The Royal Vortex deck is a very special deck, because was created to help mark the first anniversary
of PlayingCardDecks in April this year. This special promotional deck was made in a super limited
print run of only 500 units. It was a special "mystery deck" reward that was first offered to
supporters who participated in the launch of the Pip Box Club (a monthly subscription service which
gives members an opportunity to get decks, samples, and more, at a discounted rate), but is now
available for separate purchase.
The deck immediately impresses with its custom tuck box,
which has artwork that is deliberately designed to give the impression of an optical illusion, with
mis-shaped letters that look like they are distorted and warped in a psychedelic fashion. It also
introduces the gold and black colour scheme that is the most striking feature of this deck,
especially on the card backs.
The artist of this deck goes by the name Azured Ox, who also
created the Friendly Felines deck, and that's why Azured Ox is written on the tuck flap, along with
a King of Spades card reveal.
The card faces are standard, but that's not why we came to
this deck in the first place - we want to see the card backs! These are filled with striking gold
foil, and the eye-catching nature of these is amplified further by the intriguing graphic design,
which is geared to draw you in and bend your mind with a vortex shaped pattern that creates a kind
of optical illusion and can look as if it is moving. I would have preferred to have borders that
were similar in size on all sides, but there's no doubt that this is a card back that will get
This special collector's deck was printed by Gemaco. As a result, the faces all
have the standard Gemaco artwork, including an attractive oversized pip on the Ace of Spades, and
two Gemaco Jokers (one in colour, the other in black and white). But that doesn't make the face
cards uninteresting, because the court cards do have quite a different look from the standard
Bicycle ones. I find them quite appealing, while still having a classic look. The number cards look
quite traditional, and no short cuts have been taken here; notice the stylish and elegant shape of
the Diamond pips.
The black card backs do mean that you can expect to see signs of wear
more quickly than with white bordered cards, but that's a small price to pay for so much bling,
especially since the black background helps make the hotstamped gold foil look all the more
The card stock is described as "Fine European Stock", and springs very nicely,
and the cards faro fine too. It has Gemaco's smooth Ivory finish, and the absence of embossing does
mean that they won't fan evenly, and can also feel somewhat slippery with the foil.
isn't intended to be a deck you'd normally use for a serious game of cards, but it certainly is
ideal for the time you want to make an instant statement of luxury, and to impress people with lots
of gold bling! - BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame