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Topic: Pictorial Review: Legends PCC - Emerald finish decks
Message: Posted by: EndersGame (Jun 27, 2017 05:42AM)

I've previously introduced [b][url=www.legendsplayingcards.com]Legends Playing Card Company[/url][/b] (LPCC), a publisher of very high quality playing cards. Along with the United States Playing Card Company, they have to be considered as one of the industry leaders in producing custom playing cards, and the decks of playing cards they produce arguably even surpasses the quality of their more well-known and larger rival. The human legend behind these legendary playing cards is Lawrence Sullivan, an American magician based in Hong Kong, who after a successful career as a magician went on to establish the Legends Playing Card Company in 2013, which he created as his answer to the frustration experienced with many "premium" brands of playing cards, many of which were poorly cut and sub-par quality. He's committed to quality in design, details, paper, finish, and manufacturing, using a proven factory in Taiwan to bring his vision to reality. The [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/collections/playing-cards]playing cards[/url] available from the Legends website features decks that are nothing short of spectacular quality.

The four main finishes that prospective clients of LPCC can select from are Diamond finish, Classic finish, Elite finish, and Emerald finish. Legends also works closely with Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC). The two companies even share use of the same factory in Taiwan, with EPCC offering the same finishes as the first three just mentioned but under different names: Master finish (=Diamond), Classic finish (=Classic), and Damask finish (=Elite). In an earlier [url=https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1766932]feature[/url] on Legends, I especially covered decks featuring the Diamond and Classic finishes, since these account for a large percentage of the decks they produce. But the other two options available, Elite and Emerald finish, are good alternatives that creators of custom playing cards can opt for as well. In this review series, I am covering decks using these different finishes, to see how they compare. And if you don't care about different finishes, no problem, this is a review for you as well, because I'll show you what several decks of cards look like, which may be of interest to you. So let's start cracking open some shrink-wrap and get busy opening some decks!


* * * [b]EMERALD FINISH DECKS[/b] * * *

[b]HONG KONG[/b]

The [b][url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/hong-kong-playing-cards]Hong Kong deck[/url][/b] is the result of a collaboration between SCAD and Legends Playing Card Company, and was only released a month or two ago.


To discover the origin of this unusual deck, we need to pay a visit to SCAD (The Savannah College of Art and Design), an accredited university with campuses in the USA, France, and Hong Kong. Designers from SCAD were given a three day challenge to create a deck of playing cards that embodies the culture and/or history of Hong Kong.

Pictured here is Lawrence Sullivan from Legends, along with some of the challenge participants.


The winners of this "LEGENDS x SCAD design challenge" were Adrienne Valdes and Corinne Caro. Valdes and Caro created this deck featuring illustrations of Hong Kong cuisine and culture, as well as landmarks. Here's how they describe their goal:

"[i]We came up with the concept of the cuisine of Hong Kong because for us, itís one of the best things about Hong Kong! When we started studying in Hong Kong, the street food, the dim sum, and the many dishes of Hong Kong really made us love this vibrant country more! We created many thumbnails regarding the layout of the cards, but what we really loved most is the imagery of the chopsticks picking up up the various food. A lot of meals are meant for sharing, so we loved the idea that we could convey that thought through the pairs of chopsticks in each card. Lots of card games are also meant to be played with a large group of people, so it all matched together nicely![/i]"

The card-backs feature a beautiful Hong Kong skyscape.


Most of the cards picture food, but the court cards picture various people eating the food that is pictured elsewhere in the same suit, with a backdrop provided by Hong Kong buildings and landmarks.


Each of the suits does have a separate theme. As you can see with the Hearts here, all the characters pictured on the card are eating the food from the wooden pails pictured on the Ace and on the number cards. As for the number cards, instead of using traditional pips, these feature servings of food corresponding to the number.


This deck celebrates the culinary diversity and delights of Hong Kong food by featuring its variety on the number cards, while the court card characters get to enjoy this food. In the case of the Spades, it's various items wrapped in a paper bag.


The Clubs all feature items on skewers, while the Diamonds all feature items on plates, as shown here.


The Jokers are full art cards, and convey a further aspect of Hong Kong culture.


As well as being available online, this deck was also released at various retail outlets throughout Hong Kong and Asia, including Hong Kong's International Airport - look for display boxes like this!


Perhaps my favourite thing about this deck is the fact that the back design is a borderless design, with several lines and colours running right to the edges of the cards. This makes it ideal for cardistry - with borders like this, it looks terrific when doing spreads and fans.


The deck was created with Legends Emerald Finish. Unlike the other three main finishes used by Legends (Diamond Finish, Classic Finish, and Elite Finish), which are all printed in their factory in Taiwan, decks with their Emerald Finish are printed by a factory in China. The Emerald Finish cards are quite thin, and have a texture and thickness that most reminds me of the Diamond Finish - but more on that later in the concluding section.


The [b][url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/porcelain]Porcelain deck[/url][/b] (Chinese Zodiac edition), was another collaborative project between Legends and SCAD.


Designed and illustrated by Shann Larsson, this deck has two main influences: traditional Chinese blue and white ceramics, and the twelve animals of Chinese astrology. Modern Scandinavian porcelain also played a role in shaping the look of the design, particularly the deck's geometric and organic forms.


To get the effect of traditional blue and white Chinese ceramics from the 14th century, spot UV varnish was used on parts of the card backs and tuck box to accent the colours. This technique was pioneered and popularized by MPC, and is a feature of their Impressions series that I reviewed [url=https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1755336]here[/url]. It adds both depth and gloss to the artwork, and creates visual and tactile elements that would otherwise be absent. Having experimented with this technique, Legends now makes it available to their customers, and this deck is a fine example of it being done right.


The tuck box features the same artwork as used for some of the cards: the animal featured on the King of Hearts is on the front, and the Queen of Spades is on the back. The box also has a custom seal, and spot UV varnish helps accentuate details of the artwork.


The second major influence in this deck's design is the Chinese Zodiac. Each of the dozen court cards features a different animal from the zodiac, with illustrations that were first hand painted in watercolor, and then digitally refined on the edges to combine elements of both traditional and modern design.


The red suits are clearly distinguished with an exotic looking gold, which has extra lustre and depth due to the beautiful visual effect that is produced by spot UV varnishing.


Meanwhile stylish custom pips are employed for the number cards, like the Spades here.


This shot of an uncut sheet gives an overview of the entire deck, which shows clearly that despite the prominence of blue and white, the touch of gold adds a luxurious royal feel throughout the deck.


The combination of colours really works well! It really is a beautiful meeting of traditional artwork with modern design!


Only 1000 of these lovely decks were produced, and they've only just been released to the public, so they may quickly sell out!

* * * [b]CONCLUSIONS[/b] * * *

All four finishes have their own advantages and benefits. They are all excellent quality, but they do handle and feel differently. To begin with, I should mention that the word "finish" doesn't technically refer to the coating applied to a card at the end of the printing process (which is usually the same coating for all the different Legends finishes), but to the texture of the card's surface, and the style and depth of embossing. Both the Classic and Elite finishes have a thicker paper stock, while the Diamond and Emerald finishes have a thinner and stiffer paper-stock, that has more of a snap when springing the cards. The Classic finish feels most similar to a USPCC produced Bicycle deck, and while the Elite finish is quite similar, it has a different and deeper embossing pattern and a more papery feel. The Diamond and Emerald finishes can take some getting used to if you're familiar only with Bicycle decks, but they will grow on you over time, and are far more durable than an average USPCC deck.

Legends Playing Card Company is an industry leader, and in my opinion the crisp cut of their cards is clearly superior to and cleaner than the cut of a USPCC produced deck. The cards are consistently printed accurately and crisply. Furthermore, Legends is also renowned for the amazing tuck boxes they produce, which typically feature innovative design, and luxurious and classy enhancements like embossing and foil accents. Other features like gold foil stamping on the back of cards and UV spot printing are also evident in what they make, so there's a diverse range of options that creators of playing cards can capitalize on.

I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Legends Playing Card Company as a printer of choice for creating a project for a custom deck of playing cards, and also for purchasing a range of quality decks. They produce very high quality cards, and the playing cards available on their website include a diverse selection to choose from. Lawrence Sullivan is a man absolutely committed to the very highest quality possible, and the results speak for themselves. Legendary playing cards indeed!


[i]Want to learn more? [/i]
[b]Legends Playing Card Company[/b]: www.legendsplayingcards.com
[b]Playing Card Online Store[/b]: www.legendsplayingcards.com/collections/playing-cards

Direct links for the decks featured in this review series:
[b]Classic Finish[/b]: [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/knowledge]Knowledge Playing Cards[/url], [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/luxx-greille]LUXX Greille Playing Cards[/url]
[b]Elite Finish[/b]: [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/luxx-palme]LUXX Palme Playing Cards[/url], [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/leonardo]Leonardo Playing Cards[/url], [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/cultura]Cultura Playing Cards[/url]
[b]Emerald Finish[/b]: [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/hong-kong-playing-cards]Hong Kong Playing Cards[/url], [url=https://legendsplayingcards.com/products/porcelain]Porcelain Playing Cards[/url]