Thursday, 23 May 2013

Making a tarot deck

A rather curious way of being able to produce a tarot deck without buying one is as follows.
 I quote the following instructions from the RationalWiki.

You will need two decks of 54 standard playing cards with identical backs and different faces; in the US, a Bicycle Standard or Jumbo Index deck and a Bicycle Lo-Vision four-color deck will do. (This example is based on that combination.)[4]
Take the cards from the standard deck minus one joker (the other joker will be the Fool). Mix in the A->10 cards from the clubs (blue) and diamonds (green) from the Lo-Vision deck along with the Ace of Spades (black) and the jacks from all four suits; the clubs will be trumps 1-10, the diamonds (because a diamond's worth more than a stick) will be trumps 11-20, the big-index jacks will act as cavaliers,[5] and the ace of spades will be trump 21. You are now ready to play any tarot game using a standard 78-card deck, and you won't have to frustrate yourself with the artsy-fartsy markings on a cartomancy deck or pay obscene shipping charges to import a playing deck from France or Italy
4- Total cost approx. US$ 7, depending on suplier
5- You could also use three decks with three different index sizes, making the cavalier-jacks the middle-size index cards, but it's probably a waste of money to tear apart a third deck just for the jacks

To sum it up, Here is a little table which breaks down the deck's structure
 ( the Letters in colour represent the cards of the Lo- vision deck, the "C" stands for a knight )

trumps (normal tarot deck) - Fool, 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,21
This deck--------------------   Joker, A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, A,  2,   3,   4,    5,   6,   7,   8,   9,  10, A 

Suit cards ( normal tarot deck,) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ,7 ,8, 9, 10, J, C, Q, K
This deck --------------------------  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J,  J,  Q, K

However, In this blogger's opinion, isn't part of the joy in playing at tarot the beauty of the cards?

Transparent playing cards ( 1 )

Transparent playing cards- anon- 52 + 2 c.

Transparent playing cards would surely seem to be somewhat of an outright impossibility- How would one play with a deck that would allow light to pass through it, & yet conceal what cards you are holding from your opponents?
  However, such cards are made, and the are perfectly playable. However, it can be said that the makers almost always "cheat" when designing the cards. Firstly, to make them transparent, they ay are printed on thin sheets of plastic.
the cards overlaid on text , showing their transparent nature

As you may observe from the above image, only a certan portion of the cards are transparent, the rest covered with a form of design which is opaque. It is on this design where the face side of the cards are printed on. In this case, the maker has decided to only print the indexes of the cards and nothing else.

a closeup of the above. Note the ornamented borders and centerpiece.

the cards held up to strong light

the same, held up the other way. Note the opaque ovals, on which the indexes are printed

However, at least in this instance, the maker has decided, presumedly for reasons of economy,  not to make the whole of the back design opaque, but only the small oval on which the indexes are printed. This causes the little ovals on which the indexes are printed to stand up when the cards are held up to strong light.

The cards in question were purchased from the Japanese discount store Daiso.  

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Irinokichi ( 入ノ 吉) - Nintendo

"入 吉 / 入の 吉 " ( Irinokichi) , Nintendo - 48c. + Onifuda + blank 
    Another Kabu deck, with the rather pleasing name of "coming-in-luck"  this particular pattern differs from the others by several features.
Firstly, this deck uses the suit of batons, much like the Kabufuda . In fact, one could imagine that the kabufuda evolved from just such a deck, as the pip cards are almost identical.
  Secondly, unlike the other decks, this deck has all 3 courts. However, it is interesting to note that the knave has a rather realistic depiction of a person, unlike the knight and king, which are abstract forms

Key to Positions of cards in picture below:
Top row : 7, 8, 9, 10, [ knave] , [ knight] , [king]
Bottom row: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
 The pip cards.

from L-R, onifuda, special ace, special 4
Note the fact that the silver overprints on the cards are nearly transparent with age. The red on the onifuda has streaks on it, perhaps indicative of stencilling?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Circular playing cards I- house of marbles

"Circular playing cards/ Round playing cards" - House of marbles, 52c.+2

  Circular playing cards, although unusual, are by no means rare. The Indian Ganjifa cards are mostly circular in shape. This is doubtless due to the relative ease of making circles of regular shape than rectangles ( To make circles, one only needs a pair of dividers or compasses to trace the designs, whilst drawing rectangles calls for much work involving straightedges, which is wont to be inaccurate).
   However, as far as the west is concerned, circular playing cards are more often than not produced as novelties. This particular example is an English pattern. However, some modifications have been made to suit the format.

Notice that the court cards are repeated four times on each card, much like spokes on a wheel. In order for that to be achieved, the figures have to be stripped down a bit, thus making the king of spades look like four skittles!. The indexes are also repeated around the card in a similar fashion
The Joker displays a knight ( St, George?) slaying a dragon.
Note that although the courts have been repeated 4 times, the arrangement of the pips are as with a normal deck.
The pips on the court cards seem to have been inverted