Alis Luminis — the Winged Playing Card Deck

TL;DR: beautiful, unique and fun; needs more contrast to be highly playable. Selling extras on eBay.

My step-grandfather was a Presbyterian minister and one of my most clear memories of their house was a clear plastic double case of bible themed playing cards. They were light and airy and filled, I think, with italicized text I was too young to read. There’s something about Alis Luminis Winged Playing cards that brings that memory right back to me, but this is not your typical angels soaring up to some higher power type of deck. No, not that at all.

Let me get this out of the way: Alis Luminis is a beautiful deck of cards. Full stop.

The original campaign brought in just over $21,000, which is impressive. The NPCC made cards come in a tuck with blue and gold foil on the outside, gold foil on the inside, and feature dragon and griffon jokers. The court cards and pips are all custom, and the full bleed is a nice touch. Each deck has a custom seal, though they are not numbered.

The couple of places I found these for sale (one on eBay, one another on a card sale site) just copied the campaign text, which is fine, I suppose, but they left out the story. Again over on the original campaign, you’ll find a dramatis personae for each face card, and a whole narrative to go with the characters. The jack of diamonds for example, is a Peryton, a winged stag, who “had been at the fall of Atlantis, and then of Rome…”.

As I said before, the cards are a visual delight. The king of hearts never skips an ab workout, apparently, and the queen of diamonds is out for blood, looking good while she’s at it. The suits are unique and each card has a traditional symbol near the number, tying everything together. Each suit has a slightly different yet complementary color palette. And the wings in question are pure delight. I personally like to see a bit more contrast in my playing decks, but don’t let that stop you.

One of the things I really love about how the art playing card industry shapes up is the global nature of it. This deck is illustrated by Ritu Bhattacharya and produced by Bivas Bhattacharjee (Old Gravity), both of Kolkata, India, and was printed in Ukraine by NPCC, apparently advised by Max Playing Cards out of Spain, funded through Kickstarter in Brooklyn USA and then shipped all over the world. Pretty incredible.

A couple of things I’d love to see for this team’s next deck. The dramatis personae and the story are actually pretty sweet — and very unique. I’d love to see that included in the deck somehow instead of the diptych of unrelated art. Also, the back of the playing cards is pretty plain compared to many other decks — it could use some more contrast. I wonder how it came to be that way. Also, I’m a big fan of numbered seals. If you’re going to bother to put a seal on, that’s the way to go.

I have a full brick but, as you can see, I also managed to tear it.

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