The Bicycle Titaniums and Bee [red] Stingers have arrived! The first thing I thought was ‘Wow’. These look incredible. When I first read that the Titaniums were going to be printed with metallic ink I was a little worried. As I talked about in one of my previous posts, the metallic has to be just right. If not the cards would end up to bright or not noticeably different. Theory11 did an outstanding job, yet again, and got it just right. I’ll talk more about the Titanium Bicycles in my review. The Stingers look even better in red than in black. There are also some metallic accents on the Stinger box, a nice little addition.
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Posted: April 8th, 2011
at 8:11pm by Robin Carey
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I want to start this post off by saying Thank you. Yes you, reading this right now. I’ve had an overwhelming response to the reviews in the past couple days. It’s awesome to know that the stuff I put up actually helps you guys out. That’s the whole reason I write these reviews. And if you guys ever have any suggestions, comments, or ideas feel free to say them! We’ve got a few exciting things in store for the site so stay tuned. (Maybe some contests with cool prizes?) Again, thank you guys.
There’s been a couple brand new releases this weekend and Dan and Dave as well as Theory11. The one I’m most excited about are the new Red Bee Stingers! They look incredible and I’m curious to see if the changes Theory 11 made in the stock and finish are noticeable. The first stingers were smooth and durable so if these shouldn’t disappoint. You guys can expect a review for them as soon as I get my hands on a pack.
T11 also put out another interesting deck of playing cards, Bicycle Titanium Edition. I have some reservations about these. Don’t get me wrong, they look cool from the pictures and I’m excited to see them in person. I just wonder if the metallic is going to be too subtle and go by unnoticed, just right, or too pronounced and distracting. Knowing Theory11 and the playing cards they produce I’ll bet it’s a good balance. Titanium bicycles seem like a unique looking deck, but still have the sense of familiarity for spectators. Again, check for a review soon.
Dan & Dave also had some cool new stuff up for grabs on Friday. Papercuts by Chris Hestnes Was their big project. I won’t talk to much about it here, as I did an extensive review of it a few days ago. Check that out if you have any questions about the DVD.
Their other release was some Magic-Con Swag. This including Magic-Con playing cards and the Magic Con programs. If you’re interested in the playing cards they are, sadly, sold out. The programs are still available tough. Very nice booklets with information and some effects/ideas from each presenter. I talked more about them in my Magic-Con Day One post. If you didn’t get to make it there this year, this is your only chance to get one of these.
Well, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. The swamp of new releases should keep us all busy for a while. If new playing cards aren’t enough for you then you could always check out new effects like Twitch or Eclipse. If you guys have any specific products you want reviewed or just want to talk about these, leave a comment. We love to hear what you all have to say!
Images from Theory11 and D&D
Posted: April 3rd, 2011
at 4:07pm by Robin Carey
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This is a quick review of the Magic-Con playing cards, which were available at Magic Con 2011.
NOTE: These were given out at Magic-Con and available for purchase there. As of right now there are rumors Dan and Dave will sell them on their site, but no confirmation yet.
Feel: The cards feel a lot like a good ol’ deck of Bicycles. People have said that D&D used a different, higher quality finish on these but it’s nothing extremely noticeable. The biggest defining quality when I took them out of the box was the softness. They were flexible right away, just like the first run of Erdnase decks. So they broke in extremelt quickly. From what I saw at Magic-Con and as I continue to play with them, they seem to have a bit longer of a usuable life than bikes. Alex Pandrea shared a few thoughts about his as well.
Design: Normally I review the design, Court Cards, Spot Cards, Ace of Spades, and Jokers all seperately. But for this review there’s no point; it’s all standard. The back design is the v4 & v5 Smoke and Mirrors design, but without the D&D logo. And instead of small circles, they’re small, 5 pointed stars. They look like Paper Denim with a darker shade of blue. The backs are pretty simple. I like them, but some of my friends have said “Those look boring” compared to S&M or Tally Ho’s I usually have. The picture cards and spot cards are regular bicycle style. The Ace of Spades is literally just a giant spade. Very basic, just like the backs. There weren’t any Jokers. In place of them were ad cards, one for Genii, one for Magic-Con itself, and a card with a description of Magic-Con. Sort of like a mission statement.
Box: The box follows the simplistic feel of the deck. Big Spade on the front with “Magic-Con 2011 San Diego”, and the back design along with sponsors on the back. I was glad that they actually put the year & location of the conference. It helps give them collectibility.
So here are the ratings:
If you’re a collector or just like cards, I’d say these are worth getting your hands on. They’re a piece of Magic history in a way and are one of a kind. The feel and design didn’t have the quality of Smoke & Mirrors, but then again I don’t think they were meant to. The deck was an awesome addition to the registration packet this year and a cool keepsake from the conference.
Posted: March 30th, 2011
at 12:53am by Robin Carey
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This is the first part to my review for Theory11′s newest custom cards, deckONE by Homer Liwag. These are going to be my initial thoughts and first impressions; a couple months from now I’ll write the second part. I’ll talk about how the deck feels after it’s fully broken in, how it goes in performances, and my final thoughts on it. deckONE can be purchased at Theory11 or Dan and Dave.
Feel: Theory11 never fails to impress; deckONE continues with the high-quality standard we’ve come to know and love. These cards mix durability and luxury without missing a beat. The finish is the same used on other Theory 11 decks. The fans and spreads come out smooth and even, and the cards have just enough grip as to not slide everywhere. Aerials are surprisingly good for the deck not being broken in. The cards seem thicker than the Sentinels, but not quite as thick as any Ellusionist deck. It’s a happy medium.
Design: I think Homer Liwag accomplished his goal. “”I wanted the back design to appear heavy…” he said. The back design looks like a piece of an intricate, complex machine, following along with the Industrial theme of the cards. The shades of black, gray, and white give the deck an original look, instead of another “black” custom pack. Theory 11 did a nice job of giving the deck a new look without going overboard.
Court Cards: The picture cards go along perfectly with the feel of the deck. Gone are all the gaudy oranges, yellows, and blues. They have been replaced with shades of brown and black, creating a rustic image. The cards have an almost gritty look to them, as if they are worn or worked. Definitely going to catch the eyes of spectators.
Spot cards: It’s always nice to see a more subdued red on playing cards. Just like previous custom decks, all the faces utilize a deeper red on the pips and indexes. This fits with the industrial style of the cards as well. A bright, popping-out red would have definitely clashed. The pips are all sized the same as a regular deck of Bicycles.
Ace of Spades: Hands down my favorite part of the deck. The Ace is split in half right down the middle, with what looks like a large bolt connecting the two sides. The coloring reminds me of concrete or steel. The Ace seems to be a small part of something bigger; a vital piece of the machine running around it. Even the font used for the “U.S. Playing Card Company” text has a straight-lined, factory look about it. The attention to detail on these cards is incredible.
Jokers: Most certainly not the usual style of Jokers. Just like the Ace and the back design, the picture on the jokers looks like a snap shot of the inner workings of some enormous machine. The straight edged font is used here too, and fits in seamlessly. All the little details are what really make this deck. There’s a light color fade out from the edge of the Jokers’ picture out into the white of the card, adding to the worn, factory image.
Box: In my review for the Sentinels, I said something about how good the box looks, but doesn’t actually do anything for the cards. Now I’m not sure if the T11 Staff took that comment personally, but they sure stepped up. This box doesn’t just surround the cards, it’s made to protect them. As soon as you open it, you can feel how thick the sides are and how firm the whole thing is. It’s a beast. The multi-level embossing all over the box is just the icing on the cake. The detailed ridges of the back design feel and look amazing, while the enlarged ace on the front demands attention.
So here are the ratings:
I’ve heard that these cards are going to be a limited production. If that’s the case, I definitely recommended buying a few packs while you still can. The cards have the Theory11 standard of quality, along with a well thought out and designed theme. This is one of the more “orignial” decks we’ve seen lately. And the box is just awesome. The first box that I can actually say keeps my cards safe rather than just holds them. You can buy this deck over at Dan and Dave’s Store or at Theory11. And no matter which place you buy them, you’ll be entered into a cool Holiday Contest.
After a couple weeks I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons, how the cards go with certain card tricks, and anything else that comes to mind.
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This is the first section to my review of Dan & Dave’s new playing cards, Smoke and Mirrors v5. With each of my reviews I do two parts; one when first I get the deck and then one a few months later after the cards have been completely broken in and used in live performances.
NOTE: The only place I’ve found where you can buy these cards right now is at the Smoke & Mirrors section of Brooke Michael’s Poker World, or on eBay. Both Theory11 and Dan & Dave are currently sold out.
Feel: The v5 keep the Smoke and Mirror’s level of quality going strong. The cards fan and spread extremely well, just as the v4s. No noticeable clumping at this point, but the cards are still new. Sleights and other moves feel nice and fluid, as with any quality deck. Out of the box, these handle just like the v4s. High-quality, smooth, nice finish. As with the other decks D&D produce, the v5s have a nice snap to them, and feel relatively thin.
Design: My first thought was “Thank god they’re not too bright.” When I heard that blue was the next Smoke and Mirrors color, I pictured a near sky-blue with he bright metallic ink. I shouldn’t have doubted D&D though, they came through wonderfully. The color is just right; dark enough to be visual appealing but bright enough to catch your eye. As Dan and Dave said, “Paper Denim will casually blend in to your repertoire, yet stand out from the rest.” My absolute favorite change is the switch back to a deeper red on the faces. It flows so much better than the hideous bright shade of red most playing cards use. My only complaint is the smaller pips on the cards. The hearts and spades are thinner, and the clubs and diamonds are smaller. This isn’t a big problem by any means, I just feel like the smaller the pips are the harder it is for spectators to see them.
Court Cards: The Jacks, Queens, and Kings follow the simplistic, elegant style Dan and Dave are known for. There are no clashing, overbearing colors or ornate patterns. Just a deep blues, reds, black and white. The shade of blue used definitely compliments the darker red. And the King of Clubs looks oddly familiar…
Spot Cards: The spot cards look the same as a standard deck of bicycles, except for the shade of red and the somewhat smaller pips. Other than those two things, same layout, same design, same look.
Ace of Spades: Ever since the first edition of Smoke and Mirrors, I’ve loved the ace. The details and patterns on it are incredible. The design itself has stayed the same, but instead of black it’s the blue that’s on the backs.
Jokers: The jokers continue the elegant, modern theme of the rest of the deck. The suite, tie, and top-hat make for an eye-catching card. Just like the Ace, the joker has the same design as previous Smoke and Mirrors, but is blue instead of black.
Box: Alongside the Jokers and Ace of Spades, the box design has stood strong with the Smoke and Mirrors series. The key difference is the embossed letters and design. The part of the front-side that says “playing cards” is raised up, along with the borders on the thin sides. This is just one of those little details that shows D&D’s attention to quality.
So here are the ratings:
If you have a chance to get your hands on some of these cards, go for it. They fit my performance style perfectly; the cards look refined but are not distracting. They handle extremely well, are visually appealing, and even the box feels nice. They’re perfect for the avid collector or the professional performer. Also, the deck game with a blank face card rather than the usual trend of a double backer. I was quite excited about this, as I do card tricks that actually incorporate those. One last thing I wanted to talk about was how the deck does a Faro Shuffle. Out of the box, it was horrible. The cards didn’t faro well at all. I turned the packets over and it was a little better, but a little better than horrible isn’t that great. BUT, after breaking the cards in a bit with constant springs, shuffles, etc. the deck’s ability to faro improved exponentially. So don’t let that first attempt push you away, just give ‘em some time. Version 5 Paper Denim are a another great addition to the Smoke and Mirrors line.
After a couple weeks I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons.
Images from dananddave.com
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