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These Are My Views: In The Game Enforcers

January 25, 2012

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Something I have yet to do much of here on the bbbros.ca blog that many other sports collectible bloggers seem to is voice my opinion about specific products that are out there in the marketplace.

Well that is about to change, as today I’m going to weigh in on In The Game’s latest release: Enforcers.

I’m stealing the “These Are My Views” theme for this post (or potential series of posts) from my dad.  He can be a rather opinionated person, and often launches into or wraps up an expression of his own views with that line, something I have always found hilarious.

Now that almost a full week has passed since Enforcers’ official release date I feel like expressing my own opinion on the product.

As most hockey collectors will already be aware, this product has stirred up a pretty substantial amount of mainstream media coverage (CBC, CTV, Sportsnet.ca, The Winnipeg Sun, and Yahoo Sports), a rarity in the trading card business.

The stories that I’ve seen have generated hundreds of comments from readers (I can only dream of getting that sort of response on this blog!), not many of which have been of the positive variety.

Since little of this coverage and few of the comments seem to be coming from anyone who is actually involved in collecting though, I turned my attention to hobby-related online sources to get a real sense for what sort of reception the product is getting.

Beckett, Bad Wax, My Hockey Card Obsession, and Sports Collectors Daily have all posted reviews and in general the feedback I’m seeing is much more positive than what I had read at the mainstream outlets.

Despite the warmer reception given to Enforcers from real collectors whose opinions I actually find value in, I still can’t seem to get on the bandwagon for this product.

My main reason for not liking Enforcers has absolutely nothing to do with not liking fighting or enforcers, being offended by the theme of the product or the imagery within it, or thinking Brian Price and In The Game are glorifying violence and opportunistically capitalizing on the media attention being paid to hockey hostility.

The reason I can’t warm up to Enforcers is actually very simple.  It lies solely in the design of the cards being used most heavily in its marketing materials, namely the blood spatter and band-aid adorned autograph cards.

To put it simply, I think the cards just look flat-out ridiculous.

I don’t mean to launch into an assault on the creative team at In The Game because 9 times out of 10 I am very impressed by what they have to offer.  Occasionally one of their products will fall into that “1 of 10” category for me though, and Enforcers landed there with a thud.

To me the cards scream out that the results of the brainstorming session for this product were taken far too literally.  An interesting concept was simply executed poorly.

I get the link between enforcers and fighting, fighting and blood, blood and cuts, cuts and bandages. But just because the link is there doesn’t mean it makes for a nice looking hockey card when it’s all been slapped together.

While blood spatter isn’t the most visually appealing thing to look at in the first place from my point of view (on a hockey card or otherwise), the band-aid graphic looks even more inane.

Part of me is waiting to come across variations of the autograph cards with band aids featuring Dora the Explorer or the characters from Toy Story like my niece and nephew wear when they scratch their knees.

With five of the twelve cards in each pack/box being these autographs that I basically can’t stand the sight of, it’s really tough for me to see how this would be a product I’d enjoy opening, let alone think was worth the $65-$80 I’d have to pay to open it.

Granted, I have yet to see these cards live and in person and perhaps my views will change once I do, but every indication I have thus far tells me that’s not likely to be the case.

I hope that if Brian Price reads this article and leaves a comment as he did with another article at My Hockey Card Obsession he takes this criticism as constructive.

Back in 2005 I actually had the pleasure of interviewing him for my undergraduate thesis report and I left the In The Game facility with a real appreciation for just how well he and his company know the sport and just how much everyone there loves it.

Hopefully that passion and knowledge make their “Captain-C” product one that I falls back into my “9 of 10 times” category and helps reignite my interest in In The Game’s offerings.

These are my views!

###

What do you think about Enforcers?  Have you opened any of it yet?  If so, do you think my opinion would change if I did the same?

Leave a comment, email me at bb_bros@hotmail.com, or connect on Facebook or Twitter and let me know.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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