Whether you’ve been in the hobby for decades, or have only recently landed into card collecting, you’ve probably seen the term “Box Break”, “Breaks”, or “Group Breaks”.
“Breaking” is an aspect of the sports and trading card hobby that’s developed rapidly, and will continue to be a strong presence as the number of collectors continues to grow.
So What Is A 'Break'?
True to their name, breaks involve the breaking down of sealed boxes through the assistance of a third-party service, called “breakers”. Spots or entries into breaks are then bought, giving participants a chance to secure the contents inside the box(s)!
How’s It Determined Who Gets What?
That all depends on the breaks format! Breaks can be run in a multitude of ways, to name a few; Random Teams, Pick-Your-Team (PYT), Draft-style Break, Serial Number, etc. In terms of AFL Breaks, the most common format is “Random Teams”, where your spot number in the break corresponds to a random team. E.g. Spot 14 corresponds to Geelong after the list of AFL teams was randomized X amount of times. Once you’ve been allocated your team, whichever cards are pulled from the break, in this example Geelong cards, are now rightfully yours!
How Much Does It Cost To Enter A 'Break'?
Entry points for breaks vary depending on the level of product in the break, how many sealed boxes are involved, if it’s a pick-your-team, which specific team you choose to buy into. Whatever the case may be, there are generally a wide variety of entry points for people to get involved with breaks regardless of the amount of money you’re willing to spend!
Where Do I Find 'Breakers'?
As stated from the outset, box breaking is a rapidly developing component of the sport and trading card landscape. Therefore, there are quite a number of different breakers, break pages and break groups which offer this service to the collecting community. Facebook is a great place to get a feel for which breaker you feel like joining!
We recommend trying RGV Breaks as a great point of entry when first buying into 'Breaks'!
RGV Breaks: Youtube Channel
How Do I Know If The 'Break Group' I’ve Joined Is A 'Good One'?
There are a few key components that determine what makes a reputable breaker. Trust, Reliability, Transparency.
The first time you enter a break, essentially what you’re doing is paying strangers to open sealed product on the behalf of others and hoping the breaker fulfills their end of the bargain. That’s why having trust in the service you’re paying for is absolutely paramount. Without trust, there’s no way this model could effectively exist. If you’re unsure as to whether you can trust a breaker, ask around the community for vouches of approval. If the breaker is reputable, the answer you’re looking for shouldn’t be too hard to find.
This element of trust also works both ways. Some break pages/groups undertake a screening process before being approved entry into that community.
For “good breakers”, break procedure should be extremely repetitive and consistent across all breaks. From the randomizing of teams, to the handling of boxes, to the shipping process. If you tune in to a break at two different points in time, you should find that what the breakers are doing on screen are identical.
Transparency follows on from the last point, but a good breaking service should be talking you through the break and have their production is set up to ensure that all aspects of the break are covered. For example, camera angles should ensure there are no “blind-spots” during the filming process, always being able to see the product on screen, the entry and exit of boxes entering/leaving the filmed area etc.
I Keep Missing Out On The Team I Support In 'Random Breaks' And 'PYT', What Should I Do?
It’s been well documented that a majority of people who collect AFL Cards do so by “team-collecting”. Therefore, it can be quite annoying not securing your preferred team when entering a break! However, some breakers allow participants to trade teams once the break has been filled. For example, If you so happen to secure the team another participant desires, and they also happen to have your specific team, a trade could be facilitated!
How Do I Know If 'Breaks' Are For Me?
If you are completely “green” to breaks, my first suggestion would be to watch various breaks with different products, to get a feel for what it’s all about. Then once you’ve fully grasped the concepts of what is happening on your screen, then decide whether breaks are a part of the collecting experience that interests you!
What Should I Be Conscious Of When Buying Into 'Breaks' Regularly?
Much like any exercise dictated by chance, stretches of breaks can ultimately not go your way. It’s human nature to keep trying to chase the next big hit! It’s no secret that gambling is a key element attached with card breaks, as with all other games of chance. Therefore, break participants should always be wary of the amount of money they are dedicating to box breaks, especially now that many services offer pay later options such as AfterPay. In most instances, break groups require members to be of the legal gambling age which in Australia is 18 years or over. Some break groups also offer self-exclusion policies for members who struggle with regulating of break consumption.
How Do 'Card Breaks' Positively Contribute To The Sports & Trading Card Community?
For the community, breaks offer much more than simply a middle-man service for people trying to secure cards for their personal collections. In fact, it could be argued that breakers are the glue which keeps many areas of the card community together.
As stated previously, the demand for boxes at retail from the Select website has grown astronomically in recent years. A massive change in the landscape compared to how new releases fared prior to 2019. Therefore, not everyone is able to get as much sealed product as they desire which is where breaks are able to increase the access of cards to the everyday collector.
Recently the card community has had to adjust to is the selling of retail boxes on the secondary market. Whether or not you agree with the tactic from collectors or “fly-in, fly-out” investors alike, breakers play an integral part in retaining cash flow inside the card economy. In order for breakers to maximise their own output, purchasing boxes on platforms like Facebook and eBay is a very common occurrence. If this were not the case, less money would exchange hands which would ultimately stagnate the growth of the industry. Not only this, it could push the hobby backwards if funds aren’t reinvested back into the market and into other ventures. Which begs the question, how would the card landscape look without this mechanism?
On a more social level, break groups are a great way to interact with like-minded people and allow for collectors to form bonds which makes dealing for and acquiring cards that much easier. The bigger your social network is in the card community, the better your experience ultimately becomes.