The sell sheet for the product has been out for quite some time, but I figured I'd go over it and highlight what I like/don't like about what I'm seeing. I'm pulling this info from Cardboard Connection and you can find it here too if you're curious.
I'm not going to say a whole heck of a lot about card design because a picture can really only tell you so much. I will be perfectly honest and say that I wasn't overly impressed with the direction they are taking with the base card design this year. I'm actually really curious how this design is going to implement non-baseball subjects. I do think there are ways that this design could actually work, so I will reserve further judgement.
Same with the minis... can't really say too much about them yet. I am excited they are going back to full black minis instead of speckled black borders. This may mean the end of Allen & Ginter X as we know it, but I might be okay with that seeing as it was just another money sink for me.
The autographs are interesting. I will say this frame looks awesome, but I've come to expect that. Another thing I think I like is the fonting they've chose for the "Allen & Ginter" text. It's more blocky and less scripty than the past. Different, but I like it.
It appears as if Topps has kept the same configuration on the product (same 50 SP's with 12 expected per box, same 3 hits per box as well).
Finally the insert sets... which are always my favorite. Here's what's been announced thus far with a few predictions/opinions:
What a Day! (above): This is your annual 100 card baseball themed insert set. I actually really like this and it looks like its designed fairly well. I'm excited to see if they'll use dates not just from last year and if they'll use pictures from the games in which the player actually "went off". This could really be an awesome set depending on both those things. Reminds me of the Baseball Highlights Sketches from 2009-2012... sets that I tended to enjoy.
Revolutionary Battles: Super, SUPER excited for this set. I hope it's not just 10 cards. I've always loved historically based cards and this set could potentially be awesome.
Sport Fish & Fishing Lures: This set somewhat intrigues me... but I also have zero faith in it. I'm not big into fishing at all, so I also really don't think I will understand it. Probably doesn't have much potential to really be all that good looking either... we shall see.
World's Fair: I feel like A&G has already done something like this before. I don't know what direction they will take it. I think they could probably come away with a halfway decent set if they highlight locations the World's Fair has been at. Not expecting much here.
World's Dudes (above): The sell sheet states that this is going to be a 40-card set. Woah... that's going to be a lot of ugly red. The set itself *could* be okay I suppose. It's certainly immediately better than last years big mini set of US Mayors, and the year before featured First Ladies which was a bit of a snooze-fest as well. So that's something to be happy about. These could at least be entertaining.
Bust a Move!: This is a complete crap-shoot for me. I have zero clue about dancing, though I still see possible potential here. I think it would be pretty cool if they highlighted dancing athletes (i.e. Cam Newton dab, Jose Bautista bat flip, Chicago Cubs dancing in the bullpen, ect.), but I doubt that's what they're going for here.
Constellations: Pretty excited about this set. Space on cardboard always gets me... and its pretty hard to do wrong. Big expectations here.
Required Reading: I'm actually surprisingly looking forward to this set. I wouldn't call myself a huge reader, but I think this is exactly what these insert minis should be focused on. Highly recognizable odd-ball stuff. I don't expect a beautiful insert set here, but I definitely expect to learn something. B+:
Magicians & Illusionists: I'm not expecting a whole lot here. While I'm somewhat intrigued by magicians, I don't think cardboard can really do them justice. Magic is all about presentation, and I truly don't think there is a good way to represent magic on a piece of cardboard. I'd love to be proved wrong though! Topps, impress me!
Obviously, there's more than just those inserts. Topps never fully spoils the A&G checklist until release day. There's always surprises to be found which is part of the fun of the product. I'm still as excited as ever to dive into my case in three weeks!
Also, if you've been around my blog in the past, you'll know I do a contest on the release of Allen & Ginter. That's not stopping this year! Look for posts on that starting later this week!