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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Pictorial Review: Decks from Art of Play (3) - Classy, Classic & Collectible (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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*** MORE PLAYING CARDS FROM ART OF PLAY ***

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In my previous two articles (here and here), I introduced you to Dan and Dave Buck, household names in the world of card flourishing, with their insane ability to manipulate playing cards in a creative, visual, and original way. These twin brothers live in California, where they run Dan and Dave Industries, a lifestyle brand and design firm that produces luxury playing cards, apparel, and accessories for magicians and cardists. As well as being highly regarded in the world of cardistry, Dan and Dave Buck also run Art of Play, a subsidiary of Dan and Dave. This online retail outlet has the purpose of embracing the wonders of the world and connecting people through a state of playfulness. When Dan and Dave tapped into the playing card industry by producing custom decks of their own, the remarkable success of their published decks bred further success, and they have continued to produce designer playing cards of the highest quality. In 2016 they produced no less than 16 original decks of custom playing cards, and they've shown no sign of stopping in 2017, with many more new and wonderful designs.

In this review series I'm covering about a dozen beautiful decks of playing cards produced by Dan and Dave under their Art of Play label. While many of these are ideal for cardistry, there are also many other beautiful decks that you can use for other things. Once in a while, what you're looking for in a deck of playing cards is pure class. Whether it's for performing some card magic or for playing a game of poker or traditional cards, it's nice to have a deck that looks classic and sophisticated from the moment that its tuck box makes its first appearance. And when the cards do emerge from the box, the feeling of refinement is only confirmed by the classic beauty and style within. These are the kinds of deck I'm covering in this final installment. I've also included a novelty deck, because while most playing cards are used for playing card games and for performing card magic or cardistry, sometimes a custom deck is so unique and interesting that it serves more as an artistic collector's piece. So whether you are looking for something classy and sophisticated for your card magic or poker game, or a quality deck to play some cards with friends, at Art of Play you're almost certain to find a deck that is right for you.

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*** CLASSY DECKS ***

Hollingworths deck

Guy Hollingworth is a well-respected magician from England, best known for his trick The Reformation, in which a signed card is torn into pieces and then restored. He is highly regarded for his books and lectures, as well as for his skilful performances of card magic. He has had numerous television appearances, and has an elegant and refined style of performance, and so Hollingworth is certainly a name that has a strong association with sophistication and style.

An exclusive pack of commemorative Hollingworth playing cards was first produced by Dan and Dave as part of The Hollingworth Collection, a DVD collection that was a compendium of Guy Hollingworth's original material, and included eight hours of video footage. When The Hollingworth Collection was released, it was the only way to obtain the Hollingworths deck - Emerald Edition deck. Fortunately Art of Play subsequently released this classy deck as a separate item - although in limited numbers.

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This classy deck owes its style to inspiration drawn from Art Deco, with emerald green being the prominent colour on the tuck box, the card backs, and the court cards.

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In keeping with customized look intended for this deck, the court cards feature the strong presence of emerald green.

While the number cards are entirely traditional, to ensure a standard and familiar look, the court cards weren't alone in being customized. The Ace of Spades incorporates a clever Guy Hollingworth initialled monogram, and the Jokers include an attractive card reveal that magicians will especially appreciate.

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For added luxury, the cards are finished with metallic gold printing, and the card-backs feature monogrammed initials of Guy Hollingworth.

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Given the popularity of this stylish deck, Art of Play subsequently released a Hollingworths deck - Burgundy Edition of this elegant set of playing cards.

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In this companion deck, burgundy replaces the emerald as the feature colour throughout the deck, including the tuck box, card backs, and courts.

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Like the original deck, this deck has all the hallmarks of sophistication and luxury, and despite the metallic gold, has the surprising distinction of being eight cards thinner than a standard Bicycle deck.

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The court cards have a custom and sophisticated look, but are otherwise classic in appearance.

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The stunning tuck box of the Burgundy Edition features an eye-catching combination of royal colours, and especially deserves a second look.

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Both the Hollingworth decks ooze with class, and are ideal for almost any occasion where a sophisticated look is in order.

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*** CLASSIC DECKS ***

Voltige deck

The Voltige deck derives its name from the French word for "aerial", and is used to describe the apex gesture of a flourish. Dan and Dave Buck are renowned for their expertise in the art of card flourishing, and so this deck is a fitting testament to their creative ingenuity in the domain of cardistry, as well as to their contribution to the world of custom playing card design.

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The deck was designed as a collaborative project with French designers Henri de Saint Julien and Jacques Denain, who were also the creators behind the truly unique and rare Tungestene deck.

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The Voltige deck is a homage to a vintage French deck, and even the colours that this deck is available in give a nod to its French origins, with Deep Parisian Blue and Moulin Rouge Red being the two colours of choice.

The deck also draws inspiration from Baron Haussmann's 19th century urban renewal program which saw new boulevards, parks and public works emerge as part of the reconstruction of the streets of Paris. Just as his vision still dominates the city of Paris today, so the Buck twins have a vision for cardistry and playing cards that has undeniably had a big influence in shaping this new art-form, and playing cards generally.

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As Dave Buck explains about the design of the card backs in the Voltige deck, which is a deliberate tribute by the designers to the Buck twins: "The back design is a display of two separate hands working in tandem to reach a singular goal. To us, this is the epitome of not only our life story, but of our brand as a whole. Today we work in tandem to bring you the next chapter in the future of playing cards."

The borders are somewhat surprisingly wide, but the design has a very recognizable central motif in the two grasping hands, and there's also a myriad of details to reward the attentive observer; this is exactly the epitomy of a memorable design that thoughtful creators strive for!

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Henri and Jacques drew upon a classic French court card design as their inspiration, giving it their own hand-drawn reinterpretation.

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People who appreciate vintage designs will especially find this deck appealing, because even the number cards are customized and pay tribute to the French origins of playing cards.

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The French origin of these playing cards has been made into a central theme of the entire deck.

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These cards were printed by USPCC in their standard air cushion finish, to ensure clean and smooth performance in the hands of cardists or gamers.

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In place of a standard Ace, this deck revives the use of a card with the numeral one.

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Shown here is the second edition of this stylish deck, which has a new special edition tuck box that improves on the original (which had a lateral design), although the cards themselves are the same.

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As well as two Jokers, two extra cards explain the connection between cards and the Gregorian calendar


*** COLLECTIBLE DECKS ***

A Typographer's deck

The aptly named A Typographer's Deck is a unique Art of Play creation that was produced in collaboration with Turkish artist Furkan Sener.

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The card backs feature a detailed design with a monochrome look that brings to mind the shapes of letters and symbols woven together in an intricate pattern.

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Typography is the practical art of arranging how the printed word appears on the page, and includes things like fonts, letters, and symbols, and how they are designed and presented.

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This deck is considered to be a celebration of the art of typography, and Furkan Sener has designed 54 completely custom cards that feature a variety of typefaces from different eras.

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It is a stylish and creative deck that should please anyone with an interest in typography, or in collecting unique decks of creative playing cards.

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Despite the variety in style, there is still unity in design, as is evident with this hand of four Aces.

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The creative designs aren't intended to make this deck entirely disfunctional, and so clear indices ensure that this deck is still playable, as is evident from these court cards, which have exchanged court characters for typography.

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As a nice finishing touch, the tuck case has a look that complements the card backs.

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This deck was printed by USPCC in their soft crushed stock for optimal performance, and extra cards included are a double-backer and an ad card.


*** RECOMMENDATION ***

So are decks from Art of Play something for you? This isn't the first time I've sourced cards from Art of Play, and I continue to be impressed with the playing cards that Dan & Dave Buck have created themselves, as well as the other playing cards and products that they offer.

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Cardistry: Since Dan and Dave Buck are cardists themselves, they have a real love for card flourishing, so it's no surprise that a large number of the decks that they have created lend themselves particularly well to this growing art-form. Card flourishers are fussy about the decks they use, because it is essential that playing cards handle well. But equally important to them are the colours and patterns of the design. Cardists know that the visual aesthetics of their art-form will be magnified when combined with colours and patterns that accentuate the movement of cardistry, and Dan and Dave's own expertise in this area ensures that the decks they have created for cardists are truly a dream to use.

Creativity: I love the creativity that has produced designs like the decks reviewed above. The cardistry decks like Thick Lines and Prime are full of flowing colours and patterns, while decks like Lucky Draw and Drifters offer original and fresh designs that are fun to look at and use. The Typographer's deck is especially unique and attention getting.

Sophistication: The Dan and Dave brand is all about sophistication and style, and this is evident from the moment you first hold these decks in your hands. Not only are the cards themselves good quality, but a great deal of thought as gone into designing and producing the tuck boxes. Carefully placed foil accents and embossing add elegance and style, while even the more earthy decks like Antler and Camp Cards have been carefully and thoughtfully crafted to accentuate an outdoorsy feel that is still refined and suited to the discerning gentleman.

Quality: The quality of these decks from Art of Play is consistently excellent. Most of their decks have been produced by US Playing Card Company, a reputable and established printing company that produces the Bicycle brand of playing cards with their proven air cushion finish. Using an industry leader like this ensures that we can expect consistently good card-stock and finishing that will be durable and will handle smoothly. It's evident that Dan and Dave only want to produce and stock playing cards with a high standard of quality and performance that matches the good looks of the cards themselves.

Visuals: One things I really appreciate about the Art of Play website is how professional its graphic design is. Not only is it easy to navigate and well laid out, but I especially love the fact that all the products have an image gallery, so you can see some of the cards from each deck, and know exactly what you are getting before you make a purchase. The accompanying promotional photography of their products is also outstanding.

Range: The selection of decks reviewed above in no way exhausts what Dan and Dave have produced. As was mentioned at the start of this article, in the calendar year 2016 alone they produced 16 new designs! In addition to decks they have produced themselves, they also stock a wide range of other quality playing cards, as well as puzzles and games - but only those of the highest quality.

If you're a cardist or a magician looking for a an eye-catching and quality deck of playing cards that looks great and performs well, Art of Play is hard to beat. I'm very pleased to recommend the decks I've featured in this article, so head over to Art of Play and you're almost certain to find some stunning playing cards, puzzles or games that you just can't resist!

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What to learn more? Check out:
- Art of Play official website
- Art of Play on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
- Dan & Dave official website
- Dan and Dave on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
- Dan & Dave Youtube channel

Direct links for the decks featured in this review series:
- Cardistry: Cardistry Con 2017, Lucky Draw, Thick Lines, Prime
- Outdoors: Camp Cards (Ranger Edition), Antler (Limited Edition), Drifters
- Classy: Hollingworths (Emerald Edition), Hollingworths (Burgundy Edition), Voltige (Special Edition)
- Collectors: A Typographer's Deck

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Pictorial Review: Decks from Art of Play (3) - Classy, Classic & Collectible (0 Likes)
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