Ahhhh yes. The age old discussion that has always been a hot one in Huddle. Is it better to be a collector of cards that score well in the live games or is it better to be a collector who has a hoard of rare inserts. Can one exist as both? I think that this discussion is actually a lot more complicated than people think, and I want to take some time to throw my two cents out there.
Back when Huddle first came into being, it was the second of two Topps Apps, but unlike its predecessor in Bunt, was not league licensed. At the time, Topps Digital was a tiny group of employees at a company known for physical cards, and it wasnt a huge deal that head shots ruled the game. It wasnt until the 2013 Bunt season that Topps really decided to ratchet up the collecting aspect of Bunt, which gave birth to this discussion in the first place.
Huddle felt a lot of the brunt of this new collecting type of approach, because they werent able to operate the same way they were able to operate with a league license. Designing head shot cards can only take you so far, and as a result, the app remained heavily weighted towards playing along with the live games.
When 2014 Huddle started with a slew of photoshopped unlicensed cards, everyone thought that the game had finally turned the corner on bringing more of a collecting aspect to the game. When Huddle was forced to revert back to head shots after week 2, the game again decided focus as much of their efforts on an awesome play mode for the second straight year. This brought a community, with some collectors established, even further over to the points side of things, as it was hard to have the same cards over and over again and still consider that it was fresh. The team did a GREAT job making lemonade out of lemons, as the card designs still were awesome, but points were where it was at.
Now that Huddle has the full license for the NFL and its a deal that should be for a few years, I expected that when this year began, the scales would even out considerably. Although I saw that things have gotten A LOT more even, its still very much favoring the users who want to play for points. That is not a bad thing at all, as Huddle and Fantasy Sports have always gone hand in hand. Fantasy sports have always been rooted in Football, which shouldnt make this dichotomy surprising. The question remains, which side are you most likely to identify with.
Collecting Points Cards as a Priority
I love playing for points, only because I love watching football and I love playing fantasy. Not the daily fantasy stuff that has been all over every commercial break of everything down to Sesame Street, but regular fantasy. I will admit that I have never been very good, but it has always been something that is a boatload of fun.
Huddle plays almost directly into this, and unlike fantasy, I am very “good” at playing for points. Even though the approach is pretty straight forward, the strategy of playing along with the live games is still vital to anyone’s success. It does have a measure of collecting, which is where some people can turn being “good” at the game to being “amazing.”
There are two ways to acquire more cards, and that is where being “amazing” really comes into play. If you can operate the trade boards like a boss, you are going to be able to build your lineup so high, that even people who spend a considerable amount of money may not be able to compete. If you spend a lot of money, you can accomplish the same thing, and in a much less time consuming manner. Either works fine.
The great part about playing for points this year, is that there are crazy rare cards of top players that are being offered as of last week to anyone who has the goods to score among the top users in the game. Not only that, but they are some of the coolest looking cards released so far. That alone should be enough to get people running for the fan feed to stock up to at least give it a shot. If you dont succeed, its not like you spent any coins, so its a no brainer.
This situation has made Gold and Blue high scoring cards a hot commodity within the game, so much so that the collecting aspect of things has fallen much further behind than I expected. Even before the reward cards were created, points still had a significant lead, if not only because there are so many returning players who know how fun it is to really sprint for the points. Huddle has done a good job placating both sides of things, but with recent boosted inserts, I think they have shown they are recognizing how important the points game is.
Similarly advantageous is that you can chase points cards in pretty much any pack without penalty, and score some nice inserts along the way. These inserts can be traded for more points cards, and so on and so forth. This has led to some normally points chaser exclusive collectors to become more interested in the other aspects of the game, and that’s also a very good thing for everyone.
Collecting Inserts as Priority
Even when Huddle switched back to headshots last year, I was still quite a big collector of the rare inserts – especially sigs and stuff like that. Being that I have an enormous collection of physical cards to match my enormous collection of digital cards, its only natural that I want to mirror the collections after each other.
Here is why 2016 is literally one of the best times to be an Insert Collector – not only does one set look better than the next, with full uniforms and logos, but there are a lot of points players that will do the pack pulling work for you and trade them on the cheap for top scoring cards.
As mentioned before, if you can navigate the trade boards with impunity, you will find some INSANE deals to be had. Even though the inserts are higher count, they dont serve as much of a purpose to a points player up until the recent change to boosted cards last week. This means if you pull golds and blues while chasing your collecting targets, you will have a mutually beneficial situation for someone out there who has what you want.
Im not going to lie and say that I am not disappointed in the value that inserts have this year, considering the high pack prices and unfavorable odds. You would expect that for a card that likely took as many packs as some of these did, they would be worth considerably more in terms of the trade economy. They arent, and that is really unfortunate.
That being said, I dont think its hopeless, as the game is literally only 3 weeks old. Although we are reaching the 25% completion mark of a short NFL season, the game has a LOOOOOONG way to go. I was joking with a friend last year in week 14 that it felt much longer than the Bunt season, which went almost double the time, and 10 times the amount of games. Huddle time is accelerated, and we probably wont recognize the app in 6 weeks time. You can bet on that.
I will stand by what TOPPSMARC said on the Q and A and say that I dont believe they will get even in the same state as Boost Mania last year, but things will continue to change. If you are an insert collector, this could actually be a very good situation to be in. I have always been very much in favor of the economy supporting people who wanted to chase their targets without huge investments. I know that doesnt do much for Topps as a business, but I will be much happier if I can get all the Vikings cards without spending hundreds of dollars.
As a result of a higher count atmosphere, intrinsic value will drop in the cards, as there will be more supply than demand. Regardless of the atmosphere, this should end up being a banner year for Huddle, with a lot of reason to occupy both sides of the aisle. Because playing for points is still without cost attached, its in your best interest to be competitive at the very least. Once you try it, you will see how fun it really is. As for those that play for points, it might not be the worst thing to give into the vanity that makes the collecting world go ’round. At the very worst, you can always trade out the stuff that doesnt appeal to you.