Ok, ok, ok….. so normally I’m doing reviews. Reviews of decks that I already have in my sticky mitts. Decks that I can actually vouch for quality wise and handling wise….
These cards are too good to leave until I have them. I need to PREVIEW them now. This can not wait. The ‘Back to the Asylum’ deck of playing cards is being funded on Kickstarter AS WE SPEAK (early May 2015) and if you take my advice, you’ll get in on the funding before it’s too late. There’s nothing worse than sitting back, thinking “oh, well, I don’t know… what if it doesn’t get funded, or if it does and only just and I’m left holding cards that I have no use for….” JUST GET THEM!! Hey, listen… they’ve been made by inmates of an asylum. Out of whatever comes to hand… Old torn up newspapers… blood….. Come on… we’ve all done it…. no…..?????
Ok, I’ve freaked you out quite enough (for now). But seriously. The idea behind this deck, I love. The imagery and artwork is perfect. The timing, actually, couldn’t be better. When Kickstarter has been promoting Earthy, Steely, Minimalistic, Sporty kinda decks, this one comes in and BAM!! hits you up the chops like you’ve never known before (and I’m challenging never will again). I’m going to liken this deck to Bicycle’s Dead Eyes deck for it’s eerie psychotic goriness.
The Kickstarter campaign begins with the ominous words “Something old, something new, face the madness deja vu…” and we are invited into the dark world of Dr. Freakmund Zoid, head of The Asylum. As I’ve said, these cards have been drawn to make it look as if they’ve been made by the inmates themselves – from anything that they had at their disposal…. including their own blood for the Hearts and Diamonds pips. Roughly torn up newspapers form the background of the cards, squashed flies and ink splashes all go to give this deck an extremely rustic, raw and unrefined look to it. Even the inside of the tuck box is made to look like the walls of a padded cell. The characters chosen for the court cards are all recognisable from the silver screen – Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kathy Bates, a freaky clown, Vincent Price as a scary doctor, Jack Nicholson from The Shining and Marlon Brando as the Godfather wearing a straitjacket, are just a few. See who all you can recognise….
I’m excited about this deck. I like quirky. But not only that, I grew up in the whole original ‘horror movie’ generation. There was always a really scary movie based in an asylum, full of deranged characters sitting in a dark corner, swaying back and forth or screaming at the guards or the other inmates, trying to claw at them through the bars on their cell door with bruised and bloodied hands….. Great stuff :)
As this is merely a preview of this project I am unable, obviously, to give any kind of opinion as to the quality of the product. I’m very happy to have gotten in on the funding for the Asylum decks this time around, so how they feel, how they handle etc., I will have to cover in an update once I’ve received my decks and had a chance to play about with them for a while.
The long road back to sanity…..
‘Back to the Asylum’ is actually a re-launch of a deck – Bicycle Asylum Playing Cards – that was launched on Kickstarter back on 25th September 2012. The Serbian designer Milan Colovic had at that time teamed up with a certain Ed Nash of Altius Management to produce these cards. Each one was meticulously hand drawn – from the court cards to the pip cards and to the fantastic Jokers. The original target for funding was $15,000 USD but by the 5th October 2012 the project was fully funded, and in fact 810 backers managed to raise a total of $25,147 USD to ensure that this project went ahead.
But go ahead it did not. Milan was not paid for his work, the decks were never produced, money was never refunded to the backers and as far as Milan is aware, Ed Nash may or may not even still have all the original artwork. It literally died a death. Nash either refused to answer emails and questions from backers, or merely fobbed them off with empty promises that he never delivered on. It is widely accepted that this particular Kickstarter project was indeed a scam. Unfortunately for the backers of the original Asylum playing cards, Kickstarter have no kind of insurance or recompense for this kind of skulduggery. Many backers have queried this with Kickstarter only to be told “sorry… not our problem…” While this must be incredibly infuriating for the backers of that project, they do not blame the designer Milan Colovic. He was scammed just as the backers were. Nevertheless, the next 2 years were spent by Milan having to clear his name of all responsibility – a feat he managed to achieve with the invaluable assistance of some of the backers of the Asylum deck, who were only too happy to help him.
Which makes what has now happened all the more soul comforting. Milan has teamed up with Roman Kotiv of NoirArts (creators of the Defunctorum, Demon and Chess decks which are all already extremely scarce and collectible) to get not only the original deck finally produced, but also a follow-up deck called ‘Back to the Asylum’. The new deck is fundamentally the same as the first deck, but 6 months was spent re-designing and updating all the artwork, adding new court card designs, and making changes and tweaks in accordance with suggestions made by backers. And as a shout out to all the original backers, and as an apology and to in some way make up for the whole debacle, there is also on offer another deck – ‘Asylum Inmate’ – which is only available to the backers of the original project. This is to attempt to “make things right and fulfill a lost dream”. I have no doubt that the original backers appreciate this gesture enormously.
The new project was launched on Kickstarter on 1st May 2015 with a funding target of $5000 USD. By the 5th May 2015, with 25 days still to go, funding had reached and exceeded this, in fact reaching $5704 USD. Many of the 195 backers were ‘originals’, which can only be extremely comforting to Milan. He may have cleared his name in court, but now he has been vindicated where it really matters. The new decks will not be made by USPCC but by NoirArt’s very own in-house playing card printing firm NPCC. This will give the creators complete control over production, making sure that pledges are fulfilled in a timely and hassle-free manner.
I for one, can not WAIT to get my decks. And if the speed with which the project was funded is anything to go by there are many, many more like me. I am so happy for Milan Colovic that his creation is finally seeing the light of day, and I just want to wish him and Roman Kotiv of NoirArts every success that they deserve.
If you’d like to get in on the funding for the ‘Back to the Asylum’ playing cards, you can click on the link below to take you to the Kickstarter project page. Anyone who is unsure as to how Kickstarter works can leave me a comment in the box below and I’ll get straight back to you to answer your questions.
‘Back to the Asylum’ Playing Cards on Kickstarter – click HERE
Any other comments or questions please feel free to let me know using the comments box below. Thank you for reading :)
I’am an italian particular card decks collector. This two decks are fantastic, wonderful and amazing. Where is possible to find both decks on sale ?? Thanks in advance.
Hi Renzo. These decks have now all been sent out to backers of the Kickstarter campaign. I’m sure, though, that you can get some through the Noir Arts website http://noir-arts.com/ Drop them an email and let them know you’re interested and I’m sure they’ll help you out :)
Incredible! I had no idea what actions are taken to design and make a deck of playing cards. This sounds like reading a movie script and the drama involved is very stimulating. Well except for the original backers that lost their funding. My deceased wife would have spent her last dollar to own this deck. I thank you for sharing what really goes on behind the scenes of designing and producing a deck of cards.
Thanks Kenneth – your wife sounds like she was a woman after my own heart :) It’s definitely an expensive hobby! This is one of the longest reviews that I’ve written because I thought the story to be worth telling – so I’m glad you appreciate it.
Wow, the design is so cool!
Do you actually play with the cards? Or you just collect them?
The cards look so great, I might just keep them without using.
Thanks for sharing!
Hi Sylvia, most of my cards are just to look at and appreciate. They’re too precious to me to let anyone get their grubby paws on them :D Even though they all have a really smooth finish so they would be great to play with quality-wise. I have some decks though, that I don’t mind playing with, for example the Karnival Renegades that I’ve done a review of. I’ve recently got some decks that are just as investments, so I haven’t even broken the seals on those. Thanks for your comments :)
Very informative article. Im really amazed with the persons who have this hobby :)
Thank you Keye. It’s a fun and interesting hobby, and it’s getting even more so within the last few years. Keep checking back for more amazing decks :)
I didn’t know that people actually collect playing cards till today. But when I saw these cards, I can totally understand why do they collect it. It looks really really good
Thanks Gan, if you get a chance have a look at my other reviews – there are lots of different amazing playing card decks out there. I’m having a lot of fun doing this site :)
Yes judging by some of the other comments I would tend to agree it is an extremely fun topic where i guess we can go to when in need of escaping reality for a while. A well together informative piece my friend. Great job and well done.
When you talk of needing an escape from reality you’re talking about visiting my site, right….? not an asylum…….? Hahahaa!! Thanks Simon, I appreciate your comments. I did have fun writing the post so I’m glad it’s had such positive responses from everyone. Much appreciated :)
Bad ass cards! I mean really, those things are dope. I know a few slight of hand tricks so a deck like this would really turn some heads. But JESUS! Expensive cards lol collecting cards never really crossed my mind but it has now! Thank you much :)
Haha!! You got more excited about them than I did :) They are amazing aren’t they? And if you think about it, with this deck – as most of the Kickstarter projects – being a limited run, $11 per deck at this stage isn’t expensive. I have a deck that was funded on KS 2 years ago and it’s now so rare people are asking for (and getting) $99.99 on eBay for it…. worth a thought…. Thanks for your comment :)
Very cool site, love the graphics.
Thank you Melinda. I’ve really enjoyed writing my posts and the images definitely do stand out :)
This is really good content and extremely well researched. This is new to me that people find playing cards collectible but these cards look gorgeous thank for sharing this with us
Thanks Terry. I did enjoy working on this post and I am quite proud of it. The creators of this deck have even put a link to my post on their Kickstarter project page – which I’m thrilled about!! Have a look at my other posts – you’ll see just how collectible playing cards really are. Thanks for your comment :)
The art on this page is amazing! Lol Interesting niche you have chosen I didnt know their was this much information about it. I hope you continue giving out quality content like this.
As long as there are amazing playing card decks out there, I hope to be writing about them – there just aren’t enough hours in the day!! :) Thanks for your comment :)
Love this site! I have learned so much about a niche I never knew existed. Your graphics make the page very appealing and attractive. Great job!
Hi Paul. I have to admit I’ve learned so much myself just since starting this site :) Thanks for your comments :)
Dr. Freakmund Zoid! I spat a little tea out when I read that…so funny! Very clever too hehe.
And as for the art work…I cannot stop drooling, this is absolutely gorgeous!
Thank you so much for sharing – I’ll go check out the kick starter link now :) This deck was meant for a coo coo head like me! Hehehe
Haha!! I had a feeling you’d like this one :):):)
Great post! I actually never thought of playing cards as collectible, but thanks to you, now I do. I was wondering if you know of any cyberpunk themed playing cards – I would love to get my hands on one if it exists.
Hi Matt, thanks for your comments. I don’t have this deck myself but there is one I’ve found on Amazon. If you click this link you’ll be able to see images of some of the cards. http://amzn.to/1EfACH6 This is the ‘red’ version, there is also a ‘blue’ version which is more collectible so it’s more expensive: http://amzn.to/1zA5UwK
Hope this helps. I know now I’ve had a look at them I’m gonna have to get them myself!!! :)
What a fun topic! I had no idea that there were different and collectable playing cards, unless of course they were antique. This particular deck looks very cool and this seems like a fun niche to be in. Your article is very informative and the graphics are outstanding. Nice job!
Thanks Laurie, I appreciate your comments :) It is a fun niche alright – I’m loving this whole WA experience, and I’m loving all the new decks of playing cards that are available these days. It’s not just the same old same old anymore. Here’s to many more! :)