A quick flashback to 1987. I was a freshman in college, and my roommate and I for some reason started posting narrative screeds on the door to our dorm room, at least one of which ended with “and the pagans danced in the light of the moon”. A soon-to-be-friend came by added a caricature of an anxious preacher type on one of them, with the speech bubble, “PAGANS?!?”.
From that fateful night forward, “pagans” played a central role in my college experience. I’ve had “PAGANS?!?” shirts. I had a 1979 Toyota Corolla Wagon with “Paganmobile” written across the side. (Mildly amusing to drive through the rural midwest at the time.) And I made sure our student alternative religion group had regular space in the college newspaper. It was a thing.
Of course, I was and am primed to enjoy almost anything with PAGAN on it, but I haven’t gone out of my way in the department really since I graduated. Except for maybe the odd college reunion. But then 2014 came along.
PAGAN Custom Playing Cards was the first playing card campaign I backed on Kickstarter back in 2014. You can buy them today over on UUSI.US, but you’ll pay $70 for a pair and not the $20 I was able to snag back in the day.
Yes, the PAGAN name got my attention, but in the end I backed them for the same reason I back decks today: I liked the art. The face cards are rich and original and very different and I love them. The pips on their distressed backgrounds are also great. The texture of the tuck and cards just made everything better.
At the time, I didn’t know about bricks and half bricks and coins and all of the rest of the detail that goes into some of the custom playing card offerings on Kickstarter. It all came down to having a unique deck, something that made playing cards with friends a bit of a different experience.
Like a lot of Kickstarters, this one came in two varieties, light and dark (and at some point, UUSI released a Pagan Black Edition). This only impacts the tuck and the back of the cards, all the cards themselves, both pips and royals, are all the same.
And I want to point out that Pagan playing cards also play really well — these two decks have seen their fair share of Euchre hands. I’m no master shuffler or card trick expert, but it’s important to note that “playing well” is not a given when it comes to custom decks.