Tuesday, May 28, 2019

2019 Topps Big League Jumbo Rack Pack

 I've seen a lot of hate for this set so far this year.  But I'm a fan and am seriouly considering putting the set together this year.  I love the fact that it's a unique design on a low end product.  Blasters are only $10 and this rack pack of 30 cards is just under $5.  Plus there are some fun inserts and the chance at pulling an auto.  I even like the design.  I'm not sure if Topps pulled off what they were trying to do with the base design, but I don't hate it.  Let's have a look at what was in the pack. 
I'm going to feature the 2018 NL MVP and one of my current favorite players Christian Yelich.  Yelich is featured on 9 cards in the base set, although he shares the card with two other players on a bunch of them. 

 A smattering of the base.
 Here's what a base card back looks like.  Only 5 year's of stats max back here, but a nice clean design. I'm not a fan of the number placement.
 Here's what the back of the multi-player leader cards look like.
Here are the rest of the base cards from the pack
Each jumbo rack pack comes with 3 gold parallels.  

And it seems like each rack pack comes with 3 inserts as well here are the 3 I got.

 As a bonus I pulled my first numbered rainbow foil card and could have done much worse.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

2019 Panini Diamond Kings Blaster Bonus Pack

 I was out doing a little shopping this weekend and ended up picking up a blaster of this year's Diamond Kings.  I really like the product overall and featured a hobby pack a few weeks ago when this came out.  The blaster comes with a 5 card bonus pack of parallel cards.  Inside you can expect to find gold holo parallels, blue framed paralles and blue artist proof parallels.  Here's what I got.
 Hard to tell but this is a gold holo foil parallel.

 My blue artist's proof parallel.

 Here is my other holo gold parallel.
 In the pack were two "blue" framed parallels.  I put the blue in quotation marks as the frames look black as night.  But the black framed cards in this product are the rarest serial numbered to just 1.

 This Cabrera is from the 2003 Retro set.

I did get a few other goodies in the blaster and hit a double jersey relic of Jacob Nix, so not too shabby.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2000 Decipher Star Trek Customizable Card Game - Reflections: The First Five Year Mission


Today is the 25th anniversary of the airing of "All Good Things...", the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  TNG's ending coincided with my graduation from high school, so I would be starting my college life / young adulthood without my first "can't miss an episode" television show.

For those who haven't seen the episode, the finale sees Captain Picard moving forwards and backwards through time by the all-powerful alien Q.  Turns out the Q race didn't end their trial on humanity, set up in the TNG premiere episode "Encounter at Farpoint".  The Q found humanity guilty and set up their demise, and it was up to Picard and the crew from 3 different time periods to stop it.

"All Good Things..." was considered to many to be a movie-quality effort, much better than TNG's first movie, "Star Trek: Generations", which was being worked on while the finale was being filmed.  It's among the best finales ever for a popular TV show, and the episode stands up even now, 25 years later.

To mark the occasion I took a special trip to the storage unit where all my stuff is to locate a TNG-themed pack:
Image borrowed from the interwebs
Reflections was the 18th release of Decipher's CCG.  Released in the fall of 2000, this 18 card pack contained an assortment of 17 cards from any of the prior releases, but most likely cards will come from the first 6 major expansions (Premiere, Alternate Universe, Q-Continuum, First Contact, Deep Space Nine, and The Dominion).  I tended to think of it as Decipher cleaning out their warehouse.

The 18th card in the pack was a foil version of one of over 100 rare cards from the different sets.  The chosen rares were usually visually striking in some way, so the foil was meant to enhance the image.

Usually in these types of packs, you had a certain about of Commons and Uncommons, and then one Rare card.  For Reflections, that rule was thrown out the window; some packs had multiple Rare cards and some could be all Commons from just a couple of releases.  Collectors didn't worry too much about that, however, since the foil card was the reason to purchase these things.  I think these were 5 bucks a pack at the time.  Anyway, here's what I had in one of my packs:

Interrupt - Disruptor Overload (Common / Premiere)
Event - Yellow Alert (Preview / Warp Pack)
Interrupt - Palor Toff - Alien Trader (Common / Premiere)
Equipment - Medical Tricorder (Common / Premiere)

I put the rarity and release in parenthesis next to the card.  Three of the first 4 cards were from the Premiere set.  Yellow Alert came from a release called Warp Pack, and was a preview card since it was released again in the Alternate Universe set.  It was available free to players because there were complaints that the pre-constructed starter decks were hard to play out of the box.

Interrupt - Howard Heirloom Candle (Common / Alternate Universe)
Interrupt - Humuhumunukunukuapua`a (Common / Alternate Universe)
Equipment - I.P. Scanner (Common / Alternate Universe)
Event - Immortal Again (Uncommon / Q-Continuum)

Humuhumunukunukuapua`a is the state fish of Hawaii.

I did a brief write-up on how to play the game in my first CCG post, so if you were kinda/sorta interested in the game check it out. 

Event - Drag Net (Rare / Q-Continuum)
Event - Military Privilege (Common / Q-Continuum)
Doorway - Q-Flash (Common / Q-Continuum)
Interrupt - Klingon Right Of Vengeance (Common / Premiere)

The only checklist of importance is the list of Rare foils, since the rest of the cards were essentially randomized.

Here's why I chose this particular pack:

Ship - Future Enterprise (Ultra Rare / Alternate Universe)

You can see the foil-y goodness in the nacelles and ship lights.  The foil can also be seen on the TNG logo, stars, and the ship attributes at the bottom.

The Future Enterprise was an Ultra Rare in the Alternate Universe release (the first Ultra Rare in the CCG), but I don't know if the rarity levels were the same for Reflections.  By this point, there were Very Rare, Super Rare, and Ultra Rare cards in the releases...did they make some foil Rares more rare than others?  I'm assuming yes, so the Future Enterprise is huge.

I remember being so pumped to see the Future Enterprise make it's first appearance in the episode; I assume it was the same for everyone else.  It made quite the impact for being in the episode for less than a minute!

Event - Espionage: Romulan on Klingon (Common / Premiere)
Personnel - Koret'alak (Common / The Dominion)

As the name of the post infers, there was a second release of Reflections for the Star Trek CCG, but that release happened in the Second Edition of the game.  The Second Edition was released in late 2002, turning these cards into First Edition.  Gameplay for the First Edition became too cumbersome and confusing, so Decipher relaunched the game.  I may have a pack or two of the Second Edition, but by this point I was no longer buying packs.

Ship - U.S.S. Rio Grande (Rare / The Dominion)
Personnel - Dukat of Borg (Premium / Enhanced First Contact)
Equipment - Science Padd (Uncommon / Deep Space Nine)

Dukat of Borg didn't appear in an episode.  Rather, it was created for a set called Enhanced First Contact.  Decipher bundled several packs of the First Contact release with one of these premium cards.  They figured since Picard became a Borg there should be other possible Borg representatives from the other major TNG races.

Anyway, that's the pack.  Realizing one of my favorite shows ended 25 years ago is certainly an eye-opener.  Time marches on, but at least there's still reruns and YouTube.  The sky's the limit...and thanks for reading!

Friday, May 17, 2019

2018 Topps Update Series Retail


Hope everyone is ready for the weekend.   I'm still trying to organize my fractured collection.  I can't finish filing away the 2018 Flagship sets until I post a pack of last year's Update:

12 cards per pack, 300 cards in the set.  This pack came from the ol' Target gravity feeder box.  Here's what I got:

Sorry, forgot to crop the extra space out.

#US121 - George Springer (ASG)
#US95 - Dustin Fowler (RC)
#US88 - Daniel Mengden (RC)
#US108 - Sean Rodriguez

Too bad we didn't get a full view of Mengden's excellent 'stache.

#US195 - J.D. Martinez
#BH-13 - Bryce Harper Highlights
#US102 - Mr. 3000 #31/50

The Bryce card comes 1 in 4 packs.  I believe the Pujols checklist card is the Mother's Day Hot Pink variant, and if that's the case, that comes 1 in 369 packs.  Not bad at all.

Remembered to crop out the extra space this time.
#US30 - Jon Lester (ASG)
#US122 - Jesus Aguilar (HRD)

#US217 - Justin Verlander (ASG)
#US155 - Brad Ziegler
#US11 - Adam Engel

That is an awesome Engel card.

Here are the backs:

Anyway, that's the pack, quick and painless.  Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

1993 Leaf Baseball Series 1

I'm with a pack of 1993 Leaf and its at whopping 18 cards. This is one of best designed set for its photography on the front AND back. I will post the backside as it feature city landmarks.
198 - Darryl Hamilton - night view of downtown Milwaukee
103 - Bill Gullickson
94 - Bob Welch - sunset view of Bay Bridge
85 - Ozzie Guillen - downtown Chicago and not even near the tracks of Comiskey
3 - Juan Guzman - look in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a World Series ring
115 - Nolan Ryan - Dallas skyline with Reunion Tower
76 - Kent Hrbek - got a view of the Metrodome
67 - Mike Devereaux - looks like they stack two photos of top of each other. You have bay/shoreline on the bottom and what looks to be outside of Camden Yards on top.
58 - Brian McRae
210 - Darryl Strawberry - sunset view of downtown LA
211 - Tom Gordon - a flash in the fountains. Close up shot of the horse statue at JC Nichols Memorial Fountain.
112 - John Franco
123 - Mike Morgan - Buckingham Fountain in the background
134 - Bob Walk - instead a city landmark they went with steel because Pittsburgh is the Steel City
201 - Ken Hill - outside parliament building
40 - Kenny Lofton
21 - Frank Viola - downtown Boston complete with custom house clock tower
12 - Jim Austin

Most of city background shots are taken from the sunset/night. I like how they put "These players and teams represent this city" aspect. Leaf set wins hands down for this design.