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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: PCD produced decks (Chicken, Friendly Felines, The Guard) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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Playing Cards for an Anniversary Celebration

In this review series, I'm featuring a number of decks I recently received as part of my first ever order from PlayingCardDecks.com (which I'll mostly refer to as PCD in this article). And because PlayingCardDecks is currently celebrating their first anniversary, from 24 - 30 April you can get 20% off everything on their website using the coupon code "YEAR1" at check out. They have 10,000s of decks in stock, with over 1500 different decks as part of their range. In my reviews so far I've covered many decks that were highly suited for card games or card magic, whereas in the current set of reviews I'm focusing more on artistic that will appeal to collectors, colourful decks will appeal to cardists, and specifically in this article, a number of decks that have been produced by Will Roya and PlayingCardDecks with the help of crowdfunding.

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*** PCD PRODUCED DECKS ***

Will Roya is very ambitious. Not only has he commenced an online sales platform and business - which alone is an enormous undertaking. But his passion for playing cards is such that he also has been involved in producing playing cards himself, with the help of crowdfunding. Anyone who has been involved in Kickstarter knows that doing this requires huge commitment and effort. Somehow, Will has successfully been able to run his business, and simultaneously succeed in producing several playing card projects. I don't know how he does it - perhaps part of his magic background included experience with juggling, and keeping multiple balls in the air at the same time? Whatever the case, in this section I'll cover several decks that Will Roya has produced himself under the banner of PlayingCardDecks.com.

Chicken deck

Our adventure in the PCD produced decks begins in the same place where Will Roya's did: by heading to the chicken coop. His very first ever Kickstarter project was for this charming and playful deck, entitled Chicken Playing Cards.

This entertaining deck was designed by artist Susan Krupp, and features a chicken theme that is evident already from the brightly coloured tuck box, which has an oversized spade pip with intricate artwork featuring a colourful feather.

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The light blue colour of the tuck box is the feature colour throughout the deck, with the card backs and faces also employing this colour - a wise move so that reversed cards don't clash with the overall colour scheme.

The highlight of this deck has to be the delightful court cards, which feature our fowled friends in all manner of exalted poses. These are really well done, and real pleasure to study and enjoy.

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But the superb qualities of the court cards have carried over to the number cards as well, with detailed artwork forming a background panel to the pips, which are heavily customized with brightly coloured feather-inspired artwork, similar in style to what was evident on the back of the tuck box.

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The indices are given their own white oval-shaped backgrounds - unquestionably egg shaped - which helps set them apart from the rest of the artwork, and also ensures that they are very clear and usable. Despite the heavy customization of this deck, this ensures that the cards can easily and quickly be recognized when fanned, and so they are still very practical, and ideal for card games.

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The Aces are among my favourite cards as well, with a gigantic pip matching the suit, featuring colourful feather-inspired interior decorating.

The card backs have a very whimsical design, with what appears to be three mischievous roosters playing a game of poker. I only wish that the canvas of standard playing cards had larger dimensions, enabling us to appreciate and admire better the beautiful detail here!

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The deck also comes with two humorous matching Joker foxes, one having an empty cage, and the other having an identical cage with a young chick inside, giving magicians potential for some fun with colour changes. Magicians will also like the 8 of clubs reveal on the Jokers, as well as the fact that the tuck box also has an Ace of Spades reveal on the flaps. Since this is a quality USPCC produced deck, it also comes with two extra cards, one being a third Joker, the other being a double backer.

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While the practical indices ensure that this can be used for playing card games, and even for some card magic, this deck will especially be appreciated by collectors.

Friendly Felines deck

With some experience under his belt, including another project that he collaborated with, Will's next project continued his love for spirited and lively decks, by producing the cute Friendly Felines deck.

This deck has humorously been described as "the cat's meow"! The tuck box immediately introduces us to one of the cat characters that populate this deck. It also has a numbered seal (featuring a paw print), and a two of spades reveal on the inside flap.

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I can't say enough good things about the borderless back design. The ornate artwork really emphasizes the two cats that are silhouetted as the key feature, and the full bleed design looks stunning in spreads and when handling. My only concern is that the style doesn't seem to entirely fit with the artwork style employed by the face of the cards, but there's no doubt that these card backs look truly spectacular.

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But the real appeal of this deck lies in the court cards, which depict various cats that are dressed for success. Each suit depicts cats from a different region as follows (listed here in order of Jack, Queen, King, and Ace):
- Hearts (Europe): Scottish Cat, Russian Blue, Tuxedo Cat, Lynx
- Spades (America: Bengal Cat, Rag-doll Cat, Calico Cat, Cougar
- Diamonds (Asia): Black Cat, Persian Cat, Himalaya Cat, Tiger
- Clubs (Africa): Chausie, Abyssinian Cat, Egyptian Mau, Cheetah

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The card faces have a vintage style appearance, that looks great and works well with the artwork, while the pips are clearly customized, and the indices are clear.

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I like the fact that the Aces have been given their own identity, with heavily stylized artwork that on the one hand matches the court cards, and yet is clearly distinct from them in that they feature the great cats of the wild: Lynx, Cougar, Tiger, and Cheetah.

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The Jokers add more cat characters to the mix, with a Lion (the only cat with a mane), and a Sphinx (an unuxual hairless breed).

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Two extra gaff cards give possibilities for magical effects involving transformations and vanishing, with two extra Ace of Diamonds, one with an alternate cat character, and the other with a blank area where the cat character would normally be. Once again the printer of choice is USPCC, to ensure high quality, durability, and smooth handling. Collectors will especially enjoy this deck, but the fact that it has very clear indices also ensures that this deck can also work just fine for card games or in the hands of a magician.

The Guard deck

Next up is The Guard deck, which was originally conceived as a luxury set of two companion decks, one in Slade and the other in Oak. The Oak deck was available exclusively through Kickstarter, while the Slade deck is the one that is still available, and is what I am featuring in this review.

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This stylish deck was designed by Polish artist Artur Rajch, and is described as a "retro classic vintage inspired design for the modern player, collector, cardist or magician."

The court cards are clearly inspired by traditional designs, and yet are a very fresh take on the standard courts.

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Especially noteworthy are the dual tones used for the pips, with two shades used for the over-sized custom pips on the cards themselves, as well as in the indices.

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All the Aces have a heavily customized look, not just the Ace of Spades. The card backs have an ornate design that offers detail for those who inspect it closely, and yet doesn't distract too much when the deck is being used.

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Two very playful Jokers round out the main deck, with artwork that has a clear link to traditional jesters, while still giving a very fresh feel.

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The deck also comes with two gaff cards, a double backer that can be used for a colour changing deck effect, and a blank faced card. Magicians will also be able to make use of the 7 of Spades reveal on the flap of the tuck box.

With quality printing from USPCC, this deck handles smoothly, while the cards themselves are a very crisp and pleasing looking white. It's extremely functional, despite the amount of customization, and would be ideal for use in Poker games or other card games, or for use in magic.


Recommendation

So is PlayingCardDecks.com something for you? I won't repeat the more detailed conclusions I included in my initial article. But I can say that if you're looking a high quality deck of playing cards, PCD is definitely a terrific online retailer to check out, based on my own very positive experience. And getting 20% off with their anniversary sale that is running from 24-30 April (use the coupon code "YEAR1"), now is a great time to discover this site. Happy first anniversary Will Roya!

There's a great range of creative and high quality playing cards, the decks featured above being good examples, and I'm pleased to recommend them. Whether you're looking for decks suitable for card games, card magic, or card flourishing, you're sure to find something that fits the bill at PCD. If you're like me, you'll appreciate having a quality deck of playing cards in your hands, and I'm happy to report that the playing cards I've been able to showcase here have not disappointed.

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Want to learn more? Check out PlayingCardDecks.com
- Online Store: playingcarddecks.com (use code "YEAR1" to get a 20% discount site-wide during the first anniversary sale 24th to 30th April 2018)
- Related links: Blog, Kickstarter projects, Loyalty Rewards Program, Pip Box Club
- Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Direct links for the decks featured in this review series:
- Artistic decks: Masterpieces ($8.99), KADAR ($18.99)
- Cardistry decks: Cardistry Fanning - White Edition ($10.99), Binary ($9.99)
- PCD produced decks: Chicken ($12.99), Friendly Felines ($12.99), The Guard ($12.99)
- PCD co-produced decks: Alice in Wonderland ($14.99), Runic Royalty ($19.99), Freedom ($9.99), Opulent ($11.99)

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: PCD produced decks (Chicken, Friendly Felines, The Guard) (0 Likes)
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