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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: Novelty decks (Disruption, Christmas, Views) (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 and magic, and colourful and creative decks for the cardist or collector. In the current set of reviews I'm focusing more on some novelty decks and unusual titles that will especially appeal to collectors, as well as some of the cheaper decks that PCD has available.

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*** NOVELTY DECKS ***

I must admit that I'm a real sucker for decks that look highly unusual, and have a great amount of novelty. Admittedly, not many of these are the kinds of decks that would quickly make it to the paper table, although many of them are certainly functional and playable. But the prime appeal of these kinds of playing cards is to the collector, that appreciates the unusual elements that decks like these bring to the table. Here are some prime examples.

Disruption deck

To begin the unusual, let's start with something truly off kilter, namely the Disruption deck.

This is a deck that immediately takes us offguard and away from the familiar due to its unusual design, which is a deliberate distortion of all that we've taken for granted in the world of playing cards, much like looking in a fun hall of mirrors. The tuck box immediately gives us an impression that all is not right, because we have an intentionally blurry image of an oversized Spade pip, which looks as if its inked on wet glass, with paint running in different directions.

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Courtesy of designer Johnny Wham, the card backs greet us with a sense of playfulness and colour, with vibrant curved geometric shapes merged together to create a colourful whole that is pleasant to look at.

But our sense of order is quickly thrown out of the window once we examine the signature Ace of Spades, which looks like it is struggling to emerge out of some waterlogged paint, and is twisting itself inside out.

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The court cards are similarly shaking in their boots, with faces and figures distorted at unusual angles, with dashes of watercolour emerging from their edges.

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Even the indices cannot escape the distortion treatment. The pips on the number cards have also suffered the effects of a minor artistic earthquake, and repose on the cards in a variety of shapes, sizes, and angles, in what can only be described as a "beautiful mess".

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As for the Jokers, these guys have always been the fun-loving characters in the bunch, but in the case of the Distortion deck, they have really become the life of a most unusual party! A double backer and a empty King of Spades bring our dynamic friends to a team of 54.

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Despite all the jumbled mess that makes up this deck, there seems to be some order to all the chaos. Not least, the quality of the cards themselves is more than satisfactory, because USPCC has come to the party with their usual quality air cushion finish, to make sure that nobody is disappointed with the handling or durability.

This is a marvellously entertaining deck that despite all the mumbo jumbo, remains functional and usable, and is a delight to the eyes and the heart.

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Christmas deck

After our sense of decorum and order has been totally shot to pieces with the Distortion deck, fortunately someone has come along and put all the pieces together again. The warmth of the Christmas season rarely fails to put everyone in a good mood, and Natalia Silva's beautiful Christmas deck arrives to help us with some holiday cheer that will keep us smiling all year round.

I've been a long time fan of Natalia Silva's beautiful folk art style, inspired by traditional Russian art, which has led to several stunning decks. This deck is a result of a collaboration with Penguin Magic, which is acknowledged on the side of the tuck box. This collaboration produced a popular Christmas deck in 2015, and given the huge success of the project, a new deck was created at the end of 2017, which is the one featured here.

The tuck box greets us on the flaps with a "Happy Holidays", and of course the name of the deck: Christmas Playing Cards. Any deck that has a Christmas tree on the front is fairly obviously themed around the annual gift-giving holiday. But not every Christmas tree has a waving Santa on one side and a blushing beanie-wearing penguin on the other!

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The back design continues the emphasis of seasonal imagery, with a red and white design with a central snowflake pattern, surrounded by a myriad of other beautiful snowflakes.

Each of the Aces features an oversized pip, adorned with a snowflake design and holly, and a Christmas stocking.

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The colour scheme is exactly what you'd expect: a dark green accompanied with a Christmas red.

This deck is full of whimsical and playful images, with Santa, snowmen, reindeer, and penguins all making an obligatory appearance somewhere or other.

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But while this deck features 54 unique designs, all different from one another, there is a real sense of order and pattern, with each value depicting one theme. For example, all the Kings depict Santa, all the Jacks depict snowmen, all the sixes depict penguins, and so on.

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Some of the images also use transformational pips, such as the Six of Spades, in which the pips have been turned into fish. On other cards the diamonds have become streamers or Christmas lights, and the clubs have turned into musical notes or Christmas trees. The creativity here is a real delight to look at and enjoy.

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The two Jokers form a diptych that combines to depict Santa's reindeer pulling his sleigh, closely accompanied with fun-loving penguins.

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Two bonus cards are included, both double backers, one with red, and the other with red/green.

Once again USPCC received an invitation to the Christmas party, and they haven't disappointed us, with a beautiful air cushion finish that will ensure that we're happy handling these cards both on Christmas Day and indeed every day of the year.

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Views deck

Is your mind ready to be blown? These cards might not quite blow your mind, but they are very likely to twist it into some very weird shapes with its super trippy and yet awesome design. These is the stunning Views deck.

These cards are in a box that itself shows how this deck is full of illusions. You can see the name of the deck (Views Playing Cards) in gold and white hot-stamped letters, but the word Views is broken up into pieces, thus contributing to an optical illusion, with everything jumping around in your vision.

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The real optical illusion here, however, is the black background with white dots all over the box. Small shades of a mint green near the dots creates strange patterns in one’s eyes, and looks very confusing and yet very cool!

This deck has been designed from scratch by Yves Krähenbühl, who has done an amazing job on the deck. The back design is a bordered design with the same illusion as on the tuck box, with a black background featuring white dots and a mint green touch. This creates a deliberately confusing look, forcing your your eyes to see various patterns that jump around as you look at the cards, and is especially effective as the cards are moved about.

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The Ace of spades is customised to have a spade with red, white, mint green and gold around it, matching the colours of the court cards. The name Views is also beneath the spade.

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The courts have been customised to a simple style, with gold pantone metallic ink, and yet are very recognisable and practical, while the gold ensures a rich and memorable look.

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The faces are entirely custom, with unique pips and indices. The indices feature a relatively thin font, yet are very readable and usable.

The pips have been slightly customised, and the Clubs and Spades have a circle at the base rather than a triangle, which is a really cool touch.

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The two Jokers are the heads of jokers, and seem to almost be mocking the viewer of the deck for having to deal with the confusing nature of this deck.

Included with the deck is also a double backer and a blank faced card for the magicians out there.

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The cards have been printed by the USPCC on a crushed Bee stock, meaning they are softer than standard Bee decks, but are still quite snappy and durable. They are also traditionally cut, which aids faro shuffling and other gambling moves.

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You will find that these cards catch the attention of anyone who sees them, and they are great for magicians, cardists and collectors. They do work for card games too, but you just might find your head starting to spin after looking at them too long!

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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:
- Novelty decks: Disruption ($13.99), Christmas ($11.99), Views ($17.99)
- Transformation decks: Wild ($9.99), Busy Bears ($9.99), Newtropolis ($8.99)
- Unusual decks: Coca-Cola Clear Plastic ($7.99), $100 Bill - Foil ($7.99)
- Cheap decks (under $5): Texas Star ($4.99), Stargazer ($4.99)

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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: Novelty decks (Disruption, Christmas, Views) (0 Likes)
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