Being quarantined has led many of us to do stupid, useless things. And yet, I dare you to beat the stupid, useless, ridiculously geeky thing I’m currently doing.
A few months back I wrote about Han Solo in Hoth gear or in Carbonite. The goal was to acquire at least one of every single Hoth Han or Carbonite cards in the app.
That’s not a simple task.
Over the years, there have been lots and lots of different versions of both those classic Han looks — everything from standard base cards (which are in every pack and of which millions may exist) to ultra-rare inserts cards where only a few dozen exist. In the past few months, I’ve been able to acquire a few Hoth and Carbonite cards with a card count (cc) as low as one, meaning I’m the only person who has it. I even got to a point where I acquired 27 of 28 variations of the 2016 base card with Han in Carbonite. The one I’m missing is the rarest, the 1cc, which is in what fans call a “dead account,” meaning, the owner hasn’t touched it in months. (Macc13, if you’re out there, let’s talk!)
Anyway, that was my aim. Just collect old Hoth Han and Han in Carbonite. However, things took a sudden turn in mid-July when Topps revealed Han Solo in Carbonite would be among the characters featured in the second series of 2020 base cards.
Here’s where I have to explain another aspect of the trading process — a Monument. It’s a reward for collecting (or, in fan terms, “hoarding”) an absurd quantity of base cards, then melding them together to get an ultra-rare, ultra-limited version of that card. A card that has your username on the back of it. Here’s the 2018 Han in Carbonite monument.
I don’t own the above Monument; most people who have it would never trade it, because they worked so hard to get it, or would want a whole lot of money for it (which, I admit, I’ve tried to no avail). So when a 2020 Monument became a possibility, I realised if I’m going to continue my quest to collect one of every single card of Han in Carbonite, I would need the new Monument. And the best way to assure I get one is to obtain 10,000 white, 1,250 blue, 500 red, 200 green, and 100 orange cards of the same character.
Or, at least, that was the case in 2019. Topps has yet to announce if 2020 Monuments are even happening, let alone the requirements, so all this may end up being for naught. Wouldn’t that be perfect? If the past repeats itself, however, here’s how it works. A user gets base cards by opening up any pack. For the 2020 base cards, there are 100 characters in each series, two series total, and five different colour variants of each ranging from most rare (orange) to least rare (white). So anytime someone opens a pack, there’s roughly a 1:200 chance you’ll pull a specific character before you even consider colour. That means it would be damn near impossible to acquire that many of the same cards on your own. The only way to do it is to trade with other users.
Thankfully, not everyone is going after this specific Han Solo. Some folks will but others are seeking everyone from Rey or Kylo Ren to the Rancor or Rook Kast. Basically, any character that exists in the Star Wars galaxy has someone who is trying to hoard it. So it’s a matter of finding people who aren’t hoarding your character and then swapping them your character for theirs. Everyone wins.
A slide show of my previous months-long task: Acquiring one of every variant of the 2016 Han Solo in Carbonite base card. These are 2cc though 16cc.
20cc to 248cc.
Finally, the four most common: 22917cc (top middle) to 374,574cc. That's all of them, save for the 1cc.
The problem is not just finding those people, but that the app only allows players to trade nine cards each at a time. So even if you found someone who had all 10,000 cards you needed, it would take over 1,000 trades to get those cards. And that’s not even taking into consideration the other colours.
This is a chore. A big one. But, during quarantine, it’s giving me something to do. Going has been slow to start because while the series one characters have been in packs for months now, meaning people have lots of them, series two characters such as Han Solo in Carbonite were only recently inserted. So instead of nine for nine, I’m doing a lot of three for three. It’s slightly tedious but that’ll change. As the tens of thousands of app users continue to open packs all day, every day, more and more Han in Carbonite cards will be released. Then it’s just a matter of finding them, sending people equal trades and doing that thousands and thousands of times. All before whatever deadline Topps sets, if Topps even sets a deadline.
So for the past week, and foreseeable future, any downtime will consist of me reading all the trade feeds, finding people looking for characters, seeing if those people have Carbonite cards, then sending them trades. Sometimes you pick up a few dozen very quickly. Other times, it could take 10-15 minutes to complete one trade. My guess is, spread out through the end of the year at least, this will take me well over 100 hours.
All for one, stupid card. What am I doing?
As of publication I currently have 310 whites, 106 blues, 84 reds, 29 greens, and 34 oranges. A good start. But a long, long way to go to the end. One last thing… if you get a few Han Solo in Carbonite cards, send them over to DarthGerm. I’ll be waiting.