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FANTASY RIDERS TCG – The giant invasion (Panini)


ialbum: Fantasy Riders TCG The giant invasion (Panini)

Cards: 396 (1-396) + 14 Limited Edition
Starter pack: binder + 4 packets + 6 cards limited 8,00€
Box: 24 packets (6 cards per packet) 1,50€ each
Tin box: 3 packets + 3 limited edition 5,90€
(made in 6 different colors but with the same content)
Ecoblister: 3 packets + 1 limited edition 4,50€

Fantasy Riders returns to Italy 2 years after the publication of the first series, perhaps a break of
reflection on the potential of a collection which, at the moment, has not made much of a breakthrough in the hearts of enthusiasts, although it has achieved good sales figures.

If with the first edition we were spared from the need to chase the limited editions, this time fans of the series will have to bend over backwards to get them all. The series, despite being born as a Trading Card Game or a card game in all respects, is mostly collected by lovers of card collections to complete.

The reasons for the lack of success of the game can be many: it is always very difficult to get into
TCG world without being banal and without having a consolidated brand behind it, even if not even this, see Disney Lorcana, is a guarantee of success. The game is quite basic, with attack and defense values and objects that slightly change the flow of the games.

The cards are presented with rounded edges like any self-respecting trading card game. The quality of the paper, however, does not seem to be the best: the cards are ruined even just by opening the packets, they are extremely thin and have a smooth surface. A useful tip is certainly to put them inside protective sleeves if you intend to use them for the game that Panini offers, but also if you plan to carry the album around to exchange doubles with other collectors.

The basic cards have some very fine raised features, especially noticeable against the light and the character or object featured on the card is shiny and slightly in relief compared to the rest of the card, as is the box containing the text. The silver, bronze and gold cards have a shiny holography in their respective colors while the platinum, titanium, steel and legendary have a different one.

The limited editions are those with the best quality in terms of effects on paper: they are very embossed and pleasant to the touch. The impression is that compared to other TCG cards such as Pokemon, they are more delicate and tend to bend or get damaged at the edges, despite the fact that they almost seem plasticized to the touch. It’s a shame, however, that they aren’t strong enough to protect the cards from at least the lightest impacts, a rather inexplicable choice. The last two limited editions can be found by purchasing at least one Fantasy Riders product on the Panini website and by purchasing the starter pack + tin box in comic shops. An appreciable detail because this time, emphasis is equally given to both the direct sales of the Modena company and the more (or less…) traditional retail ones. Obviously a solution less appreciated by the wallets of parents and collectors.

The space dedicated to the artwork is adequate, on each card there is the name, the game values and a brief description of the character as well as the effect that the card possibly has on the game. Precisely for this reason, more captivating artwork could have made the difference for some more demanding collectors, however in terms of graphics Panini proves that it has not put much effort into it: all the images are in CGI, with a single style, without the designer’s name on the paper.

The cards are divided into tribes and each tribe has a personalized back: the backs are very beautiful and detailed, with many references to the tribe to which they belong, often the back of the cards is preferable to the front. Compared to the previous collection, 5 new tribes have been added. Despite this the
variety of cards is a bit disappointing, although logical: each tribe includes 18 cards with 4 repeating subjects: two riders and two creatures in micro, medius and mega versions, which follow the characters throughout their growth and rider with his creature always in the three previously mentioned versions.

The addition of the wanderers allows for more variety given that there are 18 creatures, each present with the 3 versions mentioned previously, while for the new tribes there are 6 subjects. On a gaming level it can be interesting given that this new series can go to integrate the first, forming mixed game decks, but from a collecting point of view it could be monotonous.

Ultimately, Fantasy Riders is a product suitable for those who want to play or collect a card game
collectibles affordable on an economic level, this is certainly a merit given the price difference for example with Pokemon (€1.50 versus €6.00 per packet) without the pretense of having among the
artwork hands of who knows which designers.

In the end it’s a bit like having a board game with the added pleasure and fun of opening the packets to form the game deck and collect all the cards. In defiance of the Holy Grail of the Panini Brothers (the real ones who wrote “a Panini collection is always completed”) it is not possible to request missing cards, including cards of different rarities such as TCGs.

Considering that the only basis that this fantastic world has is the guide associated with the starter pack, of around fifty pages, it is difficult to have many expectations.




album: Brawl Stars (Diramix)

stickers: 192 (1-192)

starter pack: album + 2 packets 3,99€

box: 30 packets (5 stickers per packet) 1,00€ each

Diramix is ​​one of our favorite publishers, more than once they know how to choose brands that may seem unlikely to older people, but in reality have an incredible fan base. This is what happened with the Stumble Guys card collection and even more so with that of Brawl Stars. The mythical video game characters are much better known than certain footballers.

The classic edition with the stickers arrives on newsstands, a sign that the publisher wants to try to do an encore, hopefully leading to good results. The card version was rather limited in content, the sticker album clearly must have a different approach.

We are certainly biased but it is extremely more fun, especially for those who know little about Brawl Stars. The first page of the album immediately makes things clear, helping you choose the best Brawler, who can take hits, run at high speed, have a powerful attack or all at the same time.

Page after page there are many characters to get to know or recognise, perhaps too many, but this helps make the album even more evocative to complete. The pages are occasionally interspersed with small, nice moments of leisure to interact with the characters of the video game.

Appreciable when publishers are committed to making the collections more dynamic and varied, in this case Diramix presents both special and shaped but also mini stickers which, be careful, are not in pairs but are numbered separately. Particular choice, also considering the cost of the packet we would have thought of a different option with possibly large reverse stickers that contained two separate ones inside. In this way the total collection would also have a smaller number of stickers instead of the 192.

Considering the very high competition on newsstands, an album of around 160 stickers would have been less scary. Maybe to adults, but children will go crazy for their videogame favorites and perhaps the success of this collection will be the forerunner to also have the Stumble Guys in a collection of stickers.


STUMBLE GUYS – Stumble invasion (Diramix)


album: Stumble Guys: stumble invasion (Diramix)

cardS: 174 (1-162, M1-M12)

starter pack: album + 1 packet 7,90€

box: 20 packets (5 cards per packet) 2,00€ each

box Mythic Edition: (10 cards per packet) 5,00€ each

The world of stickers, of cards in this case, is much more varied and dynamic than you might think. Especially in Italy we think that everything revolves around football but in reality and luckily we add there is so much more. There are other collections that perhaps don’t have all that hype, sometimes created artificially, but in reality they have their following of enthusiasts.

This is the case of Stumble Guys, thanks to the review of the previous album we received messages from many places, with requests for material even from South America, trying to help where and as long as we could. The proof that it was a successful album is not only this new collection, but its editorial approach and proposal.

Diramix takes a step forward, perhaps risky, perhaps not, the collectors will decide. In addition to the 162 cards of the basic set, here is the novelty of the 12 Mythic cards, to be found in the special packs. It is certainly not easy or cheap to complete the collection but we must point out some interesting details, which bring quality and interest.

The binder has pages printed with numbers 1-9, 10-18 and so on up to 154-162. It’s a detail but we like these details. Above all, the insert adds quality and particularity, we like the choice. A cardboard insert where the 12 special cards can be inserted, in some way also allows collectors to make a choice, in some way it is an extra set external to the basic binder.

Was Diramix right? In such complicated times even the cost of the sachets leaves its mark and the collection costs above average. But now the difference is no longer made by quantity or value, but by the choice of theme and characters. In this case, perhaps the reason is on the Stumble Guys’ side.



album: Super Mario TCG (Panini)

cards: 252 (1-252)

starter pack: binder + 3 packets + 2 cards limited edition 9,90€

box: 18 packets (8 cards per packet) 2,99€ each

value pack: 24 cards 8,50€

Mario forever! Maybe the most loved videogame of all time, certainly one of the few that has been able to renew itself and always involve new and old fans. Not to mention that it has become cartoons, toys and much more merchandising.

Many years have passed since the legendary Panini album, almost 30 years. Back in 1993 they were classic stickers, now they have become card. Mario, Luigi and all the other characters are always them, not aged at all.

We are preparing an article that you will find in the coming days on our site, where we ask ourselves what future lies ahead, from our point of view, for our beloved stickers. Starting from the consideration of the settings of the new collections and the increasingly high cost of the packets. An important cost also in the case of Super Mario but an argument must be made. Staying at Panini and taking the World Cup Qatar 2022 album as an example, 5 ultra-light low-quality stickers at a cost of 1 euro. Here we find 8 good quality cards, also beautiful to look at, at a cost of 3 euros. If we have to “scream scandal”, the main problem is not the cost of this collection.

Another important consideration is the graphics work which in this case seems very good to us. What often makes us angry with Panini is when .. he doesn’t make Panini. There are important details that must be emphasized and appreciated. We refer to the insert attached to the binder where the collection is presented in an attractive and comprehensive way. This also helps to encourage you to continue shopping, other publishers limit themselves to a trivial check-list of the cards, wrongly.

In the insert we find the first pages dedicated to all the characters of the videogame, large images with brief characteristics of the good and the bad. Do you remember them all? There are the super classics and also the most recent ones: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, Daisy, Toad, Birdo, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Bowser and Bowser jr, Wario, Waluigi. Good and bad, monsters and princesses, all together!

The series consists of 252 cards, an important but not overflowing number, which allows you not to leave the possibility of completing the collection only to the dream. After the disasters of Fortnite (first series with practically 1/3 of the unobtainable cards), after the impossibility of ordering the missing Fantasy Riders, after the senseless series of Captain Tsubasa by Tomy, here it seems we can go back to the classic. Back when in Modena they boasted the famous phrase “a Panini collection is always completed”. Maybe not the limited editions, maybe not special or out-of-number variants, but, as you read in the insert, the great hope is that later you will be able to buy the missing cards on the Panini website.

We use once again the well-made insert to present the collection, consisting of 180 basic and 72 special cards. From 1 to 36 rundown on the characters, first in their image that we know well, then with a close-up as if they had fun taking selfies with the phone.

We hope you like Yoshi, Toad and Toadette or you will have problems with cards from 37 to 54, here you really find all the colors. The graphics are cartoonish, like modern video games. Following a real invasion of enemy cards, if you know the game an invitation to recognize and remember them all. There are 54 cards, from Birdo to Stordino. Shy Type our favorite.

The collection continues with 18 group cards (with the characters put together, both the good ones and the bad ones), as much object and to follow the gold and silver ones. Nice gold cards where our heroes (or anti-heroes ..) come out of a porthole, or try (Donkey Kong would hardly pass with his head!), The silver cards instead must be observed with care, do not settle for the image printed on the guide, the silver wall shows brick by brick many different familiar faces of the Mario Bros universe.

Over the years Mario has become a protagonist in the world of video games, including sports, making him play football, tennis, drive racing cars and much more. Could they be missing from this collection? Obviously not, from the large number of sports represented in the 36 cards, let’s say we are at the Nintendo Olympic Games.

From cartoon to comic, the 27 cards from 217 to 243 are drawings, a parallel but equally functional way for the world of Super Mario. The graphic layout, apparently simpler, actually allows you to give life to the characters in a really effective way.

Grand finale with the puzzle page where, after completing the 9 cards, we can enjoy a nice overall picture with Mario, Luigi and many others who almost seem to want to greet us, until the next opportunity at least. This solution is always welcome, in the Frozen album we had several puzzles and if you wanted you could also make the same choice here to create more than one, perhaps limiting some other parts of the collection.

Indeed, we dare to think that one day it would be cool to have a whole collection of just puzzles. Maybe double, to be enjoyed both on the front and on the back. About the back of the cards, mention for the choice to characterize them based on the type. We like the details and we like to point them out, it is a single strip of different color (silver card, sport card, enemy card, etc.) but it is functional, as well as having the card number on the back. The 9 puzzle cards on the back instead reveal the complete image, more than an improvised spoiler it seems to us an even stronger push to find them all.

Less than two months from our annual ranking of the best albums by category released between December 2021 and the end of November 2022, at the moment we can already anticipate what the card album of the year will be, except for sensational and unexpected news. A deliberate choice, it is not linked to the fear that otherwise Donkey Kong may come knocking on our door!




album: Fantasy Riders TCG (Panini)

cards: 396 (1-396)

starter pack: binder + 4 packets 8,00€

packets: 6 cards 1,50€ (box of 24 packets)

tin box : 50 cards 11,99€

metal box : 2 packets 5,00€

The Fantasy Riders world also arrives in Italian shops, after the great success in Spain and in other countries. We are in a period of great market linked to trading cards, fans are always looking for new games, they are not satisfied only with the classics, however always at the top of the sales, such as Pokemon or Magic.

The fact that it arrives later in Italy is yet another counter-proof that, unlike those who think and believe, the Italian market is not Panini’s main one, also applies to classic sticker albums such as those of the World Cup.

If we analyze the product from sticker collectors it seems to us very well done, the graphics are pleasant, the quality of the cards good, suitable for the game, resistant. They have prominent parts and above all, compared to other Panini productions, they are well aware of the importance of variety.

Important collection, having almost 400 cards. Suitable for game lovers, therefore without possibly the need to find them all. For the base game you need about forty cards. At the same time suitable for classic sticker collectors, with clear numbering on the front of the cards. An interesting detail is the back of the cards, not simply repeated but divided for the nine tribes, so that they are more easily recognizable.

Of course, the genre is fantasy, so he winks at Magic, hoping not to say a heresy, in terms of quality, they seem superior to us. Many specials, with different levels of rarity, from bronze to titanium. Six types of cards: heroes, creatures, riders, objects, places and spells.

We showed the collection to card players, invited them to play a game and tell us more. The substantial guide inside the binder is useful for knowing how the story is set up, a bit poor on the structure of the game, for that you need to try.

If in Spain they have reached the third edition, it means that the product works. A large company like Panini is right to try to enter directly into a very active market such as that of trading card games; we hope the search for the various numbers for those wishing to complete the collection will not be as complicated as with the collection of Captain Tsubasa by Tomy, where the numbers in the packets are always repeated. But also in terms of card quality, we are on another planet.

Long live the king!