Tuesday, 10 April 2018

CLXVIII. Gardens of Hecate Deck Released

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may remember that back in February I shared a photo of my first printed deck. The printing was done in collaboration with Jesús, the author of El Soldado Tranquilo. This generated plenty of response, people expressing interest in getting a copy for themselves. Though pretty cool, I felt the deck wasn't good enough to offer it as a product, so I decided to do some editing to bring it up to an acceptable level of quality. 

This deck was first painted back in 2014/15, and its creation is discussed in these two posts: LXVII. and LXXIV. There was another, older version from 2013. This was when I came up with my custom suits, but it did not put any graphics on the cards other than suit symbols and numbers: XLIV.
The biggest problem when we got to having this printed was the format. The original cards were completely handmade, with no prior intention to be turned into a printed deck. They did not have rounded corners, so part of the card would get cut off to fit the standard poker card template. In that first print, this was solved by adding a solid colour 'frame' around the scanned card. I wanted to avoid that issue this time around, by constructing the cards digitally, within a poker card template.

Another bit that bothered me was the card numbers. They looked... meh. Their glaring imperfection is passable on the handmade item, but on a printed, neatly cut card it just sticks out. So this got replaced by something more professional-looking. The suit symbols got the same treatment. Basically, the only thing kept from the original deck scans was the artwork from the face cards, but they also got tidied up a bit before scanning. 

The handmade original has minimalistic Jokers: gold foil for Red Joker and a blank card for Black Joker. This was because of the way they function in the rules system I use: the Red Joker is the best card in the deck, and the Black Joker the absolute worst. Gold foil was not an option, so I made some actual Joker artwork for this printed release:

Finally, the design for the backs. The handmade original just has blank backs. I went for a version of the Gardens of Hecate banner for this; seemed the most fitting.

When I finished the editing, I ordered a test copy to see how it comes out. And now I finally have it in my hands. I'm happy to say it looks quite good, and I am perfectly comfortable offering this as a product. Pretty exciting!

This is how it compares to the hand-painted original (left) and the 'Jesús edition' (centre):


If you like it, you can purchase the deck on MakePlayingCards.com, following this link: MPC