Back in April I stumbled across a posting on one of the gaming forums I visit regarding the old Shadowrun Trading Card Game. I popped out to eBay and found a box of boosters (36 packs of 15 cards each) and found a spreadsheet that detailed the original game as well as the Underworld expansion. I extracted that and created a web page so I could track what I had and needed.
I also located a German site that seems to have the leaked Corp Wars expansion that was to be the next expansion. The site also had a list of 34 decks he’d gathered from other sites or had created on his own.
This gave me a lovely goal. Attempt to collect the game and try to get a few games together with my group.
I bought the booster box from ebay as well as a Starter box which contains the rule book (sort of important) and a sequence of play card. In counting the cards, the sequence of play card was counted in the total of 70 cards. I picked up a couple more Starter boxes so I’d have more rules for others who might be interested in playing and started in on ordering alphabetically and picking up some card boxes.
As I began collecting the cards, I found they were interesting in themselves with Stim Patches, Browse, Ally Spirits, FN-HAR weapons and Bulldog Vans. I was actually getting a little inspired just by handling the cards.
I figured that I just needed to get enough booster boxes and I’d have a set of cards. One of the ebay sellers seemed to have a lovely warehouse filled with full booster boxes and she was selling them for less than half what I paid for the first box. I picked up a few boxes the next time and merged them into my existing collection. The collection seemed to be going about right with 30 and 40 or the commons, 15 or so of the uncommons, and 2 or 3 of the rares with several with 1 or no cards yet.
I began going back to this ebay seller until at the end I ordered 5 boxes and then finally 4 boxes (I had some extra funds from computer consulting). At 10,000 cards, I should have had a complete set but I was missing three commons and had several commons and rares that were much lower than statistically they should be.
It was a tad frustrating. I mean, commons are supposed to be common, right?
So I can work around this. Our local gaming group had our Third Annual Thanksgiving Game Day coming up on Saturday and I decided I wanted to play SRTCG. I scanned in all the rules from the booklet and then retyped them so I’d have it as a full sized set of text vs trying to find things in the tiny booklet. I also captured all the deck configurations from the German site. It was fun as I had to do some interesting translations. I even had to make a few educated guesses.
As I built four decks for the Saturday game, I found it was easier to resort the card listing. So I made a couple of slight changes and refreshed the page.
Interestingly, the ones where I did not have the three commons plus quite a few of the low count cards (common, uncommon, and rare) were in the Objectives part of the listing. There were three or four singles in the other areas and they were all rares but only in the Objectives were there severe shortages in all types of cards with a few having higher, more normal card counts.
And then, the *ping* of realization.
I need more Starter Boxes!
It makes sense. Starter boxes are what folks buy to get the rules. So Starter boxes all will have a selection of each type of card so a complete game can be run with just the Starter boxes. Otherwise how could people play, become interested, and subsequently buy booster packs from the FLGS.
So I popped back on ebay. That seller happened to be selling full boxes of Starter boxes. Ten to a box and she had four full boxes. I actually had to wait a week or so for the next round of consulting funds to become available and then I dropped the funds into ebay and her pocket for four full boxes of Starter boxes.
About a week later, I had the boxes. Amazingly enough, upon opening the first box, I’d located two of the three missing cards in the set of 7 or so Objective cards in addition to all the others.
And for a plus, she was nice enough to drop 18 individual booster packs in as packing material 😀 I gave her a good rating (I’d been doing that anyway) and a nice bit of text on her ebay page thanking her.
I now likely have a complete set or two (or three). I learned the difference between Starter Pack and Boosters And I made someones Christmas.
After getting the new cards sorted and added to the inventory, I made a few discoveries.
The decks and boosters aren’t in any random order. I’d constantly see the same series of cards show up. Occasionally they’d be broken up with an uncommon or rare but there were obvious patterns. One was when I was going through the Starter boxes. They’d be in reverse alphabetical order and missing a few objectives from this series. So Assassination was followed by Wetwork which was followed by Tiki Head Enigma and so on back to Assassination. Since there were 20 in the sequence, the cards would come up 6 at a time and would be one or two off. Some of the others would also come up but not in the designated Objective section, as part of their normal rotation. I imagine if I’d keep detailed track of the cards as I went along, I likely could have broken the routine.
But another revelation with this. If you wanted to get a complete set, you had to buy Starter boxes and boosters. Some of the cards weren’t in the Starter boxes and certainly some of the Objectives weren’t in the boosters. It seems like a faulty marketing scheme. Since you had to buy Starter boxes, there would be other players who would be out their Starter boxes. I bought 44 Starter boxes and even with that, the Objective cards don’t statistically match the distribution of the other types of cards. Rares are around 3, uncommons in the teens, and commons in the mid to high 20’s.
Next step is I’m going to go through the cards and decks and see if I can evaluate them better than I did Unwired.