SUMMARY: Colourful decks, with a special visual & tactile printing effect
PRISM CONEPT: The Prism Night deck was the very first custom deck of playing cards ever created by Ben Jones of Elephant Playing Cards. It's part of a series of three decks that include two follow-up decks, Prism Dusk and Prism Day, all of which showcase different settings in which the effect of splitting light through a prism is explored. What makes them especially noteworthy is that these decks were a world-first in the way they used UV gloss ink on all the faces, creating a unique experience that is both very visual and tactile. Combining the rainbow refraction concept with a glossy layer was a natural fit, in order to maximize the effect of colours and texture. The tuck box of the Prism Night deck adds a holographic seal for even better looks, in keeping with the colourful theme.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: When this deck was published in 2015, the world of publishing was seeing innovative processes that make possible new ways of printing cards, particularly the use of UV gloss. This technology adds a secondary printing process in order to add a high gloss to selected areas of the cards, to create a very visible gloss that involves a raised surface that can actually be felt. Prism Night was the first deck of this kind to be produced by Legends Playing Card Company. Unlike the thick lacquer-type gloss used by some other publishers, a different kind of ink was used that was only slightly thicker than the UV printing used on tuck boxes, plus adds a touch of irridescence.
GRAPHIC DESIGN: In terms of the graphic design, the cards depict rays of light that all emerge from one point. When the tuck box is opened, a similar design becomes strikingly apparent with interior printing that features black rays on white. The same pattern is also present on the shiny foil-like seal in a more subtle fashion. Even independently of the UV gloss that is a key feature of this deck, the use of rainbow colours on a black background of the cards themselves helps make flourishes and fans look very pretty, and the spiral lines on the card-backs serve to accentuate a colourful effect. These card backs also feature shapes of all four pips, and how they would look if caught in the prismatic light. The direction of the lines on the cards is all very deliberate and thoughtful, and that's where the prism concept comes in. In Ben's words, "The colourful central symbols symbolise the splitting of light through a prism – the light is separated into its different colour components to fan out into a rainbow. Once the light has passed through the prism it reverts back to regular light; symbolised by the continuing gloss lines radiating out to the edges of the card." The court cards - which employ blue and orange as the main colours - also have this subtle radial pattern.
GLOSS LAYER: The black backgrounds of the cards really help the coloured designs pop, but this effect is especially enhanced by the raised gloss layer on the face of the cards. In the case of the court cards shown above, the gloss is applied to the radial pattern but also to the entire characters, for a very impressive glossy look. Because of the UV gloss that has been applied, when you hold up the cards to the light, the light sparkles off in different angles and colours, in a very eye-catching and satisfying way. This also makes the number cards very stunning, and while these tend to play second fiddle to the court cards in many decks, that's not the case with the Prism deck! Two colourful jokers appropriately round out the deck with a full rainbow look, that looks especially stunning when these cards are held up to the light.
HANDLING: As for the impact of the gloss layer on handling, this is a process that has now been tested and used by numerous printers and publishers. Despite the additional layer, the cards still slide over one another in a pleasing and natural way, because they bend without damaging the gloss, and hold up well. A wise choice has been made to only have the gloss on the face of the cards. The fact that it is not present on the card backs helps ensure good performance and handling when shuffling and fanning, and also ensures that the majority of our attention remains where it belongs, i.e. the card faces. The quality of the process used by Legends Playing Card Company appears to be hard wearing and long lasting, while still producing a pleasant visual outcome.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame