Firstly, I love collating a set. I sit with my computer and my little excel spreadsheet (I love spreadsheets) that changes colors when I enter a card quantity (green is 1, red is more than 1). Nerdy, but it is an easy way to do a sort and figure out what I need and what I have dups of. Then I have my cardboard boxes strategically placed for base set, insert sets and hits, and dups. Then the penny sleeves for ALL cards. It is quite the arrangement, let me tell you.
So in regards to collation: it gets a bit difficult because the numbers are more difficult to spot on these cards (and are smaller I think) than my Topps 2009 set. A bit tedious, but so is collation. Just make sure that you have eyedrops, because your contacts will be cashed by the time you are done for the night.
The base cards themselves are pretty groovy. I have to say that staring a ginter code parallels all weekend takes a bit out of the fun of pulling a regular card, because I already have all of the player images etched in my memory. But there are some nice horizontal player shots scattered into the series that are really quite impressive.
The odd cards are pretty interesting, but by now I have seen most of these images on other blogs, so the surprise factor is limited somewhat. I do like the electron card though, and the bearded man was an instant classic.
Mini cards are still pretty perplexing to me. I guess I am struggling with the big attraction to these. I thought it was pretty cool to get a hand-numbered Hertz mini, and last night I pulled a Randy Johnson black border card mini, but other than the desired parallels, I basically have a bunch of tiny cards!
Now kick me down a wood mini or a rip card and then I will be more excited. BTW I WILL NOT rip open a rip card, because at that point all I have is another mini. I wont keep it either though. That will be one of the rare cases where I sell the card or use it for bargaining power with the grouchy hobby shop owner.
Insert sets have told me two things 1) most of these sets are going to be HIGHLY difficult to complete, minus the National Pride set, and 2) the mini creatures of legend, the secretive future inventions cards, and other mini's are going to be HIGHLY difficult to complete AND most likely rather expensive to obtain.
Too bad too, because those creature cards look fun, but I did not even have one of them in my first hobby box. I will say that of the inserts, I am most interested in the sketch cards, they are pretty interesting looking and I got four of them out of the first box, so I may try to pursue the rest if I don't get them in my next two boxes.
Relics: I am starting to get a bit worn out on the whole Jersey/Pants relic. Especially if it is just solid colored material. These would be cooler if they were signed or serial numbered or something, or if the photo of the player were different from his base card.
I have received three of these and already traded two away. Looks like Lincoln has already been found and up on Ebay for ungodly amounts of money. But I am holding out for a rare relic that most likely wont appear.
I think another issue I have with Ginter is that there seems to be few surprises in the packs (at least thus far). What I mean is that when you open a pack, you know that you are going to get 6 base cards, a mini, and a national pride card, or maybe a relic and subtract one base card. They are always in exactly that order, and there are no little surprises in between.
For example, when I was opening up Topps 2009 Flagship, There would for the most part always be hit card after the stupid Toppstown cards. But you never knew what it would be...is it a relic, an auto, a gold parallel, a black parallel (I had one), a silk card (one as well,) or just another base card, which was also a possiblity. the other cool part was random locations of special prints. I opened up on pack and the third card in was a Jackie Robinson SP. Also the Rookie Redemptions and WBC redemption cards were scattered throughout. It really created an unknown when opening up a pack.
I think the main attraction on these packs is what version of mini card you will get, and the rest is pretty much 6 base and 1 NP. Keep in mind that I have only done one box so far, so this whole review might change, but I suspect the other packs are going to follow this pattern.
All of this being said, I still like the product and its fun to be collating again and going for that base set, but overall the experience has been a bit underwhelming, kinda like when you build yourself up so much for a blockbuster movie, and then Shea Lebeoufe (I refuse to spell-check this) is swinging through the trees with a bunch of monkeys.
JD's Grade - B- (If Topps would call and acknowledge that we broke the ginter code, then I might be willing to bump this up to a B+) :)