Looking at Topps Now’s Impact On Digital Cards

At the beginning of the baseball season, Topps physical released the first ever on demand trading card series that ran through the entire year. Being that on demand is what makes digital so attractive, it was only a matter of time before it was brought to the other apps. As of today, all of the sports based apps have Topps Now as a series, and the question becomes whether or not the success is translating well to the digital crowd.

Personally, I had indifferent feelings towards recap based cards in general for the apps, unless it was something truly special. Milestones were cool, especially for the players that reached one of the major career numbers. Outside of that, a nice performance dictating a recap card release was interesting to a point, especially early on in a season when player collections were thin.


Now that we are through the “onboarding” stages of the Topps Now game in all the apps, im starting to wonder when we are going to get the next iteration of the cards. Topps has had signature versions and relic versions through the baseball playoffs, and we havent QUITE yet gotten the same type of content on the digital side. There have been a few variant type cards, but nothing consistent.

It makes me wonder when we will start to see Topps Focus from NHL Skate start to translate into a worthwhile program in the other apps. Even more so when full video can be used for daily recap content. Similarly adding live signature type content when the Topps Now cards do eventually get signed would also be really cool to see. I could even see them offering a digital version code when the physical version is purchased. A two for one type of deal.

All in all, it becomes an exercise in testing the water on a platform built around on demand type content as it is. If we are being frank here, Im not sure Topps Now type content even is as interesting in digital format specifically for that reason. Digital already had a significant use for recap style content, and did a pretty good job of it. Headlines has been a part of Bunt and Huddle for a number of years, and it didnt really need a re-branding.

Im curious to see where this goes, as its clear that Topps Now is not going away. With new technology coming to the app, going to be cool to see how they can increase interest for users that want to partake. I think its kind of getting stale at this point a bit, and the World Series might be a way to get things back on the right track.

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SWCT Base Series 4: Going Retro

Over the last week, we have gotten our first look at Base Series 4, and it features the 1977 retro design that many of us have had a lot of exposure to over the last few years. Although its a fan favorite, there is a lot of questions surrounding the motivation around using the design again in the grand scheme of thing.

The Good

First off, there is no denying this design has gravitas with the fans. Its clear that it resonates, and has nostalgia associated with it that brings a positive reaction from many of the users.


It also brings the possibility of national attention having an anchor design that many outside Star Wars fans are familiar with. It gives them a point of reference that a larger portion of potential users are easily recognizing. In other words, this seems like a play for publicity, and Im perfectly fine with it. SWCT needs this type of exposure, and its clear that any additional users added could bring more trading partners and more potential for growth within the market.

I also like the delivery method of using the queue again, as its different and gives a lot of exposure to the cards that would normally be associated with a direct purchase bundle. Making them available through this type of pack journey isnt unwelcome to me. Much better than hitting a button and waiting for sales.

Lastly, I think the design has changed a little bit to be incorporated into Base 4, and they seem to be using more movie stills to generate the content. It looks cool, and I think with the departure from existing base has been long overdue. Although Base Series 2 was cool, I like the change to something completely different.

The Bad

Because this isnt a NEW design, its hard to support it as fully as we would with something completely brand new. This look has been trotted out so many different ways over the last 2 years, that by now, its a little stale to say the least.

I also think that with Rogue One coming into the fray, this is an opportunity to distance it from existing content within the app. Give the users an opportunity to have something with Rogue One base that hasnt existed yet. Its not as novel with the 1977 retro again, and that’s disappointing.

Im not entirely convinced that preview cards are necessary at all. From the beginning of the new design base that hit before the force awakens came out, I just wanted packs to open instead of being overly patient with Topps trying to monetize the release of a card set that shouldnt monitized.

In the end, the jury is still out on Base Series 4, at least as a whole. Going to be interesting to see how hoarding plays into all of this as well.

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Focus on the Future: Video Cards Make Their Digital Debut in Topps Skate

Today is a big day. Today Topps released the first animated/video cards in the digital hobby, which hopefully means the beginning of a new chapter in their apps. With the change in app format to the new build available on Bunt and Skate, it looks like there is finally code available to bring video to the environment. As someone who has called on this for years, this is a welcome change and a very exciting opportunity.

Basically, when pulled from a pack or selected from the sheet, the user has the option to play the video embedded in the card. These cards are called “FOCUS” in Skate, and were delivered free to every user via the store.

In seeing the Crosby card, im nothing short of floored for the way these new cards look and function. They arent clunky, they are seamless in the way they are integrated into the sheet, and hopefully do not require a huge data chunk to store.

Considering that one of the features of the new app style is a reduced storage footprint, maybe this is the opportunity to bring more exclusive content to all apps.

To be honest, there is so much that can be used for this over all of the platforms that Topps owns. I could see Topps NOW being attached to a particular highlight, I can see signature cards that show Mike Trout smashing a home run. This might be the opportunity to finally add more than just digital card collecting to the unique benefits of what Topps Digital is all about.

This is nothing short of a game changer in my mind, as its clear that this could be the start of something huge. The question is how this will progress across the Skate App, and how it will eventually be used in Bunt, Huddle, Kick and SW as well. I would love to see a Stone Cold stunner on my Steve Austin slam card, and a tap out on my UFC cards to boot. Video rights could be more complicated to obtain, which might complicate things. If not, can you imagine a new card released that shows a portion of the next Rogue One trailer? This could go a long way.

Overall, now that Topps has debuted this new format, its going to be interesting what other fun things the new app build will be capable of. Will we finally get our user showcase to show off our wares? Hopefully Focus is just the beginning.

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Breaking News: Topps Releases 2017 NHL Skate

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With the release of their newest app, Topps is going back to the well of the major national sports with 2017 NHL Skate, released today on Android and iOS. Interestingly enough, this is the first sports app released without a physical license, and should catapult Topps back into the hockey hobby, something they havent been competitive in for many years.


Currently, Upper Deck owns the exclusive rights to physcial NHL cards, although as mentioned many times in the past, physical and digital are two different entities in sports licensing. Topps has done NHL in the past, but never really had a modern presence the way that Upper Deck has had for over 15 years.

With Skate, Topps ventures back into frozen waters, knowing that a vast landscape of collectors will take notice, and open up their digital apps to an international flavor, similar to what they have in Kick. With such a huge international collecting presence, Skate will need to capitalize on users both domestically and abroad. Of course, this wont be easy, and though they have major success overseas with Kick, Hockey is a completely different beast.


Since moving off Bunt to take this product, ToppsMike will be in charge of uncharted territory once again. In seeing some of the cards, I am very impressed with the look and design, and quirky sets like Hockey Hugs look to be a fun way to keep people engaged early.

I have to believe that contests will be a focus of this app, and hopefully there will be many ways to onboard new users in a way that makes the contests easy to understand. New user relations are something that many of the recent app releases have struggled with, likely because the producers are relatively new themselves. With someone like Mike at the helm, I would guess he will not waste time in putting education and onboarding at the top of the priority list.

In all reality, its clear that Topps hasnt had a good experience in launching every one of their apps, but almost all have found a niche among digital collectors. With NHL among the four major sports, this is going to be a much more visible app than we have seen with some of the other releases.

Stay tuned to @toppsNHL for more updates on the app, and news regarding the cards. Ill have more coverage as the season goes on.


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New Bunt Update Brings Fresh Functionality to the App

With the new update now in full swing, I wanted to go through a few of the ways things have changed, as for some users it could be a change that they werent expecting. There are A LOT of things that have gotten quite a bit better with the new features, and some that are still a bit confusing.

What Works Well

First off, its fast. VERY fast. Everything loads quickly, and this goes doubly so for pulling up trade offers for users that have hundreds of thousands of cards. If you have traded on any of the Topps Digital apps as of late, things were so bogged down that it almost put your phone into a locked up state. I cant even say how difficult that made the app, and this new Bunt build seems to have solved a good portion of that challenge.

Similarly, on the card sheet, the tab based scrolling update is pretty sleek. As you slide your finger up and down the side, it highlights the section you are hovering over. As this update goes platform wide, apps like SWCT will be greatly helped by this type of change.


Another change is the way the contest screen is laid out, focusing more on the drop down menu at the top instead of tabs above the lists. I like this, as it makes for a sleeker look and better navigation.

Aesthetic changes are everywhere with improved animations and more slick graphical interfaces on regularly used parts of the app like trading. Buttons are larger and user information is much more prominent, which means that its a lot easier to participate with all the different parts of the game. Its quite cool to see the transitions between screens and new fun twists as you pull up and dismiss cards.


The addition of a loading bar that appears when the game is cycling is a big help, as there were countless times where I had no clue if the game was running or crashed. With the loading bar, the time spent waiting for the features to work is less of a question.

Lastly, in the app description, the storage footprint is supposed to be much lower with the new build, and that is music to my ears. With the previous setup, card cache storage could be in excess of a gigabyte, and that is just ridiculous. Hopefully the claims are true.

What is Still Missing

I cant even put into words how much I want the showcase in the apps. A place where users can highlight their top cards for the world to see, similar to what we had back in 2013. I have confirmation in a public forum that they are working on it, but that was almost a year ago. Something as simple as moving a person’s locked cards to the top of the sheet – regardless of year filters would be a start. Just to provide a place for people to show off their wares when traders pull up their sheet.

Trade notifications are still not in place (if the user so desires), where the app will alert a person if a trade is received. Obviously, this would need to be optional per the normal notification standards, but it would be so helpful.

In a similar vein, we still dont have a user to user chat system outside of a same card trade, and when those comments come through, a notification that someone has sent a message. Customization around notifications is key to this app, and I feel like it still isnt up to par.

Overall, I definitely like where things are going here, and hopefully we get more of these types of running improvements across all the apps.

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Goodwin Champions Arrives in Upper Deck e-Pack

As a physical collector, I absolutely loved Goodwin Champions, mainly becauseĀ it was a fun product that had all sorts of interesting cards – both on the sports side of things and the non-sports side of things. This year’s set was especially interesting on the physical side thanks to Ben Simmons, who Upper Deck offered the first rookie cards and autographs in the product. They were selling for an absolute ton of money, and now that they are coming to e-Pack, I am seriously considering diving in pretty deep on the product. The set was justĀ released this afternoon, and its going to generate some major buzz when people get information about the potential e-Pack exclusives that are included in the set.

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Based on the releases I am seeing for Upper Deck, they are offering special Ben Simmons cards that are e-Pack exclusives. You can even get one of 25 autographed cards for putting together the 4 card Royal Red Achievement set and the Supernaturals 3D set if you are the among the first to complete the task. To get the non autographed version, you will need to collect the 3 card Mini Canvas Achievement set, which is only 50 cards printed. Definitely some amazing incentives for being on top of the release and ripping packs early on.


Goodwin could end up being a flagship type release for the non-hockey collectors that have been waiting for some new sports e-Pack content. With Michael Jordan and LeBron James as exclusive players of Upper Deck, this is the only opportunity collectors have to collect digital versions of their likeness that are also tied to physical cards. There are lots of relics and autographs to be had along the way, and I can guarantee you a big market for Ben Simmons and others who are part of the checklist.


Im also curious if the market for the Alice in Wonderland Artist Painted Booklet cards will be as strong now as it was upon release, as its clear that the cards are quite stunning. These will also be the first booklet cards available for trade in any type of digital format, and to tie them to the actual physical pieces is really cool.


Similarly interesting are the World War II autographed cards which will also be available in the release on e-Pack. These Museum Collection Signatures offer signatures from soldiers who served with the armed forces, and some have had some really amazing inscriptions based on what we saw with the physical set released a few months ago.

With the ability to transfer cards over to COMC for direct mailing or grading, its a huge deal to have access to both digital and physical versions of the print run. Just looking on eBay will show you how valuable Simmons and the other autographs are, and with digital and physical side by side, its no longer just about admiring the cards on your phone.

Ill have more information as the release goes down, but this is quite exciting to see.

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Bunt Postseason Update: Bask in the Playoff Glory

Today we got the update we were waiting on, and now that the regular season is over, the real fun begins. Postseason contest play has been pretty incredible these last few years, with last year delivering some insane physical prizes that many individuals dedicated a ton of time to winning. The best part about all of this is that the playoff games are so much fun to watch, that playing along just fits with all the baseball most of us will be watching over the next month and change.



The post season base is a play on the regular season cards, but I think this goes to show that its worth giving TOPPSDAN the opportunity to design the regular season stuff too. When you use the physical design, you are limited to the way that it fits with the app, and these post season cards really showcase what could be possible.


I love the stadium lights behind the team logo and the simplified boost structure really plays well with the bars on the cards. They used updated pictures for all players, just like last year, and some of them are pretty cool from celebrations and the like.


There are 5 levels of base that run from 2x to 10x on the golds. This is a bit of a nerfing of the regular season golds which are now in the middle of the pile – even more-so with how easy it is to obtain the newer cards. Its a borderline reset, which isnt necessarily a bad thing – especially with a focus of delivering all aspects of the playoff roster for each of the teams.

Here is how it breaks down:

Base – 2x
Red – 3x
Blue – 4x
Silver – 5x
Gold – 10x

The massive jump between silver and gold is a bit much to me, but it will make those cards insanely valuable. If GO Boosts come in at 12-20x, it might take things even a bit further, but right in line with what we have seen in previous years.


The 50k jumbo packs offer A LOT of value for 50k coins, including some guaranteed gold and silver cards. It will help to get a nice clip of them in your stash as you go through things, so dont scoff at the price tag.

Contests will likely range from Fantasy style to unlimited play, so it will be helpful to get all you can of all the different main contributors for the team. Dont just go for pitchers, as with all games going on one at a time, there are plenty of opportunities to get hitters into play.

Gold should be plentiful, as they are guaranteed in Jumbo packs and the packs themselves arent too expensive. If you have the opportunity to stock up on guys that arent going to be GO boost level players, but still have a lot of points potential, that’s where you will see the biggest bump.

A word of warning, there will be people who spend millions of coins during this period of time. I know people who save coins all season just to get ready for this blitz, and they will be out in full force. If you arent going to spend or you arent going to trade like a maniac, you WILL be at a disadvantage. You need these cards to be near the top of the rankings to finish in the money, and that’s just buying cards. In all likelihood, there will be premium contests too, so its just not a free player paradise at all. If you want the goods, you have to pay.

Postseason Challenge

The main reason for going nuts is to win whatever prizes are available in the main contest that is coming. Things have ranged from your very own 1/1 of your likeness in the game, to a Mike Trout signed jersey and an iPad Pro. We havent gotten details yet, but get ready.

We also arent sure what the contests look like or the details for the contest prizes as well. There were special contest cards given out last year in addition to the physical prizes, and you will want to play in as many contests as you can just for that reason alone. Adding in the other stuff is gravy.

The details will likely be coming later today or early tomorrow, as they will need it up and running by the time the games start.

Overall, just have fun. This time is about that one last gasp of baseball before the offseason, so you might as well be involved at whatever level you can. As the game slate whittles down, the competition will increase, mainly because there are so many people watching. This is your time to shine, so dont let it slip away if you can dedicate your free moments to watching and playing along.

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