May 2019


This month there was something to choose again. A while back I had funded a few Kickstarter projects and four decks arrived this month. Two versions of the "King's Game" and two versions of a transformation deck, titled "A Motley Pack". The latter is an edition, based on 40 cards which were published in an Australian Christmas Annual in Melbourne in 1875. The twelve courts were designed in an appropriate style and added, just like the two jokers.

Normally, when there's a transformation deck then it has a good chance to be shown at this spot. And that's the case this month. However, it's not this Motley Pack.

I had signed up for the pre-release and together with several other collectors I had been waiting for some months, but when the deck arrived this month it turned out to be more than worth waiting for. The Royal Mischief Transformation Playing Cards by Patrick Valenza is a follow-up from the regular Royal Mischief deck. That was our Deck of the Month in February 2016, so the courts may look familiar as they have the exact same designs. For info about the artist and that deck, click here and press 02.
This transformation deck was published by U.S. Games Systems Inc. The box mentions that the printing was done in China and personally I'm not too happy with the chosen card. Maybe it's the finish, but they look a bit plastic and the cards don't really shuffle easy. The edges are done in a shining gray. But I'm collecting cards for their designs, so these observations don't carry that much weight here.






Of course the difference between the decks starts with the aces. Where they were plain in the regular deck, here they have been transformed and they make a good example of what to expect on the other pip cards. Patrick has a recognizable style of drawing, with an eye for details and his sometimes dark humor is often found in those details. It's a modern transformation deck, but by dressing his figures up in vintage or antique clothing he captures the spirit of the antique transformation decks. His designs are original and display his creativity and humor. Details are not only important in the complete scene, but almost all the pips have also been transformed by adding small details to make them fit better in the designs. Take a close look at the heads in the hearts suit! In some antique American transformation decks titles or captions were added on each of the pip cards and Patrick Valenza follows this tradition. Everybody will probably have a favorite card, mine is the "Spoiled Eggs" (7 of clubs), although there are many others that came close and brought a smile to my face. And that's exactly what some of the antique transformation cards aimed to do. They were often published as "cartes rire".

So take the advice here below and enjoy Patrick's art and humor by taking a good look at all the pip cards.....







The deck has 52 cards and 2 jokers.

It comes in a nice, rigid 2-piece box.

 Together with the sealed box, I received a separate transformed card, a 6 of spades with a blue back (our deck has red backs).

Interesting is that this 6 of spades has a different design than the one in our deck.
A separate printed sheet with only these 6's or the start of a second transformation deck?
No, it was a card, of which the publisher didn't agree with the design. Not pc enough in the #me too days!?