Retro based products have become a staple in the calendars of every single sport over the last few years, especially as many collectors like to relive the nostalgia of the past. Sets like Allen and Ginter led the way, bringing diverse subjects and themes to a very monotone release schedule that had taken hold in the mid 2000s. Since that time, each company has tried to model a product after Ginter, with Goodwin Champions from UD and Golden Age from Panini trying to capture the glory had by one of baseball's biggest products.
However, without a license, its almost impossible to make the sets on a comparable level. In the case of both of these copy cat versions of Ginter, they just look incomplete for the most part:
Here are the ones from Golden Age:
Goodwin Champions does have its moments, with unique relics and memorabilia to make the set worth checking out. Added content in Art and Sketch cards are also pretty nice, but will only appeal to select people. However, rather than using their CLC license to produce autographs and player content, we are left with confusion and ugliness.
Golden age from Panini is just bad from top to bottom, and has been each time it is released. Full of odd color schemes and poorly conceived design work, the cards have never measured up to the big boys. Not only do I not like the themes of each non-sport subset, but they look like they were designed by amateurs. Not a good way to match up against the best mixed genre modern set of all time from Topps.
I have to give it to Upper Deck, as they are definitely trying to exist minus a league license in three of the biggest sports out there. Some of the cards from Goodwin have been surprisingly valuable, which speaks to their creativity in the face of some of the adversity they have faced. Panini on the other hand has some issues that I just dont understand. Hopefully they can see the disgust that most of us have felt for a long time.