5th Kingdom Deck Review: Hand-Drawn Art Playing Cards

Posted by Will Roya on

by BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame

On Kickstarter thru October 21, 2019:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pl ... t-by-uspcc

5th kingdom playing cards

Semi-transformation playing cards inspired by world cultures and creatures

Cost: ~US$10 per deck
Current funding level: just launched
Kickstarter ends: Monday October 21, 2019

I managed to get my hands on one of the 500 prototypes of this stunning deck that was produced earlier in 2019, and was very excited by the lovely artwork. Now this extraordinary deck is getting a high quality edition with a larger printing by USPCC with the help of Kickstarter crowdfunding.

The artwork of this stunning deck is by Russian artist Maria Fedoseeva, who began a career in illustration and art after graduating from Moscow State University as a graphic and type designer. This project fared well in a Communication Arts Competition in 2019, making it onto the final shortlist, so it has already been the subject of praise.

The deck is especially noteworthy for being a semi-transformation deck, which means that the pips are cleverly integrated into the artwork on the cards. I'm a huge fan of transformation decks, and this one is especially creative and beautiful!

5th kingdom playing cards

Two different versions of this deck are being produced, a black "Artist" edition and a blue "Players" edition.

The tuck box of both decks has a classy look that gives an instant sense of sophistication. Elegant lettering touched with gold foil adds a sense of style, and the artwork on the front hints at what is inside. The back of the tuck box gives us our first look at the design that will reappear on all the card backs.

5th kingdom playing cards

The card backs of the black Artist edition have a one-way design, that integrates the shapes of several different animals, along with some ornate touches around the borders for extra style, and touches of yellow gold also adding to a sense of luxury. The card backs of the Players edition have a two-way (mirrored) design that makes it more suitable for actual use.

5th kingdom playing cards

I love decks that depict different cultures, and that's exactly what Maria has aimed for here, with each suit representing a different kingdom as follows:

● Spades = primeval Africa : Expect this to evoke images of scorching sunlight, rhythmic drums, ritual fires, endless deserts, and hunters.
● Hearts = spicy India: Expect charming princesses, brave warriors, fragile lotuses, and sensuous dance coloured with flowers and music.
● Clubs = medieval Europe: Expect castle like settings with brave knights, rescued damsels, dangerous monsters, and mystical beasts.
● Diamonds = mythical Japan: Expect to see bonsai branches, samurais, geishas, mythic dragons, and singing birds.

5th kingdom playing cards

All the Aces make full use of the canvas of the card, with an oversized image that brings together elements of the theme depicted by each suit.

5th kingdom playing cards

The court cards also pick up aspects of each suit's different theme.

5th kingdom playing cards

Unlike many decks, it's not just the court cards that have been customized, but every single card in the deck, including the number cards.

5th kingdom playing cards

The artwork of the face cards combines well with the design of the card backs.

5th kingdom playing cards

The number cards are my favourites in this deck, because with these the artist's skill and imagination really brings to life the different cultures depicted by each suit, cleverly incorporating the pips in the artwork in all sorts of interesting ways.

5th kingdom playing cards

In some instances the pips are more obviously included in the images.

5th kingdom playing cards

In other instances the designs are more subtle and clever.

5th kingdom playing cards

The deck is being printed by United States Playing Card Company, the well known manufacturer of the quality Bicycle brand. So you can expect a high quality product, that looks great and handles well.

5th kingdom playing cards

Will Roya has used crowdfunding to produce multiple decks under his PlayingCardDecks label, and he is an experienced and respected creator on Kickstarter. He has a proven track record in fulfilling his previous decks, so there is good reason for confidence that everything will go smoothly with this project.

Judging by the prototype I have, this wonderful transformation deck is only going to get better in these two lovely USPCC-printed editions. It's a true work of art, and I'm delighted to see that people around the world are getting the opportunity to support it and own a copy for themselves.

Kickstarter link

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pl ... t-by-uspcc


5th kingdom playing cards

 

About the writerEndersGame is a well-known and highly respected reviewer of board games and playing cards. He loves card games, card magic, cardistry, and card collecting, and has reviewed several hundred boardgames and hundreds of different decks of playing cards. You can see a complete list of his game reviews here, and his playing card reviews here. He is considered an authority on playing cards and has written extensively about their design, history, and function, and has many contacts within the playing card and board game industries. You can view his previous articles about playing cards here. In his spare time he also volunteers with local youth to teach them the art of cardistry and card magic.

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Last update date: 10/01/19

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