Hobby Musings: Honus Bonus blends cards with fantasy – A criticism sometimes directed at the hobby is the lack of interactivity/excitement when it comes to trading cards. After opening a pack and pulling a card, there aren’t too many options afterwards. Honus Bonus is looking to change that by giving collectors something extra with their inaugural product this March. Applying the concept of fantasy baseball to trading cards, collectors will have the chance to turn their pulled cards into cash prizes.
I had the chance to catch up with Honus Bonus Partners LLC president Steve Charendoff, to explain how the process works. Each box contains 24 packs with eight cards per pack for a total of 192 cards. Each individual card has a special code on the back corresponding to the featured player. That player can then be used as part of a 30-person lineup. Each lineup will comprise of 17 hitters and 13 pitchers. As such, each box should yield a rough average of six lineups to play.
When asked why he wanted to create the product, Charendoff responded, “I’ve been a baseball card collector all my life, and I’ve played fantasy baseball for more than 30 years. It just seemed like a natural fit to combine these two pastimes. I actually have had this concept for more than a decade.”
Honus Bonus offers players the chance to engage in monthly games based on the various statistics played in the game. With the player cards that are accrued, the corresponding codes are then entered into the Honus Bonus website. Just as there are limits in fantasy baseball with roster moves, Honus Bonus also has a limit in that you can only play each code once.
For example, if you have an Albert Pujols card with its unique code, that card can only be played in one lineup for one game. If you substitute Pujols out for another player, the code becomes void. As such, players will have to be judicious in terms of how they play their cards in a lineup, but they can make as many lineup moves as they wish.
In addition to statistics like home runs and wins, Honus Bonus also counts stats like holds and OPS as playable categories. Charendoff explained this was done on purpose to mimic the way fantasy baseball is structured. It was also formulated this way in order to help create the checklist. With a base set of 500 players, Honus Bonus reflects a wide population of the MLB player landscape. It isn’t just well-known players like Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw in the checklist though. Younger players like Hunter Renfroe and Roman Quinn, who could make a potential impact in the majors this season, were also included as playable subjects. The full checklist of playable subjects can be found here.
Beyond the base set, Honus Bonus offers collectors some more limited options to chase in their packs. Randomly inserted are hand-drawn sketch game cards. There are also two career milestones game cards per box. For collectors who like rarity, these can be a plus as each card is numbered 1/1. Talking more about this, Charendoff explained that each card is unique in that it represents a singular moment to the player’s corresponding statistic. For example, Ichiro’s card representing his 3,000th hit would be of more interest to collectors given the significance of the achievement.
The monthly games will include prizes up to $2,500. Charendoff said the Honus Bonus site will be very visual and offer ways to track standings. Once collectors register their lineups with the site, they will be able to see a leaderboard, statistics from the previous night’s action and images of their digital player cards. The monthly prizes will be sent out each month after player statistics and registered user lineup information is verified.
Charendoff admitted he was curious as to see if people would scratch the card codes to play the games or leave them unscratched in order to try and preserve the card’s condition. With the trading card and fantasy worlds intermingling so much in a product like this, it raises the question of whether Honus Bonus is geared more at collectors or fantasy players.
In response to this query, Charendoff said, “Honus Bonus Fantasy Baseball is geared towards baseball card collectors who play fantasy, and our research clearly indicates that the vast majority of baseball card collectors already play fantasy. We are not as much focused on fantasy players who are not already collecting baseball cards, although we certainly welcome those people with open arms.”
Looking to the future, Charendoff said he is looking forward to seeing how this season goes with Honus Bonus. With that in mind, he is also looking ahead to potential tweaks for future releases. When asked if he would try to create a similar product for other sports, he replied, “I would certainly welcome that. I believe that once we demonstrate how much fun it is to play Honus Bonus Fantasy Baseball and to collect the cards, I am sure that the other sports will take notice.”
Packs and boxes will be available in late March, giving collectors and players a few weeks before the games open to get their cards and set their lineups. For more information, be sure to check out the Honus Bonus product page.
Hobby Musings: Honus Bonus blends cards with fantasy
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