Wednesday, February 3, 2016

MOAR JPEGS PLZ, er, "my continuing adventures in digital cards".

I swear, I'll be writing about physical cards again soon. I should have some '16 Topps flagship in my hands by the end of the day Wednesday, I've got a trade package going out this week, and I'll eventually scan some cards from my last 2 card store trips (still haven't figured out where I'm hooking up the scanner, y'see). In the meantime, let's have a look at what I've been up to.

I've built some space ships. To do this, if you're unfamiliar: you need to get Schematic cards and Resource cards. Then, you have to go to the "Smuggler's Den" section of the Star Wars Card Trader app, and merge Schematics and Resources into these fancy cards. It is a real pain in the ass, even for these basic grey versions of the ships (like all things on Topps Digital, there's an entire rainbow of versions of these, which each color becoming increasingly more difficult; as someone who doesn't spend money on the apps, I can't imagine how much you'd have to spend to get the parallels of these). I'm still working on finding a Republic Gunship and a Tie Fighter grey Schematic, so get ahold of me if you have spares.

I've been at this for a while, but I'm working on finishing up the last few red Classic Comics inserts. I need #s 5, 15, 17 and the #20 award card for the set.

Speaking of award cards, Star Wars Series 3 and The Force Awakens Series 1 came out. I've finished white base on both, and I'm slogging through blue base now. I'll probably go up to at least red over time (with Series 1 and 2, I did white, blue, red and yellow variants, because it got slow around here before the house took over...), but I don't know if I'll do more. There are already a bunch of different chase colors that are ridiculously limited, and SWCT fans are nuts (imagine that), so I've no interest in fighting them too hard for anything I pretty casually collect.

Moving onto Bunt...

I traded one of these...

...for one of these:

300 count card for a 140 count card? I'll take that. (Pro tip: if you pull a card that's part of an active chase that you're not involved in, and you're pretty sure the rest of the set will remain that way, trade it for something that people have already collected or missed rewards for, or "dead" cards. You can generally do better that way.) It's so much, too, and it's of a human being I actually like! I wouldn't mind getting more 2015/2016 Cannons (mostly Puig, Jay Bruce and the Cespedes award card), but they're pretty low-count, so they're tough for me to come up with the resources to score them. And then there's this monster, which I'll have to give up a kidney to get for myself...

There are only 5 different Vlad cards in Bunt at the moment, none higher than 300 count. This one's 140 count, it's older than the Ichiro I posted above, so there aren't as many in active circulation, and it's really awesome, so it is a TOUGH card to get your hands (not really) on. It's at the top of my Bunt want list.

And then there was this fiasco...

Topps released a fairly complete (586 out of 792) "tribute" set for 1986 flagship. Now, there are a few things that made this a mess. First off, while I know they had a lot of subjects to scan, the picture quality was uneven. Second, there was almost no reason whatsoever for them to have used the "frame" around the cards (yeah, they've done other '86s in flashback series and such, but it'd be pretty easy to differentiate those). And third? Well, they put them out as inserts, tough to pull in the cheap packs, and in boxes that were about $75 a pop for guaranteed '86 cards (as I didn't open any, of course, I'm still not sure how many you got per box), but for whatever their reasons, they inundated the high roller VIP program Bunt users with free boxes that they may not have been able to refuse, and that also may have eaten up part of their free box perks for the month without their say in whether or not those perks were used for '86s. I may not have all the facts 100% correct (and I'll correct them if people have more info, absolutely), as I'm going with a composite of public complaints from disgruntled VIP users on the Bunt app message boards for my information, but I think this is pretty close to what happened. So, you had people who had 40 or more copies of cards that had total production runs of about 1200, and were dumping them for virtually any card you threw at them. Base cards, ones they didn't need, even, just to get the things out of there and try and recoup in some way.

As a result of this mess, for shits and giggles, I managed to put together a complete base set of 560 cards, and the 26 card boxloader set, which contained partial Record Breaker, All-Star and Turn Back The Clock sets, and to date, the one and only Bunt card of this fella...

...without buying any boxes, spending a cent of my own cash, or even pulling a single '86 card from the few '86 packs I did open with my free credits. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who managed this, and I guarantee that someone, somewhere ain't happy about it, but that's life, and sometimes in brave new frontiers, people screw up. Me, I'm just happy that I can look at late-career Sixto Lezcano & Johnnie LeMaster cards on my iPad, though, as the set was incomplete, I'm kinda cheesed off that they couldn't make a digital Teddy Higuera card happen.

I also got a bunch more Buehrles, bringing me within two cards of having all of his Bunt cards. This one is a 1/1, so I doubt I'm getting it from whoever its VIP owner is...

(I mean, I'll totally take it if it's for trade, but I doubt I have the trade bait across 5 different apps to nail down a 1/1.)

...but this slightly more attainable 200 count card, I feel like I have a chance at. Just need to find someone holding it who isn't a Jays fan or a Buehrle fan. I've got the White Sox variant, same count, from this insert set, but not the Jays one. Get in touch if you're looking to unload!

I've had pretty great luck with this subset, too. I pulled 2 of the Robin Ventura card in about 5 packs on the first night, and while I wasn't directly able to trade for the far-more-desirable Darryl Strawberry card, I traded one of the Robins for this...

(Yes, this was actually my first "sig", or "autographed" card. If you think the idea that facsimile autographs on JPEGs (and, in the case of relic cards, JPEGs of pictures of fabric that may or may not actually be from a player's uniform) can make people pay a lot of money for a virtual card is ridiculous, you are my people. I don't collect them for this reason, though I'd probably relent if I got a card of someone I collect offered to me as a throw-in in a bigger deal.)

...and, in what would probably make some people cringe because I did probably take a hit in cash value here (because again, people do sell these things), I traded it for Darryl.

Then, I traded a handful of the Topps Kick inserts I posted in my trade bait post for the Eddie Murray, which was a happy transaction for me, since I had no attachment to the Kick stuff.

Today, as I was waiting for them to announce that Eric Davis would be in a set of southern Californian baseball legends (as he should be; he was a great player, if more snake-bitten than Griffey, and he and Darryl Strawberry started playing against each other in Little League), they did not, but they busted out Graig Nettles, so the extra Robin Ventura I'd been holding onto would have to either go toward Puff, or I'd have to pull something else out of a pack to trade for Eric Davis. Thankfully, I managed to snag a Zeile card in about 4 packs flat (my luck on these is stunning to me, because these cards are coming in at around 140-160 a piece, some of the best pulls I've had in terms of card count; my best ever low-count pull was a LaTroy Hawkins Playoff Hunt that came in at 58 total units, but, well, it was LaTroy Hawkins...), and it was quick work to trade it for Nettles.

So, hopefully tomorrow afternoon, Eric Davis is announced as part of the set without incident, and without any other really interesting company, and I can swap Robin Ventura for him without much trouble.

Finally, I mentioned 5 apps, where Topps only has 4 card apps to date...

T-Bone here is part of Kitten Cards, the first and I believe the only all-cat digital trading card app. I just found out about this one last night. With free credits and cross-trading doing pretty well, there's no reason not to be in on this. Also: CATS.

One more before I go. Remember how I said my Bernie Williams collection was lacking a bit? Well, I did get this...

It's something!

I am @SCOTTCRAWFORD on all of the Topps apps and scottcrawford on Kitten Cards. Come find me and let's trade some stuff!

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