Friday, May 9, 2014

Foul Bunt

I have spent a little bit of time the past few weeks to checking out the Topps Bunt app.  The app actually launched back in 2012, but I just checked it out this year.  The basic premise of the app is to allow collectors to have a collection of virtual cards.  Collectors can set up an account on their IPhone or Ipad linked to their Twitter or Facebook page and then start their collection.  The basic cards in Bunt are the same design as the 2014 Topps cards.  They look something like this:

There are variations of the base cards that come in various different colors.  The different colors represent how scarce the cards are to pull out of the virtual packs of cards.  Some of the colored variations can be found in regular Topps packs, while other colors are exclusive to Bunt.  Here's a sampling of the different card colors I have pulled over the past few weeks:

If you've opened up any of the 2014 Topps cards you will also notice that the cards are exactly the same of the cards that you can find in the regular packs of Topps cards.  Which leads me to the best part of the Topps Bunt app:  It's possible to collect cards and pay absolutely nothing to open packs of cards and add to your collection.  Their is a store on the app where collectors can buy coins which buy packs of cards:

While some of the more expensive packs of cards can really only be afforded if you buy coins, I went a long time without being able to spend a dime on Bunt cards and put together a nice collection of cards through my daily reward of coins provided by Topps, trades, and awards which I pulled from reaching collecting goals.  Some of the goals include rewards for completing the different team sets, but some of the other rewards include completing trades or special days during the season. 

Topps has also done a very nice job of throwing in some different inserts into the set.  The inserts vary in degree of difficulty to find and have some pretty good designs.  While some are exclusive to Bunt, a few of the inserts are redesigns of some of the most popular Topps sets.  Here's a Bunt Exclusive set:

Here is a redesign included in the Bunt cards from old Topps Gallery designs from the late 90s and early 2000s.  While the original sets had nice art, the new versions have more modern artwork.  The original versions of the Topps Gallery cards also did not have a tag in the corner that says Sold Out.  Guess it kind of fits with the whole virtual card thing....

Topps has also added in autographed cards to the Bunt app.  I am not quite sure how the whole autograph thing works, but there is a really nice Adam Wainwright card.  It's signed?  I guess....

So, let's get down to business.  The free app part with a chance to open free packs everyday is nice.  I work with nine and ten year olds who think free baseball cards on an Ipod or Ipad is really cool.  The Bunt App can be a great way to grow interest in the hobby while parents can save money.  However, the app has plenty of short comings.  The first of which is that the cards are virtual.  You own the cards, but not really. 

It's hard to believe the amount of time and money that I see some collectors spending on the Bunt App.  It's slightly ridiculous.  Check out the Chris Olds, of Beckett fame, collection of Nick Swisher cards.  The app has some of the same short comings that the regular Topps cards display, namely poor player selection.  Take this card:

Why is Jason Bourgeois in the Topps App?  He appeared in only 9 games with the Rays and spent the majority of his time as a Ray last year hanging out in Durham playing for the Bulls.  There are plenty of cards that collectors can find like this no matter what team you collect or follow.  The Cardinals have a Brian Fuentes card.  At least he is not wearing 57 in this card.  

Beyond the player selection, the Bunt App also has a fantasy baseball aspect which is a bit of a joke.  Collectors select cards of players to play and somehow they earn points for their performance.  The points then earn collectors coins.  Inserts and variations somehow earn more fantasy points.  The screen looks something like this:

I play fantasy baseball and have a nice team, but the Bunt App fantasy baseball game is a tad bit lame.  Start nine starting pitchers, cool.  Start nine copies of Matt Holliday, cool.  I am not sure how the game has any aspect of being realistic.  Pretty lame.  

Overall, the Topps Bunt App is probably just a time waster for most collectors.  You are not going to get any actual cards and half the collectors on the app are under the age of 16.  Again, cool if you are learning to collect, but not cool otherwise.  Like fantasy baseball, go to a real fantasy baseball site.  This app is not prime time for serious collectors. 

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