Author: Todd Uncommon
It does seem like there is life in the hobby for those under 15, and some gravity has accumulated around Topps Attax. On June 26th, national championships were held for Topps Attax baseball at Citi Field. Ike Davis was on site, as promised, but how cool was it to have Keith Hernandez be the emcee? I wonder if that was a surprise for the contestants. And their moms.
These championships are a good idea, and should be kept up, and expanded, as long as Topps Attax continues to live on. Since the brand started last year with baseball, Attax has expanded to include Pucks, Slams, Matches, and well, NFL Football most recently. Topps appears to be committed to promoting and expanding the sports card gaming brand for the foreseeable future.
There may be potential for Attax to be the sports-based gaming card that can add new life to sports card collecting in general, especially with the younger generation. Even with console games, television, schoolwork (really?), and every other activity kids have available to them today, many still choose to collect and play Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bakugan, and every other anime card game out there (Zatchbell, Pokemon, Digimon, Dragonball, and on and on…). However, I think there are a few things holding Attax back from really competing on the same footing.
- Round the corners, please. The cards are a little schizophrenic; they’re not quite full baseball cards (no stats, numbering, etc.), but are expected to be used as game cards. Used as game cards = going to receive “wear”. Sharp corners undermine its playability somewhat, like the card should be in a sleeve, case, or page only, and not play ready without wrecking its sports card “value potential”;
- Durability! Every Magic or anime game card out there is more shaped like (rounded corners), and feels like (coated), a playing card than a traditional sports card. They seem more durable and ready to play, rather than “will I ruin my card if I play with it?” The Puck Attax game cards were made circular to avoid violation of the exclusive NHL license to Upper Deck. If Topps didn’t make a [square sports card], but made a (round game piece) then they were in the clear. Genius, really. The got to make a card-like product with the NHL’s blessing, and also come up with a design that is, lo and behold, more durable to play with;
- Add a greater element of the chase. Every collectible card game (CCG) out there has a standard common, uncommon, rare, and super rare seeding process in every booster pack. Make cards along that tier, and desirability goes up. I’ve seen kids barter for rare anime cards (like I used to with baseball cards) with tactics that would make an Antwerp jeweler blush;
- Make an easy checklist and number the cards, even on the front in mouse type, if that’s what it takes. Attax’s ready-to-game status is hindered by the shape, but conversely, its status as a collectible also is hindered because you just don’t know what’s good to get, exactly, especially when a kid (and parent) is at Target, deciding whether to buy it or not, given neighboring alternatives. Yes, even those Bella Sara cards;
- It’s the Attax UNIVERSE! Now that there’s five different versions of Attax, it would be sweet to come up with rules to have a meta-game with their values. Payton Manning vs. John Cena! Vladimir Guerrero vs. Cristiano Ronaldo! Given that the current releases have different backs (and shapes with Puck), that may be difficult. However, that idea may open the door to plan ahead for cross-sport potential in future designs;
- Use the sports property effectively! Past editions of Attax with foil versions just aren’t going to cut it. Let Panini do the foil thing; if they could coat LeBron James in foil and sell off slivers of him as relics, I think they might give that a try. What about autos? As far as I know, there’s no such thing as autographed anime cards. Even artist-signed Magic cards are a yawner idea. I was just thinking the other day, “If Topps has this fierce backlog of sticker autos they need to use, why not put them on a more budget “game” card like Attax, and add value and a chase factor to the product? How much cooler would it be, as a kid, if you could slap down a Ryan Howard auto FTW?”
It’s nice to see that there are some attractive autos in with the Attax NFL Football cards. If we’re looking for innovation in the sports card business, some of it may be with Topps Attax.
So where’s the Keith Hernandez Topps Attax card with a Moustache hair relic? I’m sure Keith’s ‘specialty’ value would be, like, 306.
“Say ‘hi’ to your mom…”