The expression "off the wall" means unconventional, unusual, surprising, different, and that's certainly a good description of Art of Play's Off The Wall deck. The tuck box already screams "unconventional", with a very bold choice of colours that include a vibrant blue, orange, and yellow, along with some black, and finished off with silver foil accents for the title of the deck and parts of the artwork. I knew I was going to love this new deck as soon as I saw the colours, because I've always been a big fan of combinations of bright orange and blue. Yes it's loud and dashing, but isn't that exactly what a lot of cardistry is all about?
After making our way past the custom Art of Play seal and gaining access to the cards themselves, we are confronted with a design that continues the lively style of the tuck box. This deck was designed by Studio Muti in South Africa, and perhaps there's some tribal roots that account for the energy and vividness of the design and colours. But the abstract shapes and bright colours work perfectly for the stylish borderless backs, and ensure that our flourishes are not going to go unnoticed. Fans and spreads look particularly attractive in both directions courtesy of the creativity of the lively and symmetrical card-backs.
From the card backs we turn our attention to the faces, starting with the Ace of Spades. The style here has a juvenile and casual feel about it, and yet the details and colours that reprise the main design show that us that there is nothing childish or accidental about what we are seeing here. Fans of custom designs will be pleased to know that all the Aces have adopted a similar over-sized pip that shows off the main design pattern in the same way.
The court cards continue this style, with oversized faces that have a hand-drawn feel, and yet retain symmetry and make a stylistic statement that bursts with sunshine and energy. The colour used for the Hearts and Diamonds has a orange tinge to it, in keeping with the rest of the deck, and giving us a sense of sunny days, full of energy and vitamin C. The pips on the number cards, including the font used for the indices, continues the overall surf-skate theme with its deliberately styled casual look, and ensures that the entire deck feels customized and works together well as a whole. Besides a handy double backer, this deck also features two matching Jokers, and a colourful ad card.
While functional, the attraction of this deck is really all about the colours and vibrant patterns on the card backs, court cards, and Aces. These are the main actors, and there's much to enjoy when giving them our full attention. This deck also handles well for cardistry too, since it uses USPCC's thin crushed stock. It's definitely one of my current favourites for card flourishing, and should appeal to anyone who likes a bold and colourful style. - BGG reviewer EndersGame