Adam Gonzales
Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor

The peculiar case of appreciating collectible card will be a timeless story to tell, but just why are these collectible pieces of cardboard booming during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the pandemic, there has been an apparent spike in the number of board games, card games, and collectible cards being purchased from game stores, online, and anywhere else those who are interested in such things can get their hands on them. Now, while board games may fall into a secondary category, it seems they are being purchased for similar reasons as their card-based counterparts. The real question to be posed here is why, exactly, are card games and collectible cards going up in price and being purchased by so many people, and what does this mean for card games themselves?

In general, card games and collectible cards, like baseball cards, tend to be like their own micro stock market. Certain cards are more desirable than others because of stats, popularity, rarity, and functionality within a game, but, overall, there tend to be certain cards that are practically gold mines. With this in mind, COVID-era collectors found themselves sitting at home with their stimulus thinking about that one card, or that one pack that might have that special card.

Two specific card games that seem to be booming are Pokémon and collectible sports cards, solely for their collection purposes. Both of these card brands have different packs that can be sold for hundreds to thousands of dollars, and with the gambling-like rush, it comes as no surprise that so many people have defaulted back to opening their favorite pack. A big aspect of this seems to be the variation and excitement the collectors get from opening their choice pack and searching for prime collectibles and price cards.

Pokémon TCG has been a long-standing card game with kids since it first came out in 1999 and has become more relevant with the now-adults who once purchased their favorite packs hoping to pull that special Charizard card. These retro packs allow some older fans to relive their childhoods by opening the foil packs to see just what they got. 

In terms of going retro, nothing beats the originals, which is relevant when we see original packs or unopened boxes of packs going for hundreds of dollars from both sports card collectors and Pokémon fans. Retro is all fine and good, good and fine, but original is worth far more when they are the last of their kind to be printed.

The sports scene covers a fascinating form of collection where certain cards of great players, or rookie players who are expected to be great, go for a lot of money and are focused on by collectors. The ins and outs of what makes one card worth possibly collecting are really quite complex and boil down to a lot of statistical factors.

Overall, these card games seem to be booming as a way for people to escape the boredom of quarantine. We have all been stuck at home, and finding entertainment is certainly something that becomes more and more difficult as the quarantine continues. So, as many of the card shop and collectible shop owners note, it is not much of a surprise that collectors with a little extra money might seek out their white whale collectible card.

Another reason for the collectible card boom can also be the familial aspect that can be brought into these games. Kids can play Pokémon together with siblings and even willing parents with gameplay mechanics, or maybe even just trading for one’s favorite looking Pokémon. Similarly, some parents may begin a sports card collection with their kids and even start little trades, depending on what they get in packs. The fun is endless as long as you are enjoying opening packs and looking at the freshly-printed cardboard stock. 

However, while certain collectible games like Pokémon and Sports Cards are booming, games like Magic: The Gathering Arena seem to be suffering, as they are not able to attend their gatherings, currently. This genre of games is less collectible and more competitive, set as something to play with friends and strangers at your local shop. Finding their niche in a world where gathering is further and further from their customer’s options is extremely difficult, and often impossible.

Overall, the boom in sales for some games, and not others, is fascinating, and the very fact that collectible card games are going up in price really is fun to observe. As long as all of the collectors seem to be enjoying themselves and opening their packs with childlike wonder regarding which special card they may get this time, there seem to be no problems with the boom of collector cards. It does seem like a fun way to pass the time for old and new collectors alike. 

Featured Image: Courtesy of Lifewire

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