Scratchcards have been a popular feature since the early days of Neopets, and many people buy and scratch them daily. There are three main places in Neopia where you can obtain scratchcards: the Ice Caves Kiosk in Terror Mountain, the Deserted Fairgrounds in Haunted Woods, and the Lost Desert Scratchcard Kiosk. Each kiosk has its own set of 5-6 scratchcards which you can buy, and each scratchcard has its own potential prize pool. Premium users also have access to the Space Faerie Scratchcard. While there are many reasons people use scratchcards (e.g. it’s fun, there are avatars available for winning), I am going to address the question of neopoint value: are scratchcards worth the money you spend on them?
Here, I’m going to focus on the Ice Caves Scratchcard Kiosk, and share the results of over 200 scratchcards (thats about six weeks worth of data collection!). I chose to specifically focus on the Faeries Fortune (FF) and Terror Trove (TT) scratchcards, since they are cheap and give the chance of increasing your pet’s level which is an outcome that, as a battledome trainer, I am particularly interested in. I also tracked how often I received each type of scratchcard when I bought from the kiosk.
It costs 600NP to buy a scratchcard from the Ice Caves Kiosk, and you can do so once every six hours. However, you can only scratch a maximum of 5 cards of any kind per day. When you buy a scratchcard from the kiosk, you randomly receive 1 out of the 5 possible scratchcards. From most to least likely, they are: Race to Riches, Terror Trove, Faeries Fortune, Peak o Plenty, and Icetravaganza Scratchcards. The rarer the scratchcard, the better the potential prizes; the Icetravaganza card gived you an opportunity to win the jackpot, which can sometimes be a million neopoints or more! The differences in rarity and the prizes awarded mean that the scratchcards have different market values. The approximate prices of the scratchcards according to the Shop Wizard, and the potential prize pools are summarised in the following table:
The “rare artifact” possibilities include various Terror Mountain weaponry and three scratchcard-exclusive books: Kiosk Foreground, Behind the Booth, and The Joy of Scratching.
Also note that if you receive a level gain, the level is awarded randomly to any pet on your account, not necessarily to your active pet (similar to Kitchen Quest stats). This is important to remember if you are using scratchcards to increase the level of your pet(s).
For this experiment, I scratched about 100 each of the Terror Trove and Faeries Fortune Scratchcards. I scratched 6 random spaces each time, since the spaces you scratch don’t actually matter in terms of the results you get from each card.
RESULTS & ANALYSIS
**Terror Trove Scratchcards (100 total)**
- nothing: 83/100
- snowballs: 4/100
- quiggle plushies: 4/100
- +1 lvl: 3/100
- 5k: 2/100
- 10k: 4/100
Overall, I got a non-junk result 9 out of 100 times. Assuming the TT scratchcards are worth about 1.3k each, I used 130k worth of scratchcards, and won back 50k in pure neopoints. That means I essentially spent 80k on 3 levels, which translates to an average of about 27k per level. Depending on how many pets you have, how many of those are being trained, and the current cost(s) to train them, it may be worth it to use these scratchcards. If battledome training is not important to you, then scratching the Terror Trove cards are a net loss; you’re better off selling them in your shop than using them.
**Faeries Fortune Scratchcards (105 total)**
- nothing: 84/105
- snowballs: 4/105
- "rare artifact": 6/105 (Blizzard Ring, Hawk Bracelet x2, Hawk Wand, The Joy of Scratching, and Snowball Staff)
- +1 level: 8/105
- 5k: 1/105
- 10k: 2/105
Overall, I got non-junk results 13 out of 105 times. Assuming the Faeries Fortune scratchcards are worth 1.7k each, I spent a total of about 179k. I won back 25k in pure neopoints, plus about 25k worth of non-junk items (namely the Snowball Staff and the book, The Joy of Scratching). This means I spent about 129k for 8 levels or an average of about 16k per level. Again, the value of this really depends on how many pets you have compared to how many you are training, and how much it costs to train them. For me, the FF scratchcards were a decent supplement to training. However, when you exclude level gains from the analysis, the Faeries Fortune cards are a net loss; again, if you are uninterested in battledome stats, it is better to sell these cards than to scratch them.
Comparing the two types of scratchcards, the FF scratchcards were better value than the TT ones, especially in terms of training costs (16k per level for the FF cards compared to 27k when using the TT cards). However If you ignore stats increases, both types of scratchcards were a loss, with the FF cards being more of a net loss than the TT ones (loss of approximately 1120NP per FF card compared to about 800NP per TT card). I would recommend possibly scratching the Faeries Fortune cards if you are looking to increase your pet’s level; otherwise, it is more profitable to sell your scratchcards, according to these results
Here is the breakdown of the 64 scratchcards I bought from the kiosk:
Race to Riches: 44/64 (69%)
Terror Trove: 16/64 (25%)
Faeries Fortune: 4/64 (6%)
I did not receive any Peak o Plenty or Icetravaganza cards, suggesting that they are very rare compared to the other types of scratchcards available.
I spent a total of 38.4k on the scratchcards from the kiosk, and based on my estimated values, I got about 49.6k neopoints worth of scratchcards back. Based on this, even just buying scratchcards without using them is a profitable daily, giving an average profit of approximately 175NP per scratchcard bought. This is a decent return of investment: 175np per 600NP spent is a roughly 30% profit. However, in terms of neopoints it’s a small profit; even if you manage to buy your maximum of 4 scratchcards per day, it’s still an average of just 700NP per day. It’s up to decide if it is worth your time.
There are two main strengths of this study. Firstly, it was *prospective*; I decided on what I wanted to do and how *before* I started collecting the data. This means there is less chance for the data to be biased. Secondly, I was the only person tracking these results, so the data collection was consistent and accurate (compared to, for example, compiling the results from a group of people, where there is more room for error).
However, there are several potential issues that we need to consider. Most importantly, the sample sizes were relatively small. It is possible that 100 trials just wasn't enough to be confident in the results we got, because variations by even a few outcomes could skew the results a lot. In particular, while the qualitative findings might be sound (e.g. FF scratchcards are probably better to scratch than TT ones), the quantitative ones (e.g. it costs 16k NP per level gain using FF scratchcards) might be difficult to be confident about.
It is also important to remember that values of items are always subject to change, so while the prices quotes are accurate at the time of writing, whether or not scratchcards remain worthwhile depends on the supply, demand, and cost of the scratchcards, prizes, and cost of training.
Areas for further research could include: gathering more data on the same scratchcards to have more reliable indicators of frequencies, and investigating the other kiosks and scratchcards to see whether or not they are better than the ones addressed in this article.
According to the results obtained, scratchcards may be worthwhile if you need to train level. Faeries Fortunes Scratchcards are better value than Terror Trove Scratchcards. However, if you are looking at non-BD stat prizes, neither type of scratchcard is profitable on average. On average, buying scratchcards from the Ice Caves Kiosk is profitable, even if you don’t scratch them. More data would be useful to confirm the accuracy of these results.