Recently I got a box of 2011 Topps Attax from the good folks at Topps. It's not a retail box or a hobby box but a starter deck set of sorts. Now don't get me wrong, this is a set made for children to play with and have a good time which is quite evident by the huge deluxe playmat in the box (which I would kind of want to play with someone....) but at the same time they are cards for grown ups to collect as well.
One of the more notable differences in the 2011 set than previous years is the design of the cards. They look more like a traditional deck of cards with rounded corners as opposed to baseball cards with clear cut 90 degree angles. The other difference from years past is that the game play is more clearly defined on the cards at the bottom much like Magic cards or the like. You are told what will happen if there are men on base or not, and what to do if you want to trade a card for something.
The starter box includes 2 decks of 30 cards (which is what you need to play this year instead of 11 like previous years), deck cases (cardboard), and a deluxe playmat which opposite the playmat has all the directions for complete game play and rules. You are also given a 3 card bonus pack which contained 2 hologram cards, Albert Pujols and Derek Jeter, as well as a Topps Town card of Dan Haren.
The complete set/complete deck would have 258 cards with 206 being players and the remainder being team mascots and ballparks. Mascot and ballpark cards have their own role in the game so they aren't just extras like the Topps Town card.
As someone who collects sports trading cards and not gaming cards, I like the hologram/foil type background cards. The regular cards leave something to be desired for the hardcore collector. If you can understand that the cards were made for kids to toss around and beat up and not for your binder then you will like the set just fine. However if you are expecting thick card stock and a great design... You are nuts. The set definitely hits the target demographic and for kids who like game play cards this is a homerun.
I went and scanned some examples from the 2 starter decks along with the 3 card bonus pack to give you an idea of what I am talking about. I am hoping that the hologram/foil background cards can be seen on the scan but if you go to Target, pick up a box and look at the Pujols on the front. It might make you buy the box, and at $7.99 per box it's not a bad price. Plus if you have any kids it's a great excuse to buy "them" something. (wink, nudge)
Here are some pictures of the cards so you can take a look for yourself.
Poor Nationals. Not sure this card could make them look any more pathetic, no team on the field, no fans, I don't even see a bird flying by. Why wouldn't they use a picture with a game going on at least?
Let it be noted that the A-Rod photo is from 2009. Of course there was a Chipper Jones in the box.
If you are a parent then I think this product is well worth $7.99 for what you get inside the box. I also think the huge playmat is awesome, and the directions are very easy to read and understand once you look at the cards and the rules. I don't know how hard it would be to explain to young kids because I don't have any but good luck. If you are a grown up and just need every card of your team or player, I still don't see how you can go wrong for the price.
Did anyone rip some packs of the 2011 Topps Attax yet or buy a starter box/rack pack? Let me know what you think of the set.