Flaminko Playing Cards

I've seen all kinds of words used to describe playing cards: Elegant, sophisticated, classical, modern, visual, colourful, eye-catching, and many more. But how about this one: Delicious!

The word delicious immediately makes you think of food, right? The definition of delicious is: "highly pleasant to the taste, delightful." It makes me think of things like chocolate ice-cream, fresh fruit, juicy hamburgers, sweet candies, and good food. And that's exactly what the Deliciousness series of playing cards from Flaminko Playing Cards is all about! Currently the series includes a planned four decks: Burger, Watermelon, Lollipop, and Citrus. I think you're getting the idea already: delicious food, converted into a deck of playing cards!



But what makes these decks so striking is that each of them has been designed with a very playful and fun design that captures the essence of the subject material, so that each deck is a separate design. Yet all four decks are very clearly linked with a similar style and artistic direction, that makes them fit together. So far Flaminko has already successfully published the first of the series, Burger Playing Cards, which is available from retailers. Right now they're in the middle of funding the second deck of the series, Watermelon Playing Cards, which is being crowdfunded with the help of Kickstarter here.

So who is the Flaminko team behind this creative project? Nicholas Zeitoun, Alexander Rivaldy, Michael Duong, and Ivan Ramadhan are the guys who make up Flaminko. They joined forces in Melbourne in 2016, and together they have a variety of skills including design, illustration, programming, and web development. Under the banner of Flaminko Playing Cards (an original word created by combining syllables from "Flaming Kard Operations"), they have decided to combine their talents, in a quest to produce new and unique high quality playing cards designs that are bright, fun and colorful - like the Deliciousness series.



I'm fortunate to have a copy of the published Burger deck, and a prototype of the Watermelon deck, and so I'm happy to introduce these tasty decks to my readers, show you what they're like, and tell you a thing or two or three about them!

BURGER DECK

The first deck in the Deliciousness series is the Burger deck, which as its name suggests, celebrates the almighty burger.



There's a great teaser video that was put out ahead of the Kickstarter here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTQDB-wBO8M

Tuck box

The tuck box makes an immediate impression, with a clever wrap-around tuck box design that immediately gives the suggestion of two halves of a bun, complete with sesame seeds. UV spot printing has been used to give these pips and the label a shiny look and raised feel, which creates a very novel and eye-catching effect.

But the creativity doesn't stop with the front and back of the tuck box, with the sides depicting the contents of a hamburger, just as they would look on the side of a hamburger bun.



The graphic design of the cards has been created by the Flaminko team from the ground up, and I'm told that they have used over 50 layers in Illustrator for each card! The design of the cards deliberately fits well with the artwork of the tuck box, for a consistent whole.



Back design

Originally the deck was planned to have a two-way back design, which would make it less ideal for cardistry, and so during the campaign it was decided to go with a more typical symmetrical card back instead. Even so, it still has a look that brings to mind the sesame seed design of the tuck box, and is clearly inspired by a hamburger bun that is partly toasted. The complete package has a hamburger look, that is sure to attract attention of all who see it.



Pips

The pips deserve special attention, since each suit has been individually customized to depict foods that you'll find on an actual hamburger bun. Spades picture the hamburger patty itself, Clubs the lettuce, Hearts the tomato, and Diamonds the cheese.



Aces

The Aces especially do a good job of showing this, with oversized centre pips full of food deliciousness, and added detail.



Here we see all four ingredients: lettuce, cheese, tomato, and patty.



Court cards

As for the court cards, each of them is unique, showing a burger with individual artwork. What I especially appreciate is how each burger has an extra helping of the ingredient corresponding to its suit. So for example, the Queen of Hearts has extra tomato, and the King of Diamonds has extra cheese. Having the suit of the pip reproduced on the burger itself also gives an added visual indicator of the suit of that card.



If you look carefully, you'll also notice a lot of other small details that add "flavour" to each court card, with various burger related accessories such as cutlery, mustard, ketchup, and more, all finding their way into the artwork. This kind of creativity rewards the attentive viewer, and gives extra detail to discover and enjoy, which is very welcome in a collectible deck such as this.

Each suit also feels unified, with the pips on the number cards matching the overall look of the court cards.



Number cards

The number cards also feature the customized pips.



While the indices are still functional and clear, having customized pips in the centre of the cards adds to the unique appeal and look of this deck.



Jokers

Every deck needs some good Jokers to complement it, and with the Burger deck, we get the addition of appropriate relish: Onion and Pickles!



Burger Stacks Game

As a special thank you to their backers, the Flaminko team created a card game all about making burgers, called Burger Stacks. Details were first revealed here, and you can download the rules for the game here.



Burger Magic

The Burger decks will especially appeal to collectors, but magicians can find ways to maximize the visual effect of the cards as well. How about some burger themed card tricks, by pulling out this deck after enjoying some burgers and fries with family or friends? The inclusion of two gaff cards increases the possibilities for magic, with a double-backer and a duplicate Joker.

See some card magic by magician Jordy Doust using the Burger deck here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWl9DFc38EI



Burger Cardistry

And here's a clip of some cardists from Melbourne jamming with the Burger deck, showcasing some nice card-flourishing moves:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iBTxgnOTv4

Here's another teaser trailer for the deck, also featuring cardistry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Nmt1ZR7Mg



WATERMELON DECK

Flaminko's current project is their lively Watermelon deck, which is currently up for funding on Kickstarter (funding ends on Friday 23 March 2018).



Tuck box

Who would have thought of making an entire deck that is a tribute to the humble watermelon? It's certainly an excellent and juicy fit for this series, not just because it is delicious, but because of its bold colours and the tactile fun that watermelon pips offer. There's lots of nutritious energy packed inside the deck, of course, but it all begins with the tuck box.



The watermelon pips make an immediate impression from the outset, being featured on the tuck box along with the watermelon rind. Just as with the Burger deck, UV spot printing has been used to create raised surfaces and a shiny look, which really makes for a stylish and eye-catching box. I especially love the combination of bright red and green, which is lively and fresh, and has an instant impact.



Back design

The back design is a symmetrical design with several tones of green, inspired by the signature colours and design of a watermelon skin.



Pips

Each of the pips has a heavily customized design, representing different parts of a watermelon, with vibrant red and green being a key feature of the design.



The Diamonds and Heart suits capture the tender red of tasty watermelon, while the Clubs and Spades are reproduced with green tones that represent a watermelon rind.

Aces

Once again, the Aces have giant pips that really showcase the customized pips in all their glory.



The colour scheme also complements the card backs nicely.



Court cards

The court cards all have a unique piece of artwork that corresponds to the focus of each suit. I particularly appreciate how each suit has its own feel, despite needing to work with the restriction of picture watermelon pieces!



But not only do these picture different slices, but they also incorporate other small details to admire, such as a knife. The Kings and Queens are given royal crowns of gold and silver to make their royal status abundantly clear, and this assists ensuring that the cards remain functional.



Number cards

The number cards all rely on the customized pips to give each character and deliciousness.



Naturally they also complement the court cards well.



Jokers

Related members of the Cucurbitaceae family join their big Watermelon brother in this deck via the Jokers, which each feature a melon, namely a Honeydew and Cantaloupe.



Watermelon Cardistry

Just like the Burger deck, the Watermelon deck has a lot of potential for cardistry.



The card backs especially lend themselves well to this purpose.



Watermelon Fun

Just as with the Burger deck, which came with instructions for a Burger Stack game, there are rather unusual ways to use these cards if you are really keen. How about some card throwing, at a real watermelon? Naughty - but judging from the Kickstarter video, that didn't stop the guys from Flaminko giving it a try!



The Watermelon deck should be arriving in backers mailboxes in August, which for those in the northern hemisphere means it should be on time to help add some refreshment to your summer!



MORE DELICIOUSNESS

The Burger and Watermelon decks are only the beginning for these lovely customized decks from Flaminko. They have plans to release two more decks in this series, namely Lollipop deck and Citrus deck.



The best way to be updated for news about when these are being crowd-funded and release is to follow Flaminko Playing Cards on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

But these decks will have a similar style to the first two in the Deliciousness series, as is evident from some preview images that the company has released, with some initial ideas. So here's a taste of some forthcoming deliciousness that is on the way from Flaminko Playing Cards.

Lollipop deck

The Lollipop deck is intended to represent a lollipop and an assortment of gumballs.



Like the other decks in the series, customized pips have a playful character, with Clubs depicted by gumballs, and the other suits depicted as hard handy.



Naturally all the court cards have a super sweet design.



Looking for eye candy? This is definitely going to be a sugary hit!



Flaminko likes to make sure that backer rewards have been received before starting a new project, so we might see Lollipop launched after the Watermelon decks arrive in backer hands, i.e. August or September 2018.

Citrus deck

As you'd expect, the Citrus deck features different fruits.



This includes oranges and lemons, and what looks to be possible grape fruit and limes.



This deck hasn't yet been released, and these are only prototype images, but it certainly looks promising!



I look forward to seeing what Flaminko comes up with for this deck, and any future decks they might add to the series!



If all goes according to plan, we can expect to see Citrus launch some time in early 2019.

What's next?

So what lies ahead? Flaminko is already doing some early designs and concept for another planned series, tentatively called the "S Series", which stands for the four themes these decks will each cover: "Sea" "Sky" "Shore" and "Sunset". Working names for these decks are the following: Ocean (Sea deck), Nephology (Sky deck), Kokomo (Shore deck) and Reyleigh (Sunset deck).

I managed to get a sneak preview of a concept screenshot of one of the working files (posted with permission from Flaminko); it's early days, but it does look like more colourful and fun decks from Flaminko are ahead!




CONCLUSIONS

What do I think?

Tuck boxes: I love the tuck boxes of this series. They are extremely well designed, and do a great job of showing what the deck is about. Touches like the UV spot printing (which gives added looks and feel to the sandwich/watermelon pips) really enhance the final result. Many people I've shown these decks were immediately captivated by the cute looking tuck box, and wanted to see the cards inside, only to have their initial positive impression confirmed and strengthened by the playing cards themselves!

Card quality: The card quality of all these decks matches the quality of the graphic design. These decks have been printed in Belgium by industry giant Cartamundi, using their 310 gsm stock and B9 Superluxe finish. I've seen a lot of playing cards produced by USPCC and Taiwanese publishers like LPCC and EPCC, and the quality of these Cartamundi cards is certainly on par with those.

Handling: The cards have an air cushion style finish. They are super soft, and handle smoothly and beautifully. Cartamundi's B9 Superluxe finish is one that cardists and magicians alike are known to appreciate, so it doesn't disappoint. I was very impressed and satisfied with the overall handling.

Collectors: Flaminko's Deliciousness decks will especially appeal to the collector. These playing cards have "collectible" written all over them, especially when these decks are put together as a set. And there's just a whole lot to appreciate about them, starting from the creative tuck box, the bright colours, and the heavy customization. I'm somewhat of a collector, and when I first heard about these decks, I was immediately intrigued and wanted to see them! Fortunately, they easily lived up to my expectations!

Card games: Despite the strong appeal for collectors, these decks aren't just an eye-catching novelty for the collector to share and enjoy. I really like the fact that Flaminko has made a real effort to ensure that the cards are functional. Even though each deck in the Deliciousness series has heavily customized pips, they are instantly recognizable. The indices are very clear if you're holding a hand of cards, so they certainly can be used for playing card games, whether you're playing some Hearts, Spades, or Poker. I haven't yet played their "Burger Stacks" game, but my children enjoy games like Snap, Slapjack, and Slamwich, and this deck is ideal for that purpose too. Publishing rules for a burger themed game is also a great idea.

Card magic: The fact that the cards have a functional graphic design and recognizable pips, ensures that they can be used for card magic too. While they do have some elements that could distract from a traditional card trick routine, the creative magician has new potential to use these for tricks that connect with the theme. For example, with the Burger deck you could capitalize on the artwork by performing a "sandwich" effect, or some other burger inspired plot. Each deck also comes with two extra gaff cards that will especially be welcome for magicians: a double backer, and a third Joker that is a duplicate of one of the Jokers.

Card flourishing: The smooth handling of these high quality cards means that they'll also be appreciated by cardists. The vibrant colours of the back design makes them quite suitable for this, and the thin borders and straight forward design of the card backs works very well when doing cuts, fans, and more advanced cardistry moves. It's definitely something that will fit nicely in the toolbox of a cardist! I especially love the fresh greens of the Watermelon deck, which provide a fresh look and colour, quite different from most other cardistry decks.

Series: These decks also work together as a series. Even though they clearly stand apart from one another, and are quite different from the others in the series, they also have a similar overall graphic design that makes it clear that they belong to a family. It is indeed delicious from start to finish, and I'm excited about what the Flaminko team will come up in the future!



Recommendation

So are the decks from Flaminko Playing Cards for you? The playing card industry can feel saturated at times, and it takes something truly special to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. These lovely Deliciousness decks have that special something, and immediately grab attention and interest. The Burger deck looks and feels fantastic from the moment you first lay your eyes on it. The Watermelon deck does the same, without feeling like it's a simple duplication of the first deck in the Deliciousness series. Each deck feels unique and interesting, and the fact that you can actually use them for things like card games and card flourishing only helps make them more appealing.

If you like the look of these decks, definitely check out the Kickstarter for the Watermelon deck that is currently happening, and keep an eye on Flaminko's social media for news of further decks in the future!



Want to learn more? Visit Flaminko Playing Cards:
Official website: flaminkoplayingcards.com
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Direct links for where some the decks featured in this review can be found:
- Burger deck
- Watermelon deck (current Kickstarter)
- Lollipop deck
- Citrus deck
- Deliciousness series




BoardGameGeek reviewer

For more of my reviews on custom playing cards, subscribe to this list: Pictorial Reviews of Playing Cards by EndersGame

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