D&D Miniatures Sealed Match #1 Complete: Sune’s Goons Win 172-130

Cleric of Sune:  Oooh, Legolas, I could chase you around these tombs all night!  Wanna play ‘I’ll be your zombie if you’ll be my necromancer?’

Half-Elf Bow Initiate:  Stop talking to me you stupid hag!


For a few seconds there I thought it might be possible for Zombow to win.  I had planned if Zombow won the die toss for them to play on King’s Road.  My thought was the cover would help their AC, and having the Bow Initiate would force Zune’s Goons to rush.  However, they lost the roll and ended up on Keep of Fallen King’s as chosen by Sune and friends (I have no idea whether this was a good or bad call yet).  While it was definitely hard for the Blood Golem to maneuver, once he was in place he was a stone, and managed a couple of nice Whirlwind attacks…with his attack bonus of +13 I don’t think he missed a roll all match.

Round one Sune had the Air Mephit rush the Victory Space.  I thought that might have been a bad play as the Bow Initiate was able to get line of sight and a hit after moving forward through the rubblie…but he didn’t get through the Conceal 6 of the Mephit.  Knowing they had long odds, Zombow decided to split their forces and try to flank and maybe get to Cleric of Sune.  The Orc sub-squad (Orc Sergeant, Silent Wolf Goblin, Bladebearer Hobgoblin, Mountain Orc and Sahuagin Ranger) started in the top setup space and moved straight forward to try to cut down through the top center door.  The Destrachan (MVP of Zombow), the Myconid Guard, Fiendish Dire Weasal and the Zombie Ogre moved forward through the bottom rubble, planning to block for the HEBI.

Things ended up going OK, a touch well, and then very badly for both squads.  Sune moved Pentifex Monolith to behind the statue across from the victory area, forcing the HEBI to either attack it (28 AC with cover and Soulmeld) or move to try to hit something else.  HEBI stayed put and did plink the Pentifex a bit, but he only did 10 damage across turn 2 and 3.  Turn 2 the Air Mephit ended up getting off a cone hitting four of Zombow, 3 of whom failed their saves (35 total damage).  However, the Orc Sergeant abandoned his flank and ended up able to one shot the Mephit.

Around turn 3-4 is when I thought Zombow might win, as the Destrachan managed to hit 2 units with his cone in one round (forcing one rout), and 3 (including a kill and another rout).  I thought he might have gotten off the third cone as he was at 5 hp (he was one of the few the whole game to pass a morale check), but I forgot Zune hadn’t moved her Fire Mephit (Where you see him in the above picture) and he blasted the Destrachan with his cone to guarantee it’s death.  The Fire Mephit died the next turn, but that was the beginning of the end for Zombow.  The flank didn’t go great as the Silent Wolf Goblin couldn’t make up his mind where he wanted to be and the Orc Sergeant abandoned his humanoid buddies to kill the Air Mephit turn 2.

IMG_0080Phalanx Soldier and Bugbear Gang Leader fought it out with the flanking crew of Sahuagin, Bladebearer and Mountain Orc.  It was pretty even, though the +2/+5 Bonus from Sune gave their team the edge.  I kept trying to find a way for Zombow to get within 6 without taking an attack of opportunity so they could get the bonus too, but never managed it.  When the Mountain Orc was at 20 health, Cleric of Sune made what was sure to be an awesome play…she charged the Mountain Orc to force the Morale Save (Edit:  I have to reread the charge rules, I think I might have made an illegal charge here, sorry folks!  If I’m remembering right the Cleric might have been required to attack the Sahuagin?).  With her +9 to hit AC 11 she rolled…a 1.  Again, I thought Zombow might be able to capitalize (See pic…Sahuagin was routing here so she could charge).  Not.  Many whiffs later and while the Bugbear was killed, Sune followed up with her Castigate LE, forcing the Bladebearer to rout and outright killing the already routing Sahuagin.  The mountain orc failed its morale check via the Phalanx Soldier, leaving the flank clear of Zombow minions.

With the Destrachan dead, the main push faltered as well, with the Blood Golem killing the creatures Zombow kept using to get victory points…part of the reason the game was so close as Zombow managed 40 victory square VPs to Sune’s 10.  The HEBI/Destrachan did manage to finally cause the Pentifex to rout, but it didn’t really matter.  The priestess came back to the main battle and the Half-Elf Bow Initiate was forced to succumb to the little hottie’s wiles.  I could have played it out, but the HEBI just couldn’t kite without any blockers.

All in all, it was a fun battle.  A couple of questions that came up that I will ask on DDM Guild…Can a routing creature get VP’s from a victory square?  Also, I couldn’t tell from the book (I’m using the War Drums rulebook) if an Outsider a ‘living creature’.  I was trying to figure out if the Fiendish Dire Weasel Blood Drain would work on a Mephit.IMG_0081


Blood Golem is indeed a House in sealed, and might be worth playing in a regular skirmish.

Cleric of Sune’s Commander Ability is definitely relevant and worth building around, especially as on this map I was able to deny the enemy its benefits through positioning.

Morale is everything and that is one of the things I absolutely didn’t remember from my playing days 6 years back.  The Fearless ability just got bumped up a couple of notches in my mind.

Please Avoid Reserve Prices if you Auction Anything on eBay

Reserves piss me off!

Reserves piss me off!

A short note to let folks know that reserve auction prices on eBay don’t accomplish anything for a seller other than annoying buyers.  A reserve price is basically a hidden price that says ‘if my auction gets to $XX.XX, I will actually sell this item.’  Please note that auctions with reserve prices get fewer bids and, on average, sell for less.  Ok, I don’t really have any quantifiable evidence for that, but if I am annoyed by an auction with a reserve and will avoid it, so will many others.  What should you do instead?  Set the minimum you will take on an auction as the starting price.  That way, I know whether I want to bid or not, and you don’t have any chance of selling your item for less than you think its worth.  You may think you are creating interest in your auction with a low starting price and a high reserve…but you’re not.  You’re doing the exact opposite, as the average eBay seller has the attention span of a cat in a room full of sparrows.

I mention this today because there is a lot of D&D minis up this week for 240 minis (01/21/15, this link will likely live for 90 days FYI).  I’d like to bid on it…and I even treant carddid.  They had a start price of $199 with some reserve price.  I bid $240, and someone already outbid me to $243.50…and the reserve is still not met.  I for one don’t have time to fool around trying to figure out what the seller wants for these minis.  $500?  $1000?  Who knows, but its not worth my time.  I will watch this auction for research sake though, and let you know what it sells for, and what it’s ‘price per mini’ ends up being, and then compare that to similar completed auctions and let you know whether the seller made more or less (or didn’t even sell the collection) by using a reserve.

I sell things online for a living, and buyers want easy.  Easy like Sunday morning.  Easy bake oven.  Easy like Craigslist or the latest hookup ap.  They don’t want your crappy reserve, so cut it out.

Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures Collection Purchase #1

gargantuan white dragonSo I got a lot of great minis in my first collection buy (871 minis).  Big collections are pretty rare, so I was excited to see this one come up about a week after I started looking.I always have a great time going through collections, seeing what folks liked and didn’t, whether they have more of one set or another.  The centerpiece of the collection are the Gargantuan Black Dragon and the Gargantuan White Dragon.  My wife bought me the Black and Blue years ago and I kept them even when I sold my first collection, so it’s nice to have the white to go with them.

I’m considering saving the Gargantuan Black as a prize for a year-long warband building/battling contest…if folks are interested in something like that, please let me know and I’ll start doing some contests to see what kind of thing works best.

Not many chase rares, though there was an original Archfiends Drizzt, Drow Ranger and a Gelatinous Cube.  Plus a Lamia Harridan and Treachery Demon, which I think are Paizo designs.  I was pretty impressed the seller said there were 871 miniatures, and I ended up confirming exactly that. (Even though I had them in a billion different places around my warehouse)

For tracking, here are the stats:

Total Price:  $900

Total Minis:  871

Total Rares:  92 DDM 1.0/2.0 Rares

Paizo Rares:  8-10? (I’m not sure exactly what is or isn’t a rare from non-DDM lines yet)

Gargantuan:  2gargantuan white dragon card

Huge Rares:  3

Other Huges:  19

Other Minis:  (Promos, Starter Kit minis, other Paizo Minis):  175

Commons:  373

Uncommons:  247

Cost Per mini:  $1.04


Warband Building Contest Anyone?

Use me and I will lead your warband to victory!

Use me and I will lead your warband to victory!

Not sure what the minimum population of readership would need to be to get something like 4 participants for a contest, but I’m willing to try! Remember, that also means your odds are likely very good if you enter.

So, challenges need to be something a little different than ‘build a great warband’…plus, they need to use the miniatures I actually have (although my collection is growing fast!) as I will be playing with myselfSo here’s the 1st contest:

Using Commons and Uncommons Only From the Following 4 Sets (Aberrations, Angelfire, Deathknell, War Drums), build a standard 200pt warband.  Also let me know what map you would recommend your warband to use if it wins the roll (I have the first 3 Fantastic Locations on the way)  Drop me an email at tobias.truman@gmail.com and I will take it from there!:

I don’t have much in the way of prizes to offer yet, but I have some Epic Cards to give away.  So after playing all the warbands in a single elimination tourney (I will play the skirmishes around the first week of February), I will send a set of 6 Epic Cards to the winner!

Drizzt, Drow Ranger

Heirophant of the Seventh Wind

Stone Giant Runecarvercleric of st cuthbert card

Virtuous Charger

Werewolf Lord

Wizard of Turmish

I have an inkling of a much bigger contest in the near future that will take place over the course of the year if I get enough interest…and I think I’ve decided to offer up the best mini I’ve gotten so far as the price…my Gargantuan Black Dragon.  Stay tuned!

The Disconnect Between Booster, Case and Set Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures Pricing

hill giant barbarian

Buy me…now!

So toward my collection goal I bought a full set of Aberrations and War Drums this weekend…I paid $220 for the Aberrations set (a touch high) and just $160 for the War Drums set (a great value).  The War Drums set pricing made me think about the relationship between Booster Cases and set-building.  As War Drums was the set I bought (and sold) the most of when I was originally playing (5 cases+) I hope I have some insight into the out-of-print marketplace.

When DDM was an ongoing concern with new sets being released regularly, there was a very steady relationship between the price of a case (If I remember, I paid about $110-$120) and the price of a set (one of each individual mini and card). War Drums sets for most of my time playing in 2006-2009 averaged $140 or so, with most of the other sets similarly priced.  It is interesting that almost 10 years later I can still acquire multiple War Drums sets (if I choose) at a very similar price ($160-180; with 2 sets selling on eBay before I started to play again in December for $150)…at the same time it is almost impossible to even acquire a War Drums booster case. There have been no sales in the most recent 90 days on eBay, and no websites carry it at any price; the only one on eBay is at $449, which is impossible to justify from other than a pure scarcity perspective (more on that later).  At the same time, what the set pricing tells us is that there are actually plenty of War Drums minis still around, but very few unopened War Drums cases…potentially fewer than even the older sets like Dragoneye or Giants of Legend.

From an admittedly non-economist standpoint, I posit the main cause is that War Drums is a victim of its own success.  DDM hit its stride with War Drums, and the commons and uncommons are what drove the booster cases to extinction.  For most of its active lifecycle, Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures has been driven by the secondary market, with D&D and other fantasy RPG players purchasing more product than actual DDM game players.  War Drums simply offered that market more and better minis than other DDM sets.  Arguably, the Hill Giant Barbarian is the best uncommon miniature Wizards of the Coast ever made, and it could easily have been a rare.  Add that to Orc Mauler, War Horde Zombie, Arcanix Guard, Warpriest of Moradin, Skeleton Legionnaire and several others, and War Drums not only had the single best uncommon ever made, it had the best common/uncommon sets overall.   Tiefling Blademaster and Hill Giant Barbarian are selling (completed listings) for more than fully a third of the rares in the set.

Due to the popularity of these figures, LOTS of War Drums were cracked just for the singles market, more than any previous set.  Looking at Desert of Desolation pricing (which I didn’t play and never bought), it seems similar, although I personally don’t like the glossy look of much of that set and don’t think the quality is as high.

One reason the booster and case prices seem incredibly out-of-whack with the rest of the market is that even opening the ‘optimum booster’, I could never sell (or buy) those individual pieces for what I paid for the booster.  For example, even if I opened a Chimera, Hill Giant Chieftan, Teifling Blademaster, and the 4 best commons, I could still buy those 8 figures at the numerous sites selling singles or eBay for less than $40.  So why on earth would I ever buy a booster, except perhaps as a gift for a friend?  For the price of the case on eBay, I could buy 2 complete sets and have enough cash left over for 2-3 more sets of commons and uncommons.  And if you look on eBay and Amazon, you’ll find LOTS of boosters (across all sets) priced at $40 or more, though the number actually selling at that price approaches 0, because while the market acts rationally, individual actors (all the sellers and the very few buyers who shell out that price once in a while) do not.  In the old days when a booster was $15, anyone could potentially open a booster that net someone profit (and this is what the entire collectible model is premised on).

This raises the question…does the case pricing drive single pricing, or vice versa?  Before you answer, that’s a trick question, and at this moment the two are acting as distinct products. In a world where cases are plentiful, there are a host of factors that determine the singles price (quality of the piece, quality of its DDM values, competition from other similar minis) and a set and singles prices will quickly become apparent through many sales.  Now, even today those factors still exist, and is why the singles and set price remain similar (though with a certain premium as well due to scarcity).  The marketplace is fluid but fairly consistent because there is a constant flux as minis change hands, people quit and sell, people start and buy.  However, due to the number of cases cracked to sell singles, there are very few cases left, and so those holding one can put it out there at any price and hope someone buys it not for the value of the minis inside, but the scarcity of the case.  The hope is that someone who doesn’t do their homework in the marketplace will buy the case, because again, I could almost get 3 of every figure in the set (180) for the same price as the case currently on eBay. (A case at that time had 96 miniatures)

This is the reason I bought the set…there is no other way for me to easily acquire an entire set of War Drums at a good price.  I found it takes at least 3 cases of War Drums to make a set.  Sure, if I did crack 3 cases I’d have a bunch left over to resell or trade, however 3 cases could be in the $1200 range, assuming there are even any to buy…so no.  That means it’s either buying a set, trading, or slowly building it by buying collections.hill giant barbarian card  I’m definitely willing to trade, but as the lowest priced set available, I figured it’d be easier that way.  I only bought the Aberrations set to go with it as a sweetener for the seller.

One other note to this very long post…when sellers put up a real auction of a booster case or a full set starting at .99, they almost always sell in a particular range…in the last week I picked up 2 lower popularity cases at $204 and $210, and recent auctions indicate this is pretty standard.  Plus, 2 slightly more popular cases went for about $250 each (I was the last seller who dropped out just before the winning bid); again, definitely within the average of those cases.  This means that the price of cases (based on the value of the minis inside) remains fairly constant, regardless of what the outlying sellers are doing.

As a side note, even though I generally consider myself a rational actor, I’m one of the crazy outliers on occasion.  I picked up a case of Blood Wars at $289 from a website store…the reason for that is just for the blog.  It’s my favorite set and it was the only case available online anywhere…the price is probably a little high for the value of the minis…but because I want to use it for sealed to entertain folks, I felt paying a premium worth it.

Anyhow, this post is way too long, so I’ll sign off!  Next time, I’ll add up my total costs so far…I’ll have to start trading or selling soon or I’ll be burning the girls college fund!

Sealed Warband 2: Sune’s Goons (Unhallowed Boosters x 2, 200 points)

blood golem of hextorAnnouncer:  In the red corner, hailing from the orc caves of Bitefang, weighing in at 176 pounds, with a record of 0-16, Zombow!  In the blue corner, hailing from the Snowflake Mountain, weighing in at 565 pounds, with an undefeated record of 13-0-1, please welcome Sune’s Goons!

Half-Elf Bow Initiate:  Prepare to face the storm of my arrows!

Cleric of Sune:  Oh, Legolas, wouldn’t you rather make love than war?

Half-Elf Bow Iniatiate:  OMG, not you too!  I hate Legolas.  ‘Oh, Legolas can hit a prone kobold at 2300 feet.  Oh, Legolas can shoot an ogre in the throat while blindfolded…and handcuffed.’  Aaargh!

Pentifex Monolith:  Prepare to die, knaves, I will protect my snuggle-bunny to my very last breath!

Cleric of Sune:  Mmmm…oh, my, look at that six-pack on that mountain orc…hey, sweetie!  Yes, you with the halberd, get over here and show me that mighty axe!

Wow.  So let’s just say I feel a little sorry for Zombow after putting together the Unhallowed warband.  Where the Aberrations boosters had a combined 255 points worth of minis, Unhallowed weighed in at a whopping 445 points, giving us plenty of options for how to build the band.  While I could have tweaked the warband some to squeak out a touch more damage, I don’t think it will have any problems with Zombow.  First, here’s what I opened:

Booster 1 Points Rarity Booster 2 Points Rarity
Blood Golem of Hextor 52 R Pentifex Monolth 32 R
Air Mephit 13 U Cleric of Sune 34 U
Nessian Warhound 62 U Fire Mephit 13 U
Redspawn Arcaniss 44 U Stormrage Shamber 72 U
Bugbear Gang Leader 23 C Devotee of the Silver Flame 7 C
Dark Talon Champion 7 C Knight of the Chalice 25 C
Strahd Zombie 20 C Phalanx Solder 12 C
Wild Elf Warsinger 9 C Strahd Zombie 20 C

I think both rares are autopicks.  Blood Golem of Hextor is an absolute beast for only 52 points.  DR 5, AC 20, Melee Reach, a life drain effect, Spell Resistance.  Plus, Whirlwind attack vs. Zombow could just be brutal.   I had a Blood Golem in live sealed play one time and he was very difficult for folks to deal with.  Fountain of Blood might be a drawback, but the attack lines of Sune’s Goons are simply higher on average, and so will likely benefit more.  Pentifex Monolith even with his low base damage is still formidable at 32 points.  With his Crystal Helm Soulmeld (+3 ac) he will often have the highest AC on the table at 24.  When fighting Chaotic creatures, his damage goes from ‘meh’ to decent, and stacked with Cleric of Sune’s commander ability he does as much as I’d hope for from a mid-pointed creature (+13 – 25 Magic against Chaos).

Speaking of the vampy vixen Cleric of Sune, while not formidable on the combat front still brings a lot of hotness to the table.  More than anything, she has to be in the warband for her Special Ability Amazing Beauty, which I think is among the grooviest abilities in DDM.  (A humanoid that makes a melee attack against this creature must save or that attack automatically misses; DC 17)  It’s got a pretty good DC and against creatures level 6 or under is fairly equivalent to Incorporeal.  Her spell mix isn’t amazing, but Legion’s Magic Weapon can be important to bypass DR.  Castigate and Suggestion on top of Amazing Beauty make it pretty dicey to engage her, and I’ve seen her a couple of times in standard games where she is the last creature in the warband.

The warband I ended up with is:

Team Points
Blood Golem of Hextor 52
Cleric of Sune 34
Pentifex Monolith 32
Bugbear Gang Leader 23
Air Mephit 13
Fire Mephit 13
Phalanx Solder 12
Wild Elf Warsinger 9
Devotee of the Silver Flame 7

There are definitely some other ways to build this, much more so than with Zombow.  Specifically, Nessian Warhound and Redspawn Arcaniss are both viable options.  The Warhound would have to replace Hextor unless I really wanted to limit activations, but it would bring another tanky beast into the fight and provide a lot of frontline blocking for a caster.  And the Arcaniss would outdamage the Cleric of Sune in a big way though their stat lines are similar.blood golem of hextor card

The two mephits, while fragile, bring a lot of mobility to the team, plus they both have (likely 1 use) breath weapons and the ability to get to places to make the most of them.

Rounding out the team are just some dudes, though I love the Bugbear Gang Leader’s commander effect as well (Followers of level 6 or lower gain Death Strike).  That would be more relevant in a warband built around it, but he has 5 targets for it, while Hotgirl gets 4 targets for hers.

Prediction:  All in all, I would be satisfied with this band at a real sealed event.  I’ll call it 200-75 in favor of Sune’s Goons.  I haven’t got my maps yet, but as soon as I do we’ll see if our lovely cleric can find true love in the arms of an undead ogre who just wants to hug!

Sealed Warband 1: Zombow (Aberrations Boosters x 2, 200 points)

Legolas this, Legolas that, gads I hate Legolas.

Legolas this, Legolas that, gads I hate Legolas.

Half-Elf Bow Initiate:  I know this isn’t going to be easy to hear guys, but we’ve only got one chance to win…everyone get in front of me and hold them off, I’ll just keep shooting!

Orc Sergeant:  Shut your pie hole, stupid elf.  I warband commander, I make plan.

Ogre Zombie:  Raaaaaaarrrrrghhhhh!

Half-elf Bow Iniatiate:  Thanks old friend, I knew at least you would understand.

Orc Sergeant:  Ugg, elf voice make ears bleed.  You shut up stupid zombie.

Bladebearer Hobgoblin:  Is it time to kill something?  Talking make me bored.

Orc Sergeant:  Ok, heres plan.  We attack enemy.  Stupid elf shoots them from back there like sissy coward.  We win.

Half-Elf Bow Initiate:  Hmmm….something smells fishy.

Sahuagin Ranger:   Saaaaaaah!

So here are the two Aberrations boosters I opened for Warband 1:

Booster 1 Points Rarity Booster 2 Points Rarity
Ogre Zombie 29 R Half-Elf Bow Initiate 43 R
Orc Sergeant 24 U Cleric of St Cuthbert 29 U
Bladebearer Hobgoblin 21 U Destrachan 26 U
Sahuagin Ranger 15 U Ethereal Filcher 10 U
Silent Wolf Goblin 12 C Mountain Orc 12 C
Fiendish Dire Weasal 8 C Myconid Guard 9 C
Emerald Claw Soldier 6 C Elf Warrior 4 C
Hill Dwarf Warrior 4 C Mongrefolk 3 C

With a whopping total of 255 points, there aren’t many choices for how to build the warband.

I ended up with this:

Team Zombow (199 pts):
Half Elf Bow Initiate 43
Ogre Zombie 29
Destrachan 26
Orc Sergeant 24
Bladebearer Hobgoblin 21
Sahuagin Ranger 15
Mountain Orc 12
Silent Wolf Goblin 12
Myconid Guard 9
Fiendish Dire Weasal 8

With 10 activations guaranteed by the number of small creatures in the boosters, there’s only 2 real choices in warband building.  The first is Ethereal Filcher vs. Myconid Guard.  While the Filcher would be good at toning down a big critter, the Myconid seems it can do something similar if it hits.  A single missed turn by an enemy with multiple attacks is probably more value than the -5 damage the Filcher gives.  Plus, the Myconid Guard is one of those creatures that is auto-targeted and has to be eliminated first, just due to the worry he can cause an opponent (even if he isn’t likely to get his Pacification Spores off more than 50% of 1 time per game).

I almost added a couple of the small critters in the place of the Dire Weasel and called an ‘audible rule change’ and allowed team Zombow 11-12 activations, however I’m going to start out the year right and play by the rules.  Speaking of which, I haven’t actually played in many years, so if you see me doing something wrong, gently point it out.  Yes, I still need to do a quick read through of the rulebook to refresh.

The other choice is whether to include Cleric of St. Cuthbert…looking over his card again he seems a little stronger than I first thought.  His strength really shines though against a team with an undead or 2.  Since Zombow will be meeting up with either an Unhallowed or Night Below warband (yay, my 2 booster cases of those arrived today!), if they are matched against Unhallowed , I will put him in as Commander instead. (Probably -Orc Sergeant, -Dire Weasel, +Cleric of St. Cuthbert, +Hill Dwarf Warrior, and I think that would put it at exactly 200 points)half elf bow initiate card

The Orc Sergeant’s commander ability, while small, is relevant with 3 Goblinoids in the warband, including 2 with 2 melee attacks.  I actually used to play Destrachan regularly back when I first started the game and didn’t have many pieces.  He’s a solid body with decent defenses, HP and special abilities for his point cost.  Sadly, for 3 points less, he’s even more durable (+4AC, +5HP) than the rare Ogre Zombie, and faster (+2 movement).  The only benefit to the zombie is higher melee damage and his melee reach; though with 2 cone attacks the Destrachan is still just as relevant.

The other creatures are your average warband filler, though 15 damage from the Mountain Orc is certainly relevant.

Tomorrow I will build the opposing warband from either Unhallowed or Night Below, I’ll roll randomly to see which gets picked!

As always, thanks for reading about me Playing With Myself!


A Followup to the Post About Collectibles and Scamming

I eat eBay scammer's brains!

I eat eBay scammer’s brains!

So I was about to jump on 2 ‘cases’ of Underdark that showed up on eBay today (01/15/15; the listing won’t be visible after 90 days probably, so I’ll tell you what it says)…they had a price that was reasonable to me, $214 or so shipped.  However, here is the fine print:

This item is not sealed case

All Booster Packs are randomly selected and factory-sealed

Did you catch it?  ‘This item is not sealed case’.  Underdark as a set has always been prone to this. This means that the likelihood of you pulling a Balor from these ’12 random boosters’ approaches zero.  This person has probably cracked open 25 Underdark cases and opened the boosters that were heaviest.  There really is no other reason to not offer sealed cases.

Caveat emptor, my friends!balor stat card

A Suspicious Package and Thoughts on Scamming in Collectibles

ogre zombie

I not cheap!

I was very excited to receive the first of the Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures boosters I ordered!  I was able to purchase 3 Aberrations boosters from Amazon at less than the current case price ($19.95 each).  That is VERY rare in any kind of collectible hobby, as almost always the rule is that the more you buy, the less you pay.  (And yes, that was all that was available, if there were more at that price, I would have bought them)

After I received them, I might be able to explain why they were so cheap.  Two of the 3 boosters had the glue popped on the top and bottom.  While this is not ultimately suspicious by itself, as I’ve had the same happen even pulling boosters from sealed cases, after examining the contents things do become a little clearer.  My two rares of the two open packages are Ogre Zombie and Half-Elf Bow Initiate, the two least valuable rares in the set.  While it is possible the seller had no idea and it is just bad luck on my part, I am inclined to think the seller ‘looted’ the good packs for himself, either to keep or to resell, and then put the junk up on Amazon.  If my math is right (and I’m not a statistics major by any stretch of the imagination, so feel free to correct me), the odds of getting any 2 specific rares after opening two packs (assuming they are from the same case and that) is something like 1/576 (1/24 x 1/24).  If I had received a Mind Flayer Telepath and a Wyvern, I would call that ‘luck’; however, I think I’ll call this ‘getting the Half-Elf Zombow’.

I considered complaining and returning the items, which would have been justifiable as they had been sold as ‘new’ (but were obviously opened)…however, as this hobby is supposed to be fun for me, I decided to use the two boosters as part of my first round of sealed skirmish.  I make my living in e-commerce and have done very well for my family; however many aren’t so lucky.  So I figure the guy who sold these needed the Mind Flayer more than me.

However, at this point I will warn folks that if you don’t know what you are doing, it is possible to be scammed a number of ways in collectible games (and I assume the same is true with any collectible with a random element).  I remember being able to predict which booster in an Underdark case had a Balor in it.  I heard stories of store owners using this technique in sets where the heaviest Rares were also the most valuable, Underdark being the most consistent.  If I remember correctly, at one point WOTC talked about ‘weighting’ boosters to prevent this from ocogre zombie stat cardcurring.  Magic the Gathering had something similar occur (though it might have been another game), where because the packaging of the cards was at one point slightly translucent, folks were able to jiggle the cards around and see the rare.  The best rares would either be kept for a personal collection or cracked and sold.  Some might think this isn’t too egregious, but considering it leaves the scraps for the common folks, I think it is a heinous practice, and I would never play at a store where I suspected this happened.

In any case, I feel bad for the little Aberrations warband I’ve built and I am pretty sure it will be knocked out in the first skirmish by whatever arrives next (either Unhallowed or Night Below), but I’ll give it the old college try!  I’ll let you know what I pulled from the two boosters and the warband I built next time here at Playing With Myself!

Minis With A Mission


Look, a squirrel!

In my ADHD jumbled brain, I start many (many, many) projects with no clear goals.  However, here at Playing With Myself, finishing what I start is going to be job #1!   DDM has been a passion of mine for going on 10 years, and now that I’ve decided it’s OK to play with my minis by myself, I should be able to fill a blog with rousing battle reports and lively solo banter.  So what’s the deal?  To focus my time with my new hobby, here are the basic goals I am setting for myself:

1:  Collect a full set of DDM 1.0 minis (Harbinger to Deserts of Desolation), including all the promos if I can find them.  To make this challenge much more interesting than just shelling out $5000, my goal is to do this over a long period of time (I anticipate several years at least) and spend a net total of $0 doing so.  This means you’ll get some insight into how I collect things:  I like to play my hobbies for free.  The last time I was into DDM, my total net investment was around $2500; my total sales for my entire collection topped $10,000.  Through a combination of luck, timing and a touch of foresight, I’ll let you know how I did that in future posts.  I’ll also do a series of posts as I buy minis, boosters, collections, and then resell the pieces I don’t need (I’ve already purchased about $1400 worth of minis to start myself off, I’ll let you know what I got next time!).  With any luck, I will eventually break even on my hobby.  Even if you don’t collect DDM, my methods will work for essentially any collectible miniatures game…most of it is just common sense, stubborn determination, and above all, infinite patience.

2:  Post at least 1 battle report weekly.  However, these will not be just your typical OP warband battles.  I love the variety of pieces and abilities in DDM, and so my reports will be from a large number of different warbands, themes and game types.  I will be starting with Sealed (opening 2 boosters, building a 200 point army, and then pitting them against each other…I’ll keep playing the winning band against all new warbands until it loses), and then probably do some thematic good vs. evil and law vs. chaos battles, as well as anything else that strikes my fancy.  Maybe something like Beasts of the Wild vs. the Mechanical Madness of the Warforged or Demons vs. Paladins.

3:  Reward myself and this site for my persistence!  If this blog lasts 3 months, I’ll purchase a small video camera setup and start posting videos of the weekly battles on Youtube (for the 3 people in the US who are still interested in DDM!)  Card_HB50_Mind_Flayer

4:  If PWM lasts 6 months I will treat myself and start playing a new collectible miniatures game in addition to DDM, most likely Star Wars minis, or something else cool any readers recommend.  They have to be pre-painted, as I still have a full army of new unpainted Warhammer 40k sitting in my garage.  Even though I love watching games like Warmachines, Warhammer or Malifaux, I just don’t have the patience for the full paint-your-own miniatures games.  (Well, I’d probably have the patience to play them, just not paint them!)

There you have it folks, my PWM goals!