2010 NFL cards are no longer a one-man show. Admittedly late to the party due to a rather last minute decision by the NFL to renew their football license afterall, Topps has finally released its premier 2010 football product. Paralleling the popular baseball version, Attax brings an “exciting” fantasy football world to the table in the form of a card-based game.
Hobby booster boxes come with 36 6-card packs for a total of 216 cards. I purchased this box from Blowout Cards for $28 (As usual, I added some supplies to get free shipping), which translates into a $0.13/card ratio. As a card game directly marketed to kids, this price point is just right. You can get a fair amount of cards for not a lot of cash. You can also purchase starter packs that essentially contain a full game deck, a few foil cards, a game board, and instructions.
Featuring a 3-pack variety
Running Backs: 18
Wide Receivers: 46
Tight Ends: 8
Defensive Ends: 12
Nose Tackles: 1
Defensive Tackles: 3
Superstars Foil: 6
Red Zone Foil: 12
Code Cards: 18
Rule/Instruction Cards: 9 (not counted as 1 of 6 cards per pack)
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: For a card game, this is a pretty solid design. The cards are simple yet attractive; functional for the game, yet nice enough to collect. I like that the players are not simply cut and pasted on top of a generic background, yet it was a nice touch to fade the rest of the photograph used with the player’s team color. The name and team are easy to read and do not feel awkward. The game features are also easy to understand and add a punch of color variety (especially in the cases where the team color used in the background is the same as the jersey being worn by the player). I really only have two complaints about the base design: 1) There is no card number. Anywhere. I realize this is a card game and not a normal collector’s set, but it would still be nice to offer some ordering possibilities and for easier recognition of the cards you don’t have. 2) The back of the cards are ultra neutral…except for the team logo. It would be better to have an offense/defense designation (color scheme) more than the block print word. And isn’t the ultra neutral card back to prevent your game foe from knowing your players before selecting theirs (see the rules in full size here)? Then why put the team logo? Obviously I will be much more worried about a Patriots or Vikings offensive player than a Bills or Rams offensive player. That part just doesn’t make sense to me.
2nd Down, Inserts: As a card game, there aren’t a lot of inserts of which to speak. There are some nifty code cards that feature different player photographs and offer a chance to unlock Topps Town stuff. I have never done anything with Topps Town, but I believe it is directed towards kids, so that is a good connection for this product. There are also really shiney foil cards designated as Superstars and Red Zone. I’m not sure if there is much of a difference between the two, but all foil cards do have superior play ratings compared to their base brethren. It certainly adds a level of collectibility and value AND adds a layer of mystery to the game. I never played Magic or Yu-gi-oh, but I understand there are special rare and foil cards in these games that boost powers, so this is the sports card game version of that. Also, there are four Legends cards (including Emmitt!) that have absurdly high play ratings, and these are only available in the foil variants (and I believe these were only seeded into starter packs, not booster boxes, much to my chagrin).
3rd Down, Collation: I can’t complain here. I definitely got a few code cards of the same players, but obviously the codes were different. There may have also been a few duplicate base player cards, but I honestly couldn’t tell you at this point. See? That no card numbering aspect is rather irksome. I feel like I pulled a good split of offense/defense and even a good split between the positions, although there seemed to be an awful lot of wide receivers and linebackers. Perhaps that is the case with the entire set though, and not just my individual box.
4th Down, Overall Value: This one is pretty easy. If you are looking for a bargain product or are interested in the game aspect, the price is just right. At $0.13 per card, you do not have to spend very much to get a lot of cards with which to play the game. If you are a hardcore collector who crinkles his/her nose at “cheap” sets or cards that don’t feature jersey swatches or autographs, there is no way this product is for you. Basically, it is like Score, but in a game concept.
RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL Topps Attax delivers exactly what it was designed to be: a fun product for kids to enjoy and possibly introduce them to card collecting. The cards are (mostly) well designed and functional. The game sounds incredibly easy to play, even if you opt not to buy the starter pack for the “collective binder” and game board (you could play on any flat surface with ample space and lighting). The inserts are attractive. It’s everything it is supposed to be. So then why not give it a touchdown and maybe even the elusive PAT? It simply isn’t that exciting or valuable to your normal card collector. Sure, I’d like to have the Emmitt Smith Legends foil card in my collection, but I’m not exactly losing sleep over the fact that I don’t. If I were still 7, I would probably LOVE this product, if only for the price point. Now that I’m in my mid-20s, it lacks appeal to me. And honestly, that’s fine. Not every product needs to be intended for every market segment. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible unless you have an absurdly narrow market that segmentation is essentially useless. But this is my blog and my opinion vehicle, so get over it. A field goal is still pretty good. And when you are a fan of Big Ten college ‘ball, sometimes the best thing you can do is connect on a 37-yarder. Games are won and lost by the field goal. And Topps Attax certainly deserves a field goal.
NEXT UP: 2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL