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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: PCD co-produced decks (Freedom, Opulent) (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 also a number of decks that have been produced by Will Roya and PlayingCardDecks with the help of crowdfunding.

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*** PCD CO-PRODUCED DECKS ***

Besides the above mentioned titles, PlayingCardDecks.com has also collaborated in the production of several other decks of playing cards. In some instances this involvement has been a matter of giving financial backing to a project, in other instances it has been taking care of the fulfilment. Examples include the Alice in Wonderland deck and the Runic Royalty deck which I have previously reviewed here. In this section I'll cover two newer decks that have hit the market, that were co-produced with PlayingCardDecks.com.

Freedom deck

I'll be upfront from the outset. This is one of my favourite decks that PCD has been involved with. The Freedom Deck makes an immediate impression with a very classy looking tuck box, with a deep black being the prominent colour. On this inky black canvas there's some ornate borders, and of course the name being the focal point with elegant lettering: Freedom Playing Cards. On the sides there's some Latin text, including the word Libertas, meaning "freedom".

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The thematic idea behind this deck is about being bold, because there are no restrictions with freedom. The Freedom deck is a project by artist Bryan Nirattisai and Enliven Magic Entertainment, and these cards reflect something of his thinking as an artist, to use his words "Basically, I do whatever I want to do." In other words: Freedom.

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One of the most striking features of this deck is the stunning design of the card backs. There's a strong circular shape, which is emphasized by the details that are part of the artwork, and this central element is given a sense of motion by two feather shapes on opposite sides. The simple black and white colour scheme emphasizes the shapes, and accentuates the details.

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The court cards have a uniform style that is reminiscent of a paper cutting technique, with all the characters depicted in a simple and stark black sillhouette. The red suits are still distinguished from the black suits by means of red pips, but the courts themselves are all jet black. It looks amazing!

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Speaking of the pips, each of these has some small decorative white lines within the pips themselves, which can only be appreciated with the naked eye and won't really show up in photos due to the intricate detail, but it all adds to the feel of customization. The pips and indices are all quite small, but this does have the advantage of making fans that display all the numbers and suits very easy to do.

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Further customization comes in the form of an elegant Ace of Spades, which includes the thematic "Freedom" designation below it.

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And there's two custom Jokers, which are identical, and each feature a two-way design. Two basic gaff cards are included as a bonus, one a blank card, the other a double backer.

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This deck was printed by USPCC in their usual embossed air cushion style finish, for quality and smooth handling - and these cards do handle beautifully. They look very sophisticated and stylish, and will be equally at home in the hands of a collector, a cardist, a magician, or a card player.

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Opulent deck

The Opulent deck is more of an artistic deck, and was created by George Williamson with the assistance of PCD and artist Jennifer Bennett. The word opulent is synonymous with extravagant, and that epitomizes what George wanted to pack into this creative deck.

Our admiration begins with the luxurious looking tuck box, which features the gold and blue colours that are synonymous with this deck, and has an individually numbered seal.

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The design of the exquisite card backs is based on the interior ceiling design of the Dome of St Aubins, a church in Belgium. It's also worth mentioning that all of the Aces are patterned after the style of the Ace of Spades, with highly detailed and oversized pips.

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While the courts clearly are based on traditional designs, they have been given a very original look, with the help of ornate details and lavish artwork that adds to the overall feel of opulence that this deck is intended to evoke. Despite the extravagant detail, the lines are bold, and the shapes are clear, so there is an immediate sense of the familiar. Yet the overall look conveys the sense of an exquisitely crafted woodcut, which is amplified with the use of a very simple colour scheme.

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All the cards are framed with a highly patterned background that goes all the way to the borders, while an oval shape in the middle ensures that the decorative pips stand out in sharp relief to the background, and are immediately noticeable, while still rewarding the attentive observer with lots of intricate detail.

The indices continue the theme of sophisticated detail combined with practical clarity, and are immediately recognizable and easily identifiable. My only concern is that while the use of single colour for all the suits is a good choice artistically, it does make the traditionally red and black suits more difficult to distinguish at a glance.

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The two Jokers can be used to reveal a selection of the 6 of Clubs, and it's details like this that magicians especially appreciate. The two gaff cards included are a double backer and a double faced Jack of Hearts and Three of Clubs. One subtle easter egg that many will miss is a bar code reveal, which cleverly features the Four of Spades.

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Printing of this deck was done by USPCC, an industry leader that has once again not disappointed, with consistent printing and nicely embossed cards that handle smoothly and pleasantly.

Other decks

Many other decks that PCD has been involved in are in the process of being released soon, including Knights Bicycle, Monster Bicycle (May), Strigiformes Owl Bicycle, an ARCCO 2018 Reprint, and the Royal Vortex (the first anniversary deck).

Coming up soon on Kickstarter is a strong line-up of many decks: Ancient Warriors (2 Deck Set), Armageddon Bicycle, Mushrooms (2 Deck Set), Ghoul Guys, Cyber Punk Bicyle, and Lady Bug (2 Deck Set). So there's plenty more in store in the new future!

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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:
- 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 co-produced decks (Freedom, Opulent) (0 Likes)
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