Breaking Down A Group Case Break

I had seen group case breaks around on message boards and never really looked into them. It seemed that everytime I finally stumbled onto a group break thread, the group breaks were always full. Then this past November I found one that was taking participants for a 2009 Topps Tribute group break. Unfortunately I had to wait 2 months to actually see the break because Topps delayed the release but last Thursday the break was held and I was quite pleased with it. For my first time being part of a group break, I loved it! This post will be a bit lengthy but it will provide some background on what a group break is as I experienced it.

So what is a group break?
A group box or case break is a chance for you to crack a box or case with other people online through one person who hosts the break and physically opens the case for all of the participants. The break itslef is best done by the host via streaming video online so that all participants can actually see the box/case as it is open.

So how does it work?
Its really up to the host to detrmine how many ‘slots’ he wants to sell for a break and what the characteristics of the slots will be. For example in the case break I was a part of the host knew there 6 hits per box and several parrallels in each box. Since each case had 8 boxes, that meant 48 hits per case. He then figured there were enough parrallels in the case for two people to share so that created two more slots. Another slot was created for all of the base cards assuming building the set in a case was a given and you now had 51 slots to sell for the case. In my example, the host based the slots on the number of hits per box/case. But that doesn’t always have to be the criteria for slots. The criteria in my example will probably only hold true for higher end products (Triple Threads, Tribute, Sterling etc) that for the most part are made up of primlarily hits. For lower end products, like Topps series one, you can base the slots on teams. For example, you can have 30 slots and once all 30 slots are filled, you can randomly assign teams to each person’s slot. If you wanted to for fun, you could add a couple of slots for the 2 or 3 hits that these boxes yield. The randomization of the slots is similar to filling up a super bowl box pool, you get all the participants signed up first and then you randomly assign their criteria. For a team break this is probably the only fair way to do so that the profit collectors don’t try to swarm after the teams that have more attractive cards.

Slot Prices?
So once you have figured out what your slot characteristics are and how many slots you will have, its time to set prices for each slot. Its best to make all slots cost the same amount. Lets say your doing a simple team group break in 2010 Topps Series one. Cases right now are going for about $600. Assuming you have 30 slots that would mean each slot costs $20 right? But wait, once the case is open the host has to get the cards to each particpant. Factor in what it would cost to mail each person their cards. Typically a fair price for postage and bubble mailer is anywhere between $3-$4..it depends on how many cards each participant gets so the weight of each package will be a factor. So now we’ve determined that each slot will cost no more than $24. Participants can by all means purchase more than one slot, the main objective as a host is to fill all of the slots.

Getting Participants?
Once you have figured our your slot criteria and slot prices its time to get participants. You can easily announce all of your details on a message board (either blowoutcards.com, beckett.com etc) and you will get participants there. Its usually best to list some references about you so that people have faith and trust in your. For example, if you have an ebay ID with a real good feedback rating, announce on the board who you are on ebay so they can check out your feedback. Back to my example, once you have all of your slots filled, start sending paypal invoices to all of the participants. Its important that all participants are paid before you order the case. You can chance it that if someone backs out of the slot you can get someone else to fill out, but why bother with that?

The Break.
Once you have successfully received all of your payments and ordered the case, the host should always announce how participants can follow the break. Ustream is a great venue to do this. A webcam is almost always a requirment so that folks can see you break the case in real time, this way no one can argue that you faked any pulls or anything. Set a date and time a few days in advance so that everyone can mark their calendar and watch the break. Once the break is completed, its time to ship everything out to the participants. A good host should mail everything out ASAP since participants will be eager to receive what they pulled.

Summary.
For the most part I described what it takes to “host” a case break. As you can see, its a lengthy process and its one that should be done in a very orderly manner so if you feel that you aren’t the most organized person in the world, its probably best that you didn’t host one!! But I described the role of the host so that if you were thinking of being a participant in a group break, then you would know what exactly should happen so that you feel comfortable participating in it. If someone doesn’t do the break live online or doesn’t randomize the slots, its probably best to go look for another break!
At the end of the day group breaks are a great way of getting to witness box/case breaks and also to obtain cards from boxes/cases that you either didn’t want to spend too much money on or maybe couldn’t afford to buy box/cases of. Its also great because you get to witness these breaks along with other hobby enthusiasts online. Prior to my group break, I always cracked boxes and cases by myself at home. If I pulled something big I would “oohh and ahhh”” all by myself. Doing a group break, allows you to comment and chime in with others which is more fun that doing it solo!

In my only experience, a case of 2009 Tribute cost around $1900. My wife was due to give birth around the release date and I didn’t want to spend all that money on a case and have to hear her!! So for $76 I purchased two slots in the group break (at $38 each) and was able to witness and participate a case being opened on Ustream thanks to the host Pskell02 from blowoutcards.com. You can see the results fo the break here. He did a great job with the break and I received the cards that were pulled in my slot yesterday in the mail, it took less than a week to get the cards! I have to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with my pulls, but that doesn’t mean the group break wasn’t good. He did a great job in organizing it, executing it and wrapping it up. It was my luck that stunk, but hey, what can you do!! You can see the cards that I pulled here as they are now on ebay.

I stongly encourage people to participate in group breaks. Its a great and cheap way to break products and to also chat it up with other hobby fans especially if you don’t know any of card lovers in your immediate circle of friends! If I get a web cam in the near future, I would love to host some group breaks! Hope many of you will join if I do host one!

Play ball america!
Cesar

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2 Responses to “Breaking Down A Group Case Break”

  1. Breaking Down A Group Case Break - Blowout Cards Forums Says:

    […] […]

  2. Micah Carrus Says:

    greetings appreciate the website must have taken a fair amount of work.

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