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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: Mondrian Broadway Playing Cards (Got Magic) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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More Playing Cards from Murphy's Magic

Murphy's Magic is a wholesale magic dealer that was formed by Mark Murphy in 1998. They have an enormous range of magic products which they sell in bulk quantities to magic dealers around the world, and they have a huge network of contacts in the retail industry. Their website is a terrific resource with tons of information about their products, which include all things magical: magic kits, magic tricks, card tricks, DVDs, books, gags & jokes, puzzles, juggling, playing cards, accessories, and more.

But given my love for playing card games, performing card magic, and collecting card decks, what really interests me is the fact that Murphy's Magic also produces their own playing cards. They have developed and produced multiple decks of playing cards over the years. In this article, I'll be covering four of their newest releases, all of which are available from Murphy's Magic dealers and retailers that sell magic supplies or custom playing cards. Besides the colourful and artistic Mondrian Broadway Playing Cards and Untitled Playing Cards, there's the thoughtful Infinitas Playing Cards, and the latest version of the very popular Cherry Casino Playing Cards (Tahoe Blue).

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Mondrian Broadway Playing Cards

I'm no artist. But I do have family members, relatives, and friends who are artists, both professional and amateur; over the years I've seen a lot of art, and I've even learned to appreciate and enjoy it. So it won't come as a surprise that I also love artistic playing cards, especially decks that feature vibrant colours and striking patterns.

The Mondrian Broadway Playing Cards pay tribute to painter Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), and this particular deck is based on a Mondrian work entitled "Broadway Boogie Woogie" (1943). By turning to the world of real art, and drawing inspiration from the works of a famous abstract artist, we end up with a colourful and playful deck that is ideally suited to card flourishing.

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But first, a word about Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. A a well known abstract artist with a very distinct and recognizable style, he was renowned for his influential grid-based style of work. This typically consisted of abstract compositions with straight lines and coloured rectangles, much like what we see on the tuck box of this deck. Produced in Paris in the 1920s, Mondrian's style had a big influence on European painting, and even founded an artistic movement called De Stijl.

After a previous Mondrian deck inspired by the artist's more common compositions, Got Magic's founder Nicholas Earl has now teamed up with designer Yves Krähenbühl to produce another deck directly based on Mondrian's familiar style. The tuck box features a genuinely wrap-around piece of Mondrian art, with four eye-catching primary colours in Pantone. To add to the sense of artistry and authenticity, it incorporates Mondrian's signature in silver foil. The interior of the box is also decorated with a silver foil pattern based on the Broadway artwork that encases the entire tuck.

You can see Mondrian's original "Broadway Boogie Woogie" painting displayed in a museum here. His penultimate work, it expresses his fascination with New York, especially the lively beat and melody of American jazz, such as the Boogie Woogie.

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The museum where this piece is housed describes it as follows: "These atomized bands of stuttering chromatic pulses, interrupted by light gray, create paths across the canvas suggesting the city's grid, the movement of traffic, and blinking electric lights, as well as the rhythms of jazz." And to think that now you can carry around this intellectual and artistic brilliance in a deck of playing cards!

It's no surprise that the cards themselves have artwork on the back that matches the artistic design on the tuck box. It is typical Mondrian, with simple colours, straight lines, and connected rectangular shapes.

The geometric forms, lines, and colours, of the main Broadway design have also determined the shape and style of the creative and artistic Ace of Spades.

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The court cards retain the traditional artwork of standard playing cards, but the colour scheme has been altered to match the rest of the deck, using the primary colours that were a common feature of Mondrian's work.

Those who have the first deck in the Mondrian series will notice that the majority of the face cards have not changed from the original. With both decks, I especially like how the typically garish colours of the courts are maximized rather than toned down, to give a uniform set of colours on both the card faces and backs. This makes the deck particularly well suited for cardistry cuts and flourishes that showcase both sides of the cards, because the faces and backs work in tandem rather than against each other.

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The rectangular yellow lines of the main pattern are interspersed with a series of coloured squares, and this particularly lends itself to the production of striking fans and spreads.

I'm sure even Mondrian himself would have appreciated the impressive look generated by a fan!

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The number cards are entirely standard, making this a very practical and functional deck. Meanwhile the two Jokers reprise the fashionable lady in a cocktail dress who first made her appearance in the original deck, except that her dress pattern now features the design from the Broadway card backs. One Joker is in colour, while the other is in black and white.

Two extra cards are also included, namely a double backer and a blank card.

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As you'd expect, this deck is particularly at home in the hands of skilled hands of a cardist, since it is especially suited to card flourishing, due to the ease in which it produces beautiful fans and spreads, courtesy of the bold and colourful Mondrian patterns that decorate the cards.

Fortunately for the non-cardists among us, it is also practical and familiar enough to be equally at home in the hands of a magician performing card magic, or on the card table for some hands of your favourite game.

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The stylish patterns and colours of the Mondrian Broadway deck are matched by quality printing. Produced by USPCC on their crushed Bee stock, this deck is an all round top notch product that has good handling and durability to match its colourful good looks. While remaining a vibrant and faithful tribute to a true legend in the world of art, it not only makes a welcome contribution from the perspective of art, but will be appreciated and enjoyed by anyone who enjoys fine playing cards.

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Conclusions

Usable: Many custom playing cards that are published are especially geared towards collectors, and end up remaining in shrink-wrap or collecting dust. That's not what you'll find happening with these decks from Murphy's Magic, because it's obvious that these are decks of playing cards that are designed to be used. Whether in the hands of a cardist, magician, or card gamer, these decks are definitely created with the idea of people using them and playing with them. Not only do they look beautiful, but they are also very functional. Even though they all have some degree of customization, it is not to the point that the cards are rendered unplayable or unrecognizable to the average person.

Magician-friendly: Some of these decks are especially ideal for use by magicians. That's evident by the fact that additional cards for use as gaffs have been included with the several decks, such as the Cherry Casino Playing Cards. The pips on this deck in particular have a hint of customization with metallic ink for the maroon colours, which adds enough to make the deck look sophisticated, yet without making the entire deck totally customized and unfamiliar.

Cardistry-friendly: Some of these decks are especially ideal for use by card flourishers. The bright colours and inspiring designs of the Mondrian Broadway deck and Untitled deck will immediately grab the attention of cardists, who will see its potential for all kinds of flourishes, with the possibility these offer to create hynoptic moves. The styles of these decks that lends themselves particularly well for cardistry. While traditional pips and colours could distract from the movement of the card faces, these decks have card faces that promote and accentuate flourishes due to their creative design.

Wide range: One thing I also appreciate about decks created by Murphys Magic is the wide range of diverse styles they offer. Some of their playing cards offer a high degree of customization while remaining fully playable and usable for card magic, while others are geared completely to cardistry, and yet others again are more traditional and conservative in style. If there's a style you're looking for or that suits your needs, they're almost certain to have something that will work for you, given the wide selection of decks they've created and that they offer.

Card quality: All the decks I've seen from Murphy's Magic have all been of good quality. The playing cards of all the decks featured in this review are printed by United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), who have earned a solid reputation as an industry leader through producing cards under their Bicycle brand. Their cards are consistently of solid quality, and feature excellent handling, due to their air cushion style embossing and magic finish/coating. As a result they handle smoothly, shuffle well, and work well for spreads and fans.

Affordable: With a recommended retail price of around US$10-15, these decks are not only practical, but they're also in a reasonable price range that makes them a more attractive for people looking for a customized deck that handles well.

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Recommendation

So are any of these decks of playing cards for you? If you're looking for practical playing cards that you can actually use for playing card games, performing card magic, or for card flourishing, you'll almost certainly find something that fits the bill. With good looks and good handling, these decks continue the solid contribution that Murphy's Magic has made to the custom playing card market, and I am happy to recommend them.

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The decks reviewed above are all available at your favourite Murphy’s Magic retailer. Want to learn more? Murphy's Magic: www.murphysmagic.com

Here are direct links for all the decks featured in this review series:
- Cherry Casino (Tahoe Blue): http://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=60952
- Mondrian Broadway http://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=60904
- Infinitas: http://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=61421
- Untitled: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=62213
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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
Kaws
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Loved the first Mondrian more, anyone know if those still available.
EndersGame
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Quote:
On Jun 2, 2020, Kaws wrote:
Loved the first Mondrian more, anyone know if those still available.

The original Mondrian deck did look terrific, yes.

It's out of stock from most retailers, but it should be available from private sellers on the secondary market.

Have you tried eBay? Alternatively, try asking on the Playing Card Market over on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/PlayingCardsMarket

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
Kaws
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Ok thanks, I will try and let you know if I am successful.


Thanks again.
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