Effective: Helped me (a beginner) learn cardistry moves before transitioning to a regular pack of cards
Easy to use and manipulate
Edges are easy to grip
7 blocks together accurately sized to your average pack of cards
Using the training blocks helped me build muscle memory that has translated into it being easier to pull off approrpiately sized blocks of cards
Not numbered/all cards are the same
No flashy--you may want
Different feel from a pack of cards
Protective paper is somewhat difficult to remove
Static build up can cause the cards to stick a bit
No instructions (but, then again, they really didn't need them)
The Pure Cardistry Training Playing Cards are a basic set of plastic blocks that help you practice cardistry moves. I have found them to be incredibly helpful.
The 'deck' consists of seven, plain plastic blocks that together are the thickness of an average pack of cards. I received the blue cards which are a nice, bright blue color.
The blocks come in a plain white box. When you open the box, you will find that the cards are coated with a brown protective paper. I imagine that the plastic comes in a large sheet and that both sides are covered with the brown, adhesive paper to protect the cards during cutting. The paper does effectively protect the cards from scratches while shipping, but is not so easy to remove. I was able to use my fingernail to start prying off the paper at the edge, but for most of the blocks I used a small screw driver (the kind you use to repair the hinge on your eyeglasses) to superficially rip a hole in the back. Once started, though, the paper is easy to remove.
Underneath the paper, the blocks are shiny and smooth. However, the edges have reasonable amounts of friction for grip. The blocks do not feel like cards, they feel like thick sheets of plastic. However, they do allow you to easily practice cardistry moves without having to worry about playing 52 pick up every time you flub a cardistry move.
These blocks have a very different from a paper deck of cards. The edges are easier to grip. You don't have to develop the muscle memory to estimate out how many cards to pull off for any given move. The surface of the training blocks which seem to stick together more than you would guess given build up of static electricity.
There are those that scoff that training blocks are not worthwhile. If you are already adept at cardistry, you probably do not need these. That said, these have made it easier for me to learn the cardistry moves before transitioning to cards. Once you get the basic moves down so that you don't have to think about all the twist and turns, you can concentrate on pulling off correctly sized blocks of cards and just holding the cards together when you transition to real pack of cards. Sure, the feel is different and you have to work on grip with a real deck of cards, but the transition--at least for me--was made easier.
Yes, cards require a different kind of manipulation. With a real deck of cards, you have to perform all the choreographed twists and turns and still hold individual cards together at the same time. However, the blocks DO make learning cardistry moves easier for me, as I can get the muscle memory for the twists and turns down. When I get back to a pack of cards I just have to worry about holding the cards together.
I just received these and have been using them to practice cardistry moves that result in a false cuts. If I had my druthers, it would have been nice to have the blocks numbered or have them in different colors so that I could be sure that in the end the cards remained in the same order. Of course, you can easily solve the numbered part by using a Sharpie, but it would have been nice if they came pre-numbered.
If you are into showing off cardistry moves and like using blocks for this, these are a little plain. You will probably want to buy a fancier set of blocks that will add some flair to your performance. Additionally, if blocks made out of different materials may have a little more heft and the surfaces might be textured to prevent static build up or slippage.
These did not come with any instructions, but Vanishing Inc has a number of tutorials that you can download. And if you want instant and incredibly cheap gratification, there is always YouTube....
For my purposes and at this price point, these were perfect for me. Recommended.