Trading Cards is a fun minigame within NationStates. You can open new packs of cards, look for ones you want, trade, and sell cards to other nations. Cards don't grant any benefits to your nation, except bragging rights of owning them. Each nation has its own card for each season, provided the nation existed when that specific season was released.
You can earn cards by answering issues to win packs of cards to open, and you can trade those cards with other players on the market! There are different ways to play: you can compete with other players for a coveted spot in the list of most valuable decks, or simply build collections of cards you like, whether they are your friends, region-mates, or simply cool-looking cards! So, isn't that amazing? Let's get started with this TWP-special beginner’s introduction!
How do I start trading?
Each time you answer an issue, you have a slightly greater than 20% chance of getting a pack. The maximum number of packs you may store in a nation is 9, and each pack will give you 5 randomly chosen cards.
These cards can have different rarities and seasons.
Rarities can be common, uncommon, rare, ultra-rare, epic, and legendary.
Seasons are sets of cards, launched at different times. Season 1 was created on April 1st of 2018, while Season 2 was created on November 28th of 2019. Future seasons are yet to come.
Once you get those cards, you can choose what to do with them:
Junking: In order to get rid of a card you don't want and gain a little bank (money) in the process, simply click on the card and press the "junk" button that appears. You will receive a small quantity of bank: 0.01 for common cards, 0.05 for uncommon cards, 0.10 for rare cards, 0.20 for ultra-rare cards, 0.50 for epic cards and 1.00 for legendary cards.
Gifting: You can also gift a card to another nation by clicking on the card, pressing "gift", and entering a nation name. You will have to pay a small fee that is the same as the junk value.
Trading: Often you'll want to sell the card, as there may be people looking for it. People can place asks to sell a card they have, and bids to buy a card they don't have. The bank needed to bid can either be earned by junking or selling cards. When an ask and a bid match, it brings us to the... auction system!
How do auctions work?
Auctions are the way cards are traded. An auction will start when either a nation places a bid equal or higher to an asking price, or a nation places an ask equal or lower to a bidding price (when there is a ‘match’). Every auction starts with a timer that counts down from one hour. When the timer runs out, the auction ends, and the sales are finalized.
During the auction, a nation can bid for more (overbid) or ask for less (underask), in order to get a good deal. When this happens, the match will change, and it will extend the auction by one minute. If you have been overbid, don't worry, because you can simply offer a higher price (vice versa if you are underasked). However, you may not remove any ask or bid when it is matched. Auctions even allow multiple trades to happen!
At the end of the auction, a card is traded between the lowest ask and the highest bid, or multiple bids and asks. If they are different, the final price - the match - will be the average of them.
Once an auction starts, it will be displayed in the market. Here, every nation can see all ongoing auctions in order to find cards they want, as well as using filters to only display auctions of a specific season or rarity. In auctions, you'll find several types of people. Some people may penny bid, which means placing a bid exactly 0.01 higher than the previous one, while others may bid a higher quantity to discourage others from bidding over them. There are also snipers, people who overbid at the last minutes of an auction, giving other people less time to react. For that reason, it is important to watch an auction if you really want to buy a card, especially the last minutes.
It is important to say that not all trades can be done by auctions. Sometimes, if you find a valuable card in another nation you own, it's better to gift the card to your main nation, in order to avoid people stealing it. For that, you need to ensure you have deck capacity to receive gifts. If you don't, that's fine, because you can increase it by paying a sum of bank.
After you learn the basic auction system, you are free to start chasing your goals in the trading card game! You can regularly watch the market in order to get good deals and cards you want, or simply bid reasonable quantities of money on cards you need and wait for someone to sell. There are many choices - but the fact is, Trading Cards can get way more exciting once you enter the advanced steps below.
Starting your own Card Farm
You've decided to go down the advanced card farmer road! A bit scary, isn't it? Don't worry, though, we're here to help. While you are casually bidding on cards you like, you’ll notice that you simply don’t have enough bank to compete with lots of players on the open market. How can you solve that? It’s simple: with the magic of card farming nations.
Card farming nations are one kind of puppet nation - or just ‘puppet’ - that you can have on NationStates. A puppet is any nation you control other than your main, original nation, and people may have puppets for lots of different reasons. Card farming puppets are created for the sole purpose of answering issues and opening packs. That means you don’t have to worry about creating lore for these nations, because they are merely puppets. The most successful card farmers have hundreds or even thousands of nations, just to get more cards! But it’s not necessary to have that many: if you have only one nation, adding just one more will double your production! Merely 10 or 20 card farming nations is a good starting number, and will have you working your way up the leaderboard, if that’s something you’re interested in trying to achieve. Reminder: you can have as many puppets as you want, but only one World Assembly nation.
First, decide how many puppets you want to create. This depends on your schedule in real life and in your free time you use for NationStates. Usually, new farmers start with 10 to 30 puppets, while the average farmer has 50 to 200. Then, after you answer lots of issues and get packs, you can gift valuable cards to your main nation (provided it has deck capacity) and bolster your income!
An additional step, for advanced farmers, is to use scripts and other tools to make card farming faster, which will be explained later in this guide.
Guide to your first Bank Transfer
If you create new puppets to farm cards with, you’ll see that not only will you find more cards you want, but you’ll also begin to accumulate bank on those puppets. In fact, this is the main reason most people have puppets to card farms with. But how can you move that bank you earn from your puppets to your main nation? It’s easy enough to send cards by gifting them, but there’s no magic button to click to send bank. Instead, you must learn how to use a Bank Transfer.
The concept behind a Bank Transfer, or just a ‘transfer’, is simple: by using your puppet to buy a card from your main nation, the bank from the puppet goes to the main nation. However, the process is complicated by the fact that it must be coordinated between both nation accounts, and by the fact that transfer takes place as a trade on the open market, where other players may interfere with the auction.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to your first bank transfer, with illustrations in the spoilers.
The first step is to find a card to use. Since you’ll have to place the card on the market, choose a card you wouldn’t mind selling in case someone decides to bid for it. Also, no one else should currently be trying to sell the card. You should also choose a card that has as few owners as possible: this will make it harder for other people to interfere with the transfer. Finally, if you’re planning to do more transfers in the future, you’ll probably want to gift this card back to yourself (this will make sense later). Therefore, you should choose a card of the common rarity, so that gifting it is less expensive.
You should have the card on your main nation - the nation to which you are trying to move your bank. When you’ve chosen a card, copy its url.
You also need to decide how much money you want to transfer. Log in to your puppet, the nation from which you are trying to send bank. To avoid having to go back and forth between your puppet and your main nation, you can save time by logging in in a different browser or in incognito mode. Once you’ve logged in, you can see how much bank you have available to transfer. You don’t have to transfer it all at once. It’s good to start with small amounts to practice, since otherwise someone may be able to steal your bank from you.
Go back to the card on your main nation, and place an ask for the amount of money you’ve decided to transfer. You want to place the ask first in case someone matches it: that way you’ve just sold a card, instead of overpaid for one.
Now go to your puppet again, and paste the link for the card. Then place a bid to match the ask you just placed on your main account.
You should be good now. Keep an eye on the auction. Someone else may try to sell the card to take your bank. You can lower your ask to combat this, but don’t go too low or they’ll just place a matching bid and then you won’t be able to defend your transfer anymore.
When you’re done, the bank should have moved to your main account, and the card to your puppet account. You’ve completed your first transfer, congratulations! You can now gift the card back to your main account from your puppet and do it all over again.
As mentioned, be careful when doing this: if other people own copies of the card they can sell it and take your bank instead of you. This is called heisting. There’s a few ways to combat this. For one, you can try to get a few good cards to use that don’t have many owners. You can also do lots of transfers with small amounts of money so that if you do get heisted, it’s not the end of the world. If someone tries to heist you you can just buy the extra copy of the card, and that way you’ll have more copies to use in the future, and you’ll be better able to combat a heist the next time. Another strategy is “piggybacking”: start an auction, and then when it’s almost over, use another copy of that card to transfer your bank so people don’t have as long to try to heist you.
Advanced Card Farming: Tips and Tricks
For more information on card terminology, we advise you to read our Card Glossary.
After setting card farms, finding valuable cards, and even transferring bank to your main - there's more? Indeed! Here we'll take a look at some advanced, hidden aspects of Trading Cards.
Auction Strategy: Every new card farmer may have the chance to encounter an experienced nation and be quickly outwitted. Here are some of the most commonly used tricks:
Dropping: in a lengthy bidding war, there’s often a great difference between the original ask and the highest bid. Players with a copy of the card can then take advantage of that by matching the high bid while buying the cheaper copy. This means they earn bank but still keep a copy of the card. Therefore, you must always be careful when outbidding a player that owns said card.
Sniping: As said before, a change of match adds only one minute to the auction timer. Players called snipers take advantage of this, bidding at the last minute to get the card! This is why it's important to keep an eye on cards you want.
Turn and Burn: Similar to dropping, but any player can do it even if they don't have the card, by sniping at the last minute on an auction where there’s a large difference between the ‘match’ price and the ‘bid’ price, and then reselling for a profit before the other player removes their high bid. This is sometimes risky, as there is a 3 minute cooldown you must wait, and often the other player will be quick to remove their bid.
Card Rarities: A number of factors affect the rarity of cards (remember that if you joined the game after Season 2 started, you’ll have no card). The main ones are issue stat badges, influence and WA endorsements: the last two are a good reason to stay in a big region like The West Pacific! However, other badges also contribute, such as the new addition of deck value but also founders, issue authors, WA resolution authors, and even game moderators or administrators.
Keeping Track of Cards: You may want to bid 0.01 (lowest possible) on cards you need, but are simply too expensive for you at the moment - this will automatically place the card on your auctions page whenever there's an auction for it. Once you get the card, you can also try lodging a 10000.00 ask (highest possible), in order to avoid accidental junking - this works because cards you are selling can't be junked, and the price is simply enormous for someone to ever buy!
Pull Events: Basically, cards have a higher chance of being pulled if they're being repeatedly bid on during an auction. This was originally thought to work only for ceased-to-exist nations (whose cards are rarer to find), but it works with any card! What does this mean? It means if you answer issues when a pull event is going on and open the resulting packs right away, you could possibly find some of the most valuable cards on the entire market!
The Trading Card Forum: Did you know Trading Cards has a Forum? Indeed! The forum is where discussion over the most recent happenings occurs, as well as people seeking cards they want or offering some for sale. It even has a pinned list of interesting collections where you can display your collections if they are unique and well-thought out enough!
Appendix: Tools and other Resources
This is not a required step, but it is great if you want to improve your card farming experience and make it faster or less boring! Disclaimer: none of the items below are endorsed by TWP’s regional government, but rather listed here for anyone that wants to use them at their leisure.
Cards Channel on the TWP Discord: This is the center for TWP traders (and people from other regions) to hang out, talk about their collections, and try to make deals. There’s also the broader NS Trading Cards Discord which is an exclusively card-focused server.
Card Glossary: If you’re still trying to figure out what all the terms that people throw around mean, or are curious about some card-trader slang, check out our TWP’s own Card Glossary.
Card Queries: Search all 350 thousand cards here! You can also look up cards of a certain type, such as all cards from a region, a specific rarity, with a certain name or even badges.
Auction Displayer: This displays puppets’ owners whenever one is trading in an auction, based on a log of over 10,000 nations! It avoids confusion and lets you know who is who in an auction.
Gold Retriever: Here, you can input your puppet names in order to check how much Bank and Deck Value they have. However, it’s important to read the guide before using it.