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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: Emperor Playing Cards (Penguin Magic) - standard & marked versions (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Reviewer EndersGame
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One of my children is an ardent admirer of penguins, to the Emperor deck was another deck that I couldn't resist picking up, given that it was inspired by the famous emperor penguin. Penguin used the services of renowned playing card designer Mark Stulzman in the making of this lovely deck.


Why a penguin? Well given that the name of the company that produced this is Penguin Magic, and that the penguin has long been a friendly mascot found throughout the site, a penguin theme was an obvious choice for a signature deck. The emperor penguin was an obvious choice in light of its iconic black and white look, and its remarkable ability to withstand the harshest conditions of winter. This flightless bird lives in Antarctica, and is famous for the long treks that it makes over the ice to breeding colonies, and the way in which parents males incubate the egg on their own for a couple of months while the females head out to sea for feeding, after which they take turns to hunt for food and to care for the chick.

The tuck box immediately puts the spotlight on our solo performer penguin, in keeping with the Penguin Magic slogan "Born to Perform". Described in the ad copy as "standing in the night sky surrounded by icy mountains", this proud performer captures everything that Penguin wants its customers to be: proud and successful performers.


The two-way backs see the return of our penguin friend from the tuck box, as part of a classically styled symmetrical design. A bold and familiar shape is the hallmark of a good design, which is evident with the figure eight pattern and hour-glass look. Yet the close observer is rewarded with many more details, not the least of which is ornate scrollwork, snowflakes, and even a line of tiny emperor penguins about to launch themselves down the ice into the water in their signature and spectacular sliding style.

While the majority of the deck features standard playing cards, there's always room for customization on a chosen few: the Ace of Spades and the Jokers. My favourite card is easily the Ace of Spades, where a giant spade pip cleverly en-captures two emperor penguins lovingly meeting their beaks in a touching act of affection. The Jokers see a small departure from the Emperor penguin theme, with the mischievous Rockhopper Penguin making a cameo appearance.


Besides the standard version of this deck, there's also a Marked Emperor deck that is available separately. These are basically the same as the standard decks, but have secret markings that enable you to identify the card just by looking at the card-backs, which also have a well-disguised one-way design. It's a coded system rather than a reader system, which means that it relies on small marks that have to be decoded as part of an easy-to-learn system, and this also ensures that it's almost certain to go undetected. As you'd expect, marked decks are a common tool used by magicians, and with these decks Penguin Magic is catering to a slightly different target market than card players or collectors.

Both decks have been printed in Taiwan by Expert Playing Card Company in their popular Classic finish. These have a slightly different feel than a typical USPCC deck, but EPCC is an industry leader renowned for printing high quality playing cards with precise registration and extremely durable card-stock.


This deck is available from Penguin Magic as a standard deck and marked deck.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: Emperor Playing Cards (Penguin Magic) - standard & marked versions (0 Likes)
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