Last year was an odd year at the end for Panini. Arguably their biggest set of the year, National Treasures Football, was released on the same day as their new high end product – Playbook. For the most part, I thought playbook was pretty underrated as a product, but for some reason, they just put it out on the wrong day.
Here are some of the bigger hits from 2011:
2011 Playbook Cam Newton Book 3 Color Patch Auto /25 – Nice simple design with silhouetted players behind game pics!
2011 Playbook Tampa Bay Bucs Six Way Auto /10 – Even multi sig cards looked good.
2011 Playbook Peyton Manning Base Auto /18 – Really liked the base design for the autos.
I liked the books with on card autographs, and I even liked most of the base autographs and relic content that was in each pack. There werent many cards that I had an aversion to, just a lot of them that didnt seem all that special. The book cards WERE really nice, but they rarely got the kind of value they probably should have. Its odd, because in 2011 National Treasures, we got photo shoot pictures on the patch autos, but in playbook, they were game action shots. That made no sense to me, and made these books more attractive. Considering how bad the RPA design was last year, these should have been more widely accepted.
This year’s Playbook has a MUCH nicer design in the base booklets, as I love the silhouette style design for the players. I would go so far as saying these books are the biggest ugrade in design across any of their brands. On the other hand, the rest of the product’s content is a complete joke. They added more on card books like this one, which is never a bad thing, but the design for this extra content makes Triple Threads look like Exquisite. Its that bad. They decided to die cut descriptive words into the booklet, many of which I only see a passive connection to the player. I never understand why people find this type of practice attractive.
Like 2011, the rest of the normal content outside the books is either incredibly forgettable, or in some cases, just ugly. With National Treasures now offering high end quality booklets at a larger rate this year, Playbook seems redundant in a lot of ways. I do really like the updates they made, as said above, but this type of planning needs to improve DRASTICALLY.
Ill be honest in saying how surprised I was to see this product back for another year, especially considering that like 2011, National Treasures is breathing down its neck on the release calendar. As a mid year product, Playbook might have legs. Not in this part of the year.