This month has been one with the most number of playing cards projects on Kickstarter in the past year. While writing this, there are more than 50 current projects dedicated to playing cards. Some articles have been talking about the health of this platform on regards to card projects, and it is clear that this is one of the best moments for deck creators to fund them.
Nevertheless, this explosion has a double edge. Many cool projects with fantastic designs and high quality standards are having difficulties to be funded. Partly because the goals are obviously high, but also because there are many projects going on. This is the only explanation for some of these projects finishing unfairly unfunded.
Even though I have restricted it to projects I find interesting mostly due to the design, the list is still huge. Therefore, I will try to talk about them with a short description and all the data interesting for actual and potential backers. I have ordered them according its end date, so it will be easier to guess their funding future.
Creator: Lotrek (Half Moon Playing Cards) and United Cardists
Ends: July 7th, 2014 | Printer: not just a printer
Although already funded and even sold out, a special mention goes for this deck because this is something unique. The creator of Venexiana and Grotesque, Lotrek, decided to make something everyone told him it was impossible to do: use real gold foil in cards. Using an almost handcrafted technique, he has been able to create the first deck with hot stamped gold foil backs. In spite of the high price compared to a regular deck ($100) the 100 decks (of the 212 created) offered through Kickstarter were sold out in hours. This is not only a deck, but a piece of art and a true collector item.
Lotrek used the Venexiana deck faces with metallic inks to complete this amazing deck. Three different workshops, each one specialized in a stage of the process, have been involved in the production. It is just breathtaking.
Creator: Will Pitney
Ends: July 8th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
Inspired on wildlife and hand drawn illustrated using vintage inspired techniques to give the cards a particular and unique aspect, this deck pays tribute to the nature and the animals on it. Each suit is dedicated to a group of animals and two different decks have been designed in order to cope with the diversity of the species. The original edition features woodland creatures and the Predator edition highlight nature’s hunters.
Printed by the USPCC, the tuck case uses the old “Expert Back” Bicycle logo to fit with the vintage aspect of the set. Unfortunately, the project is not funded yet so it need a high impulse for the very last days. The deck and the design deserve to be funded.
PLUGGED NICKEL Playing Cards
Creator: Matt Drake (Vixentor Games)
Ends: July 11th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
This is the second time Matt has tried to fund this deck. He has explored many options after the last failed campaign, and has also improved the designs and the way he handled the project. He thought about printing the deck with another company but after receiving some feedback from the community he decided to go on with the USPCC again, under Bicycle license.
The deck mixes two themes: old west and skeletons. It shows an interesting set of court cards with imagery related to both themes in a stunning and disturbing final effect. There will be two editions, Wanted Poster and Rusted Tin, with similar designs but a completely different aspect.
This deck is also unfunded yet, but with one week left there are still opportunities to get there. I hope it does.
LOST WAX Playing Cards
Creator: Olutade Abidoye
Ends: July 18th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
This deck is inspired on Benin Empire culture and its royal figures. Illustrations are elegant and although the first inspiration was purely aesthetic, the story behind this deck comprises symbols of culture, tradition, and even politics.
This is a clear example of a nice deck, with a fantastic design and great quality, but a few possibilities to be funded, probably due to the high funding goal and also to the poor communication with the backers (no updated since it was launched).
INTERLACE Playing Cards
Creator: Christian Sas
Ends: July 19th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) and Legend Playing Cards Company (LPCC)
An intricately woven design is the basis for this deck. The concept is original and the result is beautiful. It is a deck for playing, collecting, and also for handling in magic routines. Furthermore, this campaign has something special. The creator has designed two decks that will be printed by two different companies. I talked about this in a world beyond USPCC and I think it is a great idea to have the same design printed using two different processes, stocks and finishes. That will make people learn much more about the exact differences between them.
The funding goal of this campaign is high and the progress till now is not as good as expected. I hope it gets better soon.
COAT OF ARMS Playing Cards
Creator: Justin Froyd (Jamm Pakd Cards)
Ends: July 19th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
The inspiration for this deck comes from the coat of arms and all the elements usually present on them. Instead of the classic poker court cards, these decks depicts coat of arms with a fresh and beautiful style.
The deck is completely customized and there will be two editions: the Coat of Arms deck and the limited Dark Ages deck, in black and with metallic inked and embossed tuck case.
MADE Playing Cards
Creator: Scott King
Ends: July23th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
This is another huge and fantastic project by Scott King. After his successful Viking decks, Scott has designed a stunning and elegant set of decks that has captivated many backers already. The decks are inspired on the Mafia theme, trying to give another perspective based on the elegance and the style. For that, he has designed two completely different decks in gold and silver.
Due to the fantastic progress of the campaign, four more limited decks (tuck cases) have been unlocked, and all they are stunning: the Stork Club and the Cotton Club decks, limited to 1500 and the Empire Ule and Kingpin Ule decks, limited to 1250. The backer’s budgets are in shock and desperate with such a big amount of nice pieces.
With more than two weeks left, the campaign has got over $40K, and there is still one stretch goal to be unlocked at $50K. Another deck? We’ll see soon
NEVERLAND Playing Cards
Creator: Nat Iwata
Ends: July24th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
Nat wata is an expert on Kickstarter and playing cards designing. All his previous projects have been successfully funded and his style is different from any other seen before. His last deck is Neverland, based on the classic novel about Peter Pan and his friends. The illustrations are beautiful and Nat has created two different tuck cases for the deck. The original one in green and the limited one in red, with just 1,000 decks produced. Bot tuck cases have been designed like a novel book so the effect is really nice.
The project is already funded so it will be printed and following his previous works, they will be delivered on time and will make happy all his backers.
OLDE BONES Playing Cards
Creator: Toronto Playing Card Company
Ends: July24th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
This is not only a deck, but a whole story. It is the way its creator, Emily Ross, has chosen to tell us their own story. A set of cards full of energy but also disturbing and dark. There is something to tell behind every card and it is inspired on magic and death. Something beautiful and terrible at the same time.
This is the first deck from this young company. I hope it gets funded soon so they will be able to delight us with more nice decks in the future.
BACON LOVERS Playing Cards
Creator: Collectable Playing Cards
Ends: July 27th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
It is almost impossible to make a review of playing cards projects and don’t include any produced by Collectable Playing Cards. Mike Guistolise is producing nice decks really fast, creating an eclectic collection with a wide variety of themes and styles. The last one is based on Bacon. Yes, you have read it correctly: Bacon. Dedicated to bacon lovers, the deck depicts funny illustration of happy pigs in the court cards and jokers. The back of the deck reminds the classic rider back by Bicycle.
If you like bacon and cards, this is your deck.
BLACKOUT KINGDOM Playing Cards
Creator: Gambler’s Warehouse
Ends: August 2nd, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
Gambler’s Warehouse is a team passionate about playing cards. They have produced fantastic decks in the past and they are not new at all in Kickstarter. This is their third project and the previous ones have had a fantastic reception from backers.
They present this new deck, Blackout Kingdom, with a nice customized design in black and white. The color combination has been smartly selected giving the deck a deep and elegant aspect.
There will be two editions of this deck, with the same design but completely different in color combination, material and finish. The Bicycle branded one will have silver foil on tuck case. There will be a limited edition with other great features: metallic gold ink on faces, linen finish and also a limited run of 1,500 decks.
COLONIAL UNREST Playing Cards
Creator: Robert Tomlinson
Ends: August 4th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC)
Robert Tomlinson is the creator of the Unrest series. Three decks inspired in three armed conflicts. After the first two decks, Civil Unrest and Global Unrest, based on the American Civil War and the WWII, the trilogy closes with Colonial Unrest, a symbol of the freedom of US.
Robert wanted to feature as many historic people in the deck so he decided to use not only the court cards but also the numbered cards to depict the characters and he will also use the campaign to ask backers for deciding about some of the Revolutionary people comprised in the set of cards.
There will be two editions, one standard and one limited, both Bicycle branded. The tuck boxes use the Expert back logo, something very common lately to give the decks a vintage aspect.
GOLDEN SPIKE Playing Cards
Creator: Jody Eklund (Fluent Design)
Ends: August 4th, 2014 | Printer: United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) and Legend Playing Cards Company (LPCC)
Golden Spike Playing Cards are inspired by the completion of the 1st American Transcontinental Railroad On May 10th, 1869. The golden spike used for the opening celebration was a symbol of a new era of industry and expansion rang out across the United States.
This is the second deck produced by Fluent Designs, although the first one, Hipster, was (unfairly) unfunded. The illustrations have been made using a technique to mimic the style of engraving and lithographs that were common in the time period.
There will be two decks available after the campaign, each one produced by a different company. The Bicycle Edition, made by USPCC and the gold edition, with metallic inks on cards, made by LPCC. Cards will be revealed along the campaign.
As a collector and playing cards fan, I would like to see all these decks printed. I understand the market is collapsed, and that means that not all the decks will be printed and that not all the printed decks will be the best ones, but this is part of the crowdfunding rules. I just wish the very best luck for all them and for you, the reader, to choose your favorite design and go for it.