2008-09 Upper Deck Champ’s Break – the Natural History

March 27, 2009

I’m sure you thought I’d forgotten about this, but I haven’t.  I’ve just been a little bit busier than I would like at work.  My project was showing signs of working, so I was really leaning hard in that direction this week.

The Natural History minis in Champ’s Hockey were a sticking point for many collectors.  There was a lot of negative response.  Basically ‘who wants animals in hockey card packs?’  Personally, I think it is an awesome idea.  Kids like animals.  Kids like dinosaurs.  Champ’s isn’t exactly priced at a kid-friendly level, but I believe there is a retail portion of the product upcoming that is hopefully more accessible.  On some hockey card message boards, the reaction of people who have opened these packs with their kids is ‘My son/daughter and I are going to put together the Natural History minis’.  To me – that’s great.

On to the cards themselves.  In general, the pictures are cool.  Being minis, of course they are small.  If I am really looking for details in a certain mini, sometimes I find myself scanning it to blow it up a few times.  That might or might not mean I am getting old.

The selection of animals included is impressive.  There are dinosaurs, mammals, fossils, prehistoric man, birds, and reptiles to name a few.  My one quibble – Upper Deck seems to have checklisted this set mainly in alphabetical order.   It would have been cooler to have broken it down into subsections by the type of Natural History represented.  There would have been more related cards close together in the binder pages, and also if collectors are looking just to do one section (maybe dinosaurs), it would have been easier for them to track down.

This is the coolest Natural History mini I have pulled to date.  It just barely edges out the Sabre Toothed Cat. I’m not sure what this particular Komodo Dragon was eating, but it looks like he still has a bit to finish up before he inevitably snacks on the photographer.

Overall Grade for the Natural History Minis:  9/10. The cards look great, they are fairly plentiful in a box (1:3 packs, so you should hit 8 out of a box), but with a large enough checklist to make set building a challenge.  As I said, my one quibble is with how the set was checklisted, so I knocked it down a point.

I believe I have covered all the different portions of the product in these posts, so I will have a summary review coming up, hopefully sometime over the weekend.