Monday, August 29, 2016

Let's Get Physical

After much gnashing of the teeth, I finally got my hands on some of the latest Topps product to hit the shelves - the physical version of the popular online, virtual card trading app Bunt.  My local big-box retailers weren't putting the stock out, my LCS proprietor had never heard of it and yet another wedding and it's preparation were keeping me from laying my grubby hands on it's shiny-newness.

Eventually, a Target closer to the wedding site provided the goods to me - thankfully, I could steal a minute to peruse the card aisle while my own future wife and I stocked up on snacks and supplies for the trip home from the big event.  Morale of the story - my Target/Walmart suck.

Anyway, as many have stated, I am in love with the price point on this product, if nothing else.   I did something I rarely do with retail purchasing and brought home a blaster of the stuff - at ten bucks for a blaster, how could I not?  With that and it's own, unique design, Bunt is everything the stale as week old popcorn Opening Day strives to be.

Without any further adieu, after all of this build up and anticipation, how'd I do?

Well, out of the 11 packs I ripped and the 77 cards that I flipped through, I only came away with two Cubs... so, that was pretty disappointing.  That's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes, I suppose.  At least they were two of the newer guys heavily underrepresented in my collection - that's only my second Zobrist and my third Heyward in Cubs colors.

Not in Cubs colors, but there was one more new, current Chicago Cub confined within the blaster.  Of course, it's the guy I'm not exactly a fan of... but, I do kind of dig the posed, spring training publicity photo shot - it's different.

As for the design of the set itself, I kind of love it.  The big, floating team logo on the back is a pretty unique touch and any card that makes use of the proper team markings gets bonus points, in my eyes.

We still have the smoke and pixelization thing going on in the corners (like Flagship), however, these characteristics don't feel quite as obtrusive in Bunt, especially since this set is modeled after a digital app.  In fact, it's actually appropriate.  My only complaint is that the name bar is a little too tall and begins to intrude on the picture, but that's small potatoes.

One last base card - Billy Hamilton isn't and never has been a Wrigley resident, is an NL Central division rival and absolutely kills the Cubs whenever they match up, but I had to show this one off.  Why?  

Obviously, because he is laying down a bunt on a Bunt card!  It's like cardboard inception or something.

Meanwhile, this set is a throwback in that while there are numbered parallels and autographs, the odds of pulling them are astronomical; thus, the star of the show is defintiely the already seen base cards and the cheap, but visually appealing inserts.  Speaking of which:

No Cubs amongst the inserts; that said, at least Luis fits in with my former Cub (Cubs of a Different Color) collection.  Honestly, I've forgotten the concept behind these "Lightforce" cards (I think the back said something about RBI's?); nevertheless, the prism-y, star design reminds me of entering lightspeed in the Millennium Falcon and that's okay with me.

The "Future of the Franchise" set is a little more obvious and a lot more bare-bones in terms of visuals.  Miguel has been a bit of a disappointment in Minnesota thus far, after signing with much fanfare back in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic, but at age 23, he still has some time to straighten things out and stay part of the Twins' future.

It's a scientific fact, baseball fans ADORE throwback uniforms, the sport is pretty much built around respect for history and nostalgia.  So, it's only natural that a set should be built around such unique threads.  While this 70's-themed Choo single is specifically a throwback, the best part of this inserts checklist is that it is not limited to calls to the past.  In fact, the list includes many batting practice, rarely-used alternates and other off-kilter uniform choices.

And now, for my favorite insert set in Bunt (and maybe even in any product to hit the shelves this year):

The "Program" set.

Who doesn't love picking up a program, along with their scorecard, at the old ballpark?  These cards really do look like mini programs, thanks to their faux-weathering, the bar code found in the bottom right corner and the backs...

Which even detail the different "sections" to be found within the publications.  The only way these could possibly be cooler is if they went the full "Collect-a-Book" route; however, I highly doubt that's within the budget of a product with such a low price point.

If anyone has any Cubs from the "Program" set, I am more than willing to trade anything (except the Cubs) that you see above.

While the focus on base cards, obtainable inserts and easy-on-the-wallet price are all exceptionally awesome features in Bunt, the real purpose of this set are the draw interest back to their app and it's digital card trader.  As such, several loot cards are distributed throughout the packs (1:3, I think it was?):

Now, I'm not one for digital cards... I mean, they're nothing more than .jpg images on my tablet screen and as much of a "card" as a Microsoft Paint scribble, in my mind.  Nevertheless, I'll probably cash in a free "pack" of anything, in fact, I'll probably take up any free offer.  Free is my favorite price, after all.

I do have a Bunt account, it's something to kill time with on the porcelain throne or what have you.  That said, I refuse to spend a single dime on a trading card that I cannot hold.  So, these sorts of things are the best way to build my digital "collection."

What free .jpgs did I get?

Only one Cub this time - my unlucky streak continues.  Hey, at least it's the Rizz, he's a pretty decent player, right?

Also of note, the cards earned from the redemptions in Bunt mirror the design used on the physical product.  Before this product hit actual store shelves, digital Bunt cards mirrored the design of Flagship.  It makes much more sense to keep the design consistent when promoting a product or service.

As for the rest:

A couple more program inserts, which aren't nearly as exciting when you can't hold them in your hands...

A couple of inserts of young, future stars.  The one benefit to digital cards is that Topps can create instantaneous "cards" of call-ups like Tyler Austin, capitalizing on the initial hype that's generated.  Thanks to Topps NOW, they can also do that with actual physical cards too; unfortunately, the price point on that product isn't nearly as friendly as Bunt.

Before I wrap this up, I found one more interesting quirk:

It appears as though errors are not limited to actual printed out products.

This base "card" of Matt Carpenter is over-cropped or "miscut" on both the top and bottom of the image.  Too bad this isn't a true card, or I could send this over to JediJeff or anyone else who has a miscut mini-collection.  Oh well.

Overall, I adore this new physical version of Bunt and I think I'm echoing the sentiments of many a card blogger when I say that I wouldn't mind if this replaced and/or merged with Opening Day to create a rejuvenated, bank account friendly product at the beginning of the season.  My only disappointment comes from the relatively scant checklist, which contains just 200 cards.  At any rate, there's definitely a lot of potential here.

As for the digital aspect, I don't know how much interest this cross-promotion will generate, but it sure makes sense to try it.  As I stated last time I dabbled with the app, I do believe the future of this hobby will be a hybrid situation such as this, where digital and physical cards co-exist in peace and harmony.  

Is Bunt a sign of the future?  Only time will tell.


  1. Does that Choo have a place in your home? I picked up an 8 card lot of the Unique Unis on ebay and it was missing two cards. That Choo and the Ozuna. As luck would have it, I pulled the Ozuna from the only pack of Bunt I bought, so I am just the Choo short. You can have the card of the Hawk I pulled in my pack.

    1. "Choo" can have it - I'll whip you up a PWE ASAP.

  2. I like the Program inserts too and the idea that it could have been turned into a Collect-a-Book concept.

  3. Love those Programs! It's a toss-up for me between those and the chromed out Optic Diamond Kings for the best cards of the year at this point.