A rather new player in the playing card arena, Denexa has been producing plastic playing cards for the past few years and are trying to move in to the big time with the likes of Bicycle Prestige, Kem and Copag. Can they bring a good enough game to compete? Let’s take a look at an Adventurer’s Pack produced by Denexa.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Scott Nazelrod, President of Denexa Games contacted me and asked if he could send me a deck to review. I agreed and so here we are.
The deck comes enclosed in a plastic carrying case that is relatively durable. Denexa makes no claims that it would survive being run over by a tank and I certainly don’t think it could handle that. It is however quite good for holding cards. There’s enough slack to keep the cards from binding on the edges. UPDATE: After a quick email with Scott at Denexa I was informed that the caddy was not designed by Denexa but by Chris at Narrows Hill based out of Maryland. Scott didn’t want to take credit for the design. What a stand up guy 😀
Denexa designed the case, called the “Card Caddy” to be more than just a case. When opened the two sides can be connected together to be used as a draw and discard pile case. A very interesting idea and fitting as Denexa is focusing on gaming here rather than magic and cardistry. I have to say though the case can be hard to open until you get used to it. With a little bit of working in it opens relatively easily. Something that would help would be some ridges or grips that would give fingers a bit of traction.
On to the main event. The cards. They come shrink-wrapped in plastic which is great but it can be a bit of a time to get the plastic off. The good news is that you shouldn’t have to open a new deck very often as being plastic they should last a while. Initial impression in the hands they are relatively weighty as a lot of plastic cards are. They feel good in the hands.
The finish on the cards reminds me a lot of the ACE plastic playing cards but the Deneza deck has a cushion-like finish similar to Copag but perhaps slightly more pronounced. They glide over a table surface rather nicely. The nice thing about these cards is unlike the ACE decks I mentioned above and reviewed some time ago these will not shatter when hit on their side on a hard surface. I was actually quite impressed by that. Copags and Bicycle Prestige decks seem to have a problem with shattering during that abuse.
On to the card backs. They have a relatively simple red square pattern on the back but more than appropriate for a gaming deck. The borders are thicker than I generally like but they are bordered which is good for a gaming deck. The borders do seems to be ever so slightly off in their centering and it is not quite consistent throughout the deck. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means and to a casual player it may not even be noticed.
The faces are relatively standard. The Ace of Spades has a Denexa Games logo over top a large spade that has a dragon inside the large pip. It reminds me a lot of illustrations done by Mark Stutzman (who is known for David Blaine’s cards). Well done on that. The Jokers really stand out on this deck. Put the two jokers side by side you get a dragon shooting fire at a fleeing Joker. Really nicely done. There is also a Guarantee card akin to Bicycle’s saying return the guarantee and the defective cards to the address on it and Denexa will replace them.
The court cards are unique. They are a very modern design. Straight lines and curves are present all over. A refreshing look and the words that come to mind are minimalistic and simple. I really like the design.
As most people know you can never get to excited when it comes to cardistry handling and magic with plastic cards. They usually do not excel in either category. I have to say that the cards do really good springs as plastic cards do often. In fact they are a ton of fun to spring. They do not spread or fan in the hand worth much though. On a the table they tend to spread okay. Nothing special here. I suppose for magic they could be used. The card backs are not one-way but they cannot really be modified in any real way to do some of the fancy tricks. They shuffle nicely though I couldn’t get them to farrow which again is not surprising for a plastic deck.
Overall Adventurer’s Pack from Denexa is an appealing option for the gamer out there and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone. In fact For their price they are a great alternative to Kem and Copag though perhaps stylistically not as impressive.
BACK – 6/10
FACE – 7/10
FINISH – 10/10
I guess the question comes down to whether or not to buy them. I would say they are pretty good value for what you get. On Denexa’s website they have a few options to purchase. The base Adventurer’s Pack is $13.99 USD and can be ordered in red as you see in my review or blue. You can also purchase the cards in a twin pack or a brick. Compared to Kem they are about the same cost. Copags in some cases are cheaper but not the same quality in my opinion. Neither of those brands have the great looking court cards, easy to read fonts and the dragon chasing a joker. If you are interested in trying something new I would go for it.
Thanks again to Scott at Denex Games (www.denexa.com) for sending this deck my way.