Friday, March 6, 2015

The games collectors play

How do you like that for a click-bait post title? Actually, this isn't about collecting shenanigans or trading snafus or anything controversial -- as fun as that might be.

No, this is merely about how collectors seem to avoid sets that are intended for playing games. You know the cards, Classic, Donruss Top of the Order, MLB Showdown, Topps Attax. The main purpose of the cards is not to look at them and collect them, but to use them as the instrument in a game.

Of course, rabid team collectors like me don't look at them as game-playing devices at all, but collectible cards like any other set. I do not differentiate between Topps Attax and Topps Heritage when it comes to accumulating Dodgers. Send them all my way.

But I get the feeling that some collectors avoid "game cards". Perhaps it's all the words and numbers running across each card like a sports ticker, cluttering up the photo. Perhaps it's the rounded corners. Perhaps it's the plain backs. Maybe they've actually ruined all the cards playing the game with unbridled enthusiasm. I don't know.

I just know that cards like this don't get erased from my want list very often. Topps Attax hasn't been around for five or six years, yet I still need Dodgers from that set as if they're 1960s high numbers. I don't think anybody bought them.

This is why I was very pleased when Fuji sent me a package recently that included several Dodgers wants from the 1995 Donruss Top of the Order set.

These are appreciated more than any other card in the package just because I thought they'd never end up in my collection.

I have no idea how to play this game. I haven't bothered to look into it. Like I said, I look at these as collectibles, not a game. But maybe, just maybe, if I complete a team set, I'll look into it.

Here are a few other cards that Fuji sent:

That one completes a team set, 2003 Fleer Authentix. Yet, I appreciate the game cards more.

All cards from sets I rarely pay attention to with overgrown wants lists or, in the case of the Bowman Platinum card, no want list. Still, I appreciate the game cards more.

A most excellent 1955 Topps need! How about that? But, you guessed it, I even appreciate the game cards more than this 60-year-old piece of cardboard.

That's how often I receive game cards in trade packages.


  1. I feel the same way about sticker sets...and have recently decided to cover my binders in stickers. More to come lol.

  2. I love gaming cards. Heck my calling cards (or one of them) are gaming cards used for arcade games in Japan.

    I loved Topps Attax and one of the first packs I ever got was a pack of Hot Button Baseball. Unfortunately they both disappeared before I ever got to get my hands on more of them.

  3. I'm one who's not a big fan of them. I have some...under a hundred, but more than 25, no idea exactly how many - but I don't count them as part of my collection. To me they are not trading cards, but playing would be like going to the store and getting a deck of playing cards, and adding them to my card collection. Not for me.

  4. A number of years ago I bought a starter game of Donruss Top Of The Order from one of those retail closeout/overstock chains. I made an attempt to learn how to play it, but as I don't have anybody to play against and have plenty of other tabletop baseball games I can play against myself, I didn't make a huge effort to learn. I should do a post about my Top Of The Order game...someday...

    I do like baseball game cards, and I regard them as oddball baseball cards. I'm always keeping half an eye out for them, especially MLB Showdown, but seems to be a matter of low supply, low demand.

  5. When it comes to my player and team PC's... I'll collect anything with their picture or logo on it. Yes, that includes game cards. However if you were asking me to rank them based on design... I'd say the majority of them are closer to the 1996 Topps end of the spectrum. The exception to this rule are those awesome SegaGen cards. Anything with Japanese writing gets a sentimental boost in my ratings. But that's just my 2¢.

    I'm glad I could send them to someone who appreciates them more than me.