Grand Cards: Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Attax

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Attax

I get what Topps is trying to do with Attax. Create an inexpensive set loaded with stars and use it to create a game in the vein of Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic: The Gathering or whatever the kids are playing these days. It's not a bad idea, really. They already wised up and started selling the cards as "Starter Packs" and "Booster Packs," so to speak. They've created special cards that have better numbers and are more potent in the game. On the surface, it seems like they're at least in the ballpark as far as the formula is concerned.

Call me a cynic, but it falls flat to me. As baseball cards these are nothing worth mentioning. The cards are pretty plain, don't have any numbers on the back (a pain for collectors like me who like things in order) and just don't have much going for them. The addition of the game elements detracts from the aesthetic as cards, IMO. What's more, Topps decided that their "Code Card" inserts needed a big ugly code box on the FRONT of the cards, which was a horrible, horrible choice. To summarize: Topps Attax baseball cards are lame.

But how about as a game? Will this actually appeal to kids? I'm not so sure. It seems to me that the kids that are interested in baseball are interested in baseball cards. Their cross-media stimulus is baseball, either in person or on tv or whatever. This is fundamentally different from the Japanese card games which seamlessly align with TV Shows, Action Figures and even movies. Not to say that the two don't have similar underpinnings, but it seems like the Japanese card games add a different element to the shows: they can invent characters and give them more dimension through the games and cross sell and market etc. Read this awesome "11 points" post on He-Man (of which I collected as many of its action figures as I could get my hands on and still remember them to this day. They were so awesome.) to see what I mean. On the flip side, baseball is already a game. Creating a game based on a game just doesn't seem like it enhances the experience in any way. Maybe I'm wrong. I haven't played the game.

Anyway, this gallery is what the Topps Attax cards are like. It gets a "yawn" from me, but maybe this will appeal to the youngsters out there. I can already see that Topps is pushing this HARD through in-game giveaways etc. Your Tigers:

Base Set Small base set, Granderson already photoshopped out, but otherwise good player choices. Interesting to see that Cabrera has similar "numbers" to Ordonez despite being the vastly superior player.

Miguel Cabrera

Brandon Inge

Magglio Ordonez

Rick Porcello

Justin Verlander

Inserts Just a few, and they get bonus points for 1) Being shiny and nice looking and 2) featuring different pictures than the base cards. The Code cards are Horrible, but the silver, gold and sepia foil (really, sepia foil cards? Is that a contradiction in terms? Sepia isn't really a color, but more of a warming, classic tone. I'm sick of things being called Sepia. /digression) are all nice looking. Plus, they "power up" your player to better stats in the game! Wooo!

Justin Verlander Code Card

Miguel Cabrera "Hot Streak"

Justin Verlander "Superstar"

Ty Cobb "Legend"

Topps Attax "Battle of Ages" This is actually a separate release from Topps Attax that came out later in the year. It serves as a "booster" pack of sorts and features new players and cards that can be seamlessly integrated into the Attax game. There are two Tigers in the set:

Ty Cobb

Justin Verlander


  1. The cards aren’t anything special, but three of my kids love collecting them and playing the game. The game is simple enough for my 7-year olds to play and yet has enough flexibility to make it fun for my 11-year old. Topps gives them a website where they can collect online Attax cards (via the code cards) and play against other kids. For kids it’s a good entry point into card collecting, and the booster packs are affordable (only $1.50 at Kmart). While not a home run, the set does have good potential (especially if they can get the Topps Finest designers involved in next year’s cards).

  2. Wade, that's exactly the type of comment I was hoping for! I wasn't sure how the game would go over, but if the kids like it then that's huge! Thank you so much for adding the insight of the people that this product is actually designed for, a world in which I (and, it seems, most bloggers) am woefully uninformed.

  3. I hope other kids like it as well so it can stay around a few more years. The card design needs to improve and the game play will continue to mature so it can be a nice niche set.

    The simplistic card design made it easy for us to mock up a few cards featuring our kids. They love to insert themselves into the game, especially if it means getting a hit off of a star pitcher.

    I know you're trying to ween yourself from Granderson cards, but we do have an extra Curtis Attax card I could send along.