The cards that started it all…

The very first decks that I saw that turned me on to collecting custom playing cards was a deck from quite a small producer. I hadn’t gone looking for playing card on Kickstarter, but a videogame producer that I follow on Twitter (Brian Fargo of InXile Games) tweeted a link to this set of cards, and when I saw the artwork I was impressed at how great they looked in comparison to the very dull and formulaic playing cards that I had in my cupboard for, y’know actually playing cards with.

As with a lot custom decks that you find out there, the Bicycle Illusionist deck comes in two colour variations (light and dark in this case). A lot of decks come in variations of red/blue or light/dark, if not more. As an example, I now have four different colour variations of Theory 11’s Monarch deck (Gold, red, green and black, with the gold being very limited in number). The colour variation tends to refer to the backs and the tuck cases only, although light/dark variants often have the face cards represented differently too.

If you haven’t handled playing cards much since you were a kid, you may well be surprised by how smooth the cards are – they often seem to float (this is down to the finish applied to the cards as part of the production process).

There a quite a few major card producers around the world, but probably the most famous is the USPCC – the United States Playing Card Company. The USPCC have a long history of producing playing cards (you can read more here), but they are most well known for the Bee and Bicycle card brands. A large proportion of the decks I started picking up have the Bicycle branding, both as a mark of quality and for the way the logo looks on the tuck boxes themselves. More recently though I decided to move away from exclusively picking up decks with Bicycle branding, purely because I didn’t want to miss out on some tremendous decks of cards with great artwork.

So to get to the main point, the very first set of decks I pledged for on Kickstarter were the Bicycle Illusionist deck (I think a couple of other decks arrived just before them, so they don’t count as the very first decks I picked up). It was a combination of both the quality of the artwork on the card backs, as well as the design on the court cards (the Jacks, Queens and Kings, and sometimes the Aces) that drove me to backing them on the crowdfunding site. The artwork for the Illusionist deck was by the American artist Megan Wyreweden.

Here are a few shots of the cards to explain what I mean…

If anyone is interested in picking up a couple of the decks, they are still available from a number of sources:

From the original designer at Lux Playing Cards

or from Amazon or eBay

They’re definitely amongst my favourite decks, and will always be special as the decks that first got me started.


~ by richiebabee on January 3, 2016.

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