Summary: Beautiful playing cards, ideal for use with card magic
While I don't believe in tarot cards for actuall fortune telling, I can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of a creative looking deck. In the beautiful KADAR deck we have a fine example of what happens when the idea of fortune telling comes to life on a deck of playing cards.
The tuck box creates an immediate sense of intrigue and wonder, with our mysterious and turbaned oracle friend Kadar staring into our eyes. The sides of the box say "Kadar knows all, Kadar sees all", which adds to the sense of mystery. Created by Christopher Gould, this deck is inspired by the idea of arcade style fortune-telling machines, where one could put in a coin in return for the wisdom of the great oracle Kadar. Christopher actually earned his living as a stage magician, and so his aim was primarily to give magicians a pocket sized deck of playing cards with plenty of nods to oracle reading.
This is what has inspired the artwork, as well as the fortune-telling card sets from the 1950s and 1960s, and also the colourful pictorial cards of the 18th century and those that were used by travelling fortune tellers in Europe. The original idea was to make the artwork look like a cheap deck found at a disreputable fun fair in the mid 20th century, but the creator decided to make them more polished, with plenty of inspiration also from the graphic style used by "Silver Age Comics".
Each suit has its own flavour and concept, described as follows:
Spades: The card of the thinker, the planner and the strategist.
Clubs: The card of the creative, energetic, entrepreneur.
Diamonds: The card of the solid dependable worker.
Hearts: The card of the romantic; the person whose heart rules their head.
The card backs are based on old carnival fortune telling machines, and are hand drawn with intricate detail. The court cards all have their own character, and are intended to represent a unique cabinet with its own Kadar. The Aces picture the slots into which you would place a coin, in order to get a message from the oracle. The deck is rounded out with a couple of colourful Jokers, a double-backer and an blank face card, both of which will be appreciated by magicians.
Printed by USPCC, these playing cards look, feel, and handle great, with an air cushion finish that you'll find on standard Bicycle decks. My only wish is that the white borders had been slightly thinner, giving even more emphasis to the stunning artwork, something along the lines of the image below. If a reprint ever happens, I hope it would be printed by EPCC and LPCC, a publisher that is capable of more consistent and narrower borders, while ensuring crisp registration doesn't suffer.
While perhaps not the most suited to a traditional card game, these cards will be appreciated by card collectors for their unique unique feel and look, making them stand apart from most other decks of playing cards. But they will especially find good use in the hands of a magician, given the sense of mystery and intrigue that they evoke. Gemini Artifacts Magic also makes available for purchase an 111 page eBook called "Kadar for Magicians", which gives more information about the deck, as well as several routines and performance ideas. As a magician, I'm happy to have this deck as part of my collection! - BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame