Walhalla Playing Cards (Odin, Freyja and Valkyries Editions)

TL;DR: Some interesting quirks (including black light sensitivity!) enhance the fun of this three-edition deck. Also, I have too many cards. Selling #953 on eBay.

I bought a lot of playing cards last year with no clear plan on what to do with them. This is kinda driving my family crazy, but, honestly, I’m not sure the way I’m dipping my toes into the world even comes close to what serious enthusiasts get up to. Yes, I have bricks of cards that I don’t know what I’m going to do with. And sometimes, I have bricks of cards that I’m honestly a little unclear about having bought in the first place.

Enter Walhalla. No, not Walhalla, SC, or the Walhalla memorial in Germany. Instead, think about Norse mythology. Think about the Netflix series, Norsemen (recommended). Or maybe even this other one.

And then, think about two completely different Kickstarter campaigns. The first launched in August of 2019, the second launched as an extension in October of 2019. The first raised over $19,000 and the second raised over $17,000. On the first, I pledged for a pair. On the second, I pledged for a brick. Great marketing on their part. When I finally received these after an unexpected pandemic delay, I didn’t remember what was what, or why I was getting so many decks of cards. Be that as it may, over $36,000 is a pretty great campaign!

Walhalla cards come in three editions: Odin, Freyja and the Valkyries. Freyja and Valkyries decks are sealed and numbered, while Odin decks are just sealed. Each deck has a different back, Freyja and Odin editions have different color schemes for the cards that have the same basic design, the Valkyries has some mods on the card design. Tucks are foil embossed outside and in (looks like foil to me, but it might also be ink). All in all, all three decks are distinct and visually appealing. Julien Riesen gets the designer credits.

The Odin deck gets the highest marks for usability. The distinct traditional coloring and suits is well paired with stylized “Norse” court cards. I particularly like the way the pips include 13 outlines for suit indicators in the middle of the card, with some filled in to match the card number.

The Freyja deck, on the other hand, is gold, silver, black and white, and while still legible, it definitely more … monochromatic isn’t quite the right word, bit the limited color palette definitely impacts it’s usability. The suit outlines on the pips, for example, are much harder to read. The court cards are the same, but with the vibrant colors of Odin snapped to the more subdued range.

Valyries deck again has a black background but now, instead of a gold / silver / white palette, it’s super bring blue, greens, reds and oranges. And the suits on the pips are largely stand-alone. The original listing points out that this deck includes some UV and invisible ink, which required me to buy a black light to enjoy. Worth it!

There is some quirkiness to discover as you go through the decks, which is pretty fun. A lot of its in the court cards and the lack of symmetry. And then on the Valkyries edition, on the pips, there’s some entertaining black on black that is fun to discover, on a very small number of cards.

You can apparently buy these where ever fine decks are sold in the $30 range. My cost based on my Kickstarter adventures is just a bit under $14 each.

I have 14 decks in total (and I ❤️ that the numbers match):

  • Odin edition, 4 sealed, 1 unsealed.
  • Freyja edition, 4 sealed (#950, #951, #953, #1052), 1 unsealed (#952)
  • Valkyries edition, 3 sealed ( #950, #951, #953), 1 unsealed (#952)

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