Whenever you start talking digital baseball cards, some people come in with skeptical questions, mostly dealing with the fact that digital baseball cards aren’t physical cards you can rummage through a shoebox of. I get it, there’s something nostalgic about ripping open a pack and sliding the back of every card to make sure you’re not missing any. That doesn’t mean you can’t open up your phone to the joy of digital cards, though. I was skeptical at first too, but let me give you a few reasons to get over your hesitation to try digital baseball cards.
The first and foremost reason is that Topps Bunt is free to download and you can get a pretty sizeable collection going in just a few weeks without spending any money. They give you enough coins (5,000) to buy a pack every day, along with a weekly bonus (50,000) that gives you enough for either a few packs or a more expensive pack to get something really cool. That’s just for checking in for 5 seconds every day, which you won’t have a problem doing once you get going and start looking for trades and such. Of course, you can also spend money to beef up your collection as much as you want, but you can quickly get enough free cards to impress the collectors and the points players equally (although I admit I’ve been tempted enough to open my iTunes wallet on more than a few occasions.)
Speaking of playing for points, Topps Bunt brings fantasy baseball to card collecting, so your cards can earn you points real time in contests. Maybe you even did something like this as a kid, but now you can do it with thousands of fans, and the app keeps track of the stats for you. The rarest/most expensive cards in Bunt are limited cards that don’t necessarily score any better than other cards (if they’re even of a current player.) This means that you’ll want to buy a bunch of packs if you’re in it for collecting, but if you just want to try out the scoring side of it you can quickly become competitive without spending anything beyond your daily free coins. With the contest aspect to Bunt, it’s pretty hard to say that digital baseball cards are just pixelated versions of physical baseball cards that don’t capture the feel of the real thing.
This begs the question, why do people have such a problem with digital cards? I imagine that a hundred years ago people were questioning why anyone would want to pay money for a picture of a baseball player on a card (then again, maybe not, considering that some started coming with bubble gum in 1933.) What’s really the difference between your favorite player on some paperboard and your favorite player on your phone? I’ll tell you what the difference is — your phone can hold way more cards than your pocket can and they come with daily updated stats. I’m mostly kidding, because I do love my collection of old baseball cards I’ve had since I was just a young Cubs fan, but you can take all your digital cards everywhere you go, no matter how many you have. Not to mention that as long as you have the cards to tempt someone, you can trade for pretty much anything, anytime, since it’s all online. If you like obsessing over baseball cards, the fun never ends on Topps Bunt.
In Topps Bunt, cards can be valued higher or lower based on how many points they can score, which makes the value of a digital baseball card less arbitrary than the value of a physical baseball card, if anything.
But seriously, why are people focusing on the fact that digital baseball cards are made up of pixels? It’s not like the reason physical baseball cards are valuable is because of the paperboard they’re printed on. The value of a physical baseball card and the value of a digital baseball card are both based on their rarity and their desirability. Furthermore, in Topps Bunt, cards can be valued higher or lower based on how many points they can score, which makes the value of a digital baseball card less arbitrary than the value of a physical baseball card, if anything. Let’s also remember that you can look at a digital baseball card all you want without damaging its condition, no sleeves necessary. Bunt does a good job of simulating a card’s condition with parallels, so that there are fewer Gold versions of a card out there just as there might be fewer mint condition cards of a certain type.
If you’re not a gambling man and prefer seeking out individual cards rather than trying your luck on packs, you can do that too. Digital Card Marketplace is a collection of a bunch of different online shops run by Topps Bunt users like you and me (though they also have marketplaces for Topps Kick, Huddle and Star Wars.) Before digital cards, if you wanted access to this many cards from this many different people, you’d have to organize a convention or something. Digital Card Marketplace does all the hard work for you, so you can just look up a card (along with its count, etc.) and get it right away if you decide you want it. Did I mention that you don’t have to worry about any shipping with digital cards, because it’s all done through the app? Anyways, if you have a second, go check out my shop there, The Dugout. Digital Card Marketplace is an excellent resource for people just starting to collect who need a little boost, and it’s also a great resource for people who have more cards than they know what to do with and want to spread the joy.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I love physical baseball cards, but I just think more people need to give the digital version a chance. The Bunt community is already thriving, but it’s easy to jump in at any time and start getting some good cards. All I’m saying is give it a chance, and join me (HoboOsito) on the hunt for ever-cooler cards.