask, Schiller in Omega, that goofball coward in Next Dimension...).

No, Manigoldo is of a whole other brand.  Young and impulsive, he has been trained by the Grand Pope of the 18th century himself, Cancer Sage, a survivor of the previous Holy War.  He is seen as one of the strongest Gold Saints who wisely uses his powers to transfer between to the realm of the dead and our world, and has set one goal at the beginning of the war: to fight, strike and defeat the God of Death, Thanatos.

He follows Tenma into the Forest of the Dead to watch out for him from afar, but when they face Veronica, he interferes.  This Spectre with the power to animate the dead soon proves to be no match for the Gold Saint, and suddenly he appears during a game of chess between Thanatos and Hypnos, challenging the God.

Infuriated by this insolence, Thanatos tries to make short work of the Saint, but when he fails to do this, he opens an extradimesional portal to suck the young crab in.  This however is interrupted when Sage appears, and together they start taking on the fearsome God.

Sage soon reveals that Thanatos real body still lies in Elysium, and attacks the host body`s soul.  Manigoldo in the meantime gets gravely injured by physically striking the God, something he always dreamt of doing and considers the best moment of his young life.  Infuriated, Thanatos drags him into the portal, costing Manigoldo a leg and damaging the cloth and is left for dead.  But just as Thanatos seems to get the upperhand over Sage, a second soul extraction is felt, and the young Saint starts helping out his master to overcome the god.

Manigoldo, about to be drawn in the portal again, orders his cloth to return to it`s rightfull master Sage, and then gets sucked in but grabs the physical body of Thanatos and dragging it with him, both his and the hosts body being destroyed to the last atom.  Sage, grieve stricken, overcomes Thanatos though by luring his soul into his own body, then sealing Athena`s Chest by the means of the cloth of his brother, the Altar cloth of Hakurei.

When the Cosmo is felt at the Pope`s palace, Hakurei and Athena are witness of how the now sealed chest appeared on the Pope`s throne, knowing at once Sage is dead.  Shion rushes up to the palace, but at the Cancer house he is met by... Manigoldo, who grins and offers the Pope`s helmet to Shion, stating it as `a gift from my master to yours`... and then dissolves in thin air.  Shion, now holding the helmet of the fallen Pope, realises he just witnessed Manigoldo`s soul returning from the realm of the dead one final time...

Manigoldo has more techniques then his 20th century counterpart Deathmask, as bar the Sekishiki Meikai Ha, which transfers a person`s soul to the edge of Yomotsu Hirasaka (the Gateway to the Underworld), he also has Sekishiki Kiousen which generates a blue foxfire that directly burns a person`s soul, and Sekishiki Konsou Ha which makes souls explode.
He also has a technique called Acubens, named after the big claw of the constellation, in which he latches on with his legs around a person, snapping them in two like he did initially with Veronica.

The Lost Canvas saints haven`t been released in Myth or other forms bar Tenma and Kagaho, but if they ever restart producing this line, he will be HIGH on my shopping list.  And now let`s just pray they finally finish producing the anime...

And so ends my first attempt ever to try and do some sort of countdown on my blog, and I hope you liked it and might inspire some to actually start watching Saint Seiya if you haven`t done so in part during your youth.

If you did, there is a lot of new material out since `Club Dorothee`, so it is certainly worth your while!

Ciao ciao

donderdag 26 september 2013

The Saint Countdown: #2 Cygnus Hyoga (anime version 1)

For some the ultimate favorite, and the expected 'winner' of this countdown, but it ain't so.  Hyoga has to settle on the silver medal in this series, and with that I mean the original anime version, where the blue contrasted better with his silver white cloth.

Hyoga is often called the 'Saint of Melancholy' due to the aura of sadness surrounding his person.  He lost his mother, he will lose both his teachers, he will lose his childhood friend, and in the end during the Lucifer movie, he will even lose the memory of his mother.  He appears calm, collected and unemotional but beneath the surface he is a volcano of passion and loyal to his ideals.

In the manga, he was the 'assassin' send by Sanctuary to bring the other bronze saints back in the fold instead of showing off to the world, but in the anime this has been changed and ommited.  He is aloof though, as he thinks that the subclass of Ice saints make him more then the rest.

This is first seen when he battles Hydra Ichi during the galaxian wars, but during his confrontation wirth Ikki, he was defeated, though he did manage to get past the Black Saints first and reach the Phoenix saint.

In the anime, he also has a master in the direct line between him and Camus, namely the Crystal Saint.  When this noble warrior is forced by the false Pope, due to the Demonic Illusion technique, to attack Hyoga, he has no other choice to eventually overcome and kill his old master.  Later during the Sanctuary arc, Shun nearly sacrifices himself to heal Hyoga from being frozen by Camus, and since then he came close with the Andromeda Saint as he thinks he own's Shun his life.

He is also the only of the bronze saints not having their religion be the Greek pantheon, but being Christian just as his mother Natasha was.  When during the Sanctuary arc Camus sends the ship his mother's body rests on further to the ocean floor and out of Hyoga's reach, he finally awakens his 7th Sense and copies the strongest attack of his master, the Aurora Execution.

It is then revealed that both Milo of Scorpio (who donated his blood to revive his cloth after the Sanctuary arc) and Camus of Aquarius fought so hard against the Cygnus saint in order to make him awake his true potential for the battle to come.  Little did they know that due to the machinations of Kanon, it would be Poseidon that they needed to tackle first, and not Hades.

During these arcs, Hyoga played another part as equal as the other 'companion saints', perhaps entering the forefront more during the Asgard arc, as this was, well, his nativelike soil and he was in his element there, and has made cameo's so far in the Next Dimension manga and in the Omega storyline.

Hyoga has been released in his classic version cloth, and stands proudly in my collection on his cutomized base.

woensdag 25 september 2013

The Saint Countdown: #3 Hagen of Merak, the Beta star Steed Sleipnir

We enter the top 3, and now the really cool guys for my part are making an appearance.

Hagen of Merak has always been one of my favorite saints, and hauling from my favorite series, the Asgard story arc.  He was also the very first of the Myth cloth line I ever bought, about 6 years ago now when Super Dragon Toys was stil in the Quellinstraat in Antwerp.  God do I miss that outlet (okay, my account a tat less lol).

Hagen is a warrior of great repute and noble birth, and together with Syd of Myzar and Siegried of Danube is seen as one of the three mightiest warriors in Asgard.  He always seemed to have a soft spot for Hilda's younger sister Freya, and out of love and out of loyalty alwasys has seen himself as her protector.

However, when news reached him that Freya had fled the Asgard palace with the Cygnus saint Hyoga, he flew in a rage and followed them, sworn to bring Freya back.  Hagen not only controlled the elements of ice and cold like Hyoga, but during their fight he lured the Cygnus saint into the lava cave where his robe had appeared.  Here it turned out that he also controlled the powers of the lava, and nearly defeated Hyoga.  However, before he could finish the saint off, Freya interfered.

When he noted though that Freya picked sides for the saint, Hagen launched his most powerful attacks out of pure jealousy, and struck the woman he loved.  Hyoga, furious over this cowardly attitude, in turn launched the ultimate attack of the ice saints, and one he had learned from his master Camus: the Aurora Execution, blasting Hagen away and mortally wounding the God Warrior.  Freya, waking up and realizonfg what happened, cried over her fallen friend, but understood it was his own undoing.

Hagen's robe represents the Steed Sleipnir, a mythological eight legged horse and steed of the father of the gods, Odin.  It was said to have been able to travel the fastest of all nine worlds and could go anywhere, including hell and back.

This is why Hagen could control the cold (as a Norse god's steed) and fire (hell).

Hagen was released as a Myth cloth, and like I said earlier, the first of this scale of models I ever bought.  I still have him in a predominant place to this day in my cabinets.  Come april 2014, he will also become part of my collection of tattoos, as he is part 2 of 4 of the full Saint Seiya sleeve I'm "building"...

dinsdag 24 september 2013

The Saint Countdown: #4 Unicorn Jabu

Let's face it, when you start watching (the original) Saint Seiya and it's first episodes, you'd come to expect that the haughty, crowd favorite of the Galaxian Tournament Jabu would become one of the main antagonists.  Until he met Andromeda Shun and was knocked from corner to corner right before Ikki appeared.

One of the original 100 orphans, Jabu always had a serious affection for Saori Kido.  Even as a child, he jumped to her greatest whims, like playing pony for her to ride on.

After the tournament, Jabu travelled back to his training place to try and become a stronger Saint, and we see him and the other 'other' bronze saints back when they take over guarding the fallen Athena at the feet of Sanctuary's steps.  He wanted to go after Seoya and his companions, but in the end decided to stay and guard his godess.

During the Hades Arc, Jabu had become one of the guardians of Sanctuary, and discovered the open graves of the fallen Gold Saints, and intervened together with his companions when Seika, Seiya's long lost sister, was attacked, protecting her by combining all their cosmo's together.

During the very controversial Heaven Ouverture, he had apparently abandoned Athena for Artemis with the sole purpose of getting back at Seiya, but by the time he found Lionet Soma in Omega, he was once again a loyal saint of Athena.

Personally, I still find it a pity he didn't became a main player in the series, something compensated a little in The Lost Canvas arc.  Here, the Pegasus of the 18th century, Tenma, has the Unicorn Saint of that era, Yato, as his most loyal companion.

Jabu has been released as a Myth cloth, and it is one of the better models from the older series, and one of the earliest ones I had enrolled in my collection.

maandag 23 september 2013

The Saint Countdown: #5 Gemini Saga

The weekend has flown by, we're back at the schoolbenches, and now we're ready for the second series of 5, counting down to the Saint I think has been the coolest so far in the whole series.

On the 5th spot, we finally got our first Gold Saint, and not one of the least either.  Saga of Gemini, one of the mightiest amongst the Gold Saints of Athena, but also suffering from a split personality.

Saga managed to put himself in command of Sanctuary in a treacherous way, having assassinated the previous Pope, Shion, and taking his place.  He tried to kill Athena when she was still an infant, but Sagittarius Ailios intervened, resulting in the latters demise at the hand of Capricorn Shura.

Saga had decided that the best way for peace to be kept on Earth, he himself has to replace Athena as protector of the world.  Misguided, he sends various Saints after the bronze antagonists, but as Athena reveals herself during these fights, the battle is taken to Sanctuary instead.

During the battle of the Twelve Palaces, Saga controlled his cloth from a distance, but in the end Seiya managed to reach the Pope's Palace.  He managed to save Athena from peril, and she then mounted the steps in the company of the other bronze saints, and the remaining Gold saints, to confront Saga.  He attacked the godess, but threw himself on her staff in the end as his good side took over, and Athena granted him merci while he died.

He returned during the Hades arc, as one of the Spectres intend to kill Athena.  However, this all turned out to be an elaborate ruse, as it actually was a way by the still loyal in death Gold Saints to show the way to Hades to Athena, and awaken her God Cloth.  Shaka of Virgo was the first to see through this ruse, and alerted the godess, who in turn then counted on Seiya and his companions to take the cloth and bring it to the Underworld in order that she could battle Hades himself.

Saga has been released in the normal Myth line as a dual set together with the Pope and his throne, and adorns my cabinets...

zondag 22 september 2013

Sunday Ramblings: The Geek Life episode 15

Hi, and welcome to another episode of the life of a collector, chaotic personality and budding World Dominator.  A week ruled over by being the victim of Internet Theft (as you could read a few days ago), but also by getting my hands on some very cool stuffsies for the collection.

Nothing to do about the crime though, one claim has already been resolved, the second is still under investigation by the Paypal inspectors, but I have a rather good eye in it that this will turn out OK in the end, bar a dent in my self confidence for my PC protections, and a broken trust for lending out the PC ;-)

What Have I Been Tapping?

Nothing Magic again, for the x-th week running.  This has to do mainly to the combination of no motivation (the two travelwise most intresting GPs for me in 2014, Paris and Utrecht, fall on a very unopportune moment) to battle for the Plainswalker Points, and a lack of actual free time as I'm still adapting my agenda and social life to the new living rhytm.

A social agenda that starts to get fuller and fuller, with 2 marriages, half a dozen people comming to visit, and the Smurf's birthday.  At least he got Disney Infinity for the PS3, so that'll be some extra trophies hopefully.

On the other hand, I did find out this week there is another, older Saint Seiya cardgame, one that apparently even has some local tournaments in the southern regions of Belgium, France and Italy.  So they might be around to trade some cards...

The game was published by Amada around 2004, and I'm still researching details, but I guess I'll be focussing a bit on those and try to exchange Magic cards from it.

What Have I Been Collecting?

Some very cool Saint Seiya stuff arrived this week, starting of with this keychain and cellphone charms, found on ebay for only 5 USD, and he put in an extra charm as the auction was only for one keychain and one charm.  Hyoga is already adorning my schoolbag at the moment ;-)

The second thing I found, was the old PS2 game The Sanctuary, so now I have the series complete, and those games of the PS2 will see a lot of action soon, but more of that in a few moments.

But the top find was this:

The classic 5" action figures of the american licensed models, the models are solid cast, so no removable armour pieces, and comes with two parts of the golden cloth they stole during the Galaxian War tournament.  Collecting all five of the black saints allows you to build the gold cloth, and the model doesn't even look to bad either.

But the real treasure was this thing included with the model:

Some of the models and DVDs from the US version back then, had a promo card for the english edition of the game, and those are the most difficult cards to find.  Recently though, I had gotten my hands on a list stating which card was included in which set, so now I'm out there hunting for those specifically.

What Have I Been Gaming?

Again not much this week, a bit of the Walking Dead on the VITA, in order when series 2 comes out, the GF can do the PS version and I myself the VITA one, but bar that, well, nothing.  At least I managed to get, compared to the GF, a third survivor to join me in the end of 400 Days, as Russell teamed up as well together with Bonnie and Wayne.

Before Andy starts dreaming of snatching away the victory on the last moment though, I have talked this over with the GF (like the 'why' I'm not playing a lot recently, I think she almost feared I was having a Burn Out or so...) and I can assure him... he won't make it ;-)

I've decided that, taking in to account September will probably be 'his', I'm going to flare up one last big time in the Challenge during October, as I figured out I have about 17 chances for actual game marathons, so if I can put in 8 or 9 that should be good for about 7500 points like past June.

The 'plan' is just to put in every hard copy game I have into the system, play them a few hours, and rake in the all the remaining easy trophies on mainly Bronze and Silver levels.  I hope I also get the GF motivated again to go through the gaming paces one last time, transforming her like past summer once more in my ideal view partner in this endeavour.

Come november, and by then the imminent release of the PS4, I can then try and sell of those hard copies, only focussing to play the game I actually enjoy, even though trophy count on those will be more limited, then being either on the PS2 (both Saint Seiyas) or mainly in Japanese (3 out of the 4 Gundam games I'm still trying to finish with Unicorn, Extreme VS, SEED Destiny and Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2), topped off in december by what I now know already will be a Saint Seiya Brave Soldiers month only for the most part.

So Andy, I know you are reading this, you might have hopes, but the storm is comming...

That is it again for this week, and I actually hope it will be for once a calm one, I got to do a presentation for school about Haiku OS tomorrow, and a test on wednesday, so I don't expect to have to many spectacular things out to happen the comming week.  After the event of past week, I prefer to never say never, but hopes are hig.

Also, can I all invite you to have a look at 'The Vault' tab on top of this blog, it might be that you find some cool stuff there you'd might to add to your own collection, and I hope I can add some entertainment the comming week as the Countdown of my idea on the coolest Saints will run it's second week and go down in the top-5.

Ciao Ciao and see y'all next week!

zaterdag 21 september 2013

My Card Trading Strategy

My take on how to complete your card collections

Before one can go into trading cards around the glode, we need to know some "pure" facts. 

The first is that this guide is by no way suited to make money, as you will be at times trading far into your negative.  But as this guide is about getting rid of your excess, not used and years in a binder already cards in order to complete your (more obscure, like here in Belgium) collections, in my case I'll be using the Saint Seiya game from Cardass.

The second fact is that you need to have an idea of what is hot out there.  I'm not talking card X from game Y, but the general sort of games that overal lend themselves well to trading around.  This is usually a dual fact.  A popular game has a lot of Tournament Support (and due to deck of the day poularities, as such a good card turnover rate), while it is the heavily supported games become the Popular ones.

This is split up in two sorts, you either have globally popular games, or 'mainstays', and hype games, usually the most recent anime or tv series based cardgame.  These last ones tend to flare up very heavily for a few months, then to shimmer down and become collectors only intresting games.  If you can make the trades at the moment of the hype height, you can make great deals, but in general it's a safer bet to focus on the mainstays to trade off.

Most Popular and Supported Cardgames of the past 5 years

1. Magic: the Gathering

2. Yu-Gi-Oh!

3. Pokemon

While MtG is the most popular game on the block for decades now in Northern America and Europe, in the Far East (mainly for purpose of this manual that is Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong) it actually takes up a spot behind the other two, and has to contend over there with currently Weiss Schwarz, a multi anime series cardgame.

Take into account then that these games have a lot of tournament support, another vector starts to figure in: the Tournament Player Pimping.  Every tourney player loves to customize his deck with things like Foils, Promocards and Foreign Edition cards.  If you attend tournaments yourself, your surely bound to encounter these kind of things, if you aren't even doing it yourself...

Quantity over Quality

For once, this rule is more important then the other side around.  Believe me on this one, it is easier to trade off 50 foil basic magic lands at 2 euros a piece, then one Jace, The Mind Sculptor at 100 euros.  This is because there are a LOT of players, but not everyone plays the Big Jace deck.  Everyone does need lands though...
Tip: In Magic the Gathering, common and uncommon foils of the current Standard environment, that meaning actually played cards, are easy trade offs as well.

Now let's move on to the way I tend to trade

My main tool is Trade Cards Online, a free site with a lot of cardgames already listed and available for checklists.

NOTE: if your off going to make an account there, if you want to give up a referral to the site, my nickname is 'tomsche'.  You don't get any money if you bring anyone to the site, but it adds to your level, and the higher the level, the more trades you can do simultaniously.

The site only functions as a free intermediary, making matches between people looking for cards from your collections, and people having cards from those your looking for.  The free version works just fine for this purpose, but I upgraded to Premium because it is dead cheap and it helps supporting the site to keep on running.

Japanese cards, bar some sets of W/S, arent on there.  It might be that they will be in the future, but for now it's a no-no.  No panic though, let's use this website to try and get rid of those shoeboxes of commons, uncommons and 'dollar bin' rares.  Your targets to trade for should ideally be promos and foil cards from the first section, but I must say I also trade for promo cards of other series.

Tip: DON'T be afraid to trade into your loss on either a sheer number of cards, or 'etsimated monetary value'.  The commons lie around in boxes not getting moved, and the fact you still have all those rares means no-one in your regular trade channels wants them anyways.  Making them efficive value 0, no matter their estimated ratings.  I recently traded off 116 WoW commons and 3 rares for 5 Yu-Gi-Oh! promos.  The WoW cards have been in my binder almost 2 years now, the YGO!s are already en route to Hong Kong...

Promo cards have a strong lure: they are only "mainstream" available and in limited numbers for a short while.  This makes them, even their relatively common editions like release promos, sought after.  There is a variety of websites in the Far East, especcially in Hong Kong and Japan, that gladly accept these for them foreign languaged promo cards for a decent amount of 'store credit', as do a lot of trading forums over there.
Since they in turn have a more common access to regular japanese CCG games, this time I can do the reverse of the above tip, and make them trade in their loss so they can get their hands on what are for them just commons and regular rares in exchange for sought after cards.

And that makes it even out on the part I told you before to not be afraid to trade in your loss, in the end it tends to balance all out.

Tip: do a search for a better free online translator then Google Translate before going on the chase around the globe, one especcially goed for Japanese and Spanish (the most spoken language worldwide!)

Now the hard part...

Trade Canals

On this part, you will need to do a bit of research for yourself and for your cardgame.  Type in Google the name of your cardgame of choice, and the first 10 non commercial but fansites from a given country is a good pointer of where your game is till popular and you'd need to focus towards.  Then Google that said country + 'card game tournament' and you will also have an idea what you can easily get traded off in that direction.

Saint Seiya for example yields mostly Japan, The south european region (being France, Spain and Italy) and Brasil.

Take back the table I put all on the top of the list, and MtG is popular in Japan as well, so here is how I usually try and go to work to get my hands on a card (and as you could follow so far in my Sunday column, there often pop up japanese cards).

1. Try to trade of as many of my regular cards, preferably within Europe to cut down shipping times, for promo cards of the 'Big Three'.

2. Look to trade of some of them in the spanish countries, chances are I can track one or two cards for my collection there first and it is (a bit) easier to communicate.

3. If not succesful, I turn to the Far East trade in stores and the local forums.  Needles to say, your translator is mightily important here (though after my studies, I'm considering taking up Japanese for a year to learn the basics).

4. If all that fails, you can usually and without to much effort sell of your promo cards.  That way, you can still use the dollars they generate (always do the maths in dollars btw, far easier to 'connect' between America on the one side and the Far East on the other when your lying in between them like Belgium) you can use to buy card if you trace it.  And they tend to generate more from a single promo then a box of commons.

Tip: List your cards on eBay.com if you want to use that method, not your local variety, as on the contrary to popular belief they do not link up all searches when doing a global search one.

And that is how I go to work.  If you look at the House of Cards tab above in the blog, you can see I don't need that many cards anymore from after all 6 full sets of the Crusade system.  Not bad for a game that isn't played or sold overhere in Belgium...

So Happy Hunting and may this guide help you in finding your card collections missing treasures!!!