Bicycle Karnival ‘Inferno’ Playing Cards Review

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Straight from the pits of Hell, these cards are the embodiment of ‘fire and brimstone’.

Karnival Inferno Box

Karnival Inferno Box

The ‘Karnival Inferno’ playing cards deck by French graphic design artist Sam Hayles is one very special pack of cards. Printed on USPCC Bicycle stock – though for some reason unbranded – with their famous air flow finish, these cards are a pleasure to handle.

Each card has been meticulously designed with skulls, fire, Egyptian hieroglyphics and an ominous sense of the macabre on each one – including the pip cards. The deck has an aged look about it and the tuckcase is made to look like an old book – maybe the Devil’s naughty or nice list…? The court cards have a very unique feel in that instead of holding swords, axes, flowers, staffs and whatnot, they are each holding a pitchfork. To top off the devilish look they each have demonic red eyes too.

Karnival Inferno Faces

Karnival Inferno Faces

Karnival Inferno Jokers

Karnival Inferno Jokers

Karnival Inferno Aces

Karnival Inferno Aces

The deck contains 2 Jokers – both exactly the same except that one has devil eyes and horns – and one blank fronted card; useful for various card tricks. There is quite a heavy reddish brown border running not only round the backs of the cards but also the fronts. Which to be honest could be off putting in a card game as it makes the red suits slightly hard to make out. I would also imagine that game play with these cards could be quite distracting as you can’t help but look at each card to study the detail. The four Aces are probably my favourite cards in the deck – each one has a skull imprinted in the centre suit with flames emanating from it’s base.

Novel writing software without the learning curve.

This is another deck that I would love to have an uncut sheet of, framed and up on the wall. A proper talking point. I can’t imagine being able to properly play with them, but I would definitely take them out for a hand or two. They’re not the sort of cards you’d use to play gin rummy with Granny, or to keep the young nephews and nieces entertained at a kids party – way too scary! But absolutely a great addition to any collection. Thumbs up from me!

Where to buy your deck of Karnival Inferno Playing Cards:

Currently available from The UK Playing Card Company for £6.12 – click HERE

Also available from Collectable Playing Cards (USA) for $8.00 – what are you waiting for??

Bicycle Karnival Inferno Uncut Sheet

Bicycle Karnival Inferno Uncut Sheet

Limited Edition Karnival Inferno Uncut Sheets are available from Amazon.co.uk for £27.99 – only 100 of these are in existence so click HERE to get yours! {My birthday is coming up soon…. Note to my partner – click here ;) }

** Update – I got mine!! :):):) **

Karnival Inferno Backs

Karnival Inferno Backs

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17 thoughts on “Bicycle Karnival ‘Inferno’ Playing Cards Review

  1. Sandra

    Wow the design of these cards is just awesome! They have that fierce and fiery look to them but also a medieval flair as well! I also enjoy the fact that they are all holding pitchforks rather than the usual card gimmick as it makes the cards more authentic as well.These cards are not badly priced either seeing as its 27.99 for a collectors edition, that is wicked!

    Reply
  2. Admin

    This is a wonderful site, I love cards, specially the tarot ones, I have few of them. I also believe what they mean when i am playing with them. Thank you so much for this awesome review. This Karnival Inferno edition is beautiful. When are you going to show us something new again? I will be passing by your site often to check it out.

    Reply
  3. Stephen Mcgouran

    There’s some serious artwork going into these set of cards!

    I have to agree with you aswell on the skull cards, I always appreciate the artwork and the creativity that goes into these cards but I wouldn’t be playing a game of cards with my nephews using these one, something a bit lighter at least for the next few years!

    Stephen

    Reply
    1. Jyl Post author

      Keep an eye out Stephen, I’ll be doing a review on playing cards for children soon, so you might find something that won’t give your nephews nightmares :D

      Reply
  4. Marc Parsons

    Sam Hyles Karnival Inferno deck design is FREAKING AWESOME… lil scary… but AWESOME!

    Thanks for a great review. I can already imagine that new smell when opening the Deck!

    You mentioned that they are unbranded… Have you managed to find out any more about the reason for that? I would assume it is not common?

    Thanks
    Marc

    Reply
    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks for the comment Marc. The unbranding (I reckon) is because of the box itself. Usually, when a deck is branded the Bicycle logo can take up almost a third of the box. The imagery of this deck sort of demands full attention without any other distractions. That’s what I think anyway – I have to admit, I’ve never enquired about it myself…. But the card stock is USPCC Bicycle card stock to ensure the best handling :) There are those collectors who *only* collect Bicycle decks, some won’t collect them at all. So some designers will design a branded and an unbranded version of the same deck.

      Reply
  5. Sara

    Well there ya go. I grew up playing all sorts of card games, and play now online, but I miss the feel of the cards. And you’re right, they do have a “smell” when you open the pack, that new car smell :) I had no idea there was such a thing as collecting though!

    Reply
    1. Jyl

      Hi Sara, thanks for your comment. That’s the thing isn’t it? Even with the likes of Solitaire on the PC, it’s quick and easy and you don’t need to clear a table to play it, but there’s just something about playing it with a real live deck. I started collecting playing cards at a time when (looking back now) they weren’t even very exciting. But I was interested in them, so I collected them. Now though it’s a completely different story. You can even buy uncut sheets of the whole deck to frame and put on the wall as artwork :)

      Reply
  6. theicecoach

    I had no idea such a hobby existed! So many brands too! The artwork is also incredible, something I didn’t expect. I didn’t put much thought into what the cards looked like until I started looking through your site. And, I never knew you could get them uncut in order to display. Wow, a whole new world!

    Reply
    1. Jyl

      I have several uncut sheets waiting to be framed and I can’t wait! They are very rare too, not every deck is available as an uncut sheet – there are usually only 100 – which makes them collectable and eventually valuable. Some decks don’t look like much in a deck but take on a whole new look as one piece, while cards that individually look amazing don’t convert over so well. But it’s in the eye of the beholder I suppose. Thanks for the comment :)

      Reply
  7. Andrew

    Well, I’m sold! Next time I have some spare money to throw away, this is where I’ll be throwing it! Unless by then you have something even cooler to show me! These cards are awesome, I really am enjoying what your site has to offer. Definitely adding to my bookmarks, so cool!

    Reply
  8. David

    Hey Jyl.

    Those are just my cup of tea!

    I have been doing card magic for many years, mainly as a hobby and have purchased many different designs on bicycle stock.

    I love them! Excellent post! :)

    Reply
    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks for the feedback David. I’d love to hear your opinions on different decks/brands and which ones suit you best for performing with. I’m just a collector, I have too many thumbs to be a magician or a cardist though I have been trying :)

      Reply
    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks Donna. I think people generally see playing cards as they ‘used’ to be. These new decks that are coming out now are definitely more eye catching and are appealing to people who ordinarily wouldn’t have given playing cards a second glance. I’m loving the new designs – long may they continue! :)

      Reply

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