These come in two editions, Templar Edition and Ayyubid Edition. Design follows a predictable pattern, the pips and faces are the same, but the design on the back of the cards and the tuck boxes are different. Each is a limited run of 1,300.
You can learn a lot about The Crusades over on Wikipedia, but one side effect of this Kickstarter for me is learning about the phrase “deus vult” (“God wills it”) and an excuse to read a bit about the Ayyubid Dynasty. The Knights Templar I was more aware of, and so, when I saw this offering, I was primed to pitch in.
As playing card Kickstarters go, this one was pretty successful. You can find the original listing here. 750 backers pledged more than $51,000, and the cards themselves are pretty amazing. Timeline wise, the campaign was funded in early November 2019, and I received the decks in September 2020. I suspect this would have been faster without the pandemic. You can buy decks for $36 each over on IsolatedThunderstorm.com. Side note, there are some amazing looking $45 per deck pre-orders over there too. Let that sink in: $45 for a deck of cards, which will be a limited edition of 2,500.
The cards and printed by by Noir-Arts NPCC in Lviv, Ukraine. The linen finish is similar to what you might find on a Bicycle deck (I compared the Los Angeles cards). To my relatively untrained eye, the stock is identical. (I just compared to a non-Bicycle USPCC deck and to a pre-merger Cartamundi deck, and the linen finish is the same across all three.). The suits sport traditional colors and shapes, ensuring everything is easy to read.
The tucks have great embossing on the outside, and are plain on the inside. Each box is sealed and numbered, which I appreciate.
I have some extras, 5 of each edition, Templar and Ayyubid. Notice how the numbers are the same. This is unusual for kickstarters, in my experience.
- Templar Edition: 1057, 1058, 1060, 1061, 1062. 1059 is open.
- Ayyubid Edition: 1057, 1058, 1060, 1061, 1062. 1059 is open.
These haven’t seen any actual play action yet because of social distancing and trying to make sure everyone stays healthy.