2013 Panini Cooperstown Blaster Break

These are my first packs of 2013 Panini Cooperstown. I seen them in stock for over a year now and I really wasn’t interested… until I saw them for half off!

2013 Panini Cooperstown

2013 Panini Cooperstown

2013 Panini Cooperstown Cogan's Disks

I didn’t pull any players I really collect and as I expected the cards are kind of boring. It may be kind of blingy for a set like this but I wish the base set was like the crystal shard parallels. It would be like the Topps Finest equivalent for Panini. Also it is no surprise that the inserts are kind of an afterthought. The Cogan’s Disks inserts though are a bit more interesting. You don’t see round cards everyday… though there may be a reason for that. They are a bit hard to store. They also snagged on the pack and I almost threw away one or two of them. Luckily I’m kind of OCD and always double check everything before I throw anything away.

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My Favorite Games for Board Game Night

I wanted to do something a little different this week. I recently have been playing a lot of board games and I regularly host a board game night so I wanted to share some of my gaming group’s favorite games. They tend to like lighter games so the list clearly reflects that. The games are organized by categories since comparing board games often like comparing apples to oranges.

Favorite Co-op Game: Pandemic
When it comes to co-op games Pandemic is king and you absolutely need Pandemic’s On the Brink expansion. You really do feel like you are saving the world when you go through all the motions. The game perfectly scales up difficultly and it has several variants to keep things interesting. Forbidden Island is another good co-op game and it is absolute must in any board game collections since it is so cheap. I also want to try Flash Point: Fire Rescue in the very near future.

Favorite Travel Game: Love Letter
Love Letter is such a simple game with only 16 cards but it surprisingly packs a lot of game. It has a bit of luck, a bit of deduction and a bit of bluffing. We usually start board game night with this game because it is so quick to play and set up. I have the Legend of the Five Rings version and the theme is just perfect for the game.

Favorite Deck Building Game: Star Trek Deck Building Game
Dominion has gotten old lately and I saw the Star Trek Deck Building Game: Next Phase Edition game for only $10 in Amazon. You can’t beat that and right now it is actually one of my favorite games to play. Unlike many deck building games, there is also space combat and space exploration and I love it. There is actually three scenarios in the game, a free for all scenario, a Borg Invasion co-op scenario (our favorite) and a team vs team scenario so it is quite versatile and it manages to stay fresh even after playing a ton of games.

Favorite Deduction Game: Lady Alice
My gaming group didn’t really play deduction games until I found a copy of Clue in the trash and we decide to try it out. To our delight, we love deduction games! Lady Alice is a strict upgrade from Clue though. It combines deduction, bluffing and betting all in one game. In Lady Alice, you play as Sherlock Holmes assistants and you make accusations each turn (like Clue). The other players will tell you if you are correct or not and you have to deduce the right answer from those clues. But unlike Clue, you don’t have to roll a dice to move around the board. Instead you are betting on what you think is the correct answers on the board so you don’t have to take notes and it is possible you can win without making the final accusation.

Favorite Euro Game: Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is one of our gateway games. We used to play this game a ton. The beauty of the game is that basically anyone can win regardless of skill with many paths to victory and it is great way to introduce euro game mechanics. Our favorite expansion by far is the one that adds fishing which make the coastal cities more valuable. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of time during the week anymore and the set up of this game takes forever so more often than not and we wind up playing other options. Still it is a classic that we bring out from time to time and to be fair there is a million ways to customize a game (for a cost).

Favorite Drafting Game: 7 Wonders
7 Wonders is another euro-y game and it by far the best drafting game out there. Like Catan, there are a ton of paths to victory and a ton of choices to make each turn. It has a good theme and the games move fast. Sometimes it really feels like the counting of the points at the end of the game takes longer than actually playing the game. But if you are looking for a lighter drafting game, we also like Sushi Go.

Honorable Mentions: Tsuro, Wits and Wagers, Heroclix and Munchkin
Tsuro is probably my favorite abstract game, Wits and Wagers is my favorite trivia and party game and Heroclix is probably my favorite miniatures game (although the rules are super complex and the wording on cards can be a bit ambiguous). I am not sure what category Munchkin falls under but it was my board game group’s favorite game for awhile. I am sure others still want to play it but all the backstabbing in Munchkin kind of gets old for me.

You may notice there are no traitor games like Resistance/ Werewolf type of games on the list. I totally admit I am a terrible liar and my brother always picks up on that so I am terrible at those games. With that being said I have heard good things about Bang! The Dice Game and I would like to try that out at least once.

I have tried a ton of games but I know I barely scratch the surface. I am always open for board game suggestions and you can leave that at the comment section below or feel free to tweet them at me.

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2014 Leaf Autographed Baseball Edition Box Break

Today, I have a box of 2014 Leaf Autographed Baseball Edition and it isn’t cheap. It runs $40 a pop and I found this one at Target. Honestly I haven’t had much luck with similar products in the past. I really, really tried to talk myself out of it… but I just couldn’t resist.

There is one autographed baseball in a box. After opening a box in a box in a box I have this.

Mike Matheny autographed baseball

It is a Mike Matheny autographed baseball with a John 3:17 inscription. I can’t say he is high on my want list of autographs but at the very least I know who he is.

Fun Fact: Mike Matheny has a section about his autograph on his Wikipedia page.

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Random Pack Break: 2014 Topps Baseball Series Two Retail

I picked up one those packs that packaged four retail packs of 2014 Topps Baseball Series Two and a Power Players card at Target the other day. This one got a Norichika Aoki Power Player card. I figured at the very least I have a new card from my PC and I also have a random player for my Power Players locker. Although, I doubt Nori Aoki would help me win anything.

2014 Topps Baseball Series Retail

Norichika Aoki Power Player

I pulled Bartolo Colon, Curtis Grandson and Vic Black for my Mets collection and in addition to the Aoki card I added Kyuji Fujikawa to my PC so I can’t complain about these packs.

Is it just me or does Aoki look like he is in pain or maybe he struck out on his card?

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Magic: The Gathering Shards of Alara Premium Pack

I found this premium pack of Shards of Alara in a repack. These normally go for about $20 and I picked this one up for $3. Basically it was a no brainer and unfortunately I only found one for sale. The premium packs has cards from the Shards of Alara block and all 15 cards are foiled. It is a gimmick Wizards try once so I guess it didn’t do so well.

Shards of Alara Foils

Shards of Alara Foils 2

Right off the bat, Wild Nacatl and Path to Exile draws my attention. Both cards see a lot of play and I should be able to trade them for some cards I need. Wild Nacatl foils are about $4- $5 but the foiled Path to Exile can go for as high as $20. As for my rare, I have a dragon EDH deck (Zirilan of the Claw is my commander) so I am always open to dragons foils although I really doubt Predator Dragon would make the cut.

Overall this is as good of a pack as I can hope for.

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My First 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Box Break

It is almost a sure thing that I will pick up at least a box of Allen & Ginter every year. I just love the weird and eclectic mix of characters in the set and I probably have more fun breaking these boxes any any other products in the past. First the box topper.

2014 Topps A&G Jose Canseco Box Topper

Jose Canseco is popping up in more and more products lately and I always seem to be pulling his cards, autographs, etc…

The Base Set:

2014 Topps A&G Base Cards

2014 Topps A&G Base Cards Oddball

Inserts:

2014 Topps A&G Inserts

Minis:

2014 Topps A&G Minis

There aren’t many products that have both Snoop Lion and The Iron Sheik in it and the cat mini subset is really out there. One thing I did noticed though is a lot of the minis are mis-cut. They are all slightly different sizes. Like in years past, there is so many parallels and inserts and I really have to look them up to see if I pulled any super rare ones. Speaking of which is this Desmond Jennings base cards and Yogi Berra mini no number parallels? I am assuming the Yogi Berra is a short print and the Desmond Jenning cards is an error. Here are the backs with a card to compare.

2014 Topps A&G No Number Parallels

My first two hits I pulled are kind of meh.

2014 Topps A&G Ryan Zimmerman Adrian Beltre Relic Cards

They are game used memorabilia cards of Ryan Zimmerman and Adrian Beltre. The last hit in the box is a lot more interesting though.

2014 Topps A&G Anthony Robles Event Used Signed Card

It is a event used card of wrestler Anthony Robles. I wikied his name and his story seems familiar. He is a wrestler with one leg who overcame great odds in his sport. What makes this card interesting though is the piece of fabric on the card is actually signed. It is the ANT of Anthony. As a collector, I thought is shame that this autograph is cut up to probably at least four pieces. I kind of wish they kept item as a whole or at the very least kept the autograph in one piece on a card with a larger window. As is, the card is still the most exciting pull in an admittedly a rather lackluster box.

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2010 Tristar TNA Wrestling Icons Blaster Break

There really isn’t much that sets Tristar TNA products apart. They tend to have the same hit ratios and since wrestling rosters don’t change as much as say baseball teams, the cards tend to be of the same people year after year. That being said 2010 Tristar TNA Wrestling Icons is probably the weakest of the Tristar releases. The designs were OK, nothing special but there are a lot little things that kind of bug me. For example, I am huge fan of Mick Foley but his excerpts from his book cards feels a lot like ads in the set.

Mick Foley Book Excerpts

But you can get 2010 Tristar TNA Wrestling Icons blasters for pretty cheap nowadays and it is guaranteed an autograph so it can still make for a fun, cheap break.

Tristar TNA Icons

I did say that wrestling rosters don’t change much year to year but comparing 2010 to the present, it is interesting to see how many wrestlers are no longer with TNA. Speaking of which for my guaranteed autograph I got Desmond Wolfe aka Nigel McGuinness.

Desmond Wolfe Autograph

Desmond Wolfe started off strong in TNA but suffered from some health setbacks. He is an interesting character and I don’t mind adding this autograph to my collection.

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