Pokemon TCG: Brilliant Stars Flapple Blister Packs

One of the Targets near me converted one of their electronics display into a Pokemon cards display. It was in a corner of a store I don’t usually go to so I was surprised these cards were here and not in the toy section like where the Magic cards are or by the registers like all the other Targets. I probably have been buying way too many packs lately but just 3 more Pokemon TCG Brilliant Stars Flapple blister packs shouldn’t be a problem…

My best pull of from these packs is definitely the Dusknoir character rare. It is only my second character rare I got from Pokemon packs.

I kind of wasn’t happy with what I got so I also got 5 loose packs of Brilliant Stars from my local hobby shop.

The best pull from these packs has to be the Galarian Moltres V secret gold rare. The card looks amazing in person and it is a card that sees a lot of play too! One thing I noticed for the first time is that the cards from these packs have two different sizes. About 1/3 of the cards are sightly smaller and have slightly rounder corners. Looking at it further, all the commons are ones that are slightly smaller and it seems to be the correct size when comparing to cards from the Flapple blister packs. In other words, all my rares and uncommons are cut a bit bigger than it should be. It is hard to show with a picture but it is quite noticeable when you stack all the cards together. You usually sleeve cards when playing so it isn’t too big of a problem but the declining quality control is a bit troubling to say the least. I saw these packs come out of box and everything else looks good and the code cards work so I pretty sure they aren’t fake. I wonder if anyone came across something like this.

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Useful Tabletop RPG Materials That I Found in Itch.io Bundles

I recently went down the Itch.io gaming rabbit hole which started when I got the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality (1,741 items), Bundle for Ukraine (995 items), TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas (500+ items when you count the extras) and TTRPGs for Reproductive Rights (291 items). That is a lot of games and I did enjoy going through it all and finding hidden gems (randombundlegame.com helps a lot). I probably will have to do a separate post for all the video games that I found in separate postt but I also found a lot of useful tabletop RPGs materials too. I figure to highlight some of those gems I found.

(I actually just got the TTRPGs for Reproductive Rights bundle as I was writing this so I haven’t gone through that yet but I may write another blog post for that later too. It is also the only bundle that you can still get as I post this. At a quick glance some things that I am very excited for is the Big Bad Bundle 7-12, Campfire and the various map packs.)

Anyways I have been planning for a series of Dungeons & Dragons 5E one shots to hopefully play in person in New York City. Since I have so much Itch.io RPG stuff, I challenged myself to use some of them during my planning. My elevator pitch for these series of loosely connected one shots in that our party are pizza delivery people for a small town in the edge of a cursed forest. This pizzeria guarantees delivery in under a hour so our party have to jumped to all sort of hurdles to get there ASAP and hopefully get a tip. If that sound interesting to you and you are in the New York City area, you can email me at park_dweller@yahoo.com. I hoping to get a group together.

Here are some of the materials I used to plan this series of one- shots. Of course if you are thinking about playing, I suggest you avoid reading any of these PDFs so you don’t get spoiled. But definitely check them out afterwards

One Page Dungeons
Adventures on a Single Page
Big Bad Bundle 1-6
Barrow Keep: Den of Spies
What Crooked Roots
Dwarves of Renidar
1-6 Oozes in the Dark
1-6 Skeletons in the Stable
The Perpetual Broth
Lost To The Starlit Reptiles
Dragonmaw Cave

One Page Dungeons, Adventures on a Single Page, Big Bad Bundle, Barrow Keep, What Crooked Roots and Dwarves of Renidar are probably the most useful materials I got since they can make for foundations of a good story and/ or challenge without much effort to adapt. Everything else are all super short, ready to go one shots. I think I prefer getting these one shots in one page pamphlet format so it is easy to skim and I can get just enough to steer a story but I can add my own flair to it. Despite its brevity, you pretty much have everything you need to play including an interesting location, NPCs for players to talk to, sometimes stats for enemies, etc. I heavily modified all of them to fit a loose story tying them together.

There are so many more interesting things in the bundles but I haven’t gotten a good chance to go through yet. Here is a long of list of things that interest me: The Adventurer’s Collection Tabletop Soundtrack, Capture the Flag 5E, Dragons of Tirenia, The Harvest, Tenarlian: The Longest Night, World of Revilo 5E, Dragons and Owls and Bears, Oh My!, Beneath the Fairy Tree, Into The Wyrd and Wild, Sudden Death, Grinderbin’s Mobile Market of Ridiculous Magic Items, Traveler’s Trunk: Magical Emporium, Skin and Bone, Home A’Gnome, Monstrous Mimics (5E), The Curse of Dread Pirate Zarr, Gourmet Street, Atomic Robo, Deep Dark Wood, Lair of the Gobbler, Player Two is Unprepared, Big Rock Candy Hexcrawl, Fake Chess: Book of Champions, Black Heart, Rolling with Laugther, Baktos Terrifying Cuisine, Welcome to the Hereafter Hotel and The Wizards’ Co-op.

I am definitely open to recommendations for other games from these bundles or on Itch.io in general. I know I have mostly stuck with things that are roughly D&D 5E related but there are so many other systems represented and I hope to try some of them some day.

In conclusion, I love the idea of all these creators coming to together for great causes and creating these awesome bundles in the process. There are so many interesting games in these bundles so that is why I wanted to highlight some of games that I liked and have used. Stay tuned for the video games and the games from the TTRPGs for Reproductive Rights bundle that I enjoyed too.

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Yu-Gi-Oh Cyber Strike Structure Deck and Ancient Guardians Pack

As I mentioned before the Rite Aid near me is going out of business so everything in the store is 50% off including collectible cards! Before I only found a baseball card repack but today I found a Yu-Gi-Oh Cyber Strike Structure Deck and a single Ancient Guardians pack. I just missed out on a Magic: The Gathering repacks with 3 packs and a promo card but I am just happy to get any cards on sale.

I am honestly more of a Yu-Gi-Oh collector so I haven’t played with the Cyberdark cards before. In fact, the only time I play against it was when it was popular on Duel Links and I can say it was a very annoying deck to play against. So it should be fun to play with! One card in the card list stands out though, Infinite Impermanence. It basically one of the few flexible cards in the game that can go into a lot decks. As for building a Cyberdark deck, like most Yu-Gi-Oh structure decks you really need to get three of them to get a somewhat competitive deck. I might pick it up if I feel I like the archetype and maybe if I find more on sale.

I also got a random pack of Ancient Guardians. It is honestly not one of my favorite sets since none of the archetypes there interest me. In fact, the two cards that stand out to me are the two generic ones, Skull Meister and Dinowrestler Pankratops.

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One Last Baseball Cards Jumbo Box Repack

The Rite Aids near me are all going out of business. I am kind of sad since that is where I do most of my grocery shopping and I have bought a ton of cards over the years there too. I did get a bunch of good discounts though including this baseball cards jumbo box repack. I got it for maybe $2, maybe less and it is not guaranteed anything but it can have cards, packs, parallels, autographs and more!

I know most of these baseball card repacks have mostly 80’s and 90’s bulk but there is usually more variety than what I got. I think only two cards are what I don’t consider 80’s and 90’s bulk and three other cards that are minor league cards which I usually do like getting. The most interesting card has to be the Derek Bell rookie card. Donruss basically had terrible quality control back then and when I looked up the card on eBay, I found out there is something called a no dot after INC error. For me, it was like a spot the difference puzzle to find that missing dot (it is on the top right on the back of the card). But looking into this further, this error isn’t rare or special and I found a video actually calling this labeling an eBay hoax. But it is still interesting to get the no dot error and I learn something new.

These repacks also usually has a pack and I am disappointed to get a 1989 Topps Baseball Yearbook Stickers. I prefer more modern packs and even as a bulk 80’s/ 90’s pack it is on the very low end of desirability for me.

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Pokemon TCG: Snorlax and Friends Blister Pack

Today at Target I saw a Pokemon TCG product I haven’t seen or heard of before. It is the Snorlax and Friends blister pack. It comes from the Pokemon Company so it is not a repack. It is has foils or promos of Snorlax, Morpeko and Applin (which it a very random assortment of Pokemon), a Darkness Ablaze pack, a Battle Styles pack, a coin and a code card. I pretty much would get anything with Snorlax in it even though in this case I have that exact card already.

First off, the foils are curled (which unfortunately is fairly common) and the coin seems to have factory error since it has a line through Raichu (which I haven’t seen before). Darkness Ablaze is not one of my favorite sets but Battle Styles is. Unfortunately I didn’t pull anything interesting from either pack and for deck building I probably would only use the Yamper and Meinfoo possibly for some budget decks I am thinking about.

Looking at the three cards included again, I just realized there is a theme between the seemingly random card. It involved Morpeko and Snorlax eating/ interested in apples that may or may not be Applins.

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Random Pack Break: 2022 Topps Baseball Series 1

I tend to buy packs of cards as a spur of the moment thing and since my local card shop closed a few years back, I haven’t seen many baseball or basketball card packs for sale near me. Even the Targets nearby rarely have sports cards. They usually have a lot of Magic cards though and some Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards but rarely anything else. Anyways, I found just a single pack of 2022 Topps Baseball Series 1 recently at Target. Someone probably picked it up and dropped it off in a random location in the store. I tripled check to make sure it was tampered with but it could have still been weighed or measured.

I had low expectation for this pack and I was definitely not expecting any big hits. I honestly was hoping for any Shohei Ohtani card to add to my collection but a bunch of Mets cards including two nice looking inserts is probably the next best thing for me. I still find the base set kind of boring but I doubt that will every change.

I find myself watching more and more basketball and a lot less baseball the last few years. In fact, I think the few baseball games I watched last season was for Shohei Ohtani rather than the Mets but probably just one good season from the Mets will bring me back.

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Pokemon TCG: Brilliant Stars Build and Battle Box

Another sign of the Pokemon cards shortage easing is that I got this Brilliant Stars Build and Battle box at one of my local gaming store for retail price, $20. It has a weak 40 card deck and 4 packs to upgrade it. I like these boxes because it gives you a good glimpse at the new set and it is guaranteed some OK supporters and build around me cards that are always useful for deck building.

My big hit of the box is a Dedenne character rare. This is actually my first character rare pull from the set and hopefully it is not my last. They are certainly pretty cards. My prerelease promo is Moltres which probably the promo I wanted the second most (Bibarel is number one) but it probably has the best art.

The 40 card deck I got revolves around Moltres, Inferape and Magma Basin for the fire half and Mothim and Liepard as the support side I guess. If I were to open this box at a prerelease and were trying to build a sealed deck, I wouldn’t be too happy with this box. I don’t play the Pokemon sealed format too often but I know you basically want to open any Vs. Also the supporters are on the weak end. Still I can build a very consistent fire deck with these cards. Pulling an extra Magma Basin is huge. I wish I got to play this at a prerelease because I don’t really have a feel for power level of a typical sealed deck. Like is a 4-2 Mothim line good? Probably not.

All in all, I still think Build and Battle boxes are one of best Pokemon TCG products around. They are ton of fun for deck builders and I now have a start of fire deck for Standard. I have a full set of Magma Basin and Liepard already and have Moltres and Entei V as the main attackers.

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Got Another Pokemon TCG 20 Rares Grab Bag

I was happy with my first Pokemon TCG 20 rares grab bag from Amazon so I decided to pick up another one.

My pulls this time around:
Cosmoen | Sun & Moon
Primeape | Crimson Invasion
Shaymin | Ultra Prism
Alolan Dugtrio | Unbroken Bonds
Electrode and Farfetch’d | Evolutions
Professor’s Research | Sword & Shield
Marnie Holo | Champions Path
Alcremie | Vivid Voltage
Manaphy Holo and Manaphy Non- Holo | Shining Fates
x2 Dugtrio and Banette | Chilling Reign
x2 Professor’s Research, x2 Cosmog and 1 Cosmoem | Celebrations
Smeargle | Evolving Skies

I wasn’t expecting anything too valuable from these rare grab bags but I was pleasantly surprised to get a reverse holo Marnie and x2 Professor’s Research from Celebrations (my favorite art of all the Professor’s Research cards and it is also holo). Also like the holo Manaphy from Shining Fates.

As I said before, I was more hoping for fun cards to build decks around. Manaphy, Marnie and Professor’s Research can always find its way to decks. Smeargle is also a fun build around me card and it is a deck idea I have been toying around.

Overall I think this pack is even better than my first. You definitely shouldn’t expect any full arts or V’s, VMaxes, GXes etc but holos of staple trainer cards are a nice surprise. For deck builders, bulk rares are usually the foundation to brew fun decks with.

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Pokemon TCG: Mighty Mysterious Snorlax Tin Break

Snorlax is my favorite Pokemon so getting a Pokemon TCG Mighty Mysterious Snorlax tin was a no brainer. It has a Snorlax foil, 3 Pokemon packs and probably the only Pokemon tin I’ll keep.

The packs are Chilling Reign, Evolving Skies and Fusion Strike and I am pretty happy with my pulls. They are Sandaconda V full art and three cards I need, Karen’s Conviction, Cram-o-matic and Milotic. Since Snorlax is my favorite Pokemon, I have been trying to make a Single Strike Snorlax deck work for months. I need the Karen’s Conviction and maybe the Cram-o-matic (which works well with Battle VIP Pass) to finish the deck. I have tried many different versions of the deck but the one I like the most leans the most on Single Strike cards with 40 Single Strike cards to go with Tower of Darkness. It is a single prize deck that uses Morpeko and Stonjourner as backup attackers and of course Houndoom to make everything work. I also want to try the meme deck that plays Indeedee, the Crobat line to draw lots of cards and Milotic to protect against Marnie. Both decks aren’t the strongest but they should be a lot of fun to play.

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WWE Raw Deal CCG: Summerslam Hollywood Hulk Hogan Starter Deck

It is Wrestlemania week and as always, I try to find something interesting and WWE related to open. This year I got a WWE Raw Deal CCG Summerslam Hollywood Hulk Hogan starter deck.

Raw Deal is game I always liked but can never find people to play it with. Still I do enjoy collecting the cards and building decks. I actually came across the game when it was already out of print and oddly enough, I got most of my cards awhile ago from wrestling themed repacks from K-Mart of all places. I also found this starter in a odd place. I got it from an used electronics store that also sells weird knick- knacks (like old CCGs).

Hulk Hogan is honestly not my favorite wrestler (and he has seemingly been in the news for all the wrong reasons the last decade or so). I started watching wrestling around the Ruthless Aggression era and even then I found him boring. I saw him the most during his TNA era and long story short, it wasn’t great. But I admit he is part of some of the biggest events in WWE and wrestling history including many iconic Wrestlemania moments.

Anyways, one of the reasons I love Raw Deal is that this game is quite clever in simulating a wrestling match. For example, you can’t play your big moves until you land a bunch of smaller moves first and your turn usually doesn’t end until a move is reversed. I also like that your deck is sort of your life and taking damage is done by overturning cards. The card designs are quite clever too. Hulk Hogan has a limited move set and doesn’t sell during his signature comebacks and it is clearly reflected in his abilities on his card.

I was looking at my loose cards for easy ways to upgrade the deck. I found a copy of No Sell Maneuver and another copy of his Hollywood Leg Drop. Unfortunately since that card is unique I couldn’t add a second copy. I was actually kind of surprised his finisher was included in this deck. Most starter decks are usually missing key pieces so you have to buy more packs. Also, I think this starter deck is the simplest to play (eg. Hulk Hogan’s only ability beyond deck building restrictions is just a high starting hand size and superstar value) so it is ideal for beginners.

I now have 9 Raw Deal decks. They are Paul Heyman, Evolution, Booker T, Chris Benoit, FBI, Right to Censor, Gail Kim & Molly Holly, Jerry Lawler and Hulk Hogan. Most of these decks are starter decks with a few upgrades and maybe two were built mostly from cards I pulled from packs. None of the decks are optimized or built for tournaments but I prefer that way so all the decks have roughly an equal power level. Maybe one year on Wrestlemania week, I can get a few players together and have a 8 decks tournament to see which one is the strongest.

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