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Posted May 9, 2018 by Scott Gerhardt in Topps

The Great Base Race

So, over on Huddle they just did a very interesting contest.  I’ll give you the summary:


  • All packs in the contest were free
  • Each pack contained one white common.  1 in 10 packs contained a Solomon Thomas white common, which was the “chase” card for this contest.
  • You had one hour to open as many as you could.  Top 3 would get 1000, 2000, and 5000 gems respectively.
  • For 10, 50, or 250 of them, you could meld for a special base variant.

That’s pretty much it.  Now, I want to give my thoughts on this contest and put it into context with the same kind of contest about a week ago.  It was different in many ways, though, so let me recap that one for you here as well:

  • All packs in the contest were 500 coins

    Collect this man!

  • Each pack contained five white commons.  There were no special odds to open a Ha Ha Clinton-Dix white common, which was the “chase” card for this contest
  • You had one day to open as many as you could.  Top 3 would get 250, 500, and 1000 gems respectively.
  • There were no meld options.
  • And update to the contest made it so that instead of gems being split among people who won either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, they ended up giving out duplicate prizes to anyone on each level.  This resulted in (2) first place winners, (8) second place winners, and (14) third place winners, a total of 9,500 total gems.

First of all, I want to give my thoughts on how the two contests actually compared to each other.

  1. Honestly, the first contest had the right chase card because it was a joke.  I didn’t participate, and neither should anyone else have.  The math was really funky, you had to open on average over 80 packs just to get one card, which at 500 coins put you around 40,000 coins for one.  At 250, 500, 1000 gems, it just wasn’t worth it.  The second contest being free obviously made it fully accessible to anyone without it feeling like “gambling”, or any more so than opening packs already does.
  2. The second one having a meld option essentially gives people a “consolation prize”, which was nice for sure.
  3. Getting the whole thing done in an hour vs a day was also nice, though the first format really needed closer to a day and the second format really would have been too long over an hour.
  4. All in all, the second contest was simply superior to the first one in really every way possible.

Now, all of that said, I think the second contest does indeed need some work.  I want to give my thoughts on how it maybe could be better.

  1. Holding the contest in the noon hour (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC -7) on a Wednesday is kinda sorta not fair.  A lot of people have “real jobs” (as they call them) – the standard 9-5ish, M-F.  They couldn’t necessarily take an hour off, especially with us having less than hour notice it was going to happen.  I personally liked it as it played well for me, but I’m not necessarily their target demo.  A weekend or night would be better.
  2. I was using an iPhone 7 Plus.  I started about 10 minutes into the contest and opened 97 of them, so just under 2 per minute.  I clocked myself opening 19 packs in the last minute of the contest, which at 1:10 odds meant 1.9 per minute, which is consistent with the overall total I got.  My device was opening them about as fast as anyone really could.  Maybe on an 8 with great concentration you could push that number to 22 packs per minute opening, but for one person, one phone, that’s it.  Using those odds, over 60 minutes, that 132 that could be opened.  We’ll round up to 140 for luck factor.

    What the hell is this?!?!?

  3. Point 2 is there to show a couple things.  First, having a top meld of 250 is unrealistic.  Even with the best machine with the best concentration and getting super lucky, you’re still only opening 56% of what you need for the 250 meld.  This had led to a weird ecosystem where Solomon Thomas whites all of a sudden have actual value for people to trade over the next week.  Maybe this was the intention, but man that really screws with the economy.  Secondly, if you opened more than 140, you were cheating.  You had the app running on more than one device for sure, and very likely had an android phone scripted to open packs for you.  This is a ToS violation I’m pretty sure, so it did a good job exposing cheaters  Unfortunately, the simplistic, no-brainer nature of the contest made this easy for people to script and run.  There needs to be a way to making the contest “harder” so that you can’t just script your way through it.
  4. I’m not sure what Topps wanted to do here.  This obviously wasn’t about money – they are giving away 8,000 gems for nothing.  I don’t know if they were trying to lure cheaters out from the shadows,  or they wanted to test people’s limits, or even if it was just a stress test on their system.  I can tell you that I got a very interesting error-type screen with about 10 minutes left (that definitely cost me some time, by the way!)

Overall, I’m not mad at the contest.  Topps was giving away free money, even if I’m not necessarily the one getting any of it, which I just saw as writing the article.  The top 3 collected 109, 106, and 102 respectively, so my 97 just missed out barely.  But now I need to somehow try to pick up 138 more for the cool meld.  It likely won’t happen and I’ll just get a couple of the 50 melds.  I’ll update this later.

Thanks for the fun contest.  Clearly motivations beyond what we know of, and I know we haven’t seen the last of this, so it will be very interesting to see what they come up with next.  Until next time!

Scott Gerhardt

Scott has....thoughts. They can be about this, that, or just about anything. Seldom at a loss for words, you can find his thoughts chronicled here