SUMMARY: A beautiful butterfly themed deck from Murphys Magic
Papilio is the Latin word for butterfly. KKD's Swiss designer Kiran Kuruvithadam came up with the first version of this butterfly-themed deck in already 2016. Papilio Ulysses Playing Cards is the third edition of this deck, which was released by Murphy's Magic in November 2017. The Papilio ulysses is a large blue swallowtail butterfly found in countries like Australia and Indonesia. In keeping with this, the new edition of the deck now features aquatic/mint green as a central colour, which is already obvious from the new look of the tuck box. The side of the tuck box offers an inspirational phrase related to the theme: Alis volat propriis, which is Latin for "Fly with your own wings".
Kiran's goal was to create an entirely custom deck inspired by the elegance of the butterfly, with custom illustrated court cards and custom pips in keeping with this theme. The main change with this version is that the black of the card-backs has been replaced by an aquatic/mint green. This has been printed with beautiful metallic ink which reflects in the light, and catches the eye much like the brilliance of the attractive butterfly wings that inspired it. Touches of the aquatic/mint green colour have also been added to the court cards in places, to ensure a consistent look throughout the deck.
Fully customized Aces highlight the elegance of the butterfly theme, with pip designs inspired by butterfly wings. The beautiful mirrored back design has a very recognizable and strong overall pattern, which is the hallmark of a well-designed card back. Yet close observation also rewards the viewer with all kinds of wonderful details, with an abundance of butterfly wings throughout. It's both elegant and beautiful, and there is a strong circular shape in the card center emerges during twirls.
Despite the customization, the overall design was based on a standard deck, because Kiran's intention from the outset was to come up with a design that was not only fresh, but also familiar. A deliberate attempt was made to ensure that the cards would be easily recognizable, and this is one of the strengths and appeal of this beautiful and elegant deck. To ensure this standard look, the number cards are almost completely traditional, but as a nod to the deck's butterfly theme, each has one customized pip which takes up the butterfly theme. This makes the deck suitable for playing card games and for use in card magic.
It also follows the classic formula of a 52 card deck with two matching jokers, which both feature a butterfly larva in a the form of a J. Besides the Jokers (each of which also has a dash of aquatic/mint green), two gaff cards are included: a double backer, and a duplicate 7 of Hearts. There's a nice 7 of Hearts reveal on the tuck flap which gives added possibilities for magic routines with this extra card. Overall this makes this version a more `magician friendly' deck than the previous versions. The pips of the Aces have also been enlarged, making them even more suitable for ace-production routines. Kiran has a background in magic, so magicians will be glad to know that because this deck was designed by a magician, careful thought has gone into ensure that it can function well in a performance, and offer clarity and good handling. To ensure a good handling experience, printing of all versions of the Papilio were by the United States Playing Card Company, makers of the famous Bicycle brand.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame