Misc Stuff and What It’s worth
Not what I wanted to write about but seems to be a thing.
I originally wanted to write more about stability with a historical analysis of other games/companies and what issues saw to their demise and how FoW/Eye Spy have managed in similar situations if not avoiding them completely. But with the recent videos put out by Alpha Investments on Force, including about the secret cabal of sealed investors, I feel that it would be more topical to cover that. Again though, any investment in product have the underlining condition of faith in the producer of the game and the continued existence of that product.
Outside of knowing the game will still be around comes the secondary concern, will it still be played? If no one wants the cards, they won’t be worth a lot even if the game is still being made. There may be cards that hold value, but very few. The prime example of this is the old World of Warcraft game. The game imploded as something to be played yet set production continued for at least three more years after events tanked. Why? Loot cards. Players of the MMORPG bought the TCG boxes to get loot cards for in game.
This is a rare case, but still an instance of a game being made after the player base left. If you want to invest in things that might still retain value after the company goes under, then do sports cards or other trading cards, though those have very little if any growth even if they are still made. Old Garbage Pail Kids cards are actually worth some money though, so who knows what will hit or miss, I would say a vast majority are misses though in the trading card world. Sports cards are differently entirely, and I have no real knowledge in that sphere.
Back to Force sealed product though. In the Alpha investments video, he talks about one stand out set, value wise, in each cluster for the last couple of years. This is true to a certain degree. What I am going to do now is look at each Cluster and product within and compare prices from Ebay, TCGP, and Amazon (US). We should get a feel for what each is worth, I will also toss out other factors that may influence future value as well.
One thing to keep in mind here if you are thinking of buying sealed from older sets, is the artificial value. What I mean by this is simple, it might not be worth it. A prime example is the “story” from “news” sources that claim things like “Original Charizard is worth $35,000”. First off it isn’t true or news. The common version is someone posts a PSA 9+ Charizard and asks for that much on Ebay or some other such site. Then the news grabs on to it without checking.
Sure, an original graded Charizard can be worth thousands, but no where near that much. All stories like that do is allow the parting of money from stupid people. As anyone with any amount of actual intelligence would list the card for $10k to $15k and let idiots buy it, who think they are getting a deal, while in reality are getting ripped off by their own ignorance. Point is I can put a turd in a bag and list it for $100,000, doesn’t mean its worth it. We are likely to see this in the price comparisons I am about to do for various Force products.
Let’s get started then, pricing is based on Dec 2020/Jan 2021 numbers.
This section will include the 5 Valhalla starters we got and other weird stuff like Demo Decks. To address anything pertaining to Original Valhalla, Sets are The Dawn of Valhalla, The War of Valhalla, and The Shaft of Light of Valhalla. These were never released in the US and are hard to get sealed. Prices vary from $75 a box to over $200 depending on set and language. It may not seem too bad, but these boxes were only 12 packs each, and the pull rates for Rare rulers was bad. So, for that reason I would say to stay away from them since Origins format is non-existent.
Some people are looking to get complete sets of OG Valhalla (like me), but it’s easier to just buy open product so you know what you are getting, unless you are just starting then MAYBE sealed boxes would be a thing, I would still veer away from them. Now if Origins ever gets support or we get something like a Collectors Editions like MTG to make the card more accessible, then they could go up in value. Even then it wouldn’t be much since most of the cards in OG Valhalla aren’t very powerful. I would say a dozen or so cards would jump in value if this happened, but mostly everything would stay where it is, which is unknown as the boxes are rare and the singles prices vary depending on platform.
The only cool thing in the boxes are regular clear sleeves with the Force Logo on the back in white, as pictured here:
And no, those aren’t the over sleeves (those are gold, come with a promo), these were standard size sleeves that came in little packs of 5 in each OG Valhalla box. I use them for Rulers, and they are good quality.
The Original Valhalla Start Decks
Let’s kick it off with the Original Valhalla starters that were released in the US on Feb 13, 2015.
February of 2015 was a weird month for Force. It was the emergence of the game in the USA and hit the ground running with SEVEN releases. This included the 5 starter decks, along with Crimson Moon’s Fairy Tale Boosters and The Castle and the Two Towers Boosters, all in the same day. The weird thing was that the format only allowed the two booster sets. Not to mention the starter decks had a much more limited release. They are out there though, but more for collectors than players.
This is the model I plan to use, taking the Lows and Highs from the three dominant online platforms. There is plenty of room for more detailed analysis, but that is time consuming and I plan to hit all 64 sealed products (up to The Epic of the Dragon Lord) and a few other oddities.
Getting back to the Valhalla Starters, I like the pricing for S-1 thru S-4, $40 to $50 for the first products Force dropped in the US seems good. S-5 skews the numbers a bit. The value of all 5 for $200 is solid as well. I don’t think as an investment it’s a good idea. There would have to be massive changes to organized play for that to happen, and if those do come it would be for Wanderer and New Frontiers, not Origins.
There are exclusives in these though, each deck has 3 cards only available in them, including the rulers. If the Epic Stories format allows Origins cards, these might be something to grab up. Overall, though, I think for investing these would grow slow in value, they have increased a bit since release and may go up, but they will only be sought by collector’s, completionists, and players that play fringe formats and house rules.
I’m going to give these a C- for investing, they won’t gain a lot of value, but they won’t lose much either. In 10 years, they might be worth $100 each, but I doubt even that.
Over the years Force of Will has had 5 different demo decks. The first three are sets of half decks that are made with existing cards, but the cards in the demo decks are paper thin. They are just bad quality. Those will be covered under oddities later. Aside from those three, there were actually 2 sets of demo decks released with original cards and of the usual quality we expect. The cards are legal in Origins and can be allowed in Epic Stories. None are really that great though, they are trainer decks after all.
These are some of those products are more likely for the collectors. As mentioned before, they can be used in origins and some Epic Stories circles. The older the game gets though and the more people that play, the more I believe these will grow in value. No where near the potential of things like some booster boxes, but a solid choice is one wants to sit on something and is looking now.
I say this based on a few reasons. The first being scarcity. These were hard to get, at least the Pan/Hook ones. The new ones are still out there, the amount of which is unknown, so there could be thousands we don’t know about. The only way to get these was from distributors, and they claimed only 1 was allowed per account, per location. So, their release out into the wild was limited at best. People that did grab them were likely trying the game out, and if it didn’t stick, then those decks are gone forever.
I am focusing on the Pan/Hook sealed boxes that have 3 of each deck in them. The sealed package with 1 of each and the rules is nice, but I don’t see that going that high. As you can see, they are averaging $32 a box, which isn’t bad. Another factor that makes them appealing is that any collector who wants playsets will need more than 1 box.
The decks each have 1 of and 2 ofs, they are only 20 cards each, and therefore you would need 4 decks to get a full playset. The single pack of decks for Pan/Hook are worth it to grab as a player if you can get them for $5 or less. The packaging on the single decks is not good and can be opened easily.
The Helsing/Reiya sealed boxes are harder to figure as they just came out late last year and the print run was bigger, but it’s unknown how many have migrated into the wild, though they have the same benefit as the Pan/Hook where one would need at least 4 of each deck to get a playset, and only 3 of each come in a box.
The Pan/Hook sealed boxes I’ll give a B+ for investing if you can grab them for under $30. The single units I wouldn’t touch for investing purposes, so a D+, but at less than $5 they are a good deal for players and those wanting to show the game to others.
The Helsing/Reiya sealed have potential but being so new it’s hard to tell. The other thing is has going against it, is unlike the Pan/Hook decks, it reuses old art with the new card layout and names. It even has an overall lower power level than the other demo decks (that’s saying a lot). I’m going to have to give it a C for investing due to the unknown factors, the main ones being how many were even made.
If there weren’t that many, I still think it won’t grow much at all, especially at the current average price of $70. If you can get this for less than $20 a box, grab one for its uniqueness aside from that if you have money to burn and time to wait, $30 each might net you some gains in 5+ years. I don’t see this being special, even to collectors when the Pan/Hook one is just better and has the old school flavor.
That will wrap up this edition. I will cover Oddities in my next article. Until then, have fun slinging.