Thursday, December 12, 2013

Game Week: Before There Was Topps Attax!

Games and baseball cards have been pretty much synonymous throughout history.  Whether it was playing flip with you cards or playing Topps Attax (who did that?), cards have long been used as a form of amusement.  In the later part of the 90s and the early 00s, there were a number of different products released that were designed to tap into that game/baseball card hybrid (no doubt influenced by popular TCGs of the time such as Magic:  The Gathering).

Speaking of Magic, Wizards of the Coast (the company behind the venerable TCG Magic) tried their hand at creating a baseball card game called MLB Showdown.  The game seemed to be a perfect mix - it had actual team licenses (so Wizards of the Coast was free to use team names and logos) and it had the brains behind some of the best collectible card games at the time working on it.  Unfortunately for WotC, the game was short-lived (2000-2005) and has since been pretty much forgotten by seemingly everyone.

In fact, I don't recall seeing much on the game at all on the blogs - until now!

I, for some reason, bought a box of MLB Showdown 2002:  Trading Deadline so that's what I'll be spending most of my time on.

Trading Deadline was one of the three expansion packs to the regular MLB Showdown 2002 set (the other two being Pennant Run and All-Star Game).  Looking through my cards (which sat neglected since probably 2002), I found a single pack's worth of Pennant Run (and no All-Star Game nor the regular base set cards in case you were wondering).

Why did I buy a full box of the expansion without any of the regular set?  Probably because I got confused - or maybe I'm dumb.  On the other hand, it could also be why this game is no longer made - too confusing!

The MLB Showdown 2002:  Trading Deadline set is made up of 125 common cards plus 25 foil "premium" cards and an additional 25 strategy cards.  Unfortunately, the 25 foil cards are scattered about the 150 card base set which makes figuring out which common cards you need annoying.  I hate skip numbered short prints which is essentially what the foil cards are.

The basic player cards are actually decent looking (for a game card).  The front features the player's name, the game statistics, and a large team logo to go with a full size photo of the player.

The first half of the base set is basically offensive players (such as Ben Davis shown above) while the second half of the set is pitchers (such as Kurt Ainsworth).  As you can see, Wizards of the Coast including lots of lesser known players along with some of the stars of the day.

Finally, there are a 25 different strategy cards in the set - these look different though they do still have a (small) action image on them.  My favorite strategy cards out of the ones that I own is this one:  Shell Shocked.

It's a Cardinal getting slammed, gotta love that!

One more goodie that I discovered while going through my stack of cards...

Yeah - a foil Barry Larkin card (kind of hard to tell it's foiled from the scan but you'll have to trust me)!  Not bad, not bad at all.

I'll be honest, I kind of like this set a lot - and with only 25 short prints (of which I own 13 right now), it would seem to be a doable set (assuming other people bought this stuff like I did).  Is there any interest in trading?  I have a pretty large stack of duplicates for trade (though no foil duplicates unfortunately).

PS:  In case you are wondering, once upon a time I think I knew the basics of how to play the game (you roll a 20-sided die, I know that).  Unfortunately, I don't remember much about it anymore - it obviously wasn't fun enough of a game for me to continue playing it after busting open all the packs out of the box!


2 comments:

Comatoad said...

I used to play in an actual MLB Showdown league here in Iowa. I still have almost all the cards (I couldn't part with them) and still play an occassional game. Let me know what you're looking for and I'll see what I have.

P-town Tom said...

Chris, you don't have an dupe of card #69 do you? Bill Mueller is the Cubs new hitting coach and I'd like to try to get his auto when I go to spring training.

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