This review is of the new Upper Deck CCG cards which are being distributed by McDonald's with their "Mighty Kids Meal" beginning May 24, 2002.
I stopped by a local McD's this afternoon and was able to persuade the employee to sell me a large quantity, so this review will be based on my impressions of the cards after opening 21 packs. Note, I don't yet have the Bohrok Swarm game, so I won't be addressing how these cards affect the game. I'm only looking at them from a collector's point of view.
What does it take to get the goods?
Your findings and prices may vary, but here's the situation I found. Unlike the Tohunga which were distributed with McDonald's Happy Meals, the Bionicle: The Bohrok Awake packs are coming with the Mighty Kids Meal instead. But they're not just thrown in, but glued right to the Bionicle-decorated brown paper bag that the meal comes in.
This makes getting the cards a little more difficult, since they can't sell you the cards without depleting their supply of Mighty Kids Meal packaging. I was able to procure 21 packs for the cost of $1.81 apiece after tax ($1.70 + 7% tax) -- you may find them for more or less, but the most you should pay is $2.35 plus tax, which is the cost of the least expensive Mighty Kids Meal (at least it is where I live). So I'm placing the value of these cards at about $2 per pack, which is a nice round number that should reflect what the general population will pay to get their hands on them.
What do you get?
As I mentioned above, you've got to get the bag to get the cards, so you'll get a decorated bag with plenty of Matoran glyphs to decode (plus the Matoran language key on one side), and a lot of really bad jokes. (What did the fast fry say to the slow fry? Ketchup.)
And then of course, the cards, heartily glued to the Bionicle side of the bag. Each pack has 5 cards, and quoting from the back of the wrapper, "This pack contains a random assortment of 30 Bionicle Bohrok cards (15 common and 15 foil). Each pack contains 5 cards (4 common and 1 foil). Stated odds reflect an average of the entire production run; no ratio is guaranteed to exist within an individual box or case."
I got 21 packs, and my mileage varied somewhat from that statement, but that's a good thing. First, I found more than one foil in some packs -- as many as four in one odd-ball package. But more often than not the ratio is indeed 4:1. There are 30 cards to collect, and they broke down like this:
So in 105 cards, I was only able to make one complete set of 30, and one card short of a second set. But the distribution seems to be pretty even, so all-in-all you shouldn't get too many duplicates over the course of several packs.
Also, you'll get another mini-comic with the same design as those that shipped with the Bohrok. A small card-sized folded comic glued on one side with a flap. There are three different comics to collect (Tale of the Toa, Secret of the Swarm & Into the Nest), and they're also spread out pretty well. I got 6, 7 and 8 of the comics, respectively.
Each of the three mini-comics also sports a "secret web code" which is to be used at the Bionicle website through December 31, 2002. I guess we'll see...
Here's why you choked down those nuggets, so what do they look like?
First, the the backs of the cards have two variations, depending on image orientation. The foils are vertical, and so are the backs, while the commons are horizontally aligned. Also, you can look forward to a Mighty Kids Meal logo on your card backs!
There are basically five different types of cards. First, the cards revisit our old tried & true friends, the Toa. Six of these guys in foil are among the 15:
Then you have the Bohrok cards, which are non-foil commons. Each Bohrok is represented by two different cards with different gameplay values.
Then you have the Rahi cards, also non-foil:
And finally, the cream of this crop, are the Exo-Toa and Kranohi (or Kanohi Nuva if you prefer) cards. All six Kranohi are represented, but for some reason, on 3 Exo-Toa: Exo-Pohatu, Exo-Kopaka & Exo-Lewa. These are by far the prettiest of the foil cards.
I'm quite fond of the general design of these cards, particuarly compared to the previous Bionicle CCG designs. From a collecting point of view, they'll make a wonderful addition, and I'm glad I got ahold of a set. On the downside, if you're a Bionicle follower (and if you're reading this, I'm sure you are), there's not really any new artwork here, except for the Toa & Kranohi masks. All of the Bohrok & Toa poses are ones you're familiar with by now; just framed differently on the sides.
UPDATE: Since first posting this review there's been great interest in seeing all of the Kranohi cards, so here they are:
What's it gonna cost me to get my grubby hands on a full set?
Well surely full sets of these cards will start showing up on eBay and the like, but that really takes out the element of fun in chasing the things down (at least it does for me).
At my estimate of $2 per pack, and assuming that you never get any duplication of the foil cards, and your non-foils are evenly spaced (by then you should have 60 of them), the absolute minimum you should expect to pay for collecting a full set of these yourself is $30.
Of course that's a bit optimistic, because we all know that if you're missing one card, you won't be able to luck into it with one pack to save your life! But then, that's the fun of collecting. Isn't it?
Is it worth your time, trouble & money?
This is really a decision you'll have to make for yourself. The cards are pretty, but they're no Tohunga. I'd have like to have some actual LEGO show up with this promotion (maybe an assortment of newly colored Bohrok claws, anyone?), but as it is, it's just cards, a comic, and that snazzy paper bag.
I like to collect the cards, so it's worth the money for me. If you're not a compulsive collector, you owe it to yourself to at least pick up one pack and see what you think. But if you plan on playing the upcoming Bohrok Swarm CCG, or you just like to collect all things Bionicle, then these cards will be a must-have for you.