BoardGameGeek Reviewer EndersGame
SUMMARY: A deck of intrigue and mystery - ideal for the magician
The Magician Anonymous Playing Cards is a classic deck that will especially be appreciated by magicians, because it is designed to be a tribute to the theatrical and mysterious side of magic. Magic is much more than the mechanics of a trick - so much is about presentation and performance, and this deck honours that aspect of magic. The front has a clever MA monogram (with an inverted A) as the main focus, along with the Magician Anonymous name.
The tuck box features a very understated matt black, which makes the silver foil lettering used on the sides and back of the box look very elegant, and evokes a classy feel. Like the card backs, the back of the tuck box features only the outlines of a masked face. This masked figure is known as the Guy Fawkes mask, and depicts the most well known figure that contributed to the Gunpowder Plot which attempted to blow up London's House of Lords in 1602. This stylized mask was popularized in the V for Vendetta graphic novel (1982) and the subsquent film (2005). In this deck, it captures the idea of anonymity and theatrics, and sets the stage for intrigue and mystery. This deck is all about anonymity and shadows. We don't even really know who Magician Anonymous is ... because they are anonymous!
The back of the cards continue the look of intrigue, setting the stage for a magician to do his tricks. Our two masked figures from the tuck box back return on the card backs, but the shadows are deeper and darker, and only a few highlights are visible in a white-grey, conveying a theatrical mask. The card backs also have extra thick white borders, and a charcoal black colour that is softer in tone from the black used on the card faces, and it matches the matt black of the tuck box. The overall look sets a tone of minimalism, mystery, and intrigue. This all suits well the Anonymous Magician, whose presence is felt only by means of the outlines of his mask.
Besides the monogrammed Ace of Spades, the rest of the deck is entirely standard. In other words, there's the usual colours and artwork you'd expect to see in a Bicycle deck, with pips in the usual arrangement, shapes, and colours; also the court cards are standard. But there is one other exception beside the Ace of Spades: the Jokers. These continue the shadow style theme, with well-dressed tie-clad figures in suits. They are face-less of course, to continue the anonymous theme, which this deck is all about. In the midst of all this anonymity, the signature Ace of Spades hasn't lost any class. It features an oversized black pip, with the Magician Anonymous monogram in the middle, and "anonymous" in small lettering below.
This deck was produced by USPCC in their standard stock with an air-cushion finish. There are also two simple gaffs included for use by magicians: a double backer, and a blank card.
Collectors will likely look for a higher degree of customization that what is found here, and consider this a too straight-forward deck. But that's exactly why it will be most appreciated in the hands of a magician. One of its strengths is that it retains a classic and traditional look to make it instantly familiar for the eyes of spectators, but with just enough customization to add style and elegance, and a sense of mystery and intrigue. It looks discrete and professional, retaining enough of the familiar to be acceptable to a magician's audience, while still adding small touches of personality and sophistication, to add to the mystery without making spectators start to think it is a trick deck rather than a standard one. - BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame