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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricks & Effects » » Draven Reviews: Antoninus Pius's Box v.2.0 (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ExoMagic
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[IMG]http://forums.theory11.com/picture.php?albumid=130&pictureid=2173[/IMG]
Effect: Antoninus Pius's Box 2.0
Artist: Anton Corrandin
Link: Antoninus Pius Version 2.0 - Trick
Retail Price: $60.00 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Notes: This is a self contained effect. You receive paper instructions detailing how the effect is to be performed, and the necessary items in order to do so with.
Includes:
1 Bag of Sand
1 Wood Carved Box
1 Reset Tool
1 Wooden Sand Scrying Tool
1 Page of Instructions (duel sided)
6 Wood Carved Tiles With Etched in Symbols

The Effect:

The magician presents a beautiful wood carved box and six wooden tiles each with a symble etched into it on one side. He explains the mystery of the legend of Antoninus and his unique way of communicating with his beloved. He then recreates the wonder by having a spectator select a tile, and amazingly enough, scratched in the sand held within the box is the symbol the spectator has chosen! The magician then offers the spectator a free selection and scry into the sand a symbol of their choice, Once done, the spectator erases the mark, but the magician still is able to know what the symbol drawn was.

Initial Reactions:

When I first got the box the effect came in I was a bit shocked at how tiny it was. For 60$ bucks I expected quite frankly a larger product. In the first picture you'll see I've placed a deck of cards up next to the box so you can get a good understanding of it's size in relation to the card box. However I was blown away with the detail and quality of the pieces contained inside. The box and tiles are antiqued to make them look older, and they are very well assembled. The hidden gimmick is also cleverly placed. The detail and images on the box and tiles are engraved, instead of being simply printed or painted on. A nice touch if you ask me. The gimmick, while well hidden, is very simple to use, and reset is fast, but not instant.

Performance:

This piece of magic is story telling magic, and will rely on your power of presentation over mastery of sleight of hand. The unique appearance of the props involved will certainly help captivate the imagination of your spectators as you spin a wild story of a legendary event from long ago. This is the kind of effect that you can spend only minutes to learn how to do, and hours researching stories and brainstorming your own applications. As usual with most magic that I buy I wasn't thrilled with the patter that comes stock with the effect. For starters it's called “Antoninus Pius's Box”. By itself that isn't a big deal for me, but when the creator of the box is named Anton I really begin to doubt that the Roman emperor referenced in the legend really existed. The legend that is supplied with the props suggests that Antoninus communicated with his beloved by scratching words into sand, and then by some magical force she'd be able to pick up special stones with words written on them to match what was written in the sand. Well if that's the case, then the tiles selected should have words written on them, not ESP symbols. Also, the legend never mentions a box of any kind, so it's a bit hard to justify the prop you're now using to perform the miracle with. I may sound like I'm knit picking at this point but when you're performing story or bizarre magic your presentation is EVERYTHING. If it's not believable then you'll disconnect with your audience, and you don't want that. Given the simplicity of the effect though, you really shouldn't have any trouble creating your own presentations, and given the poor one provided I highly recommend that you plan to do so.

On a side note the sand I received in my product likes to clump up easily making it difficult to erase the marks made in it by just shaking the box. I don't know if this is a consistent thing for all the sand in all the products purchased, or if I just happened to get the one odd one in the bunch. While I haven't tried experimenting with other types of sand for this effect as of yet, I think that if I continue using it in my act that it is something that I should explore.

Instructions:

The effect comes with a single page of instructions, with material printed on both sides. The front side details the materials you've received, discusses the legend you'll need to memorize and tell, and walks you through the necessary set up to make the effect work. The other side explains the handling and execution of the effect. After reading through the instructions I have to admit, they felt rushed. It's very obvious (judging from certain grammatical errors) that the instructions weren't originally written in English. They've been translated, and some sloppy mistakes have been made here and there. Not that it matters, you should be able to figure out how the effect is done without even touching the instructions in the first place. The instructions include two grainy black and white photos to help illustrate the important parts of the handling and presentation. I wouldn't say the instructions are a difficult read, just an annoying one at parts.

Practicality:

This effect is quite practical to be used in the working world. It does present some challenges that you need to over come though, for example the props that you'll need to use. This isn't a walk around effect, because the box would be kind of awkward to shove in a pocket, but if you are working at a table for a small audience, then it's perfect. I would be careful about presenting this on a stage unless you had some kind of video projection going for you, since the important details may be a bit hard to see from the third row on back. Whether you chose to present the effect with the patter that comes stock with the purchase, or invent your own you will need to memorize a script, but the amount of material you'll need to memorize is small so it shouldn't take long at all.

Over All Opinion:

This product is marketed as a mentalism effect by its creator, but I think it fits better into the bizarre genre of magic. I like the story aspect that this effect offers, and the props that you get are beautiful. Overall I really liked this effect, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to add a little story time to their act!

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Performance Practicality and Over all Quality.

Product Quality: 7
I loved the product. I think the wooden box, carved images, tiles supplied are well constructed, and the gimmick is well hidden. The price is also fair for what you receive.

Teaching Quality: 4
I felt the quality of the instructional pamphlet was rushed. It's obvious that it was a translation so that affords it some sympathy, but then again this is a product I'm spending money on. So I have to be critical of that. I think the difference in quality between the instructions and the actual product are noticeable.

Performance Practicality: 8
The effect is very practical. It cleans up quickly (but not instantly), and can be repeated. The outcome of the predictions aren't preset, so it can be done for the same audience twice. The gimmick is very clever. This is ideal for small stationary audiences, parlor, or small stage.

Over All Quality: 8
I think the over all quality of the product is well worth the investment. This is a piece that has the potential to stay with you for years. While it's no reputation maker, it is a fun bit to perform. Usually this score is an average of the first three, but I had to give this one a little bump. I don't feel the low quality of the instructions really should take away from the overall quality of the effect. This certainly has earned the Draven's Seal status of: Approved!

[IMG]http://forums.theory11.com/picture.php?albumid=130&pictureid=2176[/IMG]

[IMG]http://forums.theory11.com/picture.php?albumid=130&pictureid=2178[/IMG]

[IMG]http://forums.theory11.com/picture.php?albumid=130&pictureid=2177[/IMG]
MarvinSanRemo
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Fabulous review! Any chance of seeing a picture of how the sand looks in the box with a symbol drawn into it? I have looked at purchasing this for a while, as I enjoyed the story aspect of it. This is the kind of magic that would be sitting on my shelf, and it gets introduced when someone comments on it.
ExoMagic
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Afternoon MarvinSanRemo,

I have shot William Draven an email asking if this would be possible. I don't think it will be an issue. I will update you when he gets back to me Smile

Cheers,

// Edit //

FYI - If you intend on purchasing this item, we run a special on all items we review. For 24 hours after we submit the review. We offer from 20-50%. Kind of a 'special' saying that we support our products.
William Draven
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At your request, here's the image.

[img]http://forums.theory11.com/picture.php?albumid=130&pictureid=2179[/img]
Tony Iacoviello
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I have 2 questions about this "new version". Does it eliminate the noise issue that makes the original impossible to perform? Also is the part that made the original obvious and less that a sure thing to hand to a guest (without fearing that thy will discover something they should not) corrected?


Tony
Tony Iacoviello
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A few weeks ago, I read the review published here buy ExoMagic, a dealer selling this item. The review/ad was written by William Draven and made this item seem real interesting. And to tell the truth, I was unaware that a second version of this item had been released.

I had a few questions (see below:

Quote:
On 2010-06-05 14:18, Tony Iacoviello wrote:
I have 2 questions about this "new version". Does it eliminate the noise issue that makes the original impossible to perform? Also is the part that made the original obvious and less that a sure thing to hand to a guest (without fearing that thy will discover something they should not) corrected?



Not getting a reply, I bought the item.

To answer my questions (as no one else would):
Yes, the noise is eliminated as a different methodology is used for the effect.
And yes, since the method is different, the aspect that was obvious to me (although hidden) does not exist on this box. (There is no cover at all.)

The problem with the original box was that it needed to replace the “friction” aspect with a “magnetic” aspect, and all the issues it had would have gone away. The original box has many uses and is not just a one-trick-pony, the performer can identify objects placed in the box. It was/is quite clever in its function, and the method for gaining the information is very well hidden and normal looking (except for the noise issue mentioned earlier).

The new box (the one this review is on) is unoriginal in method. The parts of the item with the exception of where/what one gains the information from are well done and look great, but the information section is anything but inspired. In fact, it is quite obvious as to what it is as it does not match the rest of the product. And the required actions to access the information are much more obvious and pronounced than in the original version. Additionally, this box is essentially a one-trick-pony.

A comment was made on repeatability; the comment made in the review is misleading. In order to repeat the effect, a reset must take place, the reset is quick, but cannot be done in view of the audience. (There is no reset required with the original version, another sacrifice made with the “upgrade” to version 2.0.)

With a little bit of work, Version 2.0 can be made more deceptive, something that should have been done by the manufacturer.

On a scale on 1 to 10, I rate it a 6.


Tony
chmara
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Tucson, AZ
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Senor Eye -

Bravo for the fearless addition to the review. It is my contention that NO trick or illusion ever made does not need some adjustment and remake to make it better for an individual perfoermer's use -- but this one sounds like a work in process rather than a finished product.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
The Baldini
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What a great review, and the pictures add another great view, thank you.
goldeneye007
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Tony, this is much appreciated! Smile
I'm still thinking about getting this new version (I was recommended not to buy the first one because of the noise problem which seemed to make it impossible to perform without being burnt).
Anyway, thanks again!
Ben
William Draven
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Tony:

My deepest apologies, Your questions went completely unnoticed by me. that's my fault I dropped the ball. If you ever have any questions about a review that I've written please feel free to contact me directly at draven@exomagic.com I'm quick to reply to email.
goldeneye007
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I finally ordered the second version and just wanted to ask those of you who know both versions: is the method for for the first phase the same (the spectator choses a symbol and it is drawn on the sand)? I also wanted to know for what phase (first or second, the second being revealing what symbol the spectator has drawn) the noise was a problem.

Thanks for any help!
Ben
Martin Waring
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Quote:
On 2010-05-21 15:22, MarvinSanRemo wrote:
Fabulous review! Any chance of seeing a picture of how the sand looks in the box with a symbol drawn into it? I have looked at purchasing this for a while, as I enjoyed the story aspect of it. This is the kind of magic that would be sitting on my shelf, and it gets introduced when someone comments on it.

Version 1 of this has been sat on my shelf for a long time and has rarely come off it I'm afraid. Not one of my better purchases. Something has happened to the sand. It hasn't clumped up or anything like that but it no longer enables a clear image to be drawn in it such that it can be reliably 'read'. Lighting and angles are also a limiting factor I feel. Its a shame because it is a beautifully constructed piece of kit that looks tremendous.
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