Mandalas Playing Cards USPCC
Mandalas Playing Cards
With its expressive Mandala design and aesthetics, the Mandalas by Damien O'Brien is a product of patient, meticulous passion. The Mandalas primary design is a symbol of spirituality, balance and beauty; which inspired Damien to include his love for tattoo art and masterfully blend the two styles into a working deck that will carry different meanings from one observer to the next.
Printed by the United States Playing Card Company, the premiere choice of professionals around the world since 1867, the Mandalas are outfitted with a slipstream finish and the ever-trusted bicycle playing card stock. We could not be happier to introduce Mandalas Playing Cards by Damien O'Brien to your collection.
While these have a nice back design, the cards were warped or bowed right out of the box! I have never gotten cards that did not spread across my close up pad with ease. These practically jumped off the mat and would not spread well, even after many shuffles and handling. They came as a mystery deck, and for the first time I am disappointed in what I received! Three stars only because of the nice back design. The black tuck box with the raised design was nice also, but the cursive name on the lid is hard to read.
You already know how they handle. The Mandela cards use USPCC Bicycle stock and "slipstream finish," whatever that is. Doing research, I could only find two decks of cards that have ever claimed to use this finish. In fact if you Google the name of it in relation to cards you'll just be directed to websites selling this deck, because it's basically the only deck that uses that verbiage. The "At the table" deck by Murphy's Magic is the only other deck that appears to have ever claimed this finish.
So they handle exactly like every other deck of USPCC cards. Though mine did arrive rather warped. I'm unsure if this was an issue with climate and humidity during shipping or if this is some fault with the mysterious finish. Since no other cards claim to use this finish I have nothing to compare it to.
The back design is the deck's most attractive trait and the reason you'll use this deck. Two symmetrical off-white Mandelas on matte black with a white border. Simple, elegant, attractive. The tuck case mirrors the cards' back design with slight embossing, however a very transparent poorly-selected cursive font on the top flap repeals anything positive I had to say about the tuck design.
The courts are where I need to address design. I appreciate every deck with custom court designs but I won't pretend they are all attractive. While Daniel Madison's kingly face is well done, the rest of the courts are outright hideous and ruin what is otherwise an attractive deck.
Like the jet black box, the card backs of the Mandalas deck have a design of twin mandalas. The position of these is excellent for cardistry, because they emphasize the trajectory of movement during cuts. The mandalas themselves consist of intricate patterns in a soft gray that isn't quite as bright as the white of the card borders.The borders are much thinner than normal, which creates a very pleasing look, much better than the standard width borders, especially given the relatively plain card backs. The thin white contrast starkly with the black, and means that it impresses in spreads and fans.
Customization is the most noticeable in the deck's signature card, the Ace of Spades, which is easily my favourite card in this deck, with an absolutely gorgeous design. All the court cards are red and black, and feature actual faces from the designer's real world friends and family, many of whom are magicians, like Daniel Madison, Chris Ramsay (Jack of Hearts), Dee Christopher (King of Clubs), and Jeremy Griffith (King of Hearts). The queens are also all members of Damien's family, although the Queen of Hearts is Laura London. Damien himself is featured as the King of Spades. The two Jokers pay tribute to one of the ideas that inspired this deck, tattooing. - BGG reviewer EndersGame