Friday rant — the things that bug me about Topps Bunt

Okay, I am a little bit persnickety (sp?). I get annoyed by stuff. Usually, I think about it and realize I am not thinking about it from their perspective. But sometimes I think I am right… here are a couple things that bug me:

Loaning cards. Listen, I get it. Lots of people do it and most people are honest people who will return the cards asap. But even if you are honest and return the cards, unless you are loaning cards to me… it’s kind of a one-sided relationship. If I give you a coin card that gets you 5,000 coins, that’s enough for you to buy 5 Cup of Joe packs or an Instagram pack… and you’ll end up with like 5 gold cards. And since I spent money to get the coin cards, you are just freeloading.

I know this will offend people… but let’s call a spade a spade. Now, if there was someone who was an equal partner (loaning me as much as I loan to them), that feels like a partnership. I don’t do that because I haven’t found anyone to do that with… but that seems more fair. I have loaned cards a few times and I appreciate when someone sends me a gold SP as a thank you, but it is few and far between. For me, in order to be interested in this, I think I’d like to share in the bounty of cards that the person gets. I.e. if they get 5k in coins from my card and they open an Instagram pack, they can choose one card to protect… but then I can choose a card from the pack they opened. That’s a solution I could live with.

I know a lot of people playing are teenagers without access to funds for buying lots of coins, so I’d like to find a solution here. But I don’t like the way most people expect loans to come to them. If you have earned my trust in trades, I am more likely to loan you a card once in a while. But the folks who just ask for loans constantly… sorry, I can’t help you out.

Advertisements

Award cards — rating the Topps choices — Part 1

At this point, by my count, there are almost 20 award cards that have been released. I.e. special cards that Topps has given out for completing a series chase. In some cases the awards are given out once at a specified time. At other times, Topps gives out the award every day for a period of time. And Topps sometimes gives a lot of advance notice and at other times, they just give the award.

2014-06-12 09.58.14

Player Choice Rating: 4/5

Design Rating: 4/5

Value: 3/5 (likely to go down when they release his base card)

Card count: 519

Notes: David Price is a good choice; he has a little bit of throwback/heritage in him. Clean, nice looking card but not boring.

 

2014-06-12 09.59.17

Player Choice Rating: 4/5 (slight downgrade because they use him a lot)

Design Rating: 4/5

Value: 5/5

Card count: 80

Notes: this is one of the inserts that is really hard to get.

 

2014-06-12 09.58.02

Player Choice Rating: 3/5

Design Rating: 3/5

Value: 2/5

Card count: 239

Notes: despite the low card count, the difficulty in getting the award, and a popular player… this doesn’t seem to carry much weight in the trading market.

 

2014-06-12 09.58.42

Player Choice Rating: 5/5 (automatic choice)

Design Rating: 4/5

Value: 4/5

Card count: 21

Notes: I could argue that it is a 5/5 value. With so few cards, I am guessing there is not a lot of trading on this.

 

2014-06-12 09.59.24

Player Choice Rating: 1/5

Design Rating: 2/5

Value: 2/5

Card count: 94

Notes: I think this was a swing and miss. Ugly card, random guy chosen.

 

2014-06-12 09.58.11

Player Choice Rating: 5/5

Design Rating: 5/5

Value: 3/5

Card count: 496

Notes: This was a great choice. Almost 500 achieved so not huge value but pretty cool.

 

2014-06-12 09.59.05

Player Choice Rating: 3/5

Design Rating: 5/5

Value: 4/5

Card count: 65

Notes: Unfortunately, Fielder went down with an injury during the chase. But still valuable based on nice look and low card count.

 

2014-06-12 09.58.08

Player Choice Rating: 5/5

Design Rating: 4/5

Value: 3/5

Card count: 366

Notes: I think they wanted a lot of people to get this one. Springer was a smart choice. Not a ton of value but I think people like it a lot.

 

2014-06-12 09.57.54

Player Choice Rating: 5/5

Design Rating: 5/5

Value: 5/5

Card count: 157

Notes: I think value would have been crazy high if they had not messed up and been forced to give the card away on two days. Still a great award card and a tough chase.

Comparing the Bunt series

In completing almost 1000 trades, I wanted to share my impressions of relative value amongst the series that Topps has released. I think you can use this when trading but everyone has their own impressions. At the end of the day, is the card sold out? If so, how many were released? Are there coins available? Is it a key card in a chase series? Those are some of the questions I ask when deciding how valuable a card is.

TIER 1

1. Signature Series: Everybody wants them and when numbered less than 500, they are hard to get. They are like the gold standard in Bunt – the cards most likely to hold value.
2. Gypsy Queen: I think they will end up holding value like the Fired Up series, if they release similar numbers. Also like the choice of a Cano award card.
3. Fired Up Series: People don’t trade these cards away which tell me they hold value.
4. Mystery: Really small quantities and seem to be concentrated in the hands of the best collections.
5. Bowman Diamond: Like the Mystery, very small cards counts and you have to be a VIP to pull them… so values are high. The VIPs use them like currency to get cards like sigs and Gypsy Queens.

TIER 2

6. Editor’s Choice: They were really hot and I have a feeling they will be hot again when the next award comes. Not sure if they will hold value beyond the 2-3 most rare ones. They definitely don’t have as much value now as they did at the end of the chase, but they seem to be keeping the numbers lower than SNBs or FCs.
7. Bowman Draft: The numbers are more like sigs or Fired Up but for some reason, maybe because they were released at the same time as other chase series, people aren’t as engaged. Since all of the card counts are low, I predict they will hold some value. I think the blah-ness might also be related to the award card.
8. Player of the Week (POTW): They are planning an award at the end of June / early July. Since a lot of these are low production, they hold value. The higher production ones aren’t valuable but people chase the cards.
9. Golden Moments: Value is always high when a new GM is released. It drops a little once the coin reward is over but they’re generally low numbered, 750 and below. Hank Aaron’s card is highly desirable and with only 250 made, very valuable! I have been offered 3 sigs for mine (and rejected the offer).

TIER 3

10. Sunday Night Baseball: Hard to predict how many of each card they will release, which has hurt the value. Plus the award card wasn’t very appealing. I think they are better than Fan’s Choice but not something to trade a lot for.

11. Turkey Red: Blah look to the cards, released when lots of other stuff was happening, lots of cards needed to get the award… I think a subset of collectors want them and the award card is very nice, but lower value to most people.

12. Bowman Regular: the cards were all rare and the award card was great, but doesn’t seem like anyone seeks them out now. I have had luck getting value for them by trading to people trying to collect all of the cards for a certain team.

Tier 4

13. Cannon Series: Highly sought after when the set award was active. The low count ones can be traded for sigs but the more common ones are throw-ins for trades.
14. Future Is Now: Another one where the Super Rares are still desired but the more common ones are pretty much ignored.
15. Topps Illustrated: one more set like the Cannons and Future is now. Hard to assess value but the ones with less than 500 are good assets to have.
16. Saberstars: Saber cards like Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw still hold some value, but the rest for the mold of FiN, Illustrated, etc.
17. Throwback Thursday: Tend to come in large numbers. If they ever give an award for collecting, they will become more sought after.

18. Mascot Series. I am only including this in Tier 3 because they are limited availability. I don’t think they are that valuable to collectors.

TIER 5

18. Heritage Series: Aside from the Chase Utley (way more rare than the rest), not as much interest in these cards. The 2nd award card (Stanton) is good and because they surprised people with it, the numbers are low.
19. Fan’s Choice: they release a lot of these cards and unfortunately, the players included aren’t always appealing. It also takes forever to sell out. Most of the cards are pretty much the same value as a good gold SP.
20. League Leaders: These cards only hold value during the month they are active as a set. After that, except for the original series cards with low counts, almost no value.
21. 1974 Archive Series: This was the first set they released to make it easier for everyone to get win the chase. The Utley and Tulo (rarest) cards held value while the coins were available but now they have achieved throw-in level.
22. Opening Day: I sometimes get trade requests for the super rares but they are otherwise ignored by most people.

TIER 6 (BIG gap in value)

23. On Deck: giveaways in the beginning of the season (much like the new Men of Action series on Android), they have more copies than common cards.

Value not defined yet:

  • Mayor Series – not clear yet if anyone wants these. Topps says they are “Advanced,” whatever that means. My gut says they will end up in Tier 4
  • Goin Yard – I have a feeling these will end up in Tier 5, though the award card seems good (Chris Davis).

Treatise on chasing Bunt series

The past two weeks has obviously been a major change for collecting inserts in Topps Bunt. For a while, there were limited numbers of inserts and pack prices were high. It seemed like a lot of the frustration among Bunt’ers was the difficulty in getting inserts.

I am not sure if the Topps folks reacted to what was happening or this was the plan from the beginning, but they made a changes for the better. They started faster paced series releases like the Heritage Series 2 or the League Leaders and they made the cards available in less expensive packs. There were still cards that were hard to get but when you opened packs, you at least had a chance to pull an insert. And there are also the long running series (Player of the Week, Sunday Night, Editor’s Choice, Fan’s Choice) that people can chase. The nice thing about the short-run chases is that they seem to usually tell you ahead of time how difficult it will be to pull the cards. For the long-running series (except Golden Moments and Throwback Thursday), they don’t tell us how many cards are being released… so it is more risky to chase the cards through packs or trading.

So, which series are currently out there and what should we chase?

    • Mascot series – this is winding down. I thought it was a waste of coins and time. Evidently others agreed because Topps had to aggressively discount the packs to get people to pull the last of the cards. I don’t think these cards have much trade value.

Topps Bunt 2014 PAWS MASCOT card with a mystery print card

    • Bowman #1 draft pick series – I like this series. I didn’t really chase it because I thought it would require too many coins but I think the veteran players went after these. That is going to make it tough to extract the low card count players (Harper, Strasburg) from trade. Like the first Bowman series, I think these will continue to hold some value but not like sigs.

TOPPS BUNT 2014 Bowman Draft Joe Mauer Digital Card

    • League Leaders – this one is pretty much finished. And it is a good example of two approaches from Topps. In some chases, they set a discreet deadline for when the award will be handed out; in other chases, they give the award every day for a period of time. Personally, I prefer the former. If you are going to offer a limited card, make it as limited as possible. Which brings us back to the League Leaders — it seems like the combination of card accessibility (the rarest card was Encarnacion at 750 cards) and giving the award every day for three weeks seems to have lowered the desirability. That said, it seems like it is good for the game to have both types of chases.

Topps Bunt Complete May League Leaders Series Digital Card Set--9 Cards!!-RARE!!

    • Turkey Red – maybe because I don’t like the look of these cards, maybe because I don’t know how many they are releasing of each one… I pretty much ignored this. I just checked the card counts and they are really low. Either that means no one is buying or it is really hard to get. I might wait till later this week to se what happens with this series. They are giving out the Jeter award every day this week.

2014 Topps Bunt Ryan Braun Turkey Red Digital Card Super Rare Hard To Find

 

So the key to buying packs and trading for the series:

  1. Understand scarcity — how many are they going to release. Don’t pay too much for the high card count cards that are part of the series — you’ll be able to get them, I promise. Spend your time and money going after the most rare cards.
  2. Try to get a sense for how much people want them. The best proxy – look at the fan feed in the app to see how many people are asking for the cards.
  3. Look at whether they are going to give out the award once or multiple times. The Heritage Series 2 was a bear to get the Utley card because it was a one-time give. The above mentioned League Leaders chase was the opposite – which cards do you think were harder to get and will hold more of their value?

I am sure Topps will announce another series in the next couple days since most of the above are winding down. I am looking forward to checking it out.

Patience – the tricks to buying and spending coins

Hey all, I am just going to launch into this blog. I have been playing the Topps Bunt app for the past two months, a little more intensively over the past month. I think I have learned a lot about buying packs, trading, and more. Time to share what I have learned.

The first area I would like to address is patience. Especially around buying and spending your coins. And this applies even if you never spend a cent on the game.

First, let’s assume you have moved beyond collecting all of the base cards (at least the commons, uncommons, and rares). Now you are looking to collect either for the purpose of collecting the hard-to-find inserts or accumulating high-scoring cards (golds and silvers) to compete in the game. I’ll get to talking about buying coins later. Topps gives you 15,000 coins each week. How do you spend them?

The trick is that you need to be patient. Wait for the good pack sales. It seems like once a week, there is a good pack sale. Whether it is the special Twitter packs, the Cinco de Mayo packs, Sunday brunch packs… these are the packs to buy. Even two days ago, they discounted most packs by 50%. So I jumped in and bought packs. It takes discipline not to buy packs when a new insert is announced, but if you wait you get more bang for your buck. Another example, when Topps Bunt announced that the odds for getting a Trout boost were changing from 1:270 to 1:27 for an hour, I jumped in. I was lucky to get the card in the first pack but again, I felt like my patience was being rewarded.

The same lesson applies to buying coins. Unless you are creating 15 alternate accounts on 15 different devices (which is way too much of a pain in the ass), 15,000 coins per week is not a lot. So you decided to buy some coins. While it is expensive, it is worth waiting for the times when Topps offers the 500,000 coins bundle. It is $75 but your cost per coin goes from $.20 per 1,000 coins (when you buy the 250,000 bundle) to $.15 per 1,000 coins with the 500,000 bundle. If you can swing it, it’s better to buy big but less frequently.

With all of that in mind, Topps just offered a coins sale last night so the next one probably won’t come for a week or two. I loaded up last night but I am not spending coins yet. I am not chasing the Bowman Draft series, Mascot series, or Turkey series. So I am waiting for any pack deals to load up on gold SPs or the VIP packs coming next week.

Next post, I think I will talk about chasing the various series that they have been releasing.