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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Hot off the Press! » » Pictorial Preview: Bharata Playing Cards (Guru Playing Card Company) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Reviewer EndersGame
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In the interests of full disclosure, this is not a review, but a preview. The designer of this deck, Sunish Chabba, asked if I would be interested in posting about his Bharata Playing Cards. I am familiar with some of his earlier projects, so I checked this new project out and was very impressed. So I was happy to post something here about it, because I'm sure there are other folks here who might be interested in knowing about this project and possibly supporting it.

Bharata Playing Cards link on Kickstarter



The main part of this project consists of a custom deck of playing cards, with an instantly intriguing design on the tuck box - which is enhanced with gold foil for a luxurious look. Bharata is the original name of India, and this deck is considered to be an ode to the stories of Kings and Queens many children will be familiar with from their childhood, since they have also become part of the art forms and history of Indian culture.


This deck features illustrations and artwork based on Indian folk art forms. Sunish has put together this deck
in collaboration with Ishan Trivedi, as top Indian illustrator. Inspiration behind the images includes Kishangarh paintings and miniature paintings.

I absolutely love the card backs, with their vibrant and bright colours, and the elephants that feature prominently in the artwork - it helps that I have a daughter who absolutely adores elephants!

The Ace of Spades has a design with a traditional look, and has been inspired by the Asoka Pillar.


The court cards have very clear, large and functional pips and indices. But it is their delightful and charming artwork that immediately sets this deck apart from a traditional deck. The characters have been depicted as part of the Indian royalty, and have a warm style that is colourful and enchanting.


I also really appreciate the custom oval frames, which use a different colour for each suit, and help give the folk styled artwork its own boundaries and attention.


The number cards are fairly standard - a sensible approach to ensure that they are functional, but they have very bold and plump pips that match the style of the deck, and help convey a sense of fullness of life.


The jokers speak for themselves: two beautifully costumed characters, with both a male and female represented.


But it gets better yet. This deck is a gilded one! That means that the edges of the card have gold gilding!

I have some other decks that have this feature, and it looks absolutely classy. It doesn't affect the handling in the slightest (aside sometimes from needing to pull apart some cards the very first time you use the deck), and it adds an extra degree of stylishness and luxury.

With this deck, the gold gilding matches the card-backs beautifully, and complements the overall tone of the deck with welcome elegance.


Here's an overview of the entire deck with the help of an uncut sheet. Notice especially how all the Aces are oversized and feature their own ornamentation, which I also really appreciate.



If a stretch goal is reached, Sunish will release a beautiful matching Tarot deck. It comes in a rich blue tuck box, and a deck that has totally different artwork on the cardbacks, but featurs a stunning combination of bright colours and patters that I just love the look of already!


As you'd expect with a Tarot deck, several cards have full artwork, which really gives opportunity for the beautiful images of the creative artist to shine.



So are the Bharata Playing Cards for you? Here are some things to consider:

The deck: Personally, I'm a sucker for decks that have luxurious looking tuck box and playing cards. The colourful box and card backs already had me interested, and when I saw the charming court cards with their folk art style, I knew already that this was something I would like. It's very practical and usable, and yet has a unique Indian style that sets it apart from most other custom decks that are being produced today. And gilded cards? That makes it truly amazing!

The designer: Sunish Chabba is not a stranger to the world of custom playing cards, having already successfully produced his Divine Art Playing Cards, under his label Guru Playing Card Company (GPCC). This also was a deck with gold gilding, and you can see from the comments on that project that backers were very happy and pleased with the outcome. So he has experience with Kickstarter and with playing cards, and knows what he's doing, having trod this territory before. From the playing card forums I frequent, I get the strong impression that he's a contributor and designer who is well-respected by his peers. All this should give backers a good degree of confidence in supporting him, even with the extra features like gilded edges.

The printer: The printer Sunish uses hasn't been disclosed, aside from the fact that these decks are being produced in China and that they're made out of "330 GSM German Top Quality Black Core Card Stock with an experimental premium classic finish." These days many decks of quality custom playing cards are produced either by USPCC, or in Taiwan by LPCC or EPCC, to ensure a quality product. However that doesn't mean that you can't find quality elsewhere. I've personally had some experience with Emerald finish decks produced by LPCC in a Chinese factory that were excellent. Sunish's earlier deck was also produced in China, and received rave reviews, and since he has done an incredible amount of leg work to find a suitable publisher, I wouldn't have concerns with quality. Given the amount of time he's put into this, I'm confident it will be a quality product all round, including the printing.

The funding: Furthermore, the project is already funded, so it is going to be produced. That's always nice to know when you're supporting a project. Prices are in Australian dollars and include free worldwide shipping. You can pick up one deck for Au$19, which is around the equivalent of US$14, and considering that this includes shipping, that's a pretty reasonable price for a custom deck of cards these days - considering that it's a gilded deck, that's rather outstanding! And obviously the more you buy, the cheaper they get. Do take a look at this project, to see whether this unique and classy looking deck is something that might interests you.

Want to learn more?
Bharata Kickstarter:
Guru Playing Card Company:

BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==

Want me to write a review of your playing cards or magic? Contact me via Private Message.
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