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  • Writer's pictureDouglas Dreier

Playing with a full deck!

As a kid, I grew up fascinated by magic. It was amazing what magicians could do . . . and at the heart of it all were those decks of cards. Blue and red bicycle decks being fanned out, flourished, and appearing/disappearing at will!

I think we’ve all seen those decks. You can buy cases of them at Costco! Recently, I’ve been enjoying a website called Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a way of funding projects. You see a ton of people wanting money to fund movies, music, and small-business startups. While those are fascinating to read, I have really focused on those projects involving custom decks of playing cards.

It works like this. A designer comes up with an idea for a great deck. Once they determine how much money they need to fund the project, they go to Kickstarter and create a webpage. To get people to fund their project, they offer rewards. Obviously, the higher the donation, the more you get in return. I generally fund between $20 and $30 dollars, just wanting a few of the custom decks. Higher rewards can include uncut sheets, some original artwork, helping influence the design of certain cards, or, if you’re a retailer, large numbers of decks for resale. (Note, payments are done through

I though I’d show off some of the projects I’ve supported. Some are still in the funding stage.

One of my most recently supported projects is the Vanda deck. Not only is the deck visually appealing, innovative, and printed to high standards, it has a really distinctive “rotationally-symmentrical” design for the pips. Very cool cooling. It comes in two editions, with the GOLDEN edition being limited.

Another really cool ongoing deck is the “Cthulu” deck, based on the HP Lovecraft character. Again, each card is custom-designed, and the court cards are spectacular. Much like the previous deck, it comes in two editions (green and red, with the green being limited).

One last ongoing project is the Ritual Deck. This deck, inspired “by the true origins of magic,” is just beautiful, with a really striking red and black backs, as well as an embossed box. I really like the soft black designs on the faces. I’ve not seen that before.

This next deck, the Quicksilver, finished funding with over $50,000, making it the highest funded deck in Kickstarter history. I really liked this deck, with its shades of blue and silver. The blue really pops, and the silver is printed with metallic ink!

Speaking of blue, the artwork on this next deck is beautiful. Blue Bloods. Of all the decks shown, these are the most classic, in my opinion. The look is distinctive, with some serious thought put into the personalities of each particular suit.

The last deck I want to look at today is one of my favorites . . . the Spectrum deck! This extremely colorful deck looks just like a normal Bicycle deck, except that each back is different. Perfect for magicians, this deck is great for flourishes and spreads. More than any other deck I’ve received from Kickstarter, it gets a great reaction when shared.

It really is amazing how many different decks of cards are available. It seems like every hotel chain, airline, sports team, or city has their own design. Kickstarter gives us a great opportunity to collect well-designed, high-quality, and truly artistic decks at a reasonable price. I usually get three decks. I like to have one signed by the designer, I keep one sealed, and one I open. It’s a deck! I want to play with it!

It certainly makes me want to design my own deck! What would you design?

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