Sometimes a deck surprises you. You've seen pictures online and were interested. But then you see
the real thing, and it blows you away. That's what happened to me with the Ancient Warriors deck, a
new release that has just hit the market courtesy of Will Roya's PlayingCardDecks, which produced
this with the help of crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
The Ancient Warriors decks are a limited
edition two-deck set that comes with one in a red/gold colour scheme, and another in a black/silver
scheme. Besides the different tuck boxes and different coloured card backs, the decks are a matching
set, and identical aside from some bonus cards. I've always liked the concept of pairing decks
together, and using gold and silver as colours for the details always looks great. When set against
a backdrop of red and black respectively, they look even more terrific. One nice aspect of having
two decks as part of a set is that it gives the opportunity to showcase different artworks, and
that's what's happened here. The two tuck boxes aren't a matching set with merely a re-colouring
that keeps them apart, but each has its own image and feel, and they look particularly appealing
when placed alongside each other. It's a nice touch that the red deck has a gold rather than black
seal, to fit with the overall colour scheme.
The artwork on the box naturally introduces
us to the subject material that the title already gives us a clue about. These decks are an
exploration of ancient warriors from ancient civilizations around the globe, and each suit will
focus on a different civilization. The back of the tuck box features the artwork that also appears
on the card backs of each deck. The main central design and the patterns on the corners match, but
the ornate patterns are otherwise unique to each deck. The four icons in the center of this design
are repeated - these are incredibly detailed, and are representative of the four cultures featured
in the decks themselves.
Four cultures are represented in this deck, and are depicted on
the court cards and Aces:
- Crusaders (Spades)
- Japanese (Clubs)
- Zulus (Diamonds)
- Aztecs (Hearts)
The level of detail is fantastic, and there's lots to admire and
enjoy when studying the artwork closely. There's also incredible detail in the borders; both the
Spades and Clubs have silver borders, but with the Spades there is a repeated cross shape to
represent the Crusaders, whereas the Japanese suit instead appropriately makes use of a flower
blossom. The Hearts and Diamonds meanwhile have gold borders. Each border also picks up something
thematic to match the civilization on that card.
The civilization theme has also been
applied to the Aces and the pips on the number cards. We've come to expect a flashy Ace of Spades
in a custom deck, but in this deck you get an set of four heavily customized Aces, each of which has
its own intricate detail and appeal. The pips on the number cards are all heavily customized and
elegant, with the black suits being bordered in silver and the red suits in gold; each pip has a
central icon appropriate to that suit's civilization, e.g. a crusader's cross for the Spades.
Special mention should be made of the metallic inks used, and this makes the gold and silver accents
on the faces of the cards look truly stunning.
That's already impressive, but we're not
done yet - there's still the Jokers and bonus cards. For the Joker, a mischievous leprechaun has the
secret to finding the legendary pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. All we need to do is combine
the cards as a diptych, and we're on the way to making our fortune! Each deck also comes with two
bonus cards that are unique to each deck. The Red/Gold deck has an Aztec and Crusader, while the
Black/Silver deck has a Zulu and Japanese.
Special mention should be made of the artist of
this fine deck. Marcelo Simonetti is an illustrator and graphic designer from Uruguay. His
background includes architecture and graphic design, and he's also studied illustration. The
original characters he's created for this deck are truly stunning.
Are the Ancient Warriors
decks for you? These decks are a wonderful set of two, and would especially be ideal for anyone who
enjoys a card game that requires the use of two decks with contrasting back designs. The indices are
very clear and functional, and yet these decks are highly customized, interesting, and very
attractive. I'm glad to have both of them, and am extremely pleased with how terrific these turned
out. With printing by the USPCC, with the standard air cushion finish, the quality and handling is
every bit as good as this beautiful deck deserves. Once again congratulations to Will Roya and
PlayingCardDecks for producing another wonderful set of customized decks of the highest calibre.
Highly recommended for fans of custom decks! - BGG reviewer EndersGame