By Giovanniland, Card Czar of the West
Hello everyone! I am Giovanniland, known in the West as a Guardian & Minister of Foreign Affairs, and abroad as one of the world's most prominent card traders. One of my biggest achievements in the trading cards minigame so far was to collect every single TWP card in both seasons, a journey started in 2019 and finished last month. In this article, I will describe how this was achieved!
My card collecting journey started long ago in September 2019, even before I had applied for Hall of Nations citizenship. During that time I simply collected cards whose flags I liked, and also cards from the same region but without a goal to collect all of them. Of course, that changed in November when I decided to get more involved in TWP and soon joined both the regional and cards Discord server in order to tell regionmates about my idea and also get advice from experienced card farmers. Back then, Pandaland II's TWP collection with around 400 cards was the largest, and The Holy Principality of Saint Mark also owned a hundred cards from the region. These collections with a fair amount of cards motivated me to go further, and when Season 2 started in early December my Season 1 TWP collection that I started a month before was more than halfway done.
I was surprised when Season 2 came and there were 6,839 TWP cards as opposed to only 899 in Season 1. What I did not know at that time was that, when Season 1 was originally released as an one-week April Fools minigame in 2018 and then reintroduced in December that year, there were two snapshots, i.e. two different points in time at which information from all nations had been retrieved by the game admins in order to create cards. Since TWP is a feeder, unfortunately many nations spawn here and then never log in again, causing them to cease to exist (CTE) after 28 days – and this is what happened between the two snapshots, which meant most TWP nations in April 2018 were CTE in December, and only 899 remained.
Anyways, despite the Season 2 collection being over seven times larger, I took the challenge and started placing bids on all cards soon after. These were small bids of 0.02 – just a cent more than junk value – since I did not have many bank at the time, but they worked nicely and in New Year 2020 a quarter of the Season 2 collection was already done. Meanwhile, at the same time, around 50 Season 1 cards were left to be collected, and I started sending telegrams to their owners in order to get them to sell those.
However, a significant challenge for the Season 2 collection was that, with over seven times more cards than Season 1, many of those were already CTE after one month. Furthermore, some of them had no owners at all and, with the way cards were pulled at the time, would never be found again unless their respective nations revived. So I only estimated to collect around 3,000 or 4,000 cards out of all 6,839 if that mechanic had continued. Fortunately, a nice surprise happened in January 2020, in which CTE cards now had a 10% chance of being found in packs. This was a blessing not only for regional collectors but also for other kinds of traders, since it means more copies of these cards would spawn, albeit at a reduced rate in comparison to cards from live nations. A month after that, I had half of the Season 2 cards and all but 10 Season 1 cards collected, a great progress.
Following that, the Season 2 progress continued smoothly for the next few months with around a thousand buys per month. I also increased my bids according to number of owners at the time since I had earned more bank by then. However, telegramming owners of Season 2 cards wasn't yet my focus at the time – I had first to find a way to get the last 5 Season 1 cards, since telegrams weren't working anymore. Fortunately, after discussing with Recuecn, I decided to try sending a puppet to the card owners' regions and posting in their regional message board (RMB), since some were active in their RMBs. One example of a RMB post by me was this one, which worked in the end. Finally, the last card Republic of Riowall was achieved on the day of 3rd April 2020 (which happens to be one year ago at the time I am writing!) not through a RMB post, but rather by asking for help on identifying the sole owner at the time and then contacting the puppet master after finding out whose puppet it was.
After the celebrated completion of the Season 1 TWP collection, the first ever regional collection of a Game-Created Region to be completed, I turned my focus to the Season 2 one. During May it already had around a thousand cards left, and then I started using my telegramming experience from Season 1 to go through all these cards and send telegram to their owners. Of course, this task was more tedious due to the greater amount of cards, but nevertheless I checked the cards for new owners every week. Eventually, the amount of cards left went from a thousand to a hundred, then from a hundred to a dozen in the following months. The rate at which I bought new cards slowed as I came closer to completion, as expected. This allowed me to spend more time in other NS- and cards-related projects.
While these projects are of course not the topic of this article, some of them were related to regional collections. For example, I created the Regional Collection Leaderboard and How-to Guide in July and October 2020 respectively, and more recently a talk for the 2021 NationStates Great Exhibition about the same topic. All that, of course, while monitoring the few cards left to check for new owners, a process that I could now even do daily since it only required a few minutes rather than one or two hours. In the first day 2021 I bought the second last card, called Zootopia9999999, and then waited for the last one.
The card in question was Judea-Jerusalem, and I spent two months in total hoping that, some day, it would finally be found by someone. A fun fact is that the hunt for that specific card became so well-known in the card community that Judea-Jerusalem is now synonym for the last card anyone needed for a collection if that card was also owned by nobody. Judea-Jerusalem was found in the day of 2nd March of 2021, but that was not the end of the journey since I now had to convince the owner to sell. After a telegram that did not work since it could be seen that the nation was clearly active elsewhere, a RMB post got them to sell the card two days later. Finally, in the afternoon of 4th March of 2021, the last card was finally bought by me and the TWP Season 2 collection would reach the final milestone of 6,839 cards. Fittingly, as the very motto of the Judea-Jerusalem card said about the collection, "It Is Finished".
A screenshot of the two TWP cards which were the last needed cards for each season's collection.
The completion of the TWP Season 2 collection meant that I am now the first (and only so far) to complete both seasons of a Game-Created Region regional collection. A truly impressive feat, as seen by the length of this journey that took more than a year, which sparked celebrations in TWP and the card trading community alike. For example, several TWP nations then flied the default NationStates flag for a week in order to celebrate, while many card farmers congratulated the feat. Finally, this great journey is complete and I can rest for some time until Season 3 comes. Then, a new TWP collection will be built and hopefully I will write about its completion here too.
This April issue of The Western Post marks the one year anniversary since Bran Astor gave me the opportunity and my first comic appeared in the newspaper, I'm eternally grateful for it, they have hopefully entertained you dear reader and I always enjoy the DM's when someone finds a easter egg!
So for the one year anniversary of my silly little comic, I've decided to share the original that started it all when I was just a freshmen in the University of The West Pacific! I was originally going to completely redo this comic and submit that as the one year anniversary since I was never happy with the original but that would defeat the purpose of showing the original now wouldn't it?
By Fuentana, Poet Laureate of Haiku
It turns out that I’ve been too busy with gardening to do regular card gardening, though I do unpack the packs every other weekend when I can. With this in mind, I want to ask you: is gardening “in the cards” for you? If you’d like to get started with indoor plants, here are some recommendations:
Plants That Probably Won’t Die No Matter How Hard You Try
First, I’d suggest starting out with tried-and-true plants that require very little TLC and generate lots of benefits. Start off with the almighty Pothos, also known as “Devil’s Ivy.” If you can find this vining plant with nice gold or white marbling, all you need to do is water it whenever you remember to once every two weeks to one month, and this baby will grow. Or if you want to play it safe, you can propagate this in water. Take an empty whiskey bottle, fill it with water, and add clippings of pothos. In weeks, it will grow roots, and in due time it will grow like crazy. The trick is to make sure that the clipping has a node or two on it, as the roots will grow from there.
A second starter plant that is low-risk and high-reward is the snake plant. Colloquially known as Saint George’s Sword as well as Mother-in-Law’s tongue, the snake plant is in fact a dracaena. Dracaenas are often among the easiest of plants to take care of. Like the pothos, you can forget to water these plants with a bit more regularity. Like a good pothos, you can get snake plants with beautiful yellow and gold details. More mature plants grow slowly, but the snake plant is a rhizome. You’ll find some pleasant surprises as the roots spread underneath, and in my experience, the new snake plant shoots grow surprisingly quickly.
It also never hurts to pick up a succulent, though you do need to be more mindful of sunlight. Succulents have had a bit of a resurgence of late because they are so low maintenance and have their own elegance about them. Succulents are slower to propagate, but the results are quite cute: you get a mini succulent that keeps growing. I started out with an echeveria type, but I’m expanding to include kalanchoes which can flower multiple times in stunning colors.
Simple Techniques and Remedies
One of the first problems plant owners run into is learning the rhythm and volume of watering. It can be maddening, because the signs of overwatering and underwatering can often be the same: yellow leaves. Thankfully, with the plants above, one can start off with underwatering the plants and adjusting from there, which is much safer than overwatering.
But if overwatering happens, the owner will deal with the challenge of root rot—something everyone faces at one point. A good technique for plant care is to use a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water. I prefer 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water. This has multiple benefits: the added oxygen will stimulate root growth, and hydrogen peroxide is great for killing fungus and treating root rot. Some plants perk up remarkably quickly from the added oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide/water treatment.
It’s also surprisingly easy to find home remedies and sources to make fertilizer. If you eat a lot of eggs, save the egg shells, stoop them in water, and boil them. Once the water cools, you can use the egg shell water as fertilizer. This will give the plants a nice boost in calcium and potassium, which will make them sturdier and happier. Depending on the plant, you can also save coffee grounds, dry them out a bit, and sprinkle them in the pot (or outside if you are an outside gardener). Finally, if you have the space to do this, composting is a great idea. Compost can turn an abundance of non-meat, non-dairy food scraps, coffee grounds, and even a fair amount of cardboard and paper into rich soil over a period of months. I’ve found that fruit cores and skins, egg shells, and wilted or rotting vegetables are excellent.
Final Thought: Epic-Level Gardening Is Attainable
When I started card farming, I only had about ten puppets. I saw some impressive results from even limited farming. A little bit of effort goes a long way in real gardening too. With some strategic plant purchasing, you can gain the experience and comfort with raising a plant that will vault you from a common house plant owner to at least epic-level. Thankfully, there is also no shortage of resources online for troubleshooting and creative ideas to raise your home gardening game from epic to legendary status.
But future plant companions
Are rooting for you
By Dilber, Delegate of the West
By United Adaikes
We’re back! And we continue with our favorites from haikus posted during Haikuesday last March.
 As a fellow music lover and knowing Westwind as one of our good ol’ players in TWP, I love how his passion for making music is still there.
 As haiku representatives from TWP, we love it when other nations from other regions post their good haikus (and to think we have selected some haikus coming from nations of other regions).
 The Golden Rule (in Haiku Form)
 It’s a sight to see when a plane passes close by overhead, as it is to see meaningful participation from certain regions. TWP’s weekly events are open to both newcomers and regulars, regionmates and faraway friends in regions with our embassy. What better way to make friends than to share the beauty of haiku.
 A sudden crack tears the fabric of the RMB and a message sounds it’s way up from the depths of Hell. Where else can light best be seen but the darkest of places? I enjoy our demonic friend’s regular haiku, and the twists that are crafted are a natural fit for the medium.
 And who better to bring light to our RMB than Halo, our former Delegate. It’s easy to get lost online, in the myriad disagreements and worse. The rare soul that is Halo reminds us of the light that comes from the human spirit, particularly in this lovely haiku.
The two by Mediobogdum were a great slice of Pi/Pie Week. Both convey something of the infinite and ethereal nature of pi, which is both a transcendental number and an irrational number. It is in fact so ethereal that not even haiku can capture the image and grandeur of that most magnificent number.
The third selection of mine is fellow haiku lover Fhaengshia’s excellent descriptive haiku from a trip away from Internet access. It is haiku like these that open up the world of nature in a magnificent way.
Whether light-hearted, or more serious, any haiku can impress an emotion in the reader. We continue to honor those that have struck a chord in each of us. Every Tuesday we’re searching for something to resonate with and celebrate here in the annals of the West’s best poetry.
Want to get more involved? Contact any of the authors to join our work as members of The West Pacific Fine Arts Society, a branch of The West Pacific Cultural Trust.
Thanks for reading! Tell us about your favorite part on our RMB!
The Western Post Staff - Delegate-in-Editor-in-Chief: Dilber Editors: Fuentana, Fujai, Giovanniland – Staff: Aluminum Oxynitride, Bran Astor, Fhaengshia, Gryphonian Alliance, Nieubasria, Overthinkers, Podium, Recuecn, Teralyon, United Adaikes, and YOU
All your chocolate belongs to Darkesia
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