Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Trading Card Database

Just last year I discovered Zistle.  It was great; I got all of my cards uploaded into my collection, created wantlists, and pulled off a bunch of trades.  Then Beckett came along and took over the site.  Apparently, the plan was just to let it die out.  I had to jump ship.  The site is still alive, and there is some activity happening in the Zistle community, but no new cards are being added to the site.  Anything beyond 2016 (and most 2016 sets, for football) is not available on Zistle.  So I migrated over to Trading Card Database.

To tell the truth, I really miss Zistle.  It's interface was so easy to use.  It was more aesthetically pleasing.  It gave you the ability to export your collection to a spreadsheet.  But it was a bit disorganized and had its share of maddening errors in the database.  TCDB is going to work for me, but it's not ideal.  For those who aren't sure how to keep track of your collection, it's a great option, but it does take quite a bit of time and work to enter the collection initially, but I think it beats typing or handwriting everything out.

So, judging from my experience thus far with TCDB, here is a brief review of its features:


The Organization

Unlike Zistle, pretty much everything on TCDB is well-regulated.  Zistle had giant holes in its checklists and duplicate sets because allowed anybody to add sets and checklists.  TCDB is far stricter in its checklists; therefore, it is far easier to find the exact set you are looking for.  You don't have to wonder if the set will be there or if you are actually entering the card into the correct set.  It's also so thorough that I never doubt whether I'll be able to find a card on the database.  I think I only own one or two cards that I couldn't find.

Set Building

Trading Card Database is a set builder's dream.  Organization by set is the default and the easiest way to find anything.  Every time you enter a card from a set into your collection, you get statistics telling you how many cards you have, how many are in the set, and a percentage of the set complete.  The wantlist feature is is created for the ease of set builders.  I'll discuss this more in a future post, but TCDB may well turn me into a set builder mere months after I went on record saying that it wasn't my preferred way to collect.

The Community

In just over a year on Zistle, I completed 40 trades.  That's quite a few, I think.  On TCDB, I receive trade offers daily.  Multiple trade offers.  To the point where I can't keep up and respond to all of them.  As far as I can see, there are more TCDB users and they are more active than Zistle users were.  I don't think I'll have trouble finding trading partners again.


The Search Function

With Zistle I could do something as simple as search for "Aaron Rodgers base 5" and it would bring up a list of all Aaron Rodgers base cards numbered 5.  It was great for adding odds and ends to my collection, say from a COMC order or blog trade that only included one Aaron Rodgers and one from that particular set.  TCDB doesn't do that.  With TCDB, I would either need to search out the set, bring up the entire checklist, and select the Aaron Rodgers #5.  Or I could bring up every Aaron Rodgers card, find the right card, and select it.  Everything I want to find is there; it's just harder to narrow it down to a specific card.  Plus, there is an extra click to get from the checklist to the update collection function for the checklist.  I don't understand why I can't edit my collection from the checklist. 

Creating Wantlists

Let's say I want to collect Brett Favre.  But I only want Brett Favre as a Packer, none of that icky Viking purple.  So I bring up every Brett Favre card, filter it out to the Packers, and click "Add Missing Cards to Wantlist."  BOOM, every single Brett Favre card in existence is added to my wantlist.  Apparently the filter means nothing.  The inability to add mass cards at once might not be that big of a deal if it were easier to add individual cards.  But that process is not as simple as checking a box.  It requires a drop down menu and selecting "Add to Wantlist" for every individual card.  It's a time-consuming process that involves too many clicks for my liking.  To be fair, wantlists for sets are really easy to do.  It just doesn't work to select certain cards of a certain player.  Again, TCDB caters to set builders, not player collectors.

Drop-Down Menus

This is my biggest issue with TCDB.  Zistle was so easy with a checkbox or an icon to click and the card was added to your collection, tradelist, or wantlist.  Changing quantities was a simple click of an up or down arrow.  TCDB has a checkbox for adding to a personal collection, but requires a drop-down to do anything else with the card.  Often, the page refreshes after you add a card to your tradelist, or move it from your wantlist to your collection.  This causes some unnecessary delay and frustration for me.

There are more pros and cons to be discovered, I'm sure.  These are just the few I've come across in my first few months on the site.  I really do miss Zistle, but it is nice to know that when I have a card in hand, I should have no trouble adding it to my collection.  TCDB may be require clicks than I would like for adding my existing collection, but it sure beats not keeping track at all.  Once I get everything entered in, I expect adding as I go will be no problem.  I hope this site doesn't shut down just as I do, like Zistle did.

If you've read this far, you deserve to see some cards.  Allow me to share the spoils of my first trade on Trading Card Database, which was proposed to me by user Kaline6.  We worked out a small baseball trade.

A couple of ROYs from different eras.

Some BYU alumni.

This card brings me one closer to completing this Wal-Mart exclusive insert tribute to Cal.

Finally, we have some favorite Cubs.  The little leaguer in the middle is Mark Grace.

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