SUMMARY: A colourful and affordable marked deck produced for magicians by Vanishing Inc
"Dapper" is an adjective used to describe gentlemen that are "neat and trim in dress and appearance", and synonyms include: smart, spruce, trim, debonair, neat, tidy, neat and tidy, crisp, well dressed, besuited, well groomed, well turned out, smartly dressed, elegant, chic, dashing. Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay are two such dapper gentlemen, and they have created their very first deck of signature brand of playing cards designed for magicians, appropriately called The Dapper Deck. In this review I've covering the main Dapper Deck, which is available either in navy blue or in orange.
First of all, mention should be made of the stylish tuck boxes, which are custom designed with a spade-shaped cut-out that reveals the unique pattern on the card backs of both decks. The Orange deck is the most striking of the two, with its fiery orange colour - Joshua and Andi call it "Jerry's Nugget Orange", as a nod to the infamous Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards. The Navy Blue deck is basically a matching and identical deck, except that the card-backs feature navy blue as the dominant colour.
I particularly love the vibrant colour and design of the card backs on both decks. I also like the fact that this damask/paisley pattern is incorporated into a single pip on some of the number cards as well, and into the over-sized Aces - the Spades and Clubs use the colours of the blue deck, while the Hearts and Diamonds use the colours of the orange deck. Picking up the pattern/design of the main theme in this way really helps set this deck apart and makes it look stylish. The court cards have designs that are along traditional lines with some custom elements, but most importantly they feature a colour scheme that matches the rest of the deck. Yellow, red-orange, blue, and green are used for these, which results in a different look than typical court cards, but is completely in keeping with the overall feel of the deck. The colour of the red pips is especially noteworthy, because it is more of an orange/red than a traditional deck, which complements the colour scheme of the main design.
I'm a huge fan of the colours used by these decks. I've always loved the combination of blue and orange, and it emerges strongly here. They are colourful decks that remain very functional, and the Vanishing Inc team has succeeded in created something that can actually be used and worked with on a regular basis, while at the same time looking colourful and incredibly classy. The fashion design emerges in every aspect of this deck: it's obvious on the tuck-box and the card backs, but subtly present on the faces in the form of some pips, and on the court cards via the colour combinations used. It gives the entire deck a very unified feel, by ensuring that the design is present in a subtle way wherever you look.
The Dapper decks will especially have a strong appeal to magicians, who will appreciate that these decks come with their own subtle marking system. It's very easy to read, and yet it's not at all obvious; I've enjoyed played games of Cribbage and Whist with muggles using this deck (no, I resisted the temptation to cheat!), and nobody was the wiser. I would have loved to see this deck design also available in a non-marked version, but all along it has been Vanishing Inc's aim to create a great marked deck that was classy and affordable.
The Dapper deck was produced by Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC), using their Classic finish. This is probably the most popular finish for custom playing cards that are published by EPCC, and is comparable to the quality of a USPCC produced deck, but arguably better, with a traditional cut that has much cleaner edges and more durable card-stock. The Dapper deck isn't for everyone, and it's not even just for all dapper gentlemen. But it will especially have appeal for working magicians with a discerning taste and a gentlemanly look, and cardistry fans will also enjoy it a lot. I just love it because it's a lovely looking deck that is bursting with vibrancy, colour, and style! Especially if you're looking for a stylish and colourful marked deck, this is an terrific and very affordable choice courtesy of Vanishing Inc.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame