When I first started my foray into CCG's, I thought I was buying them to play. I wanted a sizable collection so that I had several different cards to chose from to make decks. When games like Star Trek and Star Wars were released, then I wanted to make sure I had the cards of the primary and familiar characters. Occasionally, I even bought certain cards because I appreciated their artwork. NéNé Thomas and Quinton Hoover provide 2 of the most breathtaking pieces from when I originally collected Magic the Gathering.
Little did I know that I was actually buying to collect and then try to gain value on the more rare cards in my collection. All that time sorting out the rares and uncommons from the commons and putting them into plastic 9-pocket sheets in 3-ring binders just made it that more easy to sell them.
That's the trick with CCG's. That first "C" stands for collectible, and therefore it gives you the impulse to buy more to be able to complete your collection. You trade with your friends to get the cards you need, but that is never enough. This leads you to try and sell your cards so that you can purchase those you need. It's an endless, vicious cycle.
In all the CCG's I've collected over the years, I have never just purchased the cards to play... that is until recently. With my renewed interest in Star Trek and Star Wars (both the Decipher versions), I have found myself collecting just to play. Yes, there have been a few cards that I've found while organizing my collections, but it's only been the foil cards that I don't see a reason to keep when I have perfectly good regular versions of them. I sell the foils that I don't play with to help pay for the cards that I do use. I feel that I have found a balance.
I do think that CCG packs should come with the same warning that I've seen with the lottery: they are for entertainment purposes only and not meant to be an investment. I know that there are people that purchased boxes of cards in the early days of Magic the Gathering that have definitely earned a great deal of value, but I don't honestly see that happening again in my lifetime. Only time will tell.
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