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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Hot off the Press! » » SINS Playing Cards by Thirdway Industries (Giovanni Meroni) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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INTRODUCING DESIGNER GIOVANNI MERONI

Giovanni Meroni is a freelance designer in Italy, who has created the product brand "Thirdway Industries". To underline his credentials, it's worth mentioning that the clients he has worked for have included companies like Vodafone, Nestle, Schwarzkopf, Gucci, Coca Cola, and Red Bull. Those are some big names! He's worked for more than 10 years for agencies and companies, and is currently focused on website art direction and vector illustration. But amongst other things, Giovanni likes to design decks of playing cards.

Giovanni's first published deck was in 2014, when he created his Evil Deck. In this deck, all the four suits had their own theme: hearts = passion, diamonds = violence, clubs = nature, spades = magic. The following year, 2015, he first turned to Kickstarter, and created his Delirium deck. This is considered to be an intricate but modern deck that was inspired by classic French playing cards but with crazy twists. It has the distinction of being chosen as the official 2015 deck of the United Cardists forum.

In 2015, Giovanni also created his Omnia: The First series, which had the theme of cyclicality, and featured three decks representing different dimensions of the Omnia universe. This was followed the next year by a sequel series of three decks, Omnia: The Golden Age, which maintained the Omnia theme, but represented an era of abundance and wealth. The same year, Giovanni created his Dedalo series of three decks, which is inspired by Greek mythology, and tells the story of the Labyrinth of Crete, Theseus and The Minotaur, including the Labyrinth's builder Dedalo.

And that brings us to the present, 2017. Giovanni has now created his SINS series of three decks, which is inspired by the literature and art that explores the Seven Deadly Sins. The Seven Deadly Sins (Greed, Envy, Pride, Lust, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth) have a long history, and have featured strongly in both art and literature, so it is a rich tradition that Giovanni can draw on. In fact they go back all the way to the beginning of time, with the Fall of Adam and Eve, all of which these decks depict. This project is currently in the process of being funded on Kickstarter (here), and is already over-funded, so it will be produced.

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The SINS series

The SINS series consists of three decks of playing cards:
- Sins Corpus
- Sins Anima
- Sins Mentis
These correspond to the classic categories of body, soul, and mind.

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While there is some continuity between these three decks, there are also significant differences.

For example, below we see the Queen of Hearts, for which different artwork is used in each of the three decks. Especially noteworthy is how the SINS Anima deck features a dark background on all the cards. This is typical for many of Giovanni's deck series - one deck stands out, and it is usually the "limited edition" that is produced in very limited quantities, and thus also attracts a higher price.

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The card-backs of all three decks represent Eden, where sin happened, as background to the Seven Deadly Sins.

● In Mentis, Eden is still bright, because Eve hasn't yet eaten the forbidden fruit.
● In Corpus, eternal night has fallen on Eden as a result of the eating of the forbidden fruit.
● In Anima, after the fall, Adam and Eve have been banned, and realize their frailty and mortality, but also have gained new knowledge - Eden is empty, and red like blood, hell, but also like the heart, passion and life.

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Mentis deck (Mind)

SINS Mentis is based on the sins that influence thought: Greed (Diamonds), Envy (Clubs), Pride (Spades) and Lust (Hearts). After all, as Giovanni reminds us, every Sin begins with a twisted thought!

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Spades represents Pride which says things like "Stand above the others. You'll be the best one." and "Look in the mirror, forget you're a human."

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Diamonds represents Greed which says things like "You can't get enough, can you?" and "Material things are the keys that open many doors."

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Clubs represents Envy which says things like "Look at them. Their life is better than yours." and "Look in the mirror, forget you're a human."

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Hearts represents Lust which says things like "Your thoughts are twisted, Sinner." and "One way to improve yourself is crave something that others already have."

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The pips in both the Mentis and the Corpus decks are identical. All they are bigger and taller than normal, to help convey the theme, they are still relatively standard, to ensure functionality. But there are some small details that have been added, for example notice the tiny blood drop on the 9 of Hearts!

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Corpus deck (Body)

SINS Corpus is based on the sins that influence the body: Wrath (Diamonds), Gluttony (Clubs), Sloth (Spades) and Lust (Hearts).

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Spades represents Sloth which says things like "Are you comfortable? It's okay. Don't do anything." and "If you don't take it easy, someday you'll burn yourself."

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Diamonds represents Wrath which says things like "Let the anger flow through you. Destroy everything!" and "Sometimes, the only way to open doors is smash them."

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Clubs represents Gluttony which says things like "It tastes good, doesn't it?" and "Hunger is our primary need. Never forget that, Sinner."

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Hearts represents Lust which says things like "We may be banned, we may be wicked, but we won't be lonely."

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The number cards are the same as the Mentis deck, but the Corpus deck does have unique artwork for its Aces, which have intricate details as seen here.

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Anima deck (Soul)

SINS Anima is based on all the seven Sins. While Mentis is about the mind, and Corpus is about the body, Anima is about the soul. This deck is totally red, and is a limited edition.

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The Spades are inspired by Sloth and Pride, and the Diamonds by Wrath and Greed.

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The Clubs are inspired by Envy and Gluttony, and the Hearts by Lust and Wrath.

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The artwork on the number cards is similar to the other decks, but with a different colour scheme, and a very elaborate Ace.

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Three jokers are included, two representing Adam and Eve (who are featured as jokers in all the decks), and the third representing Prometheus, the Snake that led them into temptation.

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CONCLUSION

But I am very impressed with this project for a number of reasons:

I love the style of the artwork

Giovanni lives in Italy, and there is something unusual about his style that makes it stand out from the kind of artwork typically seen in euro-games, or being produced by American artists and designers. It has both a classic and Mediterranean feel somehow, which I appreciate. The artwork feels very different from a normal deck of cards, and yet at the same time the suits are still very clear, as are the values of the suits, so the cards are very playable and usable. I also like the fact that the number cards feature a unique style. I've seen some other artistic decks where the only thing different from normal are the court cards and Ace of Spades, and I rather like a deck which applies something original across the board on all the cards.

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I love the thematic stories

In some of his other decks, Giovanni has drawn on ancient mythology, but he has really taken things to the next level by working with the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins in his latest series of SIN decks. The classification of the Seven Deadly Sins has a long history (see here for an overview), and I really like the way that each one has been worked into a single suit, with artwork reflective of the concept. The decks create a thematic and artistic unity which is based on a long literary and artistic tradition. There's a lot of rich symbolism that has been cleverly drawn on as well, theologically and artistically. What I really hope is that this series will be followed up with a series of decks based on the the Seven Virtues!

With beautiful and unique artwork that ties in well with a rich theme, steeped in literature and art, these decks are definitely more than just a pretty face, but have real personality and character. Well done Mr Giovanni Meroni, I'm pleased to have discovered your work! If you're interested in learning more, check out the Kickstarter for the SINS decks here, or else you can check out Giovanni Meroni's own website here.

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The SINS playing cards Kickstarter project ends on March 19, 2017.
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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==

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