Non-Sport & Entertainment Trading Card News from Non-Sport Update

Cards Online Extra: Group Break Pointers

Written By: Ryan Cracknell - Nov• 21•14

In the Dec ’14/Jan ’15 issue of Non-Sport Update, I looked what trading card group breaks are. If you’re ready to look a little closer and maybe participate in one, here are a few pointers on what to look for in a good group break.

Group Breaks

Window Shop

Reputable group breaks are usually done live and streamed on sites like Ustream, Breakers TV or on the personal breaker’s own site. No matter the platform, you should be looking for those who do it live and catch everything on film — even if you’re watching it after the fact.

Live broadcasts are all about transparency. They’re also a way to screen potential breakers before spending your money with them.

It’s easy for shenanigans with group breaks. That’s why doing everything live and in full view are so important. There’s nothing to hide. I look for all the unopened product to be on-screen from the time the break starts until it’s opened. This way you can feel good about cases and boxes not being switched out.

You can also see a lot about a breaker simply by watching ten minutes or so of a live or archived break. I’ve turned in to some where the breakers are ripping packs then tossing the cards aside — literally tossing them. Are you surprised I never gave them any of my business.

In other instances I’ve come across rooms where the host is constantly swearing or talking in a way I wouldn’t want my kids to hear. This is more a personal thing than a reflection on the breaker’s skills, but if I’m spending money, I like things to be kept professional. That doesn’t mean a breaker can’t be loose and enjoy themselves, but there is a line.

There are enough breakers out there that you can look around before buying. Don’t rush into it. Find the one that you feel completely comfortable with.

Know the Particular Group Break Terms

Different breaks have different terms. It’s your responsibility to know them before buying in. Are base cards included in the break or only the autographs, memorabilia cards and other premium hits? For sports card group breaks, a lot of times the base cards aren’t included. Before gasping, remember that having large stacks of base cards means higher shipping costs. It’s not fair to expect the breaker to absorb that cost, so it’s passed on to you.

The break might be a draft or it might be a designation break. A draft would be where the case or boxes are opened and pooled together. Participants are assigned a spot, usually at random. The first spot would get first pick of all the cards. Then it would down the list. A slot break usually means that slot one gets the first autograph or memorabilia card. Slot two gets the second and so forth.

Some group breakers get creative and do things different. It’s up to you to know what kind of a break it is. If it’s not clear, ask. And if you can’t find any contact info, you might want to look for another breaker.

Group Breaks Aren’t Allowed on eBay

If you look on eBay, you can find group breaks. However, they’re actually not allowed on the auction site due to the fact that all are different and they don’t offer any guarantees. For the safety of you own money, I’d avoid eBay breaks all together. While I’m sure there are some very reputable breakers using the site to sell spots, I also see lots who come up with words and phrases to get around eBay’s algorithms. If a business is being sneaky like using “Break1″ in a title instead of “Break,” they know what they’re doing is against the rules. For me, it goes back to professionalism.

Does the Group Break Offer Skunk Protection

It’s not uncommon to participate in a group break and get skunked — have nothing pulled for you. That’s part of the risk. Some breakers offer skunk protection to help reduce the sting. This might be bonus items, additional cards or unopened packs.

Skunk protection is a major selling point for a lot of breakers, however not all use it. When considering a possible break, check for this.

Have Fun

The most important thing about group breaks is to have fun. It’s a thrill to be in on one and watch the packs fly. Even if you don’t get anything great, a good breaker makes it fun either with their on-camera chatter or an active chat room. This is an x-factor that I personally look for when I enter in on a break.

If you want to learn more about group breaks and don’t have the current Dec ’14/Jan ’15 issue of Non-Sport Update magazine, head down to your local hobby shop or order a copy here.

We’re Headed To Memorabilia…

Written By: Harris Toser - Nov• 18•14

MCM Birmingham Comic Con

Memorabilia takes place this Saturday and Sunday (Nov 22 & 23) at the NEC in Birmingham, England. Non-Sport Update will be on-hand at table T1.

The show now combines MCM Expo Group’s comic con with Memorabilia and has been rebranded MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia. It features the best of both worlds, combining Comic Con (cosplay, pop culture booths, etc.) with Memorabilia (guests from the worlds of sport and entertainment, some of the U.K. best retailers, etc.).

Trading card collectors will find many card retailers on-hand selling both new and vintage cards. UK trading card manufacturer Cult Stuff will also be exhibiting and has been a show mainstay for the past several years.

Speaking of Cult Stuff, we’ve heard the company has an array of guests and give-aways planned for this weekend. The company will have several artists on-hand during show hours including Carolyn Edwards, Patrick Hamill,  Huy Trong, and others. The company will also have a variety of promotional cards at the show available from their booth as well as dealers around the show floor. Cult Stuff’s Jason Johnson tells NSU ”I think we have something like 10 new promos from various sources, though some of those a very limited dealer incentive promos.” Below are a few of the cards collectors will find (plus, read on for info about another). Cult Stuff is now celebrating its 5th Year Anniversary so if you are able to make it to Memorabilia, be sure to stop by their table and wish they a Happy Anniversary.

Cult Stuff promo cards at Memorabilia

UK card dealer Umbrella Trading Cards will also have promo cards to had out. We checked in with Umbrella’s Paul James for more information. James tells us the latest promotional card in his companies series Beauties of Vengeance will be available at the show. The promo number is P10. It is the third in this year’s series and features original artwork from artist Veronica O’Connell. James explains P8 included the pencil version; P9 the ink version; and P10 is the finished full color version. The subject is the character “Kelly”. Only 100 hand-numbered promos have been produced.

But wait….there’s more! James tells us the Beauties of Vengeance P7 promo is now being sent to customers who purchase from Umbrella via his companies postal orders throughout December (and while supplies last). James has just returned from Collectormania, where he also handed out a few of these and he’ll also have a very limited number to hand out at Memorabilia. P7 is limited to 200 in total and James estimates he’ll only have around 30 to 40 to hand out at Memorabilia. P7 is the last of a four-part puzzle sketch (featuring the character “Scarlett”), again with artwork from O’Connell. Cards P4 to P6 complete the four-part puzzle and those cards have already been released.

Moving along to our NSU‘s participation at the show…Non-Sport Update will be located at table T1 with subscription and renewal specials, current and back issues, reference books, special promo card offers, and more. We have produced a special MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia variant version of the new Dec ’14/Jan ’15 issue as a convention special. The issue features Cryptozoic’s Arrow Season 1 on the cover and includes a very limited-edition Arrow Season 1 promotion card inside (each card is numbered and only 250 have been produced). You can see the issue’s cover below and read more about it on our variant issue page. NSU will also be giving away free promotional cards from Cult Stuff and others while supplies last. Be sure to stop by the table for the free 1914 limited-edition promotional card (shown below)

Variant issue of Dec '14/Jan '15 Non-Sport Update

Arrow Season 1 Dec ’14/Jan ’15 variant cover

1914 promotional card

Cult Stuff 1914 promotional card to be given away at the Non-Sport Update table

Memorabilia features a great list of guests this weekend including Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Tom Felton (Harry Potter movies), RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad), Colin Ford (Under the Dome), Hattie Hayridge (Red Dwarf), Hannah Spearitt (Primevel), William Russell (Doctor Who), and many more.

MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia takes place twice each year at the NEC, which at 186,000 square meters, is one of the largest convention halls in the world. For comparison’s sake, the San Diego Convention Center (home of Comic Con International) is 57,000 square meters, while Chicago’s Donald E Stephens Convention Center (home of Chicago Comic Con) and New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center (home of New York Comic Con) are both 78,000 square meters. MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia generally use two of the NEC’s 20 halls. This upcoming weekend, those going to the NEC can also visit the Festive Gift Fair, GCCF Supreme Cat Show, Warley National Model Railway Exhibition, and Motorcycle Live 2014, all taking place simultaneously in the NEC.

We hope to see you at the show.

More information: Visit the MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia show page for show hours, admission rates, and more. See diagram below for Non-Sport Update‘s location We’ll be in the T section, circled in red below (click the image for a larger version).

MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia layout

It’s A Promo Card Variety Hour!

Written By: Harris Toser - Nov• 11•14

Yesterday, we wrote about our new Dec ’14/Jan ’15 issue of Non-Sport Update, featuring 15 Years of Rittenhouse Archives on the cover. Today, we want to show off the exclusive promotional cards found inside the issue. Pick up a copy to grab these cool promos (and see them below):

  • DC Comics Super Villains (Cryptozoic Entertainment)
  • Marvel Dangerous Divas Series 2 (Rittenhouse Archives)
  • Downton Abbey Series 3 & 4 (Cryptozoic Entertainment)
  • The Melty Misfits Series 2 (Maraschino Distribution LLC)
  • The Monster Times (RRParks CARDS)

We also have a super, limited-edition promo card inside the variant version of the Dec ’14/Jan ’15 issue. This version of NSU features Arrow Season 1 on the cover and wouldn’t you know it, an Arrow Season 1 promo card inside. Only 250 copies of the magazine and promo card have been produced. The card features our hero on the front and Arrow’s nemesis (as played by John Barrowman) on the reverse. Each card is individually numbered. You can see the front of that card below as well.

Head on over to the current issue page on our main site to purchase a single issue or subscription. And see our variant issue page for details on the variant (which is only sold online and at the upcoming MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia on Nov. 22 & 23). You’ll also find Non-Sport Update in select Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million stores as well as in comic and card shops.

DC Comics Super Villains

DC Comics Super Villains (Cryptozoic Entertainment)

Marvel Dangerous Divas Series 2

Marvel Dangerous Divas Series 2 (Rittenhouse Archives)

Downton Abbey Series 3 & 4

Downton Abbey Series 3 & 4 (Cryptozoic Entertainment)

The Melty Misfits 2nd Series

The Melty Misfits 2nd Series (Maraschino Distribution LLC)

The Monster Times

The Monster Times (RRParks CARDS)

Arrow Season 1

Arrow Season 1 (Cryptozoic Entertainment) in the Dec ’14/Jan ’15 variant issue


Now Shipping: Dec/Jan Issue of NSU; Plus Arrow Variant News

Written By: Harris Toser - Nov• 10•14

Dec '14/Jan '15 Non-Sport Update cover

The brand Dec ’14/Jan ’15 new issue of Non-Sport Update magazine is now shipping. Our cover and cover story celebrates 15 years of prolific card manufacturer, Rittenhouse Archives. Inside, read about Breygent Marketing’s upcoming American Horror Story: Coven series. Inside the issue, you’ll also find coverage of many upcoming card series including Cryptozoic Entertainment’s Arrow Season 1, Upper Deck’s Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary, Cult Stuff’s 5th Anniversary Box, Rittenhouse Archives’ Star Trek Aliens, and more. We also pay our respects to Robin Williams via our spotlight on Topps’ Mork and Mindy cards.

A special variant cover version of the Dec/Jan issue will also soon be available. The issue features an Arrow Season 1 cover along with an Arrow Season 1 promo card inside. Each promo card (numbered P2) is numbered and only 250 promo cards and NSU copies exist! Our variant cover is being produced as a convention special for MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Birmingham taking place November 22 & 23 in Birmingham, England at the NEC. NSU will be on-hand at the show so be sure to stop by and pick-up a copy. And for those Stateside, or who otherwise can’t make it to the show, pre-order a copy to be shipped to your mailbox once the show has ended.

We have a great line-up of exclusive promo cards inside the Dec/Jan issue as well. Look for details on those soon…or head on over to the current issue on our main site to see them and purchase a single issue or subscription. You’ll also find Non-Sport Update in select Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million stores as well as in comic and card shops.

Variant issue of Dec '14/Jan '15 Non-Sport Update