Ancient Warriors Playing Cards

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.



Tuck box

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. 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. Each has its own image and feel, and they look particularly appealing when placed alongside each other.

The artwork 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.

It's a nice touch that the red deck has a gold rather than black seal, to fit with the overall colour scheme.

Card backs

Besides the different tuck boxes and different coloured card backs, the decks are a matching set, and identical aside from some bonus cards, so the cards shown in what follows are found in both decks. Here's a look at the card backs:



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.

Aces

Let's first take a look at the gorgeous Aces. We've come to expect a flashy Ace of Spades in a custom deck, but here we find a set of four Aces, each of which has its own intricate detail and appeal.



And check out the detail - you'll appreciate the kind of work that has gone into doing the art for this deck!



Court cards

These Aces also reflect something of the four cultures represented in this deck, and which are depicted on the court cards:
- Crusaders (Spades)
- Japanese (Clubs)
- Zulus (Diamonds)
- Aztecs (Hearts)

Now it's time to enter our time machine and check out our warriors of the past, visiting each civilization in turn.

Crusaders (Spades)

First up are the Spades, which is the Crusader suit. The level of detail is fantastic, and there's lots to admire and enjoy when studying the artwork closely.



Japanese (Clubs)

Next up are the Clubs, which represent the Japanese. You'll recognize the Jack, because he's our cover boy for the Black Silver deck.



Notice the 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.

Zulus (Diamonds)

The Diamonds are probably my favourites, with the Zulus. These look like true ancient warriors, and are decked with war paint and well armed with spears.



I just wouldn't recommend getting into an argument with this Zulu fellow - he doesn't look too happy!



Aztecs (Hearts)

Finally with the Hearts we have our Aztec warriors, complete with the intimidating cover boy (Jack) for the Red Gold deck.



I really don't know who would win in a face off between the Zulus and the Aztecs, but both of these look like they could give the Crusaders and the Japanese a run for their money!

Once again notice the different patterns used for the borders - now in a gold instead of silver colour for the red suits. Each again picks up something thematic to match the civilization on that card.

Number cards

This civilization theme has also been applied to the pips on the number cards. Each of these is heavily customized and elegant, with the black suits being bordered in silver and the red suits in gold.



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.

Each pip also has a central icon appropriate to that suit's civilization, e.g. a crusader's cross for the Spades.



Jokers

That's already impressive, but we're not done yet. 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!



Bonus cards

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.



Artist

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.



Recommendation

Are the Ancient Warriors deck 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.

Highly recommended! Once again congratulations to Will Roya and PlayingCardDecks.com for producing another wonderful set of customized decks of the highest calibre!



Want to learn more? You can find this deck on PlayingCardDecks.com here:
- Ancient Warriors deck




BoardGameGeek reviewer

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