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A multi–player experience

Panini AdrenalynXL for NBA / NHL / NFL

Digital sports card games for collectors


In January 2009, the NBA announced Panini would become the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA beginning with the 2009–10 season. In March of the same year, The Panini Group, headquartered in Modena, Italy, purchased assets of the industry’s second–oldest trading–card company, Donruss, and formed the new subsidiary, Panini America.

Panini is the world leader in collectible and trading cards. A multinational company, Panini is also one of the leading children’s magazine and book publishers in Europe, North America, and Latin America as well as a major distributor of third party licensed products including Disney and Marvel worldwide.

AdrenalynXL was a series of online multi–player trading card games. The analogue version was sold as a board game at large retailers such as Walmart and Target that encouraged fans to purchase packs of cards. Each card came with a unique serial number that when entered online, the digital version on the card would be added to the users collection.



A digital implementation of trading cards

Panini produced a sports card trading game titled AdrenalynXL with licensed versions for major sports leagues including the NBA, NFL, and NHL. Sold in large retailers throughout North America and Europe, the low cost collectors cards appeal to fans and hobbyists alike. Recognizing the future of the industry is shifting online, a version of each sports game needed to be developed not only to promote and sell the product online, but to extend it.

We had 5 weeks

Panini approached us to create a digital version of their AdrenalynXL trading card products. They already had the NBA version built by a firm in China, however it failed to meet basic functional requirements. A national TV campaign had been created promoting a contest with Kobe Bryant and a media buy had already been placed. Panini needed to get the game in working order before the campaign started and to meet customer’s expectations.


SmartFoxServer to the rescue

A51 developed a core game engine built on SmartFoxServer that facilitates game play one–on–one. Each printed card contains a serial number that can be entered into the online system and instantly recognized and catalogued in the users card collection. With registered cards, users can begin to challenge others in real–time game play.

National Hockey League
National Basketball Association
National Football League

Multiple modes

Two modes of game play were developed for each sport — Classic and Pro. Classic game play follows the rules of the game–board sold in retail outlets whereas Pro enhances the functionality for added strategy that brings game play closer to that of the real sport.

E–commerce functionality allows for real–time transactions to purchase virtual cards, real cards, and box sets.


Each game attracted up to 55,000 unique visitors a month and an average of 6,000 a day. The average time–on–site user engagement sat at just over 14 minutes. The launch of the NHL AdrenalynXL site attracted an astounding 21,000 visits on the first day. The games found a global market and were played and enjoyed worldwide.