Culturae Animalis from Jack Brutus Penny

If you check out the original listing, you’ll see why I’m so excited about these cards. They’re beautiful, the creator seems like a pretty interesting artist (you had me at nonsense), and the profits from the campaign went to a local animal charity. There’s also an interesting update from December of last year, which resulted in a free extra deck that is worth reading about.

Total raised was about $15,500, and the update I linked to a second ago gives a break down of the costs and revenue (very unusual for a kickstarter to do), and I suspect that the actual donation might have been less than the artist originally desired.

You might remember that the first deck I backed on Kickstarter was the PAGANS deck from UUSI in 2014. I took a few years off, lost access to that account, and then returned to back this deck in 2019. I should have bought a full brick. I haven’t opened my silver misprint deck yet. Looks like you can buy a deck on eBay if you’re so inclined.

The deck has just about everything that makes collecting playing cards fun: beautiful foil embossed tuck, inside and out art, a story, numbered seals, limited edition, a misprint limited edition in a different color, gilded edges and great paper. Every card is fully custom and just a delight. All of the suits share a consistent animal theme and some of the cards combine together to form a larger picture.

On the down side, in my house, these are not super playable. The gilded edges make the deck more difficult to shuffle and the non-traditional approach to each and every card makes them hard to differentiate when used in a fast moving game of, for example, Euchre. Also they aren’t vertically symmetric, which makes it harder to orient them.

I have:

  • gold decks #85 (sealed) and #322 (opened)
  • silver deck #231 (sealed)

Having said all that, I want to end by emphasizing how much I love these cards. Animals play an expansive role in traditional Japanese art, with frogs and birds and dogs and others moving plots along down scrolls, and it’s fun to see this adapted to a more modern medium.

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