Bar Marcel is a European-inspired restaurant located in Charlotte's SouthPark neighborhood. They are open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Currently, they are only open for dinner on Sunday. Their lunch and dinner menus overlap some of the pastas and plates offered. Bar Marcel features a full bar serving beer, liquor, wine by the glass, and a bottled wine list.
Ashley and I went for dinner with family and friends to Bar Marcel during Queen's Feast. We ordered items featured on the special menu that were also found on the regular menu. On the stuzzichini dinner menu, we tried the Beet & Burrata Salad, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, and Charcuterie Board. All three choices were delightful. Our group collectively chose the Beet & Burrata Salad and Crispy Brussels Sprouts as the top choices.
For the main course, we ordered a few different dishes. I ordered the Tagliatelle featuring shrimp, capers, kale, brodo, cured lemon and chive. It was very good pasta dish that I would order again. My wife ordered the Agnolotti with truffled potato, braised rabbit, brussels leaves, carrot, gouda, almond, and garlic butter. She enjoyed her dish, but thought the Tagliatelle was a better pasta choice. Other individuals in our group ordered the Seared Salmon and Grilled Pork Tenderloin. They enjoyed their entrees and would order them again in the future.
As for alcoholic beverages, we ordered cocktails and a bottle of Spanish wine. The cocktails were well-crafted and enjoyable. While I also enjoyed our choice of wine, I found their bottle prices somewhat expensive. We had a hard time deciding on a bottle that was reasonably priced and not featured as a wine by the glass. Overall, everyone had a wonderful experience and enjoyed their meals. We all agreed that Bar Marcel was worth the trip. I would recommend Bar Marcel for an intimate dinner with a partner, spouse, couple, or to celebrate a special occasion.
The Mighty Meeple is a hobby store located across the street from Concord Mills at 8440 Pit Stop Court NW #180. They are open seven days a week with reduced hours on Sunday. Meeple sells board games, trading card games, miniatures, and other related tabletop gaming products. There is ample gaming space inside the store for playing all varieties of tabletop gaming. You can find a schedule of weekly events on their website or by contacting the store directly.
Meeple is known around the local area as a premier store for the Magic: The Gathering trading card game. They sell packs, singles, deck sleeves, and other related products. I regularly attend their Tuesday evening Standard format event. They also offer Friday Night Magic and special weekend events. I have gotten to know many local players by visiting the store.
In addition to gaming space for MTG, they offer multiple tables for other tabletop games such as Warhammer 40,000. You can find players using the tables every Saturday. Meeple sells painting supplies and miniatures sets for players to build their armies.
Meeple is well-staffed by employees with a passion for gaming. They are friendly, knowledgeable, and able to answer questions about many tabletop games. The employees also manage gaming tournaments held weekly. Events typically start and end on time without issue. In addition, I find the store and bathrooms clean each time I visit. This is hard to accomplish on a consistent basis. I would recommend anyone near Concord, North Carolina to make a visit to Meeple.
In October, 2019, multiple Magic: The Gathering sets will rotate out of the current Standard format card pool. Each fall, a few sets rotate out of Standard to update the format. An article on Card Game Base explains the 2019 Standard rotation. The specific MTG sets rotating this fall are Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core 2019.
In my previous article, I evaluated the investment potential of former Standard set booster boxes. I looked at their historical prices over time to determine growth, profitability, and investment potential. In this article, I will attempt to forecast the future prices and potential returns of Standard set booster boxes rotating this fall.
There are multiple techniques one can use to forecast the future of a product's price and demand. This detailed article on forecasting techniques covers qualitative techniques, time series analysis, and causal models. I did a simple time series analysis to forecast booster box prices over the next year. The data used to predict and analyze rotating Standard booster boxes can be downloaded here. I referenced the worksheet titled October 2019 for this analysis. Data from my previous article is included under the October 2018 worksheet. The data and calculations found on the October 2018 worksheet can be used to establish a basic average growth rate for forecasting future booster box prices.
Evaluating Current Booster Box Prices
Before going into further details, I need to make an assumption that all rotating fall set print runs have ended. While I have no hard proof this has occurred, I believe it is a safe assumption at this time. As long as booster boxes are printed to current demand, their prices will remain fairly stagnant. In addition, this analysis assumes booster boxes were purchased at a low retail price of $80.00. This price is reflective of the cost from a distributor. In addition, some businesses sell booster boxes of Standard sets at their cost to move inventory. There are other methods of buying close to distributor pricing as well. The below graphic shows rotating booster box average market prices on Ebay for August, 2019.
It is interesting how much people are paying for a booster box of Dominaria. The other sets are selling for around the expected retail price of a Standard booster box. Why is Dominaria worth much more money than the other rotating sets? While I cannot provide specific evidence, Dominaria does have a few special qualities. It is considered one of the best drafting sets in recent history. In addition, the nostalgia of the set brought back many former MTG players to the game. Half of the players I spoke with at the pre-release came because they wanted to play with Llanowar Elves, Goblin Warchief, Icy Manipulator, and other iconic cards. I believe these qualitative reasons are reinforced by the lack of expected value (EV) from opening a booster box of Dominaria.
Next, I compared current booster box prices to the EV of each set found on MTG Dawnglare using the default TCGplayer Mid pricing. The set EV and booster box prices do not correlate well. Dominaria booster boxes are selling at two and a half times their set EV. Rivals of Ixalan has the highest set EV and the lowest booster box price. There are other factors beyond set EV affecting current booster box prices.
Forecasting Future Booster Box Prices
I used formulas combining set EV, booster box pricing, and a historic average monthly growth rate to forecast future price movement. First, I divided the current market value of a booster box by its set EV to get a percentage. This basic formula combines the present market prices and underlying value together. For example, Ixalan's booster box price of $90.00 divided by $56.12 equals 60.4%. After establishing the percentages across four sets, I wanted to apply known historical information. I multiplied the calculated percentages by the average monthly growth rate of the six previous Standard set booster boxes. The result from this calculation gave me adjusted average growth rates for each set rotating in October, 2019. As an example, Ixalan's adjusted average growth rate became 1.07% after multiplying 60.4% by 1.78%. Finally, I multiplied the average monthly growth rate by the number of months for the hold period and added $80.00 (price paid for a booster box). The results showed that Ixalan and Dominaria were likely profitable one year from now after applicable shipping and fees. Another point worth noting is that anyone who bought Dominaria booster boxes at $110.00 or less would likely make a profit. However, buying it now at the current market price of $120.00 is a risky bet.
Accuracy of a Forecast
This analysis is just one method to predict future price changes. While the future prices seem reasonable, the model is not without flaws. I am assuming that current market conditions do not change over the course of a year. If there is a global recession in 2020, it could negatively affect future growth rates of booster boxes. In addition, the logic is based on the accuracy of my historical booster box monthly growth rate average. If I wanted to test this number for accuracy, I could add additional data for previous Standard sets to the historical analysis. While my data analysis is not perfect, I hope it provides some insight in understanding forecasting models.
*The information in this article is of my own knowledge and opinion. It is meant for informational purposes only. I am not a registered financial professional or trying to act as one.*