Dodgy Foreign Pokémon Cards

It was Leon’s surprise birthday party yesterday. I got him a premium Minecraft account, which he had kind of been expecting. I had to be there from 3.15pm til about 10.30pm, due to playing in the band… exhaustion set in. I was awoken this morning at 10.30 by my 2-year-old nephew coming up the stairs with Mum, as he shouted “Timewakeub uggle sdeeban! Time wake upp uggle sdeebannn!”

Hee hee.

Anyway, last summer, we went to Rhodes, an island off Greece. Once home to the Colossus, now home to many, many shops full of fake Pokémon, Yu-gi-oh, and Duel Masters TCG cards.

In the largest market shop in Lindos, there was a huge display of just such cards. Some of them look very genuine, and others look very fake. Below is a small portion of a vastly reduced image. I took one sneaky photo at 7 megapixels, and left. Click the preview for full-size image, which is 567kb:

Fake Pokémon and Yu-gi-oh cards

So: some are proper deck boxes (Unseen forces) with all the relevant copyrights printed on, and some are complete Malaysian mockups, with zero-punctuation blurbs on the back loosely based on some awful non-canonical league. There were also baskets full of booster packs. The prices are a fraction of what you would pay for the real thing in this country… €4 for a full deck box, as opposed to £8, for example.

Out of curiosity, and because of the price, I bought some as research:

  • The small deck boxes in the (lower middle) foreground of the small image above also contain little bottletop-like counters with a device for firing them at each other, which is quite cool. The cards themselves are terrible quality, and feel like the 150gsm card you could buy at Staples. They are laden with mistakes and fakeries.
  • The booster packs are missing cards usually, and one pack is more or less the same as the next. The cards are better quality.
  • The “official-esque” deck boxes feel very nearly right. The cards are almost genuine quality, but the serious giveaway is that they use the wrong energy icons and have occasional misspellings. I think one box lacked a card, too. Actually, now that I think about it, the decks inside were wrong for the box, didn’t contain a card guide (for obvious reasons), and had a conspicuous number of rare cards.

Overall, I absolutely don’t regret buying them. It was a really interesting excercise, the metal counters were quite original and unexpected, and the decks were playable. Mum and I played 2 or 3 games while we were staying there!