BoardGameGeek Reviewer EndersGame
SUMMARY: A visit to the land of magic and wonder
OVERVIEW: The Runic Royalty Playing Cards is a Bicycle branded deck that was created by Keith Glover, who has more than 17 years of professional graphic design experience. The tuck box features artwork from the Queen of Hearts, and immediately sets a note of intrigue. Published in 2017, this new deck was made in limited numbers, and is geared to both magicians and collectors.
IT IS PRACTICAL: Keith loves the art of magic, and designed this deck with the specific goal of creating something that magicians would want to use for close-up card magic. For this reason Keith opted for a relatively straight-forward and conservative style, retaining classic features of playing cards like the One-eyed Jacks and the Suicide King. The use of stylish borders helps evoke a sense of sophistication and prevents too much negative space, but the overall look is one that is still familiar and very usable. The court cards have received a fresh and original treatment in many respects, they are also very recognizable and playable, ensuring that they remain suitable for a deck geared to be used by magicians or card players. At the same time the style that they capture reflects something that is consistent with the magical runes and marks found throughout the deck. Indeed, they look like characters that could have stepped right out of a fantasy novel filled with intrigue and mystery!
IT IS MAGICAL: THere are also other elements that add to the sense of magic. The card backs have interwoven circular shapes as the main part of the design, filled with mysterious symbols and characters, to emphasize a sense of mystery. The oversized Ace of Spades adds to this intrigue, also being filled with a variety of symbols and icons. To add to the feel of ancient magic, the cards themselves look like they were printed on background artwork that has the style of a faded ancient parchment. The indices also have a rune-like feel to them, while the elongated pips also reflect a style consistent with what you might expect of ancient runes, while still maintaining the primary look of a traditional deck.
IT IS QUALITY: The Jokers are colourful jesters, depicted in an energetic and yet mysterious style consistent with the rest of the deck. Two extra cards are included, one being a gaff card (split King of Hearts / Queen of Clubs) that will be a welcome ally in the hands of magicians looking to create astonishment by performing the impossible. This deck was printed by United States Playing Card Company, and has their standard air cushion finish for good and smooth handling. It was made in a limited edition of only 1000 copies, so not only is it suitable for magicians, but its limited numbers also make it attractive for collectors.
RECOMMENDATION: The world of card magic is all about evoking a sense of wonder, and the card magician will want to choose carefully the tools he'll use to perform his tricks, in order to maximize the sense of astonishment he wants to create. To do this well, having a deck that is overly customized is generally not considered a wise choice; not only could it cause suspicion and make spectators think it is a "trick deck", too much customization can get in the way of the magic by being a distraction, or by preventing the cards from being easily recognized and distinguished. Keith Glover's Runic Royalty deck gets the balance right, by sticking close to the formula used in a traditional deck of cards, especially the style and colours of the pips, and yet using artwork for the court cards that looks imaginative and original. What's more, the artwork actually enhances a sense of magic, with characters that look very much like they are associated with a world of magic, and by having runes and symbols that strengthen a sense of mystery. The inclusion of a gaff card gives magicians an instant bonus tool to work with. USPCC produced quality ensures superb handling. For those who specialize in creating astonishment with cards, this is a great deck to use, and I recommend it highly.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame