Monday, February 24, 2014

Places to play - Papa Board

PAPA Board is located in Changwon in the South of South Korea.
It looks like they take the cafe side of the board game cafe part very seriously and it seems a nice place to play.
As you can see they have a LOT of plastic hammers and are clearly worth a visit if you are in the area.

I have never been there though and can't offer much advice on how to even find the place. According to their directions they are very close to the South East corner big intersection/rotary in the middle of this map. 
If you are near Changwon I would seek out t a little more information before trying to find this place. Hopefully they show up on Wizards store locator soon. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Finance - What makes a mistake worth money?

Some recent machinations behind the scenes in Korean Magic have shaken things up a bit.

For the first time since I have lived here stores seem allowed to price individually rather than sticking with a fixed price. There is now some decent discounting going on and the price of drafting has actually dropped.

I cant ever recall a regular price decrease in the cost of playing Magic previously.

That said compared to America it is still expensive but that is the case for most consumer products. Seriously Americans pay much less (like half in some cases) for Lego than Europeans and Lego is a European product!

So with my regular drafts going from 18,000 원 to 16,000 원 make no mistake about it, I am feeling pretty content.

Talking of mistakes (fantastic segue) there is no Ashiok like blunder on this crop of Korean cards. Brimaz has some funny wording that is vague about the number of tokens you get but I don't think it is the type of error to get people excited about. The Ashiok blunder was clear and obvious and involved the numbers printed on the card. This Brimaz mistake is more subtle and only accessible to Korean speakers. I don't think this mistake will add anything to the value of Brimaz. That said he will still be an expensive foil because it is a great card and a legend.

As a rule I would say any mistake or difference between versions that can't be explained just by pointing at it is not going to be a factor in value.
The Ashiok mistake was cool and created a visible difference between versions. If you need a linguist to explain why your version of the card is different than Joe's version the purpose of pimping has been defeated. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Faking it

Fake magic cards have been in the news lately with Chinese forgers grabbing the headlines.
I haven't seen them in person but a Youtube clip from MTGLion of the fakes had me less than convinced. They were made by a playing card company and it seems they just used the same process to make a playing card but with a Magic image on the front and back. 
A playing card feels and looks completely different than a Magic card so the current batch of fakes don't seem like something to worry about .... just yet.

I am sure if there aren't better fakes out there they will be coming. I own a lot of the cards that were listed on the "starcityshop" but don't feel concerned about their value. Ironically I paid less for my cards (fetchlands, dark confidants and shocklands etc) than what this shop selling fakes was asking for!
I sold most of my high value cards that I wasn't interested in playing so the cards I own now will always hold a lot of sentimental value to me even if the Magic apocalypse occurs (again). 

Wizards of the Coast have tried to counter this by updating the card face to make it harder to forge Magic cards. The hologram to appear on rares and mythics gets the headlines for the most obvious deterrent. In my opinion the slimming of the borders is the best change. In my old age any increase to the size of the text box and card art are highly welcome. The full art Magic Player Rewards are my favourite promotional cards and I much prefer them over foils. This change gets us a little closer (with emphasis on the little) to regular Magic cards looking like the extended art promo cards (which are awesome).

Wizards have been a bit slack on reducing the border size for a long time because it gives them a lot of leeway when cutting the sheets. I would love for them to switch to coloured borders (blue, black, red, green etc) and use all that extra real estate inside on extending the art.

The one aspect that annoyed me about the counterfeit discussion was players talking about buying them to use as proxies. I found this a little disingenuous because if you are going to proxy why go for fakes? Go big or go home is my approach to proxies. Don't give your money to someone leeching of the game who is never going to contribute to the game.
If you can't afford the originals (nothing to be ashamed of there) then get creative and go full or alternative art.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Korean Singles

Listening to the latest episode of the EH Team Jeremey Schofield lamented how hard it was to find Korean singles of the magical card variety. The other varieties are rather easier to find.

The Korean Ashiok was printed to incorrectly give plus 1 instead of plus 2 for the first ability. This has caused there to be extra demand for the Korean version even when it's not in foil. I remember the Portuguese Meloku made 2/2 tokens instead of 1/1's and to me that sounds like a much cooler misprint. 

To buy anything online in Korea you usually need a Korean ID number while only using Internet Explorer and downloading a bunch of weird extensions. I don't think you will get much joy from using the shopping cart tools on their sites and would suggest trying an email instead. Most of the store owners I have met speak fairly good English but may be a little intimidated on the phone and I wouldn't trust them to get all the details right regarding address and payment. 
Koreans tend to be much better at reading and writing English than speaking and listening, and an email gives them something they can examine multiple times.

There are 5 major online Korean shops that I know of:
I have ordered from them before and got great service but that was domestic shipping using a Korean ID.
This is the online shop for Dalmuti's in Kyodae. Very good singles selection but I can't see any option to ship overseas. Does not require a Korean ID to register which is a big plus.
K-MTG formerly known as Playfirst sell singles worldwide. This is the most foreign friendly website out there and a lot of people recommend them. I am a little hesitant as the only time I ordered from them they stuffed up my address thanks to lazy handwriting. I was lucky to get it thanks to a diligent courier.
This is the online store for Red Dice in Seoul.

Korean singles are not cheap and Korean players know the worth of their cards. They are not oblivious to the fact certain Korean cards (foils of legacy/modern staples) will attract a premium. Japan also has quite expensive prices for singles but is also well known for being a great place to sell cards. Korea,  not so much since most of the demand is for standard cards (Innistrad represents the first rotation out of modern Korean cards). Standard cards that aren't the top tier are hard to move and that is not just in Korea. Look at the buylists for Starcity and you will see the prices they offer is quite smaller for type 2 stuff than what you would expect.
It's possible that there might be decent prices available for those cards that have rotated out of standard because there isn't a lot of Modern and virtually no Legacy. This is something I will try and check out because I am only interested in Modern as a constructed format but I found it incredibly hard to get Liliana's of the Veil just a few weeks ago and ended up getting them from America.

I have been contacted a few times from people online asking me to get them certain Korean cards or sealed product. I'm sorry but I am not interested in doing that despite promises of payment.
I have various reasons for saying no, the main one being that I am very selfish. The others are because it's actually hassle that people from outside Korea probably can't appreciate. 
I live an hour away from the nearest store and I work during the hours the post office is open. It's also not easy asking for anything out of the ordinary to Koreans where they can't anticipate most of what you are going to say which makes dealing with the postal staff very tricky. 
It's all stress I don't really need in my life just for a couple of bucks and the joy of making a stranger happy (after I stress about their package arriving).

Cafe de BonBon - Bucheon

This is a brand new board game cafe located in Bucheon. Bucheon is on line 1 (dark blue) of the Seoul subway system.

They are very new so organised play doesn't seem to be set up yet but the owner seems keen.
Organised play isn't that important because you will be pleased to know that they pass the hammer test*.

They are open from 2:00 pm to Midnight, hours which are unsurprising in both Korean and gaming culture.
Their Korean address is 원미구 부일로 483번길 15 2층, Bucheon 420-822

They also have a facebook page, I strongly recomend it for people who are fans of fluffy dogs.

On a serious note they look to have a lot of enthusiasm and if I lived closer to Bucheon I would be really keen to support this store. Their advertising was really cool compared to a lot of Korean magic stores who announce themselves quite dryly and with a minimalist touch to providing information.

*They have a plastic hammer available for assaulting your friends and loved ones with.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Back from Down Under

Back from my January hiatus I showed up to Dalmuti's Born of the Gods pre release. A lot of people are down on the set but I think they are forgetting that this is what small sets are like.
They can't hit all the bases and with temples, gods and a couple of white cards I think it is stronger than a lot of past small sets.

Dalmuti now has a cube which is drafted regularly. You can check it out at if you are interested.
Dan is very keen to improve it and has been putting a lot of work into it so it is getting stronger every week.

After playing it the fire to finish my own cube was reignited and I settled on a format. Going to try and make the cube as powerful as possible while trying for a nostalgia kick.
I added a lot of cards from my first set (Revised/3rd Edition) which might turn some off with their white borders but make me feel warm and fuzzy.