I was able to find some 2014 Allen & Ginter at the local Target, so I picked up a value pack (3 packs plus a pack of 3 exclusive minis, which may or may not be crimped on the edges by the pack-sealing machinery) and a Blaster Box (7 packs + 1 bonus pack, also known as 8 packs).
I started out thinking I would scan all the cards from the blaster, but like Night Owl did halfway through his post, I came to the conclusion that I didn't have time for that. So I scanned six of my favorite cards from the group. Out of these, I think the best card has to be the Mike Piazza card, although I can't 100% say why I feel that way. All I know is that I pulled it from the pack and said (inside of my head), "That's probably the best-looking base card in here." Maybe it's the mustache. I thought Will Clark had a decent photo. I am pretty sure the Werth photo has been reused at least once in other Topps products. Another egregious example of a reused photo is on Didi Gregorius' card, which has been reused at least twice now. If mustaches qualify you for inclusion in the Top 6, then Buffalo Bill Cody gets in for sure. I guess most people know Felicia Day from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I know her from her web series The Guild, as well as her typically nerdy posts on her Facebook page. I will probably try to track down her auto in this set.
The Pastime's Pastimes set is a great concept, and some of the players have legitimate hobbies listed on their cards, but a large percentage of the cards I've pulled so far list philanthropy as the player's hobby. I'm not saying that philanthropy is bad, but I am saying that I would like to hear about your real hobbies. The best hobby out of this group comes from a badly outnumbered Red Sox player, Dustin Pedroia, who enjoys watching Bigfoot documentaries and wears a Sasquatch t-shirt. Now that is a hobby. I sure got a lot of Orioles in this box. The main thing the Orioles have going for them in my world is that they are probably my favorite AL East team, which I suppose is sort of damning them with faint praise.
Sometimes I think the Natural Wonder-type cards lose a little in the translation to cardboard. Lake Retba is famous for being a funky color because of salt-loving algae that turn the water pink. I think Topps could have found a better picture for it that maybe shows the water a bit more. They will airbrush an entirely new uniform onto a baseball player, but they won't add some pink to a lake?
I think the Coincidence set is retail-only, and features odd occurrences that may or may not have been accidents. Festivals and Fairs is pretty self-explanatory, as is the World's Capitals set. Running with the bulls just seems like a really stupid thing to do. Maybe I am just too risk-averse.
There are plenty of minis in this set, and they come about one per pack which isn't anything new for A & G. The Ty Cobb card is the black-bordered parallel, and I don't really like this year's black-bordered cards as much as last year's. It looks too busy by far. Larger than Life features the heroes of Tall Tales, and then there are a couple of base cards there too.
More base cards in the form of Longoria, Machado, and the Polar Vortex. Some of these are A & G back parallels, which seem to fall more often than regular base cards. Maybe the A & G back is the default this year? I don't really know. The World's Deadliest Predators card is pretty cool. That is a set I will be trying to put together.
Closing things out, I pulled a Masahiro Tanaka relic card from the blaster, which is one of the more desirable relic cards in the set. I don't have a lot of interest in it, so I tossed it up on eBay pretty quickly. It should at least cover the cost of the Blaster Box. The design on these is pretty good. I like the layout and the frame. The player picture takes up a decent amount of space and the relic with its little nameplate looks all right. I wasn't expecting to pull anything really nice out of a retail purchase, so this was a nice surprise.
Here is the back of the card. I scanned it for the auction, so I might as well put the picture on here, right? I like the design of this year's set. It's not a big departure from other A & G sets, which I guess is kind of the point. I am looking forward to Gint-a-Cuffs VI this year, and I will probably try to put together a set along with some of the inserts.