Culminus (Vol. III) Playing Cards

This caught our eyes due to the main theme of Angels and Demons. If you had been following out blog posts for the past 3 months, you would have read about our article on Dante Alighieri’s Inferno playing cards and how much we wanted one of the editions in that release to feature characters of good (or angels). However, it was about Dante’s journey through hell so not showing any “good” characters makes plenty of sense.

With Nicolai Aarøe’s Culminus, we rejoiced when there are two editions in this project, Infernum and Infiniti which represents evil and good respectively. Upon further probing into Nicolai’s previous projects , we found out that Culminus is the third volume in his series of light versus dark or good versus evil series of high quality playing cards. The first project in this trilogy is Indictus (unspeakable) which is inspired by the tragedy of “Macbeth, the Tudors and the history of human ethics“. The royal court portraits shows characters inspired by the aforementioned fiction and real royal family.

It is followed by Dominus which begins to show the duality of human nature in depth. It has two editions; Divinus representing justice and Obscura representing underworld. The duality is displayed by having the same character appearing on both editions but in different versions. Take a look below, the left shows the king portraits of Divinus while the right shows the same kings in Obscura.

Move forward to today, Culminus complete the trilogy illustrating human kind’s protectors and corrupters. The angel and devil talking on your shoulders each trying to influence you to do good or commit evil. At least that is how we see it.

Below are the card faces of Infiniti which houses the guardians of light and justice. Guardian angels as so many would like to term it.

As you can see, the illustrations are sketches of celestial demigods in majestic and regal presentation. You will also notice the inscription on the sides of the cards, “A passage for the crippled, and a light for the blind.

Culminus Infiniti Card Back

We will not ignore the design of the card back for Infiniti. The card back design incorporates images of angel wings and some elements that gives a feeling of reliability and assurance. One look and you will know this is a deck of cards for goodness.

Let’s turn over to the dark side and look at Infernum. The face cards of the royal court portraits are devils and demons. The art style reminds us of a computer game called Diablo.

If you had noticed, the design of the Aces for Diamond and Club for both editions are essentially the same with the exception being the background colour. One more difference will be the line of text inscribed on both sides of the card, “Hell itself can not be conquered“.

As for the card back design, it comprises of goat skull with horn which is the usual symbol for satanism and occult related stuff.

Culminus Infernum Card BackThe last card we want to show… Jokers! You didn’t think we will leave that out will you? Jokers have always been the main show of a playing card deck. Although not usually used in games, the designs are often the most grand. Take a look for yourselves.

Culminus Jokers

Let’s talk about the tuck box. You can see very well for yourselves that gold ink will be used and embossed artwork on the exterior.


The interior isn’t plain, it has a design as well printed using the same gold ink.

Culminus Tuck Interior

Just to list down a few notable featured of this deck:

  • Limited Ed. (1.900 of each edition)
  • EXTERIOR + INTERIOR gold foil on tucks
  • Embossed tuck boxes w. numbered seals
  • Metallic ink with gold pigment on card back
  • 54 poker sized cards (52+2 jokers)
  • Printed by NPCC with new, improved finish

We took a pause when we saw NPCC. We’ve not heard of this playing card company before and did a quick search. For those wondering what is NPCC, it’s Noir Arts Playing Cards Company. Never heard before? Neither have us. It seems to be a small company that specialises in printing playing cards launched in Kickstarter.

After admiring the cards, let’s move on with the add-ons which blew our minds. There are two coin designs. TWO different coin designs in a project. That isn’t something that most playing card creators do in recent project. Except for the HANA playing cards. Take a look at the coins below, Infernum on the left and Infiniti on the right.

As if that isn’t enough, there is a special reward for backers who chose 6 or 12 decks. Yes, special brick boxes will be given to backers for free but you still have to pay shipping fee. There’s also pouches but we don’t want to talk about it because they are not cards.

To end this article, we would like to share something in our heads. We think that the depiction of the great divide of good and evil as concepts have been overplayed till death through many different forms of media. Good and evil is always very clearly defined and there is no way of mistaking one from the other.

In real life and inside each and every one of us, good and evil lives inside us. Some times due to our commitment to life and our environment, good and evil are not plainly laid out for us to decide. Doing a bad deed to achieve a greater good or do a good deed but it turns out detrimental to other people affected by it. Good and evil does not have any meaning because meaning is defined by people.

So remember everyone, although it is cool to have righteous and evil clearly illustrated in front of us, the true righteous and evil lies within us and it is us who choose which side will triumph within ourselves.


Culminus (Kickstarter project page)

Indictus (Kickstarter project page)

Dominus (Kickstarter project page)

Macbeth (Wikipedia)

House of Tudor (Wikipedia)

Diablo (Wikipedia)

Noir Arts Playing Cards Company


Cocktail Playing Cards

“What can I get you?” A common question asked by bartenders all over the world in their own native languages. In order for us to get a drink quicker, we have to ask our female friend to talk to the bartender if he was a guy. While this may not certainly be true all over the world, it sure doesn’t hurt if you’re good looking, the bartender will have their eyes on you quicker. Just kidding, the secret art to getting a drink in a crowded bar faster is to tip generously and be a nice person to the barkeep.

The reason why we’re spouting nonsense is because of Cocktail Playing Cards by Jason Cheng. Before we go any further into this article, let’s take some time to wonder about the word, cocktail. How in the world does a tail of a cock become the name of a type of drink? This mystery has dogged us ever since we’re legal enough to step into a bar and experience a world of intoxication and cheap regrets.

We did some searching around in google on the origin of cocktail and found that there are a few common stories and decide to share this from Chowhound. We decided to go with the second theory listed on that site.

During the Colonial period, tavern keepers stored their spirits in casks. When the casks got near empty, the dregs, or tailings, would be mixed together into one barrel and sold at a reduced price—poured from the spigot, which was referred to as the cock. Patrons wanting this cheaper alcohol would come in asking for “cock tailings.”

That seemed the most aligned as to how cocktails are concocted nowadays. A mix of different spirits with other liquids/things to be a cocktail.

If you want to appear like a pro in front of your peers in knowing the various types of common cocktail drinks there are, there’s 2 ways to achieve that. One is to spend a great deal of time and money in different bars and ordering every cocktail drink they have on their menu. The other cheaper way is to get Cocktail Playing Cards to know more about them.

The one thing that struck us most is the simple and yet elegant design of the overall feel. First the card back design. The wording are akin to the style of neon lights fonts you see on billboards. Many bars and clubs continue to utilise such fonts even till this day. Next is the diagram of a cherry which is a common ingredient in some cocktails, the other fruit more commonly used is lime.

CT Design

The design of 2 of 4 pips used in this playing cards are uniquely designed. Instead of heart and club, you will find a wine glass and a cherry instead. This is one of the many reasons why we love to talk about unique playing cards launched through Kickstarter. Designers love to try new ideas and things and they are not entirely afraid to break away from the norm.

CT Numbers

Remember we said about learning more about cocktails through this playing cards? Every court card is a drink and on the card face will be the ingredients and their quantity needed to make the drink.

This is so useful for party games where a deck of playing cards can be a full blown drinking game. We’ll leave it to your imagination to come up with party drinking games. We have full faith in your devious minds.

That is about all we can talk about this project since the creator did not post more information about it. As of right now, the project is funded with only 47 backers with a raised amount of HK$25.540 which is about US$3.270. Something doesn’t really add up properly here. We are guessing there are a few big backers to push this deck into reality.

If you like what you see, there is still 46 hours left to pledge for this project


Cocktail Playing Cards (Kickstarter Project)

Origin of Cocktail

GAIA Playing Cards

Mother Earth, the planet which we are living on right now. In ancient Greek, Earth is personified as Gaia or Gaea. This is where we will usually add in small bite size information that is not related to playing cards. In ancient Greek mythology, Gaia is the Earth itself and she birthed the sky (Uranus) and ocean (Pontus). Before you can ask who fathered them, we would like to tell you that Uranus and Pontus are parthenogenetic birth. Go on and click on the earlier link if you want to know some strange and rare facts of reproduction.

If you had been following this blog regularly, digression is becoming something of a trademark of Red Hands and somehow it’s part of the charm. Always feeding you more information than you ask for.

So back to the cards, GAIA playing cards is the next project after Marchen by Forge Arts. At first glace, we were not very impressed with the offering. We brushed it off as a deck of cards with drawings of animals. Nothing impressive and not a worthy collectors’ item.


It is a mistake to simply brush them off as just animal playing cards with animal illustrations meant to amuse children or to teach toddles about animals. These are not simply printed by any card company in China but these will be manufactured by United States Playing Cards Company (USPCC). Some other features worth mentioning:

  • Embossed, 360° fully panoramic tuck box
  • Premium, embossed card finish for smooth handling
  • 100% custom, hand drawn artwork on every card illustrated by Ben Sinclair
  • Limited edition of 2,500 decks. Never to be printed again.

After quite some time, we came to appreciate this playing cards more. We took another look at the close up images below (click to enlarge) and thought they were pretty well drawn and coloured.

Now, we take it upon ourselves to tell you more about these cards. Take a look at the Aces (scroll up) and you will notice that the design of each Aces is inspired by a climate. This is where we need to spend a little more time and (page) space to talk about it. Each court pip will reflect a different climate and the animals appearing on the Royal court cards belong to that climate. Here are the four pips and what they represent:

GAIA ClubGAIA HeartGAIA SpadeGAIA Diamond

Animals instead of people are used as portraits drawings and GAIA is one of those cards which has a different illustration between the top and bottom portrait. Take some time to look at the details pictures below which can be enlarged once you click or touch them on your mobile devices. Even without an enlarged view, you can still notice the top and bottom portrait difference.

Club – Rainforest

Heart – Savanna

Spade – Alpine

Diamond – Tundra

As of the time of this writing, the stretch goal of Night Edition of Gaia has been unlocked and it will also be a limited release of 2,500 decks with 500 decks numbered and sealed. if you were expecting a different set of illustrations in the Royal Court cards, you will be disappointed. However, that does not mean it the standard (we shall call it day edition) and night edition are exactly the same.

There will still be some slight differences. Difference #1, the tuck box design shows a night scene with the full moon high in the night sky illuminating the surface. You can see the difference below:

Next will be the card back colour scheme. Day has a orange theme and night has a dark green colour. We don’t have a picture of just the card back, so those two will have to do.

Lastly, we mentioned that there is no difference in the card face designs. We lied about that. The animals illustrated are the same but if you peel your eyes wide, you will observe that the animals in night edition has a darker shade on them depicting them at night. Except for the Owl which is the Queen of Spade. Both editions show the Owl at night time. This isn’t a mistake, Owls are predators in the night and aren’t usually moving around in the day.

Go on and take a look at the Kickstarter project page and think about whether you would like to add GAIA into your collection. Before you close this window, we would like to inform you that the interior box will be illustrated as well for both editions.


Wikipedia (Gaia)

Wikipedia (Uranus)

Wikipedia (Pontus)

Britannica (Parthenogenetic)

GAIA Playing Cards (Kickstarter project)

Forge Arts Playing Cards

United States Playing Cards Company

Ben Sinclair (Instagram)

Iron Horse Playing Cards

Recently, we finished watching Westworld, the recent HBO series around the same time that Jody Eklund launched Iron Horse Playing Cards. Needless to say, our interest in the Wild West narratives are at an all time high. Iron Horse Playing Cards couldn’t be launched at a better time than now.

This series is a narrative about robbers attempting to rob a steam locomotive which is referred to as an Iron Horse. Steam locomotive were just starting to gain widespread usage in America and before the advert of this invention, horses were used as the main mode of transportation. Seeing how steam locomotive is more powerful and made of metal, people start using the term Iron Horse. We’d have to say it is a badass name.

If you have not heard of Jody Eklund, we will advise you to take some time to look at his past projects. Done that? Good, you can better appreciate Iron Horse Playing Cards now. A pity there are not many screenshots of the playing cards itself so we can only show you that much.

IRHR Number cardsIRHR Spade Court

We love the sketching style by Jody. His shading brings out the depth of the drawings. This is where Jody’s playing card projects always fascinate us, his sketching and shading techniques bring life to the characters. Take some time to appreciate the Ace of Spade and the pair of joker cards below. The joker is another design where a full picture will be formed when you put the two joker cards side by side.

We would die to see Jody take on more fantasy theme related projects because we are fans of fantasy. HARDCORE fans!

One thing to point out about this project is that there will essentially be only ONE deck edition and that is the Black Ink edition.

Here are some design specs for the cards:

  • Printed by the Legends Playing Card Co.
  • 54 completely custom playing cards. Each court, Ace and Joker cards will have original illustrations
  • The Cards will be printed on the Classic Finish (which is the highest quality card stock that Legends Playing Card Co. has to offer)

A slight variation will be the Signature edition where the big difference will be the card back. The left picture below is the Black Ink card back which is gray in colour while the Signature has black colour (right bottom).

That does not mean your buying choices is limited. The project offers different packaging. The project offers the standard deck, Black Ink, which is unlimited print. The interesting part about the design of the tuck box is that if you put both together side by side, you will get the full image of the iron horse.

IRHR Rewards 2 Deck 2

The Deluxe package which offers a deck of Signature edition and a soft touch slip case. The slip case is embossed and guess what? There are only 500 of such cases printed. According to the project release page, metallic ink is used for the printing of Signature deck.

IRHR Rewards Deluxe 2

Signature package will be the last and most expensive one. We think this is the most complete package that collectors should go for. It includes two decks of Black Ink and one signature deck. Take note that this does not include the soft touch slip case that Deluxe package offers. There is a different package box which can contain the 3 decks offered in this reward. There will only be 1500 quantity available.

IRHR Rewards Signature 2

The dealer coin has been unlocked and is also available as an add-on.


Jody has also kindly provided the backstory of all the characters appearing on the royal court card portraits. We will include those below in thumbnail format and you have to click on them to view them in larger resolution.


Westworld (HBO series)

Iron Horse

Iron Horse Playing Cards (Kickstarter project)



Hanami Hanafuda playing cards

This next project is definitely something refreshing. It is inspired by Japanese traditional card games which isn’t something we see commonly outside of Japan. We feel that this is a project worthy of a mention on our page because we are introduced to a totally new card game called Hanafuda. Designed by Jason Johnson of IndianWolf Studios LLC and illustrated by Antonietta Fazio-Johnson of Inner Hue Art Studio LLC.

From the words itself, you can guess it is from Japan. Hanafuda (花札) which literally translates to “flower cards”, it is a set of playing cards which can be used to play a number of games. Despite it originating from Japan, it is also played in Korea and Hawaii.

To better understand what is hanafuda, we did a little Google search and found this flash game. The flash game is Koi Koi and basically the objective of the game is to collect as many cards as possible to match a combination or “yaku”. You get awards a certain number of points based on what “yaku” you achieved. It feels like a stripped down version of mahjong. So Koi Koi is just one of the traditional games you can play using hanafuda cards and there are many other games you can play using these cards.

Hanami Hanafuda gives you that opportunity to learn more about the various other games you can play using hanafuda cards. The project offers not just decks of cards but it also has the hanafuda rule book as add-ons. So if you cannot find a reward that includes the rulebook, just scroll further down the project page and you’ll find instructions on how to get the rulebook.

Let’s focus on the decks of cards. There are two decks available in this project. The Hanami deck and the Fusion deck.

Hanami HNFD Fus tuck box

The Hanami deck will be the traditional hanafuda cards without any indication of poker pips.

The drawing are following the traditional hanafuda cards design if you cared to read about it. If you want this cards but as more of a western poker playing cards, the Fusion deck will be able to fulfill that need.

Hanami Fus card designHanami Fus Months

Are you still reading this article at this point? Good, because we want to point out a feature you might have missed. There are 4 cards to a “month” and there are 12 “months” in a year. The design follows the season cycle, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. The Fusion deck has the koi cards as the king suit since there are 13 numbers in a suit of poker cards.

After reading so much and you still ask why should you get this deck. We can only say that this is truly unique and you probably will not see a similar project in a long time. The design follows closely to brush painting method and has Japanese influence in them. That’s obvious since these are cards used for Japanese card games. If you’re worried about the quality of these cards, don’t be. Legends Playing Cards Company will be manufacturing these cards once it gets funded.

There are 8 more days to fund this project and right now it has barely achieved half its intended pledge amount. Go on and make this a reality.


Hanafuda (wikipedia)

Games Design (flash game)

Koi Koi (wikipedia)

Mahjong (wikipedia)

Hanami Hanafuda (Kickstarter project page)

IndianWolf Studios LLC

Inner Hue Art Studio LLC


Eva Playing Cards

Giovanni Meroni of Thirdway Industries is simply too productive. It feels like he is releasing new projects every 4-6 months and every time it gets funded within hours and that is just bizarre. It also goes to show how popular his works are and how he keeps getting better with his cards. He doesn’t just come up with new illustrations and put them on a card, he weaves myths into his cards, giving them a strong sense of identity and life. I’m sure his supporters agree with our statement.

Straight off the successful SINS project, Eva playing cards is his new “special edition” playing cards project. Unlike SINS, there will be only one deck, Eva, and it is a limited one time print. If you miss it, you have to find ways to get it.

We can use one word to describe the Eva series, feminist. It is a peculiar choice of word. Looking at his illustrations of women in his cards, one can make an easy statement that he is using sex to appeal to the majority of card collectors which are mostly male. Feminist might not be a suitable word to describe Eva. Read on and you might share our views at the end of this article.

Usually, a unique character will be represented on a royal court portrait but things are not the same with Eva. There are only four characters and one suit is dedicated to one character. They are as follows (pictures direct you to wikipedia page of the respective character):

EVA Pandora
Pandora (The Curious Betrayer) – Spade
EVA Pyrrha
Pyrrha (The Mother of the World) – Club
EVA Lilith
Lilith (The First Rebel) – Diamond
Eve (The Lover) – Heart

They have one similar theme, they were associate with being the first woman to exist with the exception of Pyrrha. She is Pandora‘s daughter but she is considered the first women after a great flood (deluge) has wiped out humanity, Pyrrha began repopulating the world with her husband, Deucalion. You might find this story oddly similar to the great flood in the Bible with Noah as the chosen one because this flood myth is common among other religions and cultures as well. Don’t get all upset knowing that it’s not exclusive or unique to your beliefs, it is what it is.

Moving on with the playing cards, we mentioned earlier that one character is represented by a suit. We shall talk more about it now. Eva chose to focus more on the female characters that were featured in Thirdway Industries past projects. He decided to showcase their growth/evolution using Jack as their initial form, progressing to a more mature stage in Queen and in their final stage in King. Lastly, their legacy is immortalised in Ace. This is a pretty interesting concept that we applaud.

We will not delve too much into each character because that is not the main intention of this article. We have provided the wikipage for the four characters in the pictures above so that will take care of your thirst for knowledge.

We will talk more about the cards. The project will be manufactured by United States Playing Cards Company (USPCC). This is a surprise to us since Expert Playing Cards Company (EPCC) is the usual partner of Thirdway Industries for their previous projects. Each card back is what we guess to be a picture of Eve since she is the only character with a heart tattoo on her chest and heart is her court. If you have not noticed, there are two hearts on either side of her.

EVA Card Back

Below are pictures of the royal court portraits designs. You might find some cards missing because we only grab what is available on the project page and any pictures available on the project updates. We hope there will be more releases in the near future and we’ll update this article.

We would like to point out a little fact which we missed out when we first looked at the project. You will notice the diagonal black strips on some of the cards. They are there for modesty purposes since anybody can access Kickstarter projects which includes children. The actual product will not have the black strips which means this deck is NSFW and NSFC (if there’s such a term). You have a lot of explaining to do if your children gets their hands on these cards.

Lastly, we observed a design concept which adds a certain mystery to the cards. You might have noticed the vertical hieroglyph that appears below the pip on the corners. They are printed on all cards and not just on the royal court cards. It describes the theme of the character that is represented by the pip. Take a look at them and see whether you can derive some sort of narrative or meaning behind them. We will reveal the meaning right below the illustration so don’t scroll too fast if you don’t want spoilers!

EVA Hieroglyphs

  • The Spades represent the Pandora’s Box. Evils are escaping from the opened box.
  • The Hearts represent the Apple and the Snake. Winding snake coming down from a tree carrying an apple.
  • The Clubs represent the deluge sent from Olympus to Earth. The lighting is there because the deluge was sent by Zeus.
  • The Diamonds represent the fight between the first man and Lilith.

We will end off mentioning the add-ons. As with previous project like SINS, Eva will also offer special coin, and a carat card case similar to SINS. Take a look below.

This project still has 2 days left for you to pledge for it. If you have pledged for it, maybe you can consider the beautiful add-ons.


Thirdway Industries

Eva Playing Cards (Kickstarter project page)

Wikipedia (various references)

Bones Playing Cards

We’re not playing bones here nor do we know how but from the looks of it, it shouldn’t be too difficult…

That’s not us by the way, just a video we found on youtube on how to play the bones. The only reason why we wanted to share that is because we want to expose you with knowledge that is beyond simply playing cards.

Now that you know that there is such an activity as “playing bones”, let’s go to the topic at hand and talk about Bones Playing Cards launched by Brain Vessel Artist Series and illustrated by Jason Kreiger. First of all, we find this project to be the most macabre project in Kickstarter we have seen since Red Hands began in Feb 2017. However, it’s not terrifying or anything, just a little disturbing to see bones of animals. To put it in a lighthearted manner, it’s like having Superman’s X-ray eyes. We found this video on Brain Vessel’s Facebook page and thought it would be nice to show you as well.

There are two editions in Bones Playing Cards, the dull and grey Dust and the bright and vigorous Rebirth and both will be manufactured by United States Playing Cards Company (USPCC) and the paper stock will be Bicycle stock. The color theme suits the name of the edition quite nicely. To better differentiate the two different editions, the creator has put in some effort to come up with two different card back designs to distinctly separate them apart. The tuck box cover designs are uniquely different from each other as well.

However, that is the biggest difference you can see. Which is kind of a let down to be honest. Besides the color theme, there isn’t any other noticeable difference between Dust and Rebirth. The pip designs and the mandala in the background are the same.

Dust Aces
Aces design (Dust)

However, having said that, we feel that the art style and the details of the illustration are finely done. It is as good as seeing real bones of these animals. The project also offers add-ons to make the collection more worthwhile. If you’re wondering why there’s a motif of a ship on the leather pouch and dice and you thought it could be left over add-ons from their previous projects, Seven Seas and Seven Seas Master Collection, we can’t blame you. However, think on that fact that the company is called Brain Vessel and vessel meaning ship as well. So the motif on the coin and pouch can actually be their company logo!

Lastly, they recently added a new pledge level, Raven Pledge.

Bones Raven Pledge
New Raven Pledge

We are astonished by the collector box because of the carving of the raven’s bones. We have not seen anything collector box with carving as intricate as this. We have included some images of said box.

As of this writing, there are still 2 weeks left to pledge for this project if you have not done so. If you like it, pledge for it. If you have the cash to spare, get the Raven reward!


Playing Bones

Bones Playing Cards (Kickstarter project)

Brain Vessel Cargo

Seven Seas

Seven Seas Master Collection

Explorer Playing Cards

We are going to cover a project which is a relaunch of an unsuccessful project created by Card Experiment.


It seems like Card Experiment has listened to the feedback of the card collector community and decided to release a deck based on the previous tuck box design! YaY! This goes to show that some times, sensible people take feedback seriously and everybody becomes happier because of it. Below are some pictures for your reference.

Explorer Mini Card Faces
The edges for Revelation Mini are more colourful instead of yellow and red for the Revelation
Explorer Rev + Mini card back
Revelation card (left) and Revelation mini (right)

This name may sound familiar for some of you avid playing cards collector out there. There was an earlier incarnation of Explorers Playing Cards project started by Card Experiment. Personally, we have a few cutting comments to make about the current project comparing to the previous cancelled one. If you do not like to read bad comments about your favourite Explorer Playing Cards project, better navigate away from this page right now.

Let us start by refreshing your memory about how the tuck boxes looked for the previous incarnation of this project.

We suggest you to click on the pictures to view the bigger version of them. Take a look and let those images and artwork sink into your brain. Done that? Good, read on to look at the current tuck box design.

Comparing the artwork style and colourful design of the previous tuck box design with the current ones, we cannot help but feel that these are entirely two distinctly different projects. With the first design, we really felt that the deck of cards seemed surreal and out of this world. Without the Bicycle logo on top, you wouldn’t realise that it is a deck of playing cards. It looked almost perfect enough to be a cover for a sci-fi novel.

The new ones on the other hand, it straight out yells in your face with a big Ace of Spade that it is a deck of playing cards. You cannot mistake it for anything else in the world unless you have never touched playing cards in your life ever.

We have nothing against Card Experiment but we feel that the huge gap in the design is really a shame. Kudos to Copete Cohete for the beautiful illustration on the original tuckbox illustration and on all court portraits.

Now that we have finished ranting on the tuck box design, it is time to calm down and think about why. Everything happens for a reason or so people keep saying. We have to think about why the initial project failed. It failed because of lack of funds. It barely achieved a third of its intended goal of HK$190,000 (around US$24,398.78). At HK$57,968 with 14 days to go, nobody thought that the project could become a reality. We can only speculate on a few reasons why.

  • They offered 3 different decks, Revelation, Domination and Oblation but the design on the card faces are the same for all 3 decks with the difference in the colour scheme, it did not arouse enough interest for people to pledge for more decks. The main selling point is in the tuck box design.
  • There is a lack of special add-ons. Projects by other playing cards creator tend to have unique coins or special case box to display the playing card decks.
  • The cost of using United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) to print 3 different colours of essentially the same design will increase the cost unnecessarily. Needless to say, this makes it even more expensive to print 3 different tuck box designs.

Having said so much about the past, let’s look at the present and progress towards possibility. As of the time of writing, the project is nearing fully funded status! It just needs a few nudges in the right direction and this project can go live fulfilling its promise. Remember we talked about the original tuck box design being good enough to be an actual sci-fi novel cover? There was an accompanying narrative which tied up the design of the Royal Court portraits and Aces design.

I was chosen, by virtue of our neutrality and perhaps my two-facedness and uncanny ability to make the best of any situation, to be the main point of contact when first contact happens. I am also to be the scribe of all mission logs. Lots of trust in me. My resemblance to the Administration emblem might play a part too.

While the mission objective is to establish peaceful contact, will this turn out to be another Columbian Exchange?

According to the old project, Flagrant Agenda provided the narrative. They are the creator of Agenda Playing Cards which we wrote an article on.

The entire concept is based on space exploration and human’s contact with alien civilisation which turns out to be more than meets the eye. The more we read into it, the more somebody needs to turn this playing cards into an actual sci-fi novel.

Below are screengrabs we took off the project page of the Revelation deck. Gold Foil on matte back stock. Black Card Back and Faces.

Next, let’s look at the Domination deck. Red Foil on matte black stock. Red Card Back and Faces.

The design on the both card back is showing “The Zookeeper”. It is a representation of hidden higher powers in the Explorers’ Universe. Take a look again at the Aces below.

Explorer Rev 4 Aces

We appreciate the fact that the design of the Aces are not flat fat pips. Rather the designs are pretty interesting with a spaceship designed to resemble the traditional pips of Spade (Fiasco, a reconnaissance star cruiser), Heart (Solaris, an offensive support star cruiser), Club (The Invincible, largest human built space carrier) and Diamond (Eden, a planetary lander).

Lastly, here are some product specifications:

  • Fully Customized Deck with 2 Jokers
  • Foiled Tuck Case on thick Matte Black Stock
  • Printed by Expert Playing Card Company with Damask Finish
  • Gold & Red Foil Sticker Seal (UNLOCK at STRETCH GOAL 1)
  • Tuck Case Embossing (UNLOCK at STRETCH GOAL 2)
  • Limited Edition. Will not be reprinted


Explorer Playing Cards (original project)

Explorer Playing Cards (current Kickstarter project page)

Card Experiment

Copete Cohete

Flagrant Agenda (Facebook)




Creature Comfort Playing Cards

We’re going to use words that usually do not positively associate with most of the playing cards projects we covered. But hey, this is what we do, we write about playing cards that are unique, beautiful, strange or just out of this world. Don Moyer‘s latest project comes under the category of strange and it takes someone with an acquired taste to appreciate it.

Before we continue to unravel the playing cards, there is a need to do a little bit of introduction about its maker, Don Moyer. According to his profile on Kickstarter, it says he is a “Don is a retired graphic designer who now has the freedom to squander his days on self-inflicted projects. Don has a long list of silly projects he’d like to bring to Kickstarter.” He is also the owner of Calamityware which sells porcelain ware decorated with his quirky drawings. His drawings on the porcelain wares will put all your porcelain to shame. Wait no more, we urge you to go to his site and take a look. He also sells other products like bandannas, handkerchiefs and puzzles. If you want to find out more about his work, you can also go to his flickr page.

Caution, the rest of the article may be uncomfortable for some.

If you had followed the links to his webshop and flickr, you are now ready to look at his latest project, Creature Comfort Playing Cards. Unlike all other articles we’d written, this is the outlier. Take a look at the court cards yourself.

CC JacksCC QueensCC Kings

If you are thinking, “What is that??”  You’re not alone. So the court cards features monsters, bugs, demons, insects, rodents and other sort of creatures that make you go ewwww or yucks. We had that reaction for a few seconds and the next thought was “This has to be featured here on Red Hands!”

The creatures on the court cards are not holding knives, swords, clubs, etc. The portraits are showing different types of creatures holding their favourite “comfort food” as described by Don. He’s so sweet to make sure they don’t go hungry.

The uniqueness does not end there. Each pip design is unique for each number and suit. You will observe that the pip design on the 6 and 8 Clubs are different. Same goes for 8 and 10 Hearts. You definitely have to look at the corners to tell the card’s suit.

CC Number cards
Every pip design is unique

CC AcesCC Card backs

The project offers two decks with different colour card backs. You can see from above that the card back comes in either black or red. The face designs on both decks are the same though. This is where we think it doesn’t make plenty of sense to get both black and red decks. United States Playing Cards Company will be manufacturing this project so you know the quality will be of a certain standard.

If you think that such a weird and distasteful playing cards will hardly be funded, you are dead wrong. As of right now, 12 May 2017 00:44am (GMT +8), this project received US$23,887 of the US$9,000 needed. That means this project is 265% funded. You think this is a joke? Think again.




Creature Comfort Playing Cards (Kickstarter Project)

ROME: Antony & Caesar

Today’s article will be a write up on a project that has passed and not our usual write up on playing cards project still active on Kickstarter. The cards looked too nice to be missed.

We did not study ancient Roman history too much and whatever we know about it came from hours of Wikipedia surfing which means if you click on that prior link, be prepared to lose hours of your life (go on, we dare you to)

Back to the playing cards, ROME series of playing cards is designed by Randy Butterfield, owner of Midnight Cards. Going to his webshop is probably the only way to buy a deck of ROME playing cards since the project is completed and I believe it is in the midst of being fulfilled. You can also purchase cards from his previous projects like Grinders.

The portraits of the royal court in ROME playing cards contains historical figures throughout the Roman Empire history such as the two featured figures in Antony and Caesar and others such as Brutus, Augustus, Cleopatra and Cicero.

How did the designs came to be the way they are? Do they bear any resemblance to the actual people depicted in the cards? The answer is “yes” according to the creator. Refer to the anatomy of the face cards below for an explanation of the design of the playing cards provided by the creator himself.


So the faces are drawn based on bust of these historical figures. We have to give him credit for not drawing something completely different from what is generally known about the people. Take a look at some computer rendered representations of what the card would look like.

The card faces will be the same for both Antony and Caesar decks. The Diamond and Heart suits will have a red banner diagonally across the cards while the Club and Spade suits will have a blue banner. We would like to highlight some fine details of the tuck box. The Top of Caesar’s Tuck has the words “ALEA IACTA EST” and “VENI VIDI VICI” – Latin for “The die is cast” and “I came, I saw, I conquered”. The Top of Antony’s Tuck has the words “TARUM ET CLAMA DIMIT CANIBUS QUATIT” – Latin for “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”. The interior of the tuck box has a map of the Roman empire.

ROME Tuck topROME Interior Tuck Boxtuckinteriors

The main differences between the decks are the colour and design of the tuck box and the card backs. The card back for Antony deck will be blue in colour and the drawing on the back is a painting of “Cleopatra Captured by Roman Soldiers after the Death of Mark Antony“. A sigil of a lion is embossed in gold foil onto the front of the tuck box.

For the Caesar deck, the card back is red in colour and the drawing on the back is a painting of “The Death of Julius Caesar“. The tuck box will have an embossing of an eagle.

If you like this deck, you can still get them on his shopify but it will not be offering the coins or the special limited toga sleeve below.

ROME Toga cover

We think ROME decks are a definite collector’s item because of the many fine details and thoughts that went into the design of the cards and the tuck box as well.


Wikipedia (various references)

ROME: Antony & Caesar Playing Cards (Kickstarter project page)

Midnight Cards

Cleopatra Captured by Roman Soldiers after the Death of Mark Antony

The Death of Julius Caesar