Gameplay Tip of the Day – 7/1

Ever since the insert pack revolution that happened a month or two ago, Topps has released a weekly set that is inserted into its own special pack for purchase. These sets have been anything from crossovers like Allen and Ginter (which is a very popular set in real life), to the newest release Breaking Out. Because these cards can be VERY tough pulls out of these packs, it has created some unusual phenomenon.

First off, let me say that I like the separation of packs for these types of cards, as it functions as a guard against supply saturation versus diminishing demand for the set, and it helps to differentiate the cards. Like real cards, you cant go into a local card shop and buy a pack of cards that has everything in it. You buy the product you want and get cards only available in that pack. It creates value in that differentiation, as it has in game as well.

The question becomes how someone can take advantage of the situation to ensure that they can maximize this phenomenon. To be honest, it all depends on the reward card and the design of the set. If the cards look cool and the card you get for set completion is a big name, you can imagine that people are going to freak out trying to get the set.

When Allen and Ginter became hot, I saw multiple sigs being given for a few of the rarer cards. Not one, not two, but MULTIPLE. The reason being is that there are master set collectors out there who spend a ton to get nice cards, have extras, and need the rarer cards that lucky people pull by chance. For a Bunter who doesnt have sigs, but has one of these rare cards, its the deal of a lifetime.

All of this is a result of the pack store separation, that helps to fuel this collecting fire. Dont get me wrong, im sure the people that collect one of everything in bunt are furious, and for good reason. Being the guy who has everything just got exponentially more difficult and expensive. Being that there are only a few of those individuals left, against a growing collector base of more casual Bunt fans that dont need to have every card, I think Topps is trying to make a decision to move more towards a model that mirrors their other baseball brands.

I mentioned before that discomfort with growing variety in the market happened back in the late 1990s in real life too. Collectors who had grown up with four products a year were suddenly feeling threatened by a product like that featured 10 plus sets per year just from one company. Today, MLB licensing provides room for 20+ products from Topps (the exclusive MLB card company), which breaks almost 100% from previous business models. Of course the major sets still exist, but they have been accompanied by products that target other new breeds of collectors. Bunt is a microcosm of this scenario, and it seems to be working well.

In the end its about adaptation in an incredibly volatile marketplace, one that cards have never existed within. Im good with that, and I am still having a ton of fun along the way.

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