Raising Rockstars (With Force Attax Trading Cards)

So Match Attax, the football and rugby versions of this little character card trading game, have been around since I can remember Rockstar being wistful about card trading. We even checked out what was available in Canberra and various other places when we travelled. The only problem is he never has enough interest in football and rugby to get in on it, just always wished they did cards on stuff he was interested in, so we never actually bought any of these in the last 2 years.

Then one day I see the usual little packs at the counter (they're in K and 7-11s, bookstores etc) all over HK in a Dymocks and do a double-take because lo and behold, they're..... Star Wars cards!

Hello dere

Hello dere

So after the first couple experimental packs (it's HKD 12 for a pack of 5 "mystery" cards) and 2 years of waiting, I bring the Miss back with me one morning to the only place I know that sells them, to get more.

This would be she, joyfully munching a biscuit outside the store

This would be she, joyfully munching a biscuit outside the store because she loves new places and therefore also coming along with me on errands everywhere

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's various levels to this game depending on how many rules you want to incorporate, but this story will give you a pretty good idea of what Rockstar is like (despite fusspot temper). So I buy 16 packs (should've just bought the whole box but somehow felt that was extravagant) and figure he'll give 2, maybe 3 packs, to his best buddies.

Now here's the thing about these cards - you don't know what you're going to get unless you tear open the packet, and there are 240 cards in a complete set, not to mention an apparently unknown number of limited edition cards. As in, in the name of torturing parents to locate a complete set; someone should spreadsheet the probability of this vs the number of packs/ cases of this stuff distributed all over HK because I'm betting the probability of a complete set is not that far off from the probability of winning your standard lottery.

(Which btw, is apparently about 8 million tickets. A structurer friend once put that up on excel on a slow day. Basically you buy a scratch-and-win ticket for entertainment and you read the "success stories" for entertainment but if you have decided to win a standard lottery by buying tickets - y'know, as a career move - you'd have to buy about 8 million tickets to have a relatively "sure" win. Obviously you need money to buy 8 million tickets (and don't get me started on what happens if you buy 7.999 million) so this "investment" in lottery tickets is a bad one unless the money you're putting toward 8 million tickets is specifically to buy you tv time and all the fan fare of a lottery ticket win (not saying this is a particularly intelligent move or anything)).

Though of course with cards you can trade your way to a full set... eventually...

See?

See?

But anyway Rockstar. I tell him 240 cards in a full collection, unknown number of limited editions, he has 16 packs and he can:

1) open everything and give away/ trade all his duplicates (I say "give away" because before I can even finish speaking he's on about a lot of little kids on the bus he has already been slipping non-duplicates to)

This was a barter trade of cards for a car and a paper plane (after they got off the school bus home, not in school - they don't encourage paper planes in school)

This was a barter trade of cards for a car and a paper plane (after they got off the school bus home, not in school - they don't encourage paper planes in school)

2) save 2 or 3 packs for his best friends

3) some other permutation and combination of the above

Rockstar tears open a few packs with relish, sorting and arranging them into his new collector's album, reading the rules of the different games for the next hour, and then he starts deciding what he wants to share with his friends. Guess what he decides to share?

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He sets aside half the packs to give to his friends, unopened. I ask him repeatedly if he would prefer to open a few more, if he would rather give away duplicates (not because I don't want him to share but because I'm thinking 8 Million Tickets To Full Lottery i.e. I don't know how many we will eventually have to get before he gets a "respectable" set - not even the full 240 but more the full "power ups" - there are these sets of 9 cards each within the 240, that would "power" all other relevant cards up, and we can't even get a complete set of any of those).

Rockstar replies " but this is what I want to do." So now the Miss and I have to go shopping... again. Because if Rockstar wants to sneak a couple packs to his best friends sure, but when he starts planning to give most boys he knows Force Attax cards we had better make sure he has enough for all the boys because then it starts to look like instead of a lucky few getting cards we're talking about an unlucky few not getting cards. (He is of course oblivious to this, he doesn't know I decided to go look for more because I then didn't think he could give like, 70% of the boys he knows cards and leave out the few rest of them... I'm not sure he's allowed to go distributing Force cards either so I'm only letting him give a few friends each day discreetly until he's done...) 

Guess who gleefully came with, on this day as well...

Guess who gleefully came with, on this day as well...

So... yeah, I'm quite proud of him for being so unselfish, but I was also thinking that bearing in mind he's at least semi-aware of how difficult it's going to be to get that "halfway respectable set" we were talking about, I hope he's not too much of a sharing monster...... Sometimes I worry he doesn't "defend" himself well enough in some of these games... But then I rejoice that at least in this, this aspect of pledging to raise him honoring and pointing to the Lord, it's not that difficult.

ps: btw buying a pack for each of his friends is really nothing, I say this for the benefit of those who don't live here because gifting back and forth is pretty prevalent - and we don't even go to snobby atas school, in those schools people even gift Tiffany silver necklaces in birthday loot bags; one of his friends gave a bunch of friends including Rockstar Gangnam Style t-shirts, we've also received quite a few serious book gifts and by "serious book gifts" I mean encyclopedia-ish books about mathematicians and stuff...

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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  • mun

    Way to go Rockstar! for knowing the joy of giving at such a young age. Miss Rockstar is mommy’s partner in all these cards hunting. So happy is she to be taking part in all these activities.

    • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

      He’s always been like that, with only very brief periods of not being like that… Sometimes i worry he’s not erm, “aggressive” enough about queueing for balloon animals or etc, but to be fair he’s certainly serious enough about his own school work (though we are careful to never raise him to compete with any other child, only himself – it’s kind of a thing for me, that he get used to not setting any other child as his goal or benchmark or competition – it’s because how the other child performs is technically an “unknown” – how much better, how much less well – and the other child is well, also a child. That means that during the course of the school year, growing up etc, the other child is also going to have lots of unknowns like challenges to his/her character, motivation at school etc. So at the back of my mind I always just figured however we looked at it, another child as a goal or benchmark was never that “sound” a practice because it makes the goal or benchmark inconsistent.)
      So basically the goal/ benchmark is not say, to beat another child or keep up with them or etc – it’s not even to beat Rockstar’s own performance in the end. It’s to do his best. Praise effort, not ability or result, that kind of thing…