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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Giovanni Meroni's Omnia and Dedalo series of playing cards (Thirdway Industries) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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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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In this review, I'd like to take a look at some of Giovanni's earlier and already published decks.

OMNIA: THE FIRST series (2015)

This is the first of what would later become two series of decks, Omnia the First (2015), and Omnia The Golden Age (2016). The Omnia stories are inspired by Viking and Greek mythology, and reflect a universe and narrative that is Giovanni's own creation.

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In "Omnia: The First", there are three decks, each one representing a dimensional plane in the Omnia Universe:
- Omnia Oscura is the dark side
- Omnia Illumina is the bright side
- Omnia Suprema is the plane where the gods live

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The main symbol in the Omnia decks is the Uroboros, the immortal god-snake who eats its own tail, represents the beginning and the end of time. Other symbols that these Omnia decks draw on include Egyptian symbols like the Ankh, Ibis, Anubis; Norse mythology such as Odin and Freya; ancient Roman gods like Janus and Fortuna; and even the Philosopher's Stone.

Here are the card-backs from the three decks:

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The court cards don't use identical artwork, but feature subtle changes in the art, to reflect the different themes of each. In Oscura their soul is more dark, malicious, angry or sad; in Illumina they are more happy, brave and generous; in Suprema they show divine power with elaborate armors, jewels and wings. Here's an example, showing the King of Hearts:

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Below are some cards from the main deck, Omnia Oscura.

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OMNIA: THE GOLDEN AGE series (2016)

Omnia: The Golden Age is a follow up to the original Omnia series, and time wise they bring you back to an earlier and more prosperous era. Based on the ancestors of the first Omnia, these decks bring you to the Golden Age of the Omnia universe, full of treasures, heroes and war.

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This set also consists of three different decks:
- Omnia Antica (the main deck) represents an era of abundance and wealth.
- Omnia Perduta represents an era of war and destruction, when everything collapsed.
- Omnia Magnifica represents the legendary, remote past of the Omnia Universe, full of gods and heroes, when everything started.

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The symbols that these Omnia decks draw on include the ancient Buddhist symbol The Endless Knot, which is the main symbol of this series; Sole and Luna, which are the Sun and Moon divinities of the Omnia universe, the enigmatic Sphynx from ancient Egypt/Greece, and the Wanderer.

Here are the card-backs from the three decks:

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The court cards in each deck feature the same character, but living in a different era: in Magnifica they are ancient and forgotten heroes; in Antica they live an era of abundance and wealth; in Perduta they are preparing to fight a huge war that will end the Golden Age and throw the world in the present (as depicted in the Omnia Oscura deck).

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Below are some cards from Omnia Antica deck, which is the main deck in the series.

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DEDALO series (2016)

The Dedalo series is inspired by and retells the ancient stories of Greek mythology.

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There are three different decks in the Dedalo series:
- Dedalo Alpha: the past of Dedalo world
- Dedalo Apeiron: the future
- Dedalo Omega: the story of Infinity

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Inspired by Greek mythology, this series tells the story of beautiful Ariadne, the dark hero Theseus, the Minotaur Asterion, Minos and Dedalo (which is an Italian synonym of "Labyrinth"). The genius Dedalo built the Labyrinth, which is the main location of the story. If you're not familiar with this famous story, you can read it here. But most people will have heard of Icarus, one of the two sons of Dedalo (Daedalus), who flew towards the sun with wings that eventually melted.

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Dedalo Alpha and Dedalo Omega tells the past and the future of the same story:
- In Dedalo Alpha, the Minotaur and Theseus haven’t yet fought, Ariadne goes to help Theseus with her red thread, and Icarus and King Aegeus are alive.
- In Dedalo Omega, Theseus has defeated Minotaur and abandoned Ariadne, King Minos is angry with Dedalo and imprisoned him and his family into the Labyrinth, from where they escape with wax wings, but Dedalo's son Icarus flies too high and wings are melted by the Sun, Helios. Thinking that Theseus was killed by Minotaur, Aegeus commits suicide.

All the same ranked court cards featuring the same character (like the King of Spades above) - but in different versions, reflecting these past and future aspects. For example, Theseus, who is the Jack of Hearts character pictured below, is worried before his fight with Minotaur in Dedalo Alpha, but is victorious and arrogant in Dedalo Omega. I like it!

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The "limited" deck in this series is the Apeiron deck, which features black backgrounds.

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The gods are also different in each Dedalo Deck. Dedalo Alpha features Hermes, Aphrodite, Poseidon, and Apollo; Dedalo Omega features Dionysus, Athena, Helios and Artemis; Dedalo Apeiron features Ares, Hera, Zeus and Hades.

DELIRIUM (2015)

The Delirium Prism deck was Giovanni's first Kickstarter project, and this is the deck that gained the honour of being the official 2015 deck of the United Cardists forum.

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This deck is intended to be both colorful and crazy, as is immediately obvious from the the crazy scene on the front of the tuck box, which depicts the Delirium King giving a speech, surrounded by his guards and his consorts.

The unusual color scheme features combinations of green and blue, as well as maroon and orange. To me it has both a modern and a classic feel.

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CONCLUSION

I love the style of the artwork

I love the style of the artwork in these decks.It stands out from the usual artwork produced by American artists, and has both a classic and Mediterranean feel, 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 for all the cards.

I love the thematic stories

I also love the thematic story behind the artwork. While the Omnia universe is Giovanni's own creation, and unfamiliar to me, I can still appreciate how he is drawing on different traditions and symbols, and implemented it in different ways for the three decks of the Omnia series. However the classic Greek mythology in the Dedalo series of decks strikes an immediate chord with me, because I have an interest in ancient history and ancient Greece and Rome in particular, and it is very clever how Giovanni has woven the ancient Greek myth into the artwork. However I think that Giovanni has really taken things to the next level and beyond his earlier work by working with the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins in his latest series of SIN decks.

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. 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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