Sunday, May 10, 2015

Allen & Ginter Insert Overview Series #97

Set: 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Martial Mastery
            Total Cards: 10
            Stated Odds: Full size inserts fall 1:2 packs

Bubba’s Derived Odds: 1:8
           # of Hobby Boxes Needed to Obtain Set: 3.33
So here's the deal with the odds.  Topps claims that the full sized inserts combine to fall at 1:2 packs.  This could be interpreted one of two ways.  The first being that the inserts are evenly distributed no matter the size of the set.  Thus, in a box you would get the same number of inserts from each set.

The second way has to do with the way cards are normally printed.  The cheapest way to print something is to have a card appear exactly once on a print sheet and then "copy" that sheet as many times as you need to.  If Topps actually did this for their insert sets, you would find it exceedingly difficult to pull inserts of small set sizes (there would simply be less of them printed).

This "problem" is not unique to baseball cards.  In fact, this phenomenon (if you can call it that) happens more often in gaming cards in which companies print cards with unique rarities.  There are two ways to achieve making a card rarer (more rare??? ...i don't know).  You can either print the different rarities on different press sheets (vastly more expensive) or you can simply put multiple versions of the more common cards on the same press sheet (thus making the card twice as common).

Back to 2013 Allen & Ginter... Going over my collection, I saw that I have roughly 60 cards of each of the 4 regular sized inserts that Topps printed this year.  This also agrees with what I remember from opening boxes of this; Topps definitely evenly distributed their inserts.

This almost certainly means that Topps has a factory sheet that has two versions of these Martial Mastery cards.  It is also why it's so freaking easy to complete this set.  I think I've completed this particular set 4 or 5 times over while still missing a card from one of the other 2013 Ginter full size insert sets... dumb.

Favorite (Owned) Card:

I have a thing for artwork depicting Native Americans.  Yeah, that set called The First Americans... one of my favorites.

Notes and Comments:
This set is very strange to me.  Taken as a whole and at surface level, this seems like a terrific idea for a quirky insert set.  There are plenty of really cool looking weapons, warriors, and formations from all time periods out there ready to be made into a card.  This seems like what Topps was going for here.  Unfortunately, they didn’t quite seem to hit the mark.

None of the cards from this set seem to mesh with each other.  Sure, they have the same layout and format as each other, but it’s as each of the cards were designed independently from each other.  The artwork is nowhere near consistent and neither is the “theme”.  They certainly all contain information about warriors or formations or civilizations, but that’s the thing… it’s so diverse that I have trouble drawing parallels between the cards.

Another problem… if we look at another full-sized insert from this same year we see a set called Civilizations of Ages Past.  The differences between these two sets are so negligible that I get frustrated.  They both remind me of Age of Empires.  That’s great.  I love Age of Empires… but do we need TWO sets that do that?  This set would’ve been so much better if they trimmed the focus.  Talk about ancient warriors, military strategies, weaponry, whatever… but just pick ONE.

Arbitrary Rating (out of 100): 40

% of Set Completed: 100%

Missing Cards: None!

Extra Cards: All of them!

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