The Fall of Troy ][ Epic Playing Cards. On Kickstarter NOW!

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I remember many, many years ago, a good friend of my Mum’s went to Greece for a holiday. She brought my Mum back a couple of hand-made and hand-painted plates, depicting various highly dramatic scenes involving Ancient Greek characters. I had no idea who they were or what they were doing. None. But I didn’t care. The plates were painted in dark reds and browns and blacks. The characters were strong and fascinating. I loved those plates. They hung on the living room wall for years – long after I moved out. Until of course my Mum was redecorating and they didn’t quite ‘go’ with the rest of the decor. She was going to store them away, but I asked if I could have them because I wanted them on MY wall. Well, I brought the plates home and, unbeknownst to me, my room mate put them into the dishwasher to clean them…. the dishwasher……… hand painted plates…. they were ruined….. I was devastated………. This deck reminds me of those plates :) The Fall of Troy ][ Epic Playing Cards are on Kickstarter NOW.

The Fall of Troy Playing Cards

The Fall of Troy Playing Cards

duxoop LogoDesigned by Chris Staples of duxoop (if you’re wondering how it’s pronounced, his logo is a soup bowl with a duck in it…. geddit….?) this deck features the main players in the Trojan War which is believed to have taken place some time between 1260 – 1180 BC. Chris has taken inspiration from various artworks which have depicted the War, but he has painstakingly reworked each design to achieve the 2-way symmetrical images we are familiar with in ‘modern day’ playing card design. Ancient script adorns the background of each card – courts and pips – which gives this deck a truly raw, handmade feel. The pips are all custom hand-drawn too, so it’s clear to see that a LOT of work went into designing this deck. Which is no surprise really, considering that Chris Staples has worked on some of the most well known animated films and TV shows in recent years. {Keep reading for more details….:)}

The Fall of Troy - Ares the God of War - The Jack of Spades

The Fall of Troy – Ares the God of War – The Jack of Spades

I have to start with The Jack of Spades, which is my favourite playing card after the Joker, and it features Ares – The God of War. He’s kinda bad-ass, as you would imagine. Duuude!!! He’s got the whole shieldy, speary, helmety thing going on which is incredibly cool and, dare I say it, sexy…..? I would have to say that no Jack of Spades has ever disappointed me…. I reckon that has to do with the fact that every playing card designer wants to please me, and as a result they know that the JOS (as I call him) has to be kinda specific. And definite. Hey… that’s how I see it in my head and who is anyone to say differently…????????

The Fall of Troy - Ajax - The King of Hearts - Artwork

The Fall of Troy – Ajax – The King of Hearts – Artwork

On a heavier note…. The above image gives you an idea of the work that Chris has put into each card. Ajax as the King of Hearts. As you may, or may not know, the King of Hearts is traditionally known as The Suicide King as he appears to be stabbing himself in his head with his own sword. He didn’t start out that way. This is because of editing mistakes over hundreds of years, resulting in the axe, which originally he had resting across his shoulders, losing it’s head leaving just the handle which appeared to be penetrating his own ‘dome’. This then became a sword which still features on the King of Hearts cards to this very day.

The Evolution of The King of Hearts into The Suicide King

The Evolution of The King of Hearts into The Suicide King

I’m going to let Chris explain the reasoning behind choosing Ajax as the Suicide King with this excerpt taken from the ‘update’ section of his project’s Kickstarter page….

“When considering the Trojan War as subject for a custom deck of playing cards, I was struck by the idea of connecting the story of the suicide of Ajax of Salamis with the King of Hearts. Ajax, aka Ajax the Great, was the colossus cousin of Achilles and a great hero in the Trojan War. After Achilles is slain, Ajax competes with Odysseus for the claim to Achilles’ armor. After days of competition, the armor is awarded to Odysseus. Ajax, “Unconquered”, and furious, falls upon his own sword, “conquered by his [own] sorrow”. (Metamorphoses,  trans. Humphries, p. 318)

The design for The Fall of Troy ][ King of Hearts is inspired by two pieces of ancient art. The body section refers to a design found on a wine bowl from the Etruscan period 400BC-350BC (circa) that sits today in the British Museum. The head is based on an exquisitely detailed black-figure terra-cotta amphora, by the amazing artist Exekias, that depicts Ajax playing draughtswith Achilles from 530BC (circa), currently located at the Vatican Museums, Rome.”

Suicide of Ajax - Ajax & Achilles at Draughts

Suicide of Ajax – Ajax & Achilles at Draughts

Someone else who appears in the deck is Helen of Troy who, let’s face it, caused the whole debacle in the first place, (or did she………? duh, duh. DUUUUUHHH!!!!????) and who stars as the Queen of Hearts. Quite a fitting tribute some may say. But probably not her husband Menelaus, who’s heart was most very definitely broken by Helen. But I’m going to step in here (as a mere mortal, so please forgive me…) and say that Helen was not in the least bit to blame for this war. No. She. Was. Not. Stoppit. She was an innocent pawn in the follies of the Gods. I’m no historian, nor am I any kind of academic, but blinking heck it doesn’t take a genius to see what happened here…. Helen was living her own wee life as a good and loving wife and mother, when all of a sudden the gods and goddesses of Greece decided to play at Ken and Barbie. OK, so here’s the story…. Eris, the Goddess of Strife & Discord (who invents this shit…?) decided one day to do a bit of shit stirring and offered the goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite a Golden Apple (henceforth known as The Apple of Discord) to whoever was ‘The Fairest’. Some poor guy called Paris was asked to decide who of the three of them was the fairest, and he probably did ‘Eeny Meeny Miny Mo’ (because I can’t see ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ having being invented at that point in history…) and picked Aphrodite. Aphrodite, in turn (for whatever reason only beknownst to herself) decided to make poor oul (married) Helen fall in love with Paris, who then took her to Troy and thus began the whole Trojan War thingy where Menelaus (Helen’s husband) just wanted his wife and mother of his daughter Hermione (not the Harry Potter character) back home….. Greek tragedy at it’s best….

The Fall of Troy - Helen of Troy - The Queen of Hearts

The Fall of Troy – Helen of Troy – The Queen of Hearts

You see….. this is the thing about this type of deck of cards…. I’ve been so caught up with writing about the history of the deck that it’s actually made me want to look properly into the history BEHIND it, because firstly I don’t want to make an eejit out of myself by talking crap, and also because…. well…. it’s because I just want to KNOW…. And I realise that this is the kind of stuff that we want our kids to learn about. Recently Kat Von D the tattoo artist (who I adore) had on her Facebook page that kids no longer are taught cursive writing in school anymore…. and why not???? What ARE kids taught in schools these days? Well never mind that. Think about what can you teach them at home. Get this deck of cards. Let them ask you ‘who was Helen of Troy’? Let them ask what the war was all about. And what’s the problem with answering them? And showing them? Maybe you need to brush up yourselves, but isn’t that fun too…? I’ve learnt so much from this deck alone, I can tell you.

Novel writing software without the learning curve.
The Fall of Troy Playing Cards

The Fall of Troy Playing Cards

You can check out the low-down on the Trojan War HERE, but let’s just say that a lot of today’s soap operas and block buster movies have ‘borrowed’ their plot-lines from this epic War. Love, hate, betrayal, jealousy, infidelity…. it’s all there. And it’s all here, in this beautifully designed deck of cards. Chris clearly has a passion for the Trojan War – it’s not just about deciding on a random ‘topic’ for his first ever deck of cards. Reading through his write-up on Kickstarter you can see that he clearly loves the story and loves the fact that a deck of playing cards offers the perfect platform for showcasing not just the characters and story, but also the beautiful artwork that is so unique to Ancient Greece.

The Fall of Troy - Helen of Troy - The Queen of Hearts

The Fall of Troy – Helen of Troy – The Queen of Hearts

But enough of me going on, let’s pass over to Chris who very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us about himself and his deck.

iCollectPlayingCards – Chris, I’m sure you won’t mind me saying that your previous work has been mainly ‘cartoon-esque’ with the likes of The Ricky Gervais Show, Pinky and the Brain and Mattel’s Monster High being amongst some of the massively well-known shows that you have worked on. Also, on your website your work is definitely comic strip type art. So, it begs the question – why Ancient Greek artwork for this, your first official duxoop product?

Chris Staples – duxoop is where I get to do whatever I want – so I do that. I chose Ancient Greek artwork as the inspiration for the design of The Fall of Troy cards for a bunch of reasons, serving a lifelong interest being one. Another big reason is that few people ever see this very cool, beautiful stuff. I like the idea of someone discovering something new when they least expect it.

iCPC – Your own work is very much inspired by your own sense of humour, and of course you get to draw whatever you want, to a point. This deck is a very specific artform and in fact you’ve managed to brilliantly replicate it and obviously alter it to enable you to create the court cards. Did you find this type of art more or less enjoyable than your animation work?

Chris – Thanks, the challenge of figuring out how to work with ancient design styles in modern form was fun. I like any process where I get to mess around until I like what I’ve got and then I get to make a bunch of it. Like pancakes.

The Fall of Troy - Ajax Carries Slain Achilles - The Ace of Spades

The Fall of Troy – Ajax Carries Slain Achilles – The Ace of Spades

iCPC – How long has this idea been brewing for, how long did the artwork take to complete, and what made you use the medium of playing cards?

Chris – There are entries in my notebook about an “Iliad” deck that are dated back in March {2015}. I’ve been working since then, the majority of the time spent researching and refining the design. I have been interested in cards my whole life.

iCPC – Are you a cardist or a magician at all? Do you play cards? Or have you simply succumbed to the idea that, as a designer, a deck of cards can showcase a lot of work in a small space for a good price to the buyer?

Chris – I was a magician from the ages of 8-14 until “the incident”. The nearest casino is 22 minutes from my couch, I mean yes I play cards. I also succumb to that idea you were just talking about.

iCPC – Are there any other playing card decks or designers that you admire? Are you a playing card collector? You mention the Leonardo deck by Dent-de-Lion du Midi and BRuT by Uusi. Two completely different styles, and both very unique. Are you very particular about the decks you back on Kickstarter?

Chris – Yes, I admire so many of the decks and designers out there. I’m trying very hard not be a playing card collector. {iCPC – Good luck with that…!} It’s tough. {iCPC – Yip….!!} And yeah, I guess I am particular.

The Fall of Troy - Back

The Fall of Troy – Back

iCPC – Just a question that Max Playing Cards touched on already: Who will you be getting to print the decks? And what quality of card stock are you aiming for?

Chris – After ordering a bunch of different decks (for research not collecting!) {iCPC – Suuuuure!!} I’m looking at MPC (Make Playing Cards) and some of the interesting new techniques and technologies that they are playing with.  The card stock that I’m looking at is their 310gsm cardstock – linen air (Master quality finish) from Germany. It’s nice.

iCPC – What’s next for duxoop? Do you have any other playing card projects on the go for release after The Fall of Troy gets funded? If so, can you tell me what the subject matter is?

Chris – I plan to follow up “The Fall of Troy” deck with an “Odyssey” deck that explores the trials of Odysseus as he struggles to return home following the Trojan War. Cyclops and sirens in aqua & blue, mmm-mmm.

iCPC – That sounds like quite an interesting concept, I’m very excited to see how they turn out :) Thanks Chris for sparing your time to chat to us. All the very best with the Fall of Troy ][ Epic Playing Cards Kickstarter project – I’m looking forward to getting my decks :)

Well, clearly (in spite of his protestations) Chris has been bitten by the card collecting bug, but why not let him think he’s winning the battle, never mind the Trojan War…..? ;)

I have to admit that recently, when I see a ‘designer’ try their hand at playing card design, I do tend to sigh and think “what are they going to throw at us and expect us to buy now….?” but this is one of those “I HAVE to have this!!” decks. This is a designer who knows what they are doing. This. Is. Design. At. It’s. Best.

***** UPDATE ***** I have very fortunately just received several sample ‘Fall of Troy’ cards from Chris, and I have to say that I’m hugely impressed. These are ‘just’ the prototypes, but I’d be more than happy if this was the quality of the final product. The colours do not disappoint, unlike quite a few other decks that have appeared on Kickstarter. {I won’t name names but I have seen decks on KS and the colours are bright, vibrant, and full of promise. Then the deck arrives and it’s like “pfffrrrtt………!”} Not with The Fall of Troy. The rich reds, burnt oranges and jet blacks definitely give the deck an exuberant, luxurious look. The detail on each card – front AND back – is stunning in ‘real life’ too. The card stock is spot on. They have a smooth linen finish and feel, well, simply lovely :) I’m so grateful to Chris for posting these to me. I shall be framing them to proudly show off to visitors :) :) :)

 Head on over to the Kickstarter project page and pledge for a few of these decks, or maybe even an uncut sheet or two. Again, if you are confused about the whole Kickstarter ‘thingy’ then either click HERE or at the very top of this page to see what it’s all about.

And right now… as of the 11th September… you only have another 10 days to go to get in on the funding (funding closes on the 22nd September 2015)

I’m going to tell you what John Huston told Marilyn Monroe when she asked him how she should throw dice in a casino in Nevada… “Don’t think about it honey, just throw…!”

Take the risk. You won’t regret it.

As always, any questions or comments, please just use the box below. Wanna share? Cool :) Use

 any of the buttons below. Thanks for reading :)
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26 thoughts on “The Fall of Troy ][ Epic Playing Cards. On Kickstarter NOW!

  1. Ashley

    Wow, these cards are so cool! I’m so tired of those classic cards, and I was actually thinking about getting a new set, so this one would be more then perfect.
    I loved the story of Troy, that’s why I think I would also love this set. I love how you explained about each card, it was great to hear the main story once again.
    Thanks for showing this set of cards, I’m really eager to try it :)

  2. Tyler Redlev

    Dayyum! Great cards! As a design addict, you got my attention.

    I may not be into cards THAT much, but I’ve always appreciated the design behind those cards. I really like cards with themes like steampunk cards etc. so The Fall of Troy cards are amazing – I’d love to own a few decks. I also think it is great that people can design their own decks – cool!

  3. Debra

    Hi Jyl,

    You never cease to amaze me with the wonderful card sets you seem to find out about. This one reminds me of the antique paintings you would find in an art vault of one the wall of a burial site. The Fall of Troy is such a significant time period for many in the Historical sense and I think this set does it a great justice with the wonderful artwork that went into every aspect of creating this set. Very nice set indeed.

  4. Harry Kaelber

    I had no idea that a deck of cards could be used to tell a story. I like the way you told the story of the Fall Of Troy, I knew about the horse and the war, but had no idea why it started. Like the way you told it. It was a nice story about your plates, hate it you lost them. I enjoyed the rest of your site too

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks Harry :) I enjoyed writing the review too. It is a great story and I’m glad to be a part of the telling of it. As for my plates…… I’m too upset to discuss it further…… {sniff!…..}

  5. Michael Hills

    Awesome cards! Great post! I love ancient mythology. I even wrote a historical fiction novel once, about ancient Rome. These cards are sweet. I want them. I think anyone who loves ancient history will want them. The traditional motifs, colors and designs are incredible. The fall of Troy is a wonderful myth. Is any of it based on real events?

    1. Jyl Post author

      Hi Michael. Thanks for your comments. A real live author commenting on my site :):):) Much respect sir :) The story is believed to be a myth which has been loosely based on an amalgamation of various actual events. The part about the goddesses and the Golden Apple is probably not true…. however…. who knows….? :):) I’m glad you like the deck. I’m sure you’ve been on the Kickstarter page and pledged for a couple of decks already ;)

  6. G.C.Horton

    What beautiful playing cards, very original. I can only imagine the work that has gone into designing these cards.

    I was a military adviser to the Greek Special Forces in 1977. They are amazing people and were very good to me while I was there.

    I’m pleased to see the quality of the cards are fitting for such a glorious culture, a culture that has given the western world so much.

    It can be argued that western culture began with the fall of troy. Since then, global power has marched westward.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you for your comment :) There is something just so fascinating about Ancient Greece that you can’t help but be drawn in by the whole history. And the art too is something pretty special. I’m glad you like the deck. I hope you’ve gone over to the Kickstarter page and pledged for a deck…? :)

  7. Argus

    Very interesting post about the Fall of Troy. The deck has an amazing design and I was stunned with all the details shown on the cards. It’s a fantastic art work. I’m not usually fascinated about playing cards but I like Greek history and the design of the cards kicked me back to my childhood when I was watching those comics in the same style.

    Great work



    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks Roland. I think everyone has at least some kind of interest in Ancient History, in particular Greek and Roman, and so these cards do appeal to a lot of people. I hope you have gone over to the Kickstarter page and pledged for a deck or 2…?

  8. Samantha

    Those cards are stunning! It’s just incredible the amount of detail and care that went into these cards. I love that using them is like getting a mini history/art lesson as well.

    I didn’t know the history of “the Suicide King” – how funny that a series of editing mistakes can be repeated until we have something that wasn’t at all intended.

    And I’m sorry about those plates! I would be upset if that happened to me too.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Samantha….. It still hurts….. :'( But hey, getting my hands on a deck or 2 of these cards will make up for it :) I might even get myself an uncut sheet, who knows…? I agree, the detail is amazing in this deck, and I love how the creator showed us a photo of the process he used whilst designing the King of Hearts. Thanks for your comment :)

  9. Chris

    Great article on a new and diverse choice of playing cards – really enjoyed reading it ( among other articles on your site! ). It amazes me the quality of the artwork on these sorts of things these days. I know it’s off topic but have you seen the artwork on the Magic the Gathering card systems – lovely work! Great site and niche – love it!

    1. Jyl Post author

      I have seen the artwork Chris, and to be honest, it amazes me when I see some of the artwork people can come up with. I wish I was that talented – I’d be designing playing cards not just reviewing them!! :D

      This is what I love about playing cards. You can have a deck featuring anything from Ancient Greece to futuristic style role-playing cards, and everything in between :) Glad you like the review and the site Chris – thanks :)

  10. Esteban


    This deck of playing cards of the fall of troy are awesome.
    I don’t have a huge fascination for cards but I do like and treat cards with a different approach than most people. During school times I always carried a deck of cards with me to play poker with other students.
    I also admire the art work especially in this deck. Maybe it’s because I love history and maybe it’s because I am a huge fan of Spartacus (the tv show) and Greek mythology and that deck reminds me of both, but nevertheless it is a very decent deck.
    I’m not sure if you’re a fan or not, but there is a pretty cool deck of cards of the Legend of Zelda.
    Thanks for this article,


    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks Esteban. I imagine when you had your deck of cards it was probably a pretty basic standard deck. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. But a lot of the decks getting released now are just beautiful. The colours, the artwork, the stories behind them. It’s a new world and one that needs exploring. I’ve been asked about the Zelda deck before. I’m not much of a gamer so it’s over my head, but again, the artwork is great and I’m sure they’re a must for Zelda fans :)

  11. Angela

    It’s amazing the wealth of creative ideas that people come up with for playing cards! Who knew they would be such a perfect vehicle for artwork inspired by Greek mythology? My dad is a hardcore aficionado of all things Greek and Roman. Especially to do Homer’s works. I’ll have to share this with him.

    You seem to be quite knowledgeable on the rich history of playing cards in general. I’d never thought about that. Sounds like there are some interesting stories behind the cards we have today. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you Angela. There are a LOT of fantastic playing cards out there on any subject you can imagine. So there’s something for everyone. You should tell your Dad about this deck – it might be something he’d like to get his hands on :)

  12. Kush1000

    Hi there! That’s a nice post you have created here:)
    I was on your site previoulsy, It never dissapoints! You surely have a lot of passion for playing cards, I like to play UNO with my son:)
    I’m sure many people will find this article as useful and interesting as I did.
    Thanks for sharing this nice information.
    Cheers and best of luck to you.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you. This is a great deck of cards with fantastic artwork. Also the story behind the deck is pure drama :) I love when I get to do a review like this :)

  13. Katerina Markakis

    Hello there!

    What an interesting and professional website you have! I don’t know much about playing cards but I found this post especially interesting since I am Greek and I love everything about ancient Greece and mythology.

    I will take a look at your other post too.

    By the way I am a huge Kickstarter fan!

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you Katerina – it’s an amazing deck isn’t it? I love the artwork in it and the colours. Very true to the ancient imagery we all know and love :

  14. maťa

    Hi Jyl,

    Thanks for this post about The Fall of Troy playing cards. What a brilliant deck. The designs are fantastic and the story behind the designs is great. Makes me want to learn more about ancient Greece :) I love the artwork on these cards, and the colours. Very nice :)

    Have a nice Eve

    Your fan,



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