Product Review: 2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL

Not to be outdone by their football counterpart, Panini has released their answer to Topps Attax, in the form of Adrenalyn XL. Just like Attax, Adrenalyn has another sport predecessor as Panini originally created this game concept using its NBA license.

2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby booster boxes come with 50 6-card packs for a total of 300 cards. I purchased this box from Blowout Cards for $39.99 (As usual, I added some supplies to get free shipping), which translates into a $0.13/card ratio. With a per card price identical to Topps Attax, this is another card game where the price point is just right. You once again get a fair amount of cards for not a lot of cash. In yet another parallel to Attax, you can buy a starter box that comes with 4 packs of cards, a game board with rules, a collector’s album, and 10 free virtual cards.

2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL pack
50 of these per booster box!

The Breakdown:
Base Cards: 261 (56.3% of 448-card set)
   Doubles: 9
   Rookies: 15
   Special: 25 (of 64)
   Extra: 6 (of 32)
   Extra Signatures: 6 (of 32)
   Ultimate: 2 (of 32)

2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL
Click images for full-sized scans

1st Down, Design: The first word that comes to mind when I saw this set design was “colorful.” Each card is drenched in the player’s team color which adds a lot of attractive appeal to the set. Unforunately, my second thought was “haven’t I seen this design before?” Oh, that’s right, I have. You have too. I reviewed it here. The team colors are a huge improvement upon the drab base design, and that is exactly what I was referring to when I reviewed Prestige. Unfortunately, some of the other issues with the base design stayed intact. The angled text is awkward, especially on the offensive cards. The cards are numbered, which was my biggest complain with Attax, but it is still a pain to collate a stack because the offensive and defensive cards have the identification elements on opposite sides of the cards. I do like that the card backs have different colors for offense/defense, but otherwise they are very busy. Overall, I suppose it’s not a terrible base design, but it would be nice to see Panini not just copy and paste a design for once.

2nd Down, Inserts: These were actually a pleasant surprise from this product. The various booster cards are quite attractive and really eye-catching, in a good way. They are super shiney and certainly have that “special feel” you would expect from a higher powered game card. I’m not sure what the need is for an Extra/Extra Signatures difference though. Also, the Ultimate cards, other than the faux autographs, don’t look much different than the Special cards, even though they are the rarest and most valuable. The Extra cards look the nicest with their almost Xfractor look. Maybe I am just missing something. My only real problem with the inserts is that, as you can faintly tell from the scan, they have all curled just a bit in the week or so since I’ve opened the packs. I just have the cards lined up in the original box and my central air at home has been on the fritz (although it luckily has not been terribly hot or humid since it went down), so maybe I am to blame, but none of the base cards have curled. Just an observation.

3rd Down, Collation: There really isn’t anything to complain about here. I did pull 9 duplicates without completing the entire 608-card set (I cannot figure out how Panini came up with the “560” statistic on the front of the packs), which is usually a huge detriment in my opinion. However, there are 300 cards in a box, so that is only a 3% duplicate rate. That would be the equivilent to pulling 1 dupe in a hobby box from just about any other low-to-mid shelf product. It’s not ideal, but I can live with it. I feel like I got a good mix of offensive/defensive cards, I pulled an adequate amount of inserts, and I am happy with the number of rookies that I pulled (although I doubt much of the hobby world will consider them actual rookie cards). I don’t feel terribly confident that I could compile the entire 448-card base set from just two boxes, although the stats would say I could.

4th Down, Overall Value: I’m going to have to practically copy and paste this portion from my Topps Attax review (although I guess not being original on a review of a Panini product is appropriate). If you are looking for a bargain product or are interested in the game aspect, the price is just right. At $0.13 per card, you do not have to spend very much to get a lot of cards with which to play the game. But once again, if you are a hardcore collector who crinkles his/her nose at “cheap” sets or cards that don’t feature jersey swatches or autographs, there is no way this product is for you, but at the same time, you’re not going to bother buying any packs or singles anyway. There are certainly no surprises with these card-based game sets, and that is, to an extent, a breath of fresh air.

RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL Just like Topps Attax, Panini Adrenalyn XL is exactly what it is supposed to be. It looks like a fun card game aimed directly at kids. I cannot vouche for the ease of play though because Panini did not include any rule cards in the booster box. One big perk is that each card has an online activation code that allows you to build your teams online and play against people from around the world. In a day when card collectors are becoming harder and harder to find, having that online element is a nice touch. The cards in this set are attractive and would not look out of place in your team or player collections, despite being part of a game. However, the game aspect simply doesn’t appeal to me, so I don’t feel that a touchdown is appropriate for this review. Perhaps by next year if a new version comes out I will have enough time to sit down and learn the game and will appreciate the set more, but for right now, it has to sit where it is now: a cheap entry-level product that will eventually go into team lots.

NEXT UP: 2010 Panini Rookies & Stars


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