BLACKCARD Black on Black Playing Cards

One of the great things about having an interest in small, relatively affordable things that you actually want a variety of is that people sometimes decide to gift them to you. This is how I came to be the proud owner of a deck of playing cards called BLACKCARD in 2018.

Made in Taiwan, with gloss black ink printed on a matte black plastic surface, these are a visual delight. Pick a card, any card, and hold it up to the light. Rotate it around and flip it over. You can see the way it changes as the suits come into focus, or as you look at the lines on the back, only some of which show up at a time as the card moves through space.

Since these are from Taiwan, my initial assumption is that they’re a product of some local playing card printer, but there are no markings to say for sure. MollaSpace seems to have moved on from playing cards to backpack like slings, and Balance Wu Design, also credited on the deck, seems to be either defunct or just doing other work or not updating their website. (Their X-Ray Playing Cards look interesting, but are also apparently no longer available.)

On the downside, this deck is largely unplayable. Although black on black is cool, it can make differentiating the suits more of a chore than any half-sober card player might want. The cards themselves shuffle OK, but they slide a lot on the deal. None of this is a complete deal breaker if you just want them for the cool factor. And as a bonus, since they’re plastic, I’m pretty sure you could enhance the your factor by playing your card games underwater.

Underwater euchre. So hot right now.

I will point out that the more I look at the design, the more disappointed I am about the lack of differentiation in the cards. The kings are all the same. The queens and jacks, too, although the ace of spades has a little of the traditional variation we’ve come to expect. All of the face cards are simple lines coming together to form a skeletal suggestion of an image. Not a bad idea at all, it’s just kinda monotonous. If this deck was in color, it would be a fairly bland deck, and bland is never the only choice.

As of November, 2020, you can still find these on Amazon.

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