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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Pictorial Review: Nouveau Bijoux Playing Cards (Bona Fide) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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*** BONA FIDE PLAYING CARDS ***

The folks at Bona Fide Playing Cards have turned to Latin for their name Bona Fide, which literally means "in good faith", and so "genuine, real, sincere." Based in Spain, this creative team describes themselves as "We are a young and creative Spain based group devoted to the design of unique and original Playing Cards and accessories intended for all interested parties. We put great effort and interest in every single detail because we value the meaning behind an intricate and unique design." Their Nouveau Playing Cards were chosen as the United Cardists annual deck for 2016, and have an art-style that reflects the Art Nouveau style of 19th century France, while the court cards feature elements that go back to the original French playing cards.

But now the Nouveau series continues with a sequel, that consists of a pair of independent designs. Nouveau Bijoux has a jewelry inspired design, the word bijoux being French for "jewelry". The companion Nouveau Perle has the same jewelry inspired design, but in pearl colour. So let's find out more about these bona fide beautiful French-styled cards from Spain!

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*** NOUVEAU BIJOUX PLAYING CARDS ***

These two decks in the Nouveau series are the Bijoux, or jewelry, decks. Like the original pair of decks from Bona Fide Playing Cards, this is a set of two decks that have a matching design to each other, but in different colours.

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These decks continue the main ideas of the original Nouveau design, but takes the original concept in a somewhat new direction, with the design now inspired by Art Nouveau jewelry. As Karin explains the theme: "Unlike Nouveau Playing Cards, BIJOUX adds an extra touch to this inspiration with a design that reminds us of the intricate nouveau jewelry. With a redesigned tuck, back, aces, pips and significant changes on the courts, BIJOUX brings the jewelry feel with each and every card. "

The Bijoux deck is the main deck, while the Perle (= pearl) deck simply has a different colour scheme. Both decks come with custom seals and exquisite looking tuck boxes.

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NOUVEAU BIJOUX

The Nouveau Bijoux deck is the main deck, and green and yellow are the dominant colours on the ornately decorated tuck box.

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The colour scheme is reminiscent of the original Nouveau deck, but the elaborate design on both the card backs and the Aces is entirely different and original.

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Once again the court cards reflect the same historical and mythological characters depicted in the original Nouveau deck, which go back to the figures believed to be used for the creation of the first decks of French playing cards in Rouen during the 16th century.

But in the Bijoux deck, these characters have been given a white look that makes them look like actual sculptures! Also the background is no longer a tiled mosaic, but a lattice in a gold colour that matches the artwork including the colour used for the pips.

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The pips have an extra degree of ornamentation, to give them a jewelled look in keeping with the theme. They look like jewels set delicately in gold by a master craftsman!

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While this adds an extra degree of sophistication, this jewelled ornamentation does also make it somewhat harder to distinguish the suits, especially the clubs and spades.

The two main colours in the this deck are a turquoise green and a burgundy red. Notice also how the Joker is quite different from the previous two Nouveau decks.

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Here's a look at the entire deck:

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The Nouveau Bijoux deck has very pleasing aesthetics, and stands well apart as an independent design from the Nouveau decks that have preceded it, with the additional ornamentation that is produced by the Art Nouveau jewelry inspiring the design.

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The colour theme is reminiscent of the original Nouveau deck, but in the Nouveau Bijoux, it certainly results in an entirely different look, due to the different design.

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NOUVEAU PERLE

The Nouveau Perle deck is clearly indebted to its Bijoux sibling for its good looks.

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But unlike the Nouveau and Bourgogne pair, which are simply differently coloured twins, the Bijoux and Perle pairing don't just change the colours of the artwork, but of the background as well, with a deep ocean blue now being used.

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This has the interesting effect of emphasizing the white sculptured look of the court cards even more!

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Here's a look at some number cards, with their ornately decorated pips.

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By having a somewhat minimalist colour palette, the details feel even more stark, sophisticated and stylish.

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And the use of blue for the card faces and backs results in a whole new look.

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Out of the entire series, this deck's colour choices make it feel the most unique, with a very artistic look that reminds one of white sculptures and frosted ornamental glass. It produces a cold, delicate, and thoroughly beautiful look!

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*** CONCLUSIONS ***

THE FOUR SEASONS

Solid series: I really appreciate how all the decks reviewed above fit together as part of a larger series. These decks complement each other very nicely as a set. Yet there is also considerable variety, with the Bijoux card backs having a very different design from the original Nouveau card backs; similarly the Perle deck distinguishes itself very strongly from the Bijoux deck by using blue card backs and faces, creating a very different look within the parameters of the same design.

It might not be the designer's intention, but in my view the four decks of the Nouveau series beautifully capture something of all four seasons, one deck corresponding to each. The original Nouveau deck is most colourful, with court cards in bright red and blue, and represents the hot days of Summer, with a blazing sun above a blue ocean. Then with Nouveau Bourgogne, the there's a transition from Summer to Autumn/Fall, with the leaves changing colour and turning red/brown. Nouveau Perle represents the cold of Winter, and a world of snow and ice. Then with Nouveau Bijoux, Spring arrives, and while there's still some winter white, some spring greens start to appear. This seasonal approach is certainly one way to look at and appreciate these four decks!

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And here's another look at the four seasons of Nouveau, journeying with card backs from Summer (Nouveau), to Fall (Bougogne), to Winter (Perle), to Spring (Bijoux)!

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MY THOUGHTS

Classy tuck boxes: The tuck box is your first point of contact with a new deck of playing cards, so it needs to make a positive impression. While I like all the tuck boxes in the Nouveau series, I especially love the Neouveau Bourgogne tuck box. The intricate detail of the circular design really comes to life with the gold foil, and the combination of gold and burgundy looks immediately stylish. It's a very elegant and classy look, that is finished with a lovely gold coloured seal, for a beautiful appearance all round. All the tuck boxes in this serious do a good job of making an immediate introduction to the delicate Art Nouveau style within.

Traditional characters: I like the sense of historical connection that this deck has with the French-style playing cards from the 16th century, particularly the influence this has had on the court cards. While the exact choices used in the Nouveau might be the subject of debate, the historic roots of the drawings are clearly obvious, and this ensures that these decks have a classic feel that fits within a long tradition. I especially appreciate how the designer has turned to actual sculptures and period artwork where possible, to determine the shape and styles of the characters featured on the court cards, which adds an additional degree of authenticity.

Art Nouveau style: The 19th century Art Nouveau style is one that works very well for this deck. It ensures a consistent approach, in which designer Karin Yan has make an independent design, but still one that is rooted in a very well established and proven style. My favourite cards are probably the beautiful and ornate Aces, which are encircled with an exquisite mosaic styled design; I'm also very partial to the French styled Jokers from the original two decks, which really add character to the deck. I also love the tiled backgrounds used for the court cards in the original two decks. There's a lot to love about the Art Nouveau style!

French love: The two main influences of this deck both originate in France: firstly the characters chosen date back to the original and early French playing cards, and secondly the art style is firmly in the Art Nouveau tradition which was popular in France in the late 19th century. This ensures that both the subject material and the artistic mode of expressing this material have some unified idea that brings them together, in this case, origins in France.

Elegant colour combinations: It can be a mistake to overdo the number of colours used in a deck of cards, especially if the artwork is intricate and detailed. The complex patterns and designs that are a prominent feature of this deck require a relatively simple colour scheme in order to maximize their effect. I love the colour choices used for these decks, i.e. the burgundy and gold of the Bourgogne deck, the green and gold of the Bijoux deck, and the blue/green and white of the Perle deck. And instead of stark black and red for the suit colours, the decks use green/gold and burgundy/pink, which are non-standard colours but fit well with the colour combinations used for the artwork. The colour choices are simple and striking, complementing each other, while at the same time drawing attention to the lovely artwork.

Jewelry inspired artwork: I like the new direction that the Bijoux deck takes the Nouveau series. The use of white figures for the court cards gives a sculptured feel which works very well, and looks especially stunning against the dark blue background of the Perle deck. The Perle deck has a wintry look, produced by the stark white along with a cool green and maroon. The only disadvantage with the jewelled ornamentation of the pips is that it is much more difficult to distinguish the different suits (e.g. spades vs clubs) at a quick glance, unfortunately making these latter two decks less practical to use for gaming.

Recognized designs: Producing a United Cardists deck is a real honour. The two decks that Bona Fide produced for United Cardists in 2016 are a fitting design that represents something of what the site is about, and is a stylish tribute. Karin Yan has the unique distinction of being the first female designer to contributed a United Cardists deck.

Quality cards: Expert Playing Cards is one of the industry leaders in the world of modern playing cards, and the cards produced in their factory in Taiwan are known to be among the best in the business. I particularly appreciate the very clean cut of their cards, which is easily superior to industry giant USPCC. Bona Fide has opted to use the Master Finish for all these decks, which is a card-stock that feels thin, but proves very snappy and is extremely durable. It handles and shuffles very smoothly and neatly, and is among the best finish you'll find.

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RECOMMENDATION

Latin? French? Spanish? These are beautiful decks no matter what language you speak! Clearly these playing cards have been produced as a result of a genuine (= bona fide) passion for playing cards, for their history, and for art.

The Nouveau Playing Cards from Bona Fide Playing Cards are a wonderful tribute to the origin of playing cards, as well as a wonderful contribution to the world of custom decks. Looking for some genuinely beautiful playing cards? These ones are Bona Fide indeed!

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Want to learn more? Bona Fide Playing Cards: www.bonafideplayingcards.com

Direct links for the decks featured in this review:
- Nouveau Playing Cards (sold out)
- Nouveau Bourgogne Playing Cards
- Nouveau Bijoux Playing Cards
- Nouveau Perle Playing Cards

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
EndersGame
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Reviewer EndersGame
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Note that my separate review covering the first two decks (Nouveau, and Nouveau Bourgogne), which preceded the two reviewed above, can be found here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......c=647381

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
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