Friday, March 26, 2010

Panini Adrenalyn: The Game


I’ve got to toss out a couple of disclaimers before I start this part of my Panini Adrenalyn review.  First off, this game is designed for kids ages 6-11.  It’s been a long time since I fell in that age range.  (Paul Pierce and David Ortiz could tell you how old I am.)  Also, I spent a little over a year working at an online WWE collectible card game.  I picked up a little bit about game design during my time there just from sitting in on the design meetings.  So, that being said, here we go.

Each Adrenalyn card has two ratings on it.  There’s an offensive rating and a defensive rating.  There’s also a superstar rating, but that’s only used to settle ties.  The cards are nice and simple for younger kids.  If your offensive player’s stat is higher than the defensive player’s rating then you score two points.  If you selected one of the other player’s guards then the shot counts for three points.  You play your starting five in the first and third quarters and your bench in the second and fourth.  You can switch players from one to the other at halftime if you’d like.  I think that’s all of the rules.  It’s a slightly more complicated, better looking version of War.

That leads to my main beef with the game.  There’s no limit to the cards that you can play with.  Unlike MLB Showdown which used a point system and had a cap for your team, there’s nothing stopping you from playing with the 10 best Adrenalyn cards in the game and dominating.  I’ve never been a fan of games that favor deep pockets over strategies.  I understand that this game is being kept simple for kids, but if one friend ends up with more of the big stars or Ultimate Signature cards then the rest of their friends aren’t going to have fun anymore.  Limiting the number of superstar points you can use on a team or something like that which brought a little more strategy into the game would have been cool.  Right now this is a 300 card base set where the majority of the card would never be used.  That wouldn’t be the case if there was some sort of “salary” for the players.

Each card has a code on the back so that you can also use it in the online version of the game.  The online game is still in Beta testing and there are still bugs that pop up.  The website also allows you to trade cards and will eventually reward player as they accumulate points by playing games and entering codes.

My daughter is too young to really get into the game.  She did have fun opening the packs that we got at the Basketball Hall of Fame.  We just used the first number of each card to see who won since she doesn’t know all of the numbers up to 100 yet.  While we were playing, she declared that '”if I get a Big Baby card then I win!”  We didn’t get a Big Baby card, but we did have fun.

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