Theme Week: Top 10 Lists: Reasons Why (and Why Not) to Join a Group Break

Welcome to my latest Theme Week:  Top 10 Lists.  As you can probably guess, each Theme Week post will consist of a Top 10 list, but the subject matter will vary widely from list to list.  I hope you enjoy reading the lists as much as I've enjoyed putting them together.

I'm no stranger to group breaks as I've joined in countless breaks held by fellow bloggers as well as some eBay breaks and some hobby shop breaks.  I've also held a whole lot of group breaks on my blog, so I believe I have a good idea of what makes for a good break and why you should (or shouldn't) join in. 

Today's list is actually inspired by a group break that I recently joined held by The Iron Lion, a card shop that I follow via Facebook (the shop is located in Colorado, nowhere near me here in Pennsylvania)!  I've featured cards from the Iron Lion in the past but all of the cards you see in this post were from the recent group break that I joined which was for two random teams getting half a case of Panini Chronicles.

And so, without further ado:

Top 10 Reasons Why (and Why Not) to Join a Group Break

#10:  Why You Should:  Variety

One of the benefits of joining a group break is that you get an opportunity to get some cards from a set (or sets) that you may otherwise ever see.  This can be in the form of a high-end break where you may not wish to buy an expensive box yourself or or can be at the lower end where you get a smattering of cards across many boxes, sets, and brands.

#9:  Why You Shouldn't:  Variety

While variety can be a benefit, it can also be a curse especially if you are someone (like me) who is trying to completely organize your collection.  I'm not exactly what made me decide to jump in the group break other than the fact that I like to support the guys running the card shop (I don't know them but they seem to be earnest people trying to make it with a relatively new card shop).  Anyhow, in my case my two random teams that I got (for an entry fee of $55 I might add) were the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Of course I would end up with the Dodgers...that team haunts my dreams, I swear.  In all actuality, the "random team" gods were good to me as the Dodgers are a decent team in 2019 Panini Chronicles and the Mets have the star draw of Pete Alonso who is littered throughout this year's Chronicles set.

#8:  Why You Shouldn't:  Shipping

One thing to pay careful attention to when joining a group break is to make sure you know exactly what will ship.  I've found that the Iron Lion breaks are generally made up of higher end sets - and as such, they generally don't ever ship base cards out.  I'm not, nor have ever been, primarily a hit collector so if I can't get the base cards I'm probably not going to be interested.  At least by getting the base cards you probably can be assured that you'll end up with something from your hard earned dollars that you spent. 

I should note that the folks at the Iron Lion have been great at accommodating my apparently weird request to get the base cards sent with my group break hits.  Still, it's best to make sure you have any details like that taken care of before you spend any money.

For me, whenever I host a group break I generally tend to send out all of the cards from the break plus extra cards from my collection when possible.  Of course, I also don't usually do any sort of high end breaks so my group breaks generally only appeal to base card collectors!

#7:  Why You Should:  Support the Man (or Woman)

Oftentimes, joining a group break is about supporting the person hosting the break.  In my case, that's exactly what I did when I joined the Iron Lion break.  They were having a somewhat tough time selling out the baseball break and the cost was just low enough that I decided to take a gamble.  I don't usually join breaks that are for random teams (I'm scared of being dealt the Rays and Marlins or something like that) but at least for this time it worked out okay for me.  I wasn't even mad that I didn't get the Reds in the break since the Reds have very few cards that I'd even want in 2019 Chronicles (there was a Reds hit pulled in the break if I recall but it was of Jose Peraza so calling it a "hit" is sort of generous).

#6:  Why You Should:  Player Collectors

There are many types of group breaks out there - and as a Barry Larkin collector one of my favorite types is the player break.  In this sort of group break, you pay a certain amount and only get cards of the chosen player.  Hosting a break like this requires a large base of buyers though so I've only ever done such breaks through eBay.  I've also learned (the hard way) to make sure I know exactly what ships from a break like this.  I once joined a Larkin break where no base cards shipped.  Whoops, as that was what I was interested in acquiring. 

#5:  Why You Should:  Team Collectors

While player breaks can be fun, most group breaks involve paying a set amount for a team in the break.  If you are a team collector, this is one of the best ways to go since you only pay for what you want - no reason to buy packs and get 29 unwanted MLB teams when you could simply join a group break and get the one team you want.

#4:  Why You Shouldn't:  Team Collectors

While a "Pick Your Own Team" break is great for a team collector, if you join a random team break you will probably end up sorely disappointed in your random assignment.  Most group break hosts do allow trading of teams for a short period of time before the break begins but in the few breaks like this that I've done I don't think I've ever actually seen a trade go through. 

#3:  Why You Should:  New Stuff, Old Stuff

Group breaks can be a great way to acquire product from the newest releases but you can also often find group breaks for older stuff as well.  For example, I've held a number of group breaks with boxes from the 90s included and those generally seem to fill up well and be a lot of fun (assuming the price for entry isn't too high).

#2:  Why You Should:  You Could Strike Gold

Probably the number one reason most people join a group break is for the chance to get a rare card (or cards) for relatively cheap.  I know I've been guilty of joining some player breaks for A&G cases hoping to get super lucky and land a Barry Larkin rip card for pennies on the dollar.  Needless to say, I've never actually struck gold in that way but it's fun to dream!

#1:  Why You Shouldn't:  You Could Strike Gold, But You Probably Won't

In the end, if your only reason to join a group break is to strike it rich, you are probably better off buying a box for yourself.  At least in that way you'll be sure to get something.  For me, buying into the two random team Panini Chronicles break that I did basically led to instant buyer's remorse...and that's with me hitting both a jumbo relic witht he Mets and a quad patch / auto with the Dodgers slot.  I don't think I could have done a whole lot better and yet it still felt like I didn't come close to getting my money's worth from the break.  On the bright side for my trading partners, you can probably expect to see at least some of the cards from the group break in trade packages heading out.  I may end up with one or two keepers from the lot (that Santana patch card is really nice but I know nothing about Dennis Santana so who knows if it is worth holding on to). 

Now it's your turn though.  Why do you join group break, or perhaps why do you avoid joining group breaks?  What can a potential group break host (such as myself) do to make a break more enticing for you? 

Heck, just writing this Top 10 list made me start to get a bit antsy in terms of wanting to host another group break here.  It's been quite some time - so if you think you might be interested let me know what product(s) I should look into!

Oh, and for what it's worth:  2019 Panini Chronicles is actually kind of cool.  If they have the set again next year with better Reds representation, I might possibly think about buying a box of the stuff.  It's certainly a unique break with tons of variation (even if the high-end breakers don't care about any of the awesome base cards in the set)!


  1. I love a good group break. If I can find a team break with decent variety and snag the Cubs it's a great way to pad my inventory. I've been participating mostly in player breaks as of late and I'm okay with gambling on getting the big hit... I never have, but I usually get a couple of parallels on top of the base, which keeps me happy enough.
    Watching the breaks or having them on the background is fun, too. Sometimes I watch breaks even though I didn't buy in. LOL

  2. I rarely join group breaks. Part of it has to do with the two teams I collect. Neither have a huge hobby following, so it's hard to get a lot of bang for my buck. That leads me to the other reason I typically avoid them: I'm too cheap. I'd rather just buy one or two cards I really, really want.

  3. I only join group breaks if they're base-card focused. Since both my kids collect Giants as well it's fun to get in on a half-case of Flagship or Heritage and get enough duplicates for us all to share in addition to a small amount of gambling on getting something good. And people like you who run affordable retro base-focused breaks are great too.


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