SUMMARY: Magical minimalism and colour - ideal for magicians and card flourishers
CONCEPT: The NOC series of decks has been produced since 2012, and is a series of cards defined by simplicity and elegance with a minimalistic design. The NOC acronym stands for "Nothing, Only Colour", and is about keeping things simple, so that all the focus can be on the moves performed by the card flourisher, without distractions from an elaborate design. Now Murphy's Magic has been able to arrange a collaboration with House of Playing Cards to produce their very own Murphy's Magic Signature NOC deck.
BOX: The tuck box of the Murphy's Magic Signature NOC deck uses a side-loading style. On the outside it looks almost identical to a standard NOC deck, with the addition of the Murphy's logo on the bottom left as a reminder of who we have to thank for this deck. The tuck box also offers a very pleasant surprise on the inside: full interior printing with a very bold and eye-catching chevron design. This is a returning theme in this deck, and is the work of designer Gordon Sutton.
CARD BACKS: Most of the NOC decks typically have a striking back design with a uniformly solid bar of vibrant colour and just a thin white border, with the idea being to put the emphasis on the card handling rather than the cards themselves, and this makes them a favourite for card flourishers. The design on the backs of the Murphy's Magic Signature NOC features the regal navy blue colour that you may recognize from Murphy's branding. They've also added a beautiful gold trim, and this thin border on the card-backs is another difference from the standard NOC decks.
CARD FACES: The highest degree of customization on the face cards is with the Aces and Jokers. The Jokers feature the chevron design, along with the Murphy's Magic navy blue and gold trim, which beautifully complements the card backs in a very stylish fashion. The oversized pips on the Aces also reprise the classy chevron pattern that we first saw on the interior of the tuck box. They use combinations of navy/gold for the black suits, and orange/blue for the red suits. The red colour used for the pips of the diamonds and hearts is also a softer and almost pinker red than a standard deck, to ensure a familiar and yet warmer look. The court cards mostly have the standard red/blue/yellow colour set of a traditional deck, but the blue matches the navy blue of the card backs, and the red is the warmer pink-red used for the pips, to ensure a consistent look with the rest of the deck. The remainder of the face cards look the same as an ordinary deck.
MARKING SYSTEM: There is one additional secret that this deck holds, which will give it a strong appeal to magicians. All the NOC decks come with their own subtle marking system, and the Murphy's Magic Signature NOC deck is no exception. The system used only marks the suit (not the value) in a wonderfully and well-disguised manner, which opens up some nice possibilities for magical effects. For example, you can use it to call cards as red or black, just by glancing at the card backs. Videos starring Alex Pandrea are freely available online which explain this marking system and teach a couple of routines with it. It's almost invisible, and one magician I showed it to took a while to figure it out even when he knew it was marked in some way.
QUALITY & HANDLING: As with the other NOC decks, the actual printing of the cards was done by Expert Playing Card Company in Taiwan. It uses their Master finish which has thin but very snappy cards and is extremely durable and offers good handling. The cards are stiffer than a typical USPCC produced deck, but embossed with a typical air cushion style texture, with a smooth feel that fans and spreads consistently and easily. This finish can take some getting used to, as it is quite different to a typical Bicycle deck due to its stiffness and smoothness, but many magicians and cardists love it, myself included. It is a top-of-the-line finish, and the result is a very durable and long lasting deck that handles beautifully, and also packets well for various cuts and other card flourishes.
RECOMMENDATION: If you're looking for something neat and clean to use for card magic or card flourishing, the Murphy's Magic Signature NOC deck will fit the bill just beautifully.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame