More quality playing cards from Art of Play Art of Play is not just the home of incredible puzzles, games, and amuzements. It's also where you'll find some of the most amazing playing cards you'll have ever seen. It's run by magicians and cardists Dan and Dave Buck, who have worked hard to create a carefully curated collection of oddities and items that will be appreciated by the discerning buyer with a fine taste in games, puzzles, or playing cards. But Art of Play not only sells playing cards, it's also the label under which the famous Buck twins produce their own brand of playing cards. Since 2013 they have been producing a growing number of high quality and creative custom decks, thereby making a valuable and important contribution to the playing card industry. So if you're after something elegant to have on hand for performing card magic or cardistry, or something that exudes sophistication on the one hand or relaxation on the other hand, Art of Play has got you covered with one of their custom decks. In this article, I'll review ten different decks from Art of Play that recently joined the ranks of my own personal collection of playing cards. *** MINIMALIST DECKS *** Messymod The Messymod deck is one of the newest members of the Art of Play line-up. The unusual graphic design approach comes from the creative minds of the TRÜF design studio. The deck's title is short for Messy Modernism, and messymod.com doubles as the design studio's own brand and online home. The style of the artwork showcased on their site matches what you see in this deck, and is created by Adam Goldberg. Minimalism is the order of the day, and the "messymod" style is self described as follows: "We’ve taken our love of geometry, pattern, white space, Bauhaus, Miró and a little too much caffeine and mashed it all into a style we call Messy Modernism – “messymod” for short. It’s minimal, modern, graphic, quirky, stylized, grotesque, delightful and just plain weird." The artwork itself is not messy of course, although the creative process required to generate it certainly can be. Regardless of what it took to get there, there's no doubt about the outcome, which has produced a stunning and unique deck full of curves and shapes, decorated with a simple black and white colour scheme. The court cards have undergone a deconstruction process and been completely reimagined. The addition of red for the hearts/diamonds on the court cards adds a burst of colour which complements the otherwise minimalist black and white very well. Wavy lines also play an important role, especially on some of the number cards. The Jokers and an ad card give extra space for our artists to wreak their creative havoc on these playing cards, and the results are spectacular. Balance The Balance deck is another recent addition to the Art of Play portfolio, and was a collaboration project with SDCO Partners. Cardists and collectors with love for minimalism will appreciate this deck as well. The tuck box gives us an immediate indication of what to expect, with a very modern graphic design which makes the most of soft pastel pink colours and simple linear shapes. These playing cards are all about boiling down the essence of a playing card, deconstructing the traditional artwork by stripping away complex designs and multiple colours, and replacing them with a monochromatic look that strikes the right balance of contemporary and stylish minimalism. The court cards are a real highlight, but the number cards also contribute to the overal impression of minimalism, with the help of an unadorned font used for the indices. Smaller than usual custom pips are grouped together in the center of the cards in an original pattern, creating a strong sense of delicate elements framed by a larger than usual amount of white space. In contrast to the faces, the back of the cards have borderless design where wavy patterns are a central focus. The card backs have an overall darker look that nonetheless complements the colours used for the spades and clubs. The Jokers also match the rest of the deck well, and are also borderless but employ a soft pink. The subtle colour tones and minimalist design, combined with the thin USPCC cardstock that cardists especially appreciate, makes this deck suitable for chill cardistry. At the same time the sleek modern design remains functional, and it is practical enough to be used for card games as well.