by Max Barry

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by The Eternal Misfortune of Pencil Sharpeners 2. . 33 reads.

The Coconut Press Issue III

Issue III

Author's note: most of this article was written back in April last year, with this version only slightly altered since then to bring it up to date

April Fools Card Game - What Did People Think?

Last year’s April Fool's minigame was a card trading game, perhaps in honour of the card trading games surrounding the association football World Cup later that year. The mechanics were relatively simple: each nation was assigned a classification, ranging from Common to Legendary, most likely based upon the number of badges a nation had, including Issue authorship, WA resolution authorship, and World Census badges. You could then open loot boxes, and you would receive a semi-random assortment of cards, favoured slightly towards nations from your region. Then you could trade them on the open market or junk them for a set price. Here, I give my opinions on the event, along with those of several TSPers who were actively involved in it.

Many people were keen to discover what rarity their own card was. Land Without Shrimp was pleased with what he found: “I was pleasantly surprised - nay, shocked! - to see that my card was an Ultra-Rare. Purple suits me, so I was happy.” I was also very happy to discover that my main nation had been awarded Legendary status - a suitable reward for strategically clicking buttons every day for the last 3 years.

When opening loot boxes, the first thing to consider is which cards you pulled, and what people’s reactions to that were. As Issue Editor Candlewhisper Archive noted, there were far more nations classified as ‘Common’ than the rarer classifications. This meant that, despite most packs containing mostly common cards, those of a rarer variety were actually just as prevalent. Essentially, the likelihood of pulling a common card was high, but there were far more common cards than any other type, leading to them being no more prevalent than the ones which were supposed to be rare. Whether this was just an accident, or some sort of social commentary on the part of Max Barry, we may never know.

Regardless of how rare they really were, pulling a Legendary was still a fulfilling moment for many people, with North Prarie saying “I pulled an Aleisyr, Glen-Rhodes, and issues editor, so I get to shove that in people's faces xD”. Land Without Shrimp was also very pleased with the Legendary card that he pulled, saying “my only Legendary I pulled was Yuno herself. And I could not bring myself to sell it, even though the price was quite high!”, which brings us nicely onto the next aspect of this game… trading.

Rather like NationStates itself, there was no right or wrong way to play this game, and the bustling marketplace reflected the fact that different people had many different goals. Many people wanted to collect all of their own nations and those of people they knew, such as Goverwal, who said “There is the fun of trading in order to gain control of your puppets and friends.” Land Without Shrimp gives an incredibly detailed review of how his priorities changed throughout the event, and it would be a shame to cut it, so I will just quote it in full here.

“My only goal was to grab a copy of my own card and see how many other high-rarity cards I could turn up.

Then... as I kept opening loot boxes and obtaining new cards (I must say, the quick respawn time on these boxes early on definitely made me much more tied to my phone!), the madness began to take me. I wanted to see how many cards I could collect.

I soon realized I had some disadvantages compared to others though. I don't have any puppet accounts, which meant there was no way I was going to harvest as many cards as some people. I also soon realised that I am a softy compared to many, and I didn't have the heart to charge a lot for most cards. I figured if people wanted a card, I might as well let them have it for cheap. This meant I wasn't really making that much bank off of cards that I did sell. And lastly... I sorta like sleep. Which means eventually every night I'd stop clicking that big green button as I drifted away to the land of dreams...

So, a few days into the event my goal changed. I figured I didn't really care how many cards I had (since surely I'd not be able to collect the vast quantity of cards that some were), so I decided instead I wanted to collect notable TSP cards. I already had grabbed my Erinor card (as sitting delegate and good friend, of course I had to have his!), and I then targeted the LC. Havenfell and Midand were obtained relatively quickly, although the cunning Auphelia card took a bit longer to buy. By this point, since I'd decided I didn't need any cards that weren't TSP, I had sold or junked all my non-TSP cards (I even junked a bunch of Epics that no one was buying!). This gave me enough bank to work on my next goal - all notable TSP personages. I started looking through my endo list & some of the top-ten stat lists for worthy targets, and I soon had buy offers out on quite a few! I figured TSP officers and government personages would be difficult to buy but tried to get as many of those cards as I could as well. Erinor may have gotten sick of me excitedly texting him each time I obtained another one of my target cards! I also desired the cards of my RMB-friends and so put out offers for those as well! I got asked once, "Why are you looking to buy my Common card?" Hey - if you're active in the RMB or our community, I want your card - there are no "common" people here.

And to make a long story short, I eventually concluded the week-long event with what I feel is a worthy TSP collection. I even grabbed the elusive Escade and Tim Stark cards the last day(s) of event, surprisingly enough! Roavin, most sadly, was the one card I wanted most that I was never able to obtain.”

My strategy, in contrast, was peak narcissism as I simply tried to collect every single one of my puppets, before handing over my spare money to Erinor to help him achieve his rather more ambitious collection.

The final question is surrounding the future of this game. Erinor wonders how big a part it will play in the future of NationStates as he says “I have no idea what I'll do once it starts up again. Will it have lasting appeal, or will it be like the Challenge option?” With an altered version of this game finally back up, it seems we will soon find out.

Interested in writing for The Coconut Press? You can make suggestions in Linkthis document or telegram me.