NEO: Playing Cards

Right after Vizago Playing Cards, there is another project which uses plenty of colours giving a vibrant and loud visual effect to the royal court cards. This project is NEO: Playing Cards by Montenzi Design.

There is no mention of any kind of underlying theme for NEO. Even the introduction leaves more questions than answers.

Neo?

You Know!

The other side of the Story

The new Road

The perfect Line

The Magic

That’s it

Very Simple, don’t you think?

The only thing I can think of is Neo from The Matrix.

Neo Matrix.jpg

Of course not, the playing cards are so full of life while Neo from The Matrix belongs in a much more depressing time and place.

We decided not to try too hard to think of a theme that probably doesn’t exist in the first place. We looked at the tuck box design and also at the card back design, they are one and the same.

NEO Unlimited card back and tuck

Before I continue, I would like to point out there are two editions for NEO. There is the unlimited version which is the one you saw above with the card back having a white border. The other edition is the limited version. Oddly enough, two different card companies will manufacture the decks.

United States Playing Cards Company (USPCC) will be producing the unlimited edition while the limited version will be produced by WJP. That is a name which I have not heard of and good thing that the creator informed us that Wanjing Printing Company is WJP. Another company which we have not heard of but now we do.

Back to the cards at hand, I really have nothing much to talk about since the introduction text for the decks is cryptic and not making much sense. Instead of ending this article here, I decide to grasp at straws and make s*** up.

So I racked my brains to try and make a connection with anything I can think of. I ended up with circus. Recently, there are advertisements of Cirque De Soleil: Kooza playing on the television. The colours and costumes of the performers reminded me of the royal court cards on NEO and just like that; I decided that circus or performance arts is the main theme behind NEO. Before you lose your interest, let me show you the royal court portraits.

This connection is further strengthened when my wife commented that it looked like a masquerade. Voila! But hold on a minute there. Isn’t masquerade about the face masks only? Well, who says that the face on the cards are faces and not masks? ‘Fair enough‘ you say ‘then what about the hear gear? Masquerade parties do not have those.

Ah ha! There is a masquerade party called the Carnival of Venice in Venice, Italy which features elaborate masks which has head gear covering the forehead. Enjoy the video below!

A simple comment from the missus and the mystery is solved. NEO has strong links to masquerade in our opinions. We could be wrong, who knows?

That was an interesting educational tour. Now, let’s return to the cards. Do you recall that two different companies are printing NEO? USPCC will print the Unlimted edition and here are some specifications:

  • Premium Crushed Bee stock
  • Air-Cushion finish
  • Metallic inks
  • Traditional cut
  • Asymmetrical court cards
  • Standard USPCC tuck box
  • 56 poker sized (2.48” x 3.46” or 63mm x 88mm) cards.
  • Two Jokers
  • One Double Backer and One Gaff card

WJPC has been chosen to print the Limited edition of NEO and here are some specifications:

  • Limited to 500-750 decks *
  • This back design/tuck box will never be reprinted
  • New “White Diamond” stock
  • New improved coating
  • Linen finish
  • Premium quality tuck box
  • Inner box printing
  • 4-6 colors of foil on the box!
  • Asymmetrical court cards
  • 56 poker sized (2.48” x 3.46” or 63mm x 88mm) cards.
  • Four Jokers

I think NEO is quite suitable for cardistry and magic tricks as well because of the colourful card. When you fan out the deck, it creates a nice flowing visual of colours. Take a look at the Unlimited deck. below. You will notice that in the middle of the card on both ends of the border, there are strips of colours that breaches the border and when you fan out the deck, it creates a continuous line.

On the Limited deck which has no border, it looks even more beautiful when you fan the cards.

I have a few gripes with NEO. The fact that it offers two editions but the royal court portraits are the same. This is redeemed with the different card back designs. Secondly, there isn’t much unique design in the Aces except for Spades.

NEO Aces

It will be perfect if similar design for the Spades is used on the other 3 Aces. But that is just me being demanding since the traditional playing cards also only focus on an elaborate design on the Ace of Spades.

Lastly, I present the jokers. The Unlimited edition has 2 jokers as you can see below.

NEO Jokers Unlimited

The Limted edition will have 4 jokers. If you have a sharp eye, you might notice that the last 2 jokers are actually a combined image of two jokers.

NEO Jokers Limited

I feel that the creator has missed a great opportunity to use the design theme of NEO to create a jester joker in its entirety. That would have been the icing on the cake but then again this is just me being demanding.

The project is still live and you can still pledge for them if you have not done so.


Sources

NEO: Playing Cards (Kickstarter project page)

Montenzi Design

United States Playing Cards Company

Wanjing Printing Company

Cirque De Soleil: Kooza

Carnival of Venice

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