Ever since I first learned about it in history classes in school, I've been fascinated by the
medieval world and everything related to it. Even now I still enjoy reading books which are set in
this era, and artwork or stories that depict it. Clearly I'm not the only one with a fondness for
the medieval, as is evident from the custom Knights deck that was designed by award winning UK
artist Sam Hayles with the assistance of Will Roya from PlayingCardDecks.
The tuck box is
the colour of an antique parchment, giving the sense that this deck has skipped across time,
straight from the middle ages. The front features a crest styled artwork with medieval armour as the
focus. Underneath is a banner that reads "Victoria aut morte", which is Latin for "Victory or
death", and was one of the things a knight in full cry might yell while engaged in combat on the
field of battle.
This deck was printed in a limited print run of 2500, and each comes with
an individually numbered seal. I am particularly partial to the look of this exquisite seal, which
has artwork that cleverly pictures a royal seal printed in red wax.
The card backs have a
richly detailed and symmetrical two-way design, which brings to mind an splendid coat of arms,
composed of medieval metal armaments. Once again the parchment style background is an appropriate
The card faces all have have a background that looks like antique parchment,
matching that of the card backs, and the only other colours present are the black and greys of
burnished metal along with a scarlet blood red. The Aces all have an oversized pip in the center,
set on a round shield-like pattern.
Each court card has unique artwork, with a red
rectangular panel being the backdrop for a fully armoured knight. For me, these cards along with the
unique Aces are the highlight of this deck!
While fully customized, it is clear that this
deck has been carefully designed to remain functional and usable for playing card games or
performing card magic.
The number cards are immediately familar and recognizable, but the
use of the antique looking background along with the unique colour scheme brings to mind burnished
and bloodied metal from the field of battle, and this combination ensures a thoroughly custom look
that is still very practical.
Two Jokers depict fully armoured knights facing in opposite
directions, to complete the 54 card deck.
In addition to the deck proper, also included are
two unique gaff cards. One is a Five of Spades - but with red pips! The other is a King of Diamonds
which looks as if it has been partially ripped to show a corner of the Five of Spades underneath.
Creative magicians will certainly find some good use for these interesting gaffs!
Knights deck was produced by USPCC in their classic air cushion finish, to ensure that this deck not
only has the look of quality, but also handles well. It is certainly an attractive and engaging
custom deck that is still very practical, and that makes it an ideal workhorse for a magician, or
even a great novelty to use for playing poker or other card games. - BoardGameGeek reviewer
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