So, you’re about to get married to a beautiful Greek girl and you want to give your groomsmen something special to commemorate the occasion, what do you do? Go out and get matching ‘bro’ tattoos? No, of course not. You design a deck of playing cards that not only relates to their personalities, but also reflects on the heritage of your wife-to-be. You base it on the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece. You launch it world-wide on Kickstarter. You don’t get just anyone to print it either. You get Legends Playing Card Company to print it on top quality card stock. And you call it ‘Olympus’ Playing Cards. This is exactly what Tom Anderle has done. It’s his first Kickstarter project, and what a deck to kick off with.
According to Greek Mythology, 12 Gods and Goddesses ruled over the Universe from Mount Olympus, headed by Zeus, the King of the Gods. Each had their own role within Olympus, and each are represented amongst the 12 court cards of this deck. The court cards are all designed from the ground up with each God or Goddess holding their associated weaponry and symbols. And in case you don’t know who is who, their names are inscribed on each card.
Naturally, my favourite is Ares (I’m a Jack of Spades fan.) Ares is the Greek God of War. Though he wasn’t exactly liked by the other Gods. In fact, his own parents – Zeus and Hera – despised him. Unlike Anthena – the Goddess of War and Cunning Wisdom – who was seen as a heroic warrior, Ares was seen as a coward and cruel. I personally think he was just misunderstood. I mean, imagine the pressure…. growing up with Zeus as your father…..???!
Then of course there’s Dionysus. The God of… well… basically wine, and having a good time. Where was I when they were handing out application forms??? All joking aside, this is the sort of deck that would have anyone want to read up on the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ of Greek Gods and Goddesses. I can certainly say that I’ve learned a thing or two myself just from researching this article. For example, did you know that Pegasus, the white winged horse who adorns the Ace of Spades, is actually the child of Poseidon and none other than Medusa?? I know!! How did THAT happen???
The backs of the cards features a very intricate design incorporating a lot of recognisable Greek imagery, from Ionic columns, to the Parthenon and the ‘Greek key’ design. There is also a Greek key border on each of the 12 face cards, which, along with the pip cards are coloured in simple navy blue and yellow, instead of the usual black and red. It makes for a refreshing change from the norm, and the colours go well together and suit the designs. Tom uses a Greek type font on the cards, which is a nice authentic touch. The full beauty of this deck can be seen in the uncut sheet. This would definitely make for an interesting talking point in any room.
This will be a limited edition print run, so as always with Kickstarter campaigns, I would urge you to get on over to the project page and pledge your support. Not only would you be getting a great deck of quality cards, it is guaranteed to be a collectors item so makes a great addition to any collection. And as always, a brief rundown of how Kickstarter works can be found here.
Tom Anderle has very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us regarding the Olympus playing cards. Over to Tom:
iCollect Playing Cards – A lot of playing card designers lately (especially on Kickstarter) aren’t actually card players, cardists or magicians – they just love to design playing cards. What is the story with you?
Tom Anderle – I definitely enjoy playing poker with my friends. After realizing it is possible to design and produce a deck of cards I decided to give it a try. I mean how cool would it be to play with a deck of cards you designed?
iCPC – Are you a collector, and if so who is your favourite designer and what are your favourite decks?
Tom – I would not necessarily say I am a collector but when I host poker games I do enjoy taking out a new deck to play with. I recently bought a dozen different decks from Ellusionist. Jackson Robinson has created some amazing decks that I unfortunately have missed out on.
iCPC – This is your first Kickstarter campaign. I know you’re very new to the whole concept. What came first for you? Did you have the Olympus deck in the bag and Kickstarter was a good place to get funding? Or did you come across Kickstarter and it motivated you to come up with a deck to launch for funding?
Tom – I am getting married in a few months and I wanted to get each of my groomsmen a unique deck of cards that would fit their personality. After searching around I came across all of these different Kickstarter projects. I was absolutely blown away when I saw Jackson Robinson’s Kickstarter decks. I am bummed that I missed out on the Federal 52 deck. All of these different decks inspired me to try and create my own.
iCPC – So, you work as a maths teacher, but you say that you’ve always had an interest in video editing and graphic design. Is Olympus your first playing card deck, and what inspired you to design a deck depicting the gods of Greece? Surely famous mathematicians would be more apt? Would that be too much like ‘work’? ;)
Tom – Since I am a teacher I like to have some sort of summer project to keep myself occupied. I threw around a few different ideas and eventually settled on Greek Gods and Goddesses. I had two inspirations for the idea. The first inspiration was a computer game. When I was younger, I used to play the game Age of Mythology. The game takes inspiration from the myths and legends of the Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse. It was one of my favorite games I played as a kid. The second inspiration has to do with the fact that I am getting married soon to a beautiful Greek girl.
Famous mathematicians never even occurred to me. It would be interesting to have Pythagoras, Euclid, Newton, and others on a deck of cards. I am not sure what the Queens of the deck would be though.
iCPC – How long have you been working on the deck? Is all the artwork finished or are you still altering things? How much of a perfectionist are you?
Tom – I have been working for about two months on the deck. The artwork is pretty much finished but I am tinkering here and there. If I can do little things to make the deck better, I will.
iCPC – There has been a bit of excitement surrounding your choice of colours for this deck – teal and yellow. Mostly it’s been positive, I think I’ve only seen one person who didn’t like it. I myself really like the colour scheme and I’ve commented on the project page to say so. To put paid to any more debate, why did you choose those colours, are you happy with them personally, and would you really consider changing if the project doesn’t fund?
Tom – I think people either love the colors or hate them. I choose the colors based on the CD cover for the game Age of Mythology.
I haven’t seen many decks have those types of colors and I wanted to do something different. Personally, I am happy with the colors but if the project doesn’t fund, and that seems to be the reason why, then I would go back and try something different.
– Edit: This is a relaunch of the deck and, as you can see, Tom has changed the colouring to a darker blue rather than the teal. I like the dark blue. But I also liked the teal, as in this image of Dionysus –
iCPC – So what’s in store for us once the Olympus campaign is (hopefully successfully) complete? Are you working on any other playing card projects for future campaigns?
Tom – Once this campaign gets wrapped up, school will be starting back up. I also coach so I will have my hands full. I really enjoyed designing the cards and would love to create another one. A whole deck on Norse Gods perhaps? Before I settled on Greek Gods and Goddesses I thought about creating a European Monarchs deck featuring historical figures such as King Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, King Henry VIII, etc.
Many thanks Tom for taking the time to answer our questions, and all the very best of luck to you on your Kickstarter campaign. Also, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials :)
If you’d like to get your hands on a deck or two of the Olympus playing cards, or indeed an uncut sheet, then just click on this link to be taken to the project page.
Any comments or questions? Just fill in the box below and I’ll be happy to help out. Also, please feel free to share this post on your social media by clicking on any of the buttons below. Thanks for reading :)
Wow this is such a great idea! I never knew you could design your own deck of cards. The wedding idea is perfect for this new generation too! I’m in my mid-twenties and I think I now have the inside scoop for the coolest wedding gift! I’m gonna go check out the kickstarter page! Thanks for such an informative site!
Hi Mike, sorry for the late reply. I have to admit when I saw this idea for a deck I wanted to be one of his groomsmen! And I’m a woman!! But yes, it was a great idea. Unfortunately the deck did not reach it’s goal on Kickstarter but I very much hope that it will be re-launched, and soon. Because I personally want to own several of these decks :)
This is my second visit to your website. I’m really fascinated by the concept of designing playing cards. I play cards from time to time, but have never really thought much of the designs. I’ve treated playing cards as a fun to use item that just happened to be there one day. It’s interesting to get an inside look of real people behind the design process.
Your site looks cool. The Olympus playing card deck is definitely something I would love to own. I love how the artist has used the gods in the cards and the Greek keys on the backs – it’s a beautiful deck!! You have many cool ideas on your site and this will definitely interest readers. I love how you write and your use of images is fantastic. Keep up the awesome work!!!
This looks awesome. I like the cards with the “Legends” in it. I definitely want that Zeus card (LOL)
I never heard of someone who collected cards but this look pretty nice.
I am sure that many will visit this website and find this topic interesting!
Thanks for bringing up this!
You have very much succeeded in bringing me up to date on the matters regarding cards i must say.
To be honest i never know of most cards you mentioned do exist may be its just me but reading your post actually made me feel tutored.
I like the blog layout and overall presentation. Well done and thanks for sharing this post.
I have watched many movies that featured all these characters you mentioned and reading it here again is quite memorable.
What a deck! I’m loving the design and color scheme. As a huge Greek mythology nerd, this post got me super excited. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on such an awesome collector’s item. Thanks for the neat post! Also, props to the Greek mythology tidbits, I’m geeking out so much right now! One question though, are the decks already up for sale or is the campaign still ongoing?
These playing cards are gorgeous and they feature Greek mythology! I used to know tons about Greek mythology when I was in middle school. :D The color scheme of these cards is interesting and are very good for friends, who are colorblind, too. I also love that you promote a lot of cool projects and products on KickStarter, as well. My boyfriend and I love funding a lot of games via KickStarter.
What a rad deck of cards, I love the color scheme! I love Greek Mythology and the fact that this guy designed these to pay homage to his wife’s heritage of Gods and Goddesses is too cool!
And, Medusa and Poseidon spawning Pegasus? How ironic is that?! Thanks for sharing :)
I know Jess, that shocked me too!! :) Such a beautiful creature with THAT as a mother… hehe!! It’s a beautiful deck, based on a great heritage. Thank you for your comment :)
Hey! Great post you have created here :) I didn’t know much about playing card in general before…i liked this here. Great story and writing.
I’m sure many people will find this article useful and interesting as I did.
Thanks for sharing this and have a great day!
Cheers and good luck
I know people collect many things but playing cards? That is a new one for me. However what I find really interesting is the fact that you can design your own cards. Getting them for your groomsmen -Brilliant. It is so hard to find something unique to give as a present nowadays and this is certainly unique.
So the big question is should you open the deck and play with them or keep them sealed and hope you’ve design something special that others will want to buy down the road.
Well that’s a good question Maureen :) What I tend to do is buy 2 decks. Open one to keep for myself and have one unopened ‘just in case’ :D Generally speaking though, I like to actually see and feel the cards, so an unopened deck is a little like going into your favourite restaurant, looking at the menu and not ordering anything….. :)
Hi Jyl! These playing cards remind me somehow of the Spanish cards that I bought in the 70s, very different from what one is used to! Also, how old are playing cards exactly? Could the Greeks and Romans have played with them? Anyway, these are really beautiful! I guess if you are a collector you never play with the cards, do you? Just like toy car collectors don’t play or don’t let anyone play with their collection. I can totally understand that! I can’t tell my favourite one of these Olympus cards, but I must say that I just love the back design!
Playing cards have been around in some form or another since ancient China. The suits etc have gone through many transformations and are still evolving which we see in Kickstarter all the time. Collectors collect for different reasons – some to keep the deck unopened and put away safe or on display, some to open the deck and play with them. I prefer to open them and play with them. But each to their own :)
What an amazing site. I certainly had never thought of collecting cards, or new there was such a massive following. This deck looks amazing, and thanks for the history lesson (or myth lesson) – I never knew about Pegasus either!
Getting the designers input and reasoning for the design is also a great idea. I think I preferred the teal but that’s me!
Being an avid fan of any potential investment opportunity I can see that if you got the right pack you could potentially do really well. Certainly got my mind working.
Thanks for your comment, and I think I prefer the teal too :) Though I have to say I much prefer the back as navy and white…. I can tell you that the world of playing card collecting has taken a dramatic turn around in the last few years. It’s very much a limited edition market and if you get the right deck by the right designer then yes, you can find your investment multiplying. You’d need to obviously be buying and selling a LOT of decks, but it’s definitely happening :)
Thanks for the in-depth article. I love these cards. I’m a bit of a ancient mythology buff, but more in terms of how the Romans adopted the Greek Gods.
I had no idea that Pegasus was the child of Poseidon and the dreaded Medusa! Thanks for that.. These cards are beautiful and brilliant to be sure.
My question: can I create a custom deck like this, and get it printed too? lol
You certainly can Michael! And why not? Of course, when you do, let me know so I can interview you for my site and get the inside scoop :):):) Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you like the deck, it’s a beautiful deck alright :)
Very interesting website. I’ll never look at playing cards the same that’s for sure. There’s so much I never knew about them. You have provided above and beyond enough information to last a lifetime! I really enjoyed this thank you! I will be back and I’m going to show some friends of mine this website.
Hi Tera, and thank you for your comment on my website, it’s really appreciated. Do you have any thoughts on this deck in particular, The Olympus Playing Cards? There are some really good photos in this post and I’d just like to get your thoughts :)
Those are some of the coolest-looking playing cards I’ve ever seen! I like that they look enough like traditional playing cards to be familiar, but different enough to make you take a second look.
Thank you for sharing the backstory of the deck too. Knowing that the cards were originally created as groomsmen gifts makes them even cooler.
And I agree with you about Zeus – he can make almost any other father look good!
Haha Samantha! :) I know, right? You’re right about the traditional aspect of this deck which I really like, but it’s balanced just right with the Greek Gods theme. The designer is a maths teacher and this is his first go at designing a deck of cards. I reckon he’s nailed it :)
A well detailed subject and deep knowledge on your subject matter, The images that you have chosen are appropriate. You show the reader rather than telling them. I do not play cards, but my family does. My father named my first born sister Dionysus, the wine god and that by the way was back in 1957 , though personally I have no personal favorite :)
I enjoyed your site, Kickstarter is full of beauty, and it is nice to learn from someone who has a passion and great taste for their products!
I will let my family and especially my brother who has taken after my father on cards know about your site.
Success on all you do!
Thank you Violet. What a fantastic name to call a child – Dionysus :) I bet she gets Dion…? You should definitely check out Kickstarter, there are so many amazing decks on there, like this Olympus deck. There’s bound to be something that your family like :)
Hi Jyl. Your Olympus Deck put my imagination on high gear, not only because of the rather bizarre origin of Pegasus, but because of the whole card design idea. I do have a thing for cards although not for playing cards but for tarot cards. Is it possible to have a deck of tarot cards custom made? How much would it cost? If not, do you know about any fancy tarot cards deck around?
Thanks for your comment Oscar. I’m not allowed to put any links in this reply, but if you go over to the Kickstarter page (.com) and type ‘tarot cards’ into the search bar, you’ll see a lot of really cool decks that are being funded right now. I don’t have any tarot decks myself, but I did get my sister a really nice ghost themed deck last year which she loves :)
Great design on these cards and as you said I love the way they put the names of all of the different gods etc on them which really adds a bit of style to them and something I haven’t seen before on any other cards!
Haha tough going for Ares alright I wouldn’t want that kind of pressure! Now all I have to do is find a Greek lady to propose to!
:) Maybe if you pledge for a deck you might get an invite to the wedding and bag yourself a bridesmaid….?? Haha! Thanks for your comment Stephen, it’s a great deck and I’m glad you like it :)
The world of Kickstarter never ceases to amaze me…
This card deck looks really beautiful, so beautiful that I’m sure I will be afraid of taking them out of the box!!
But wait a second… I can see that if you pledge 32 USD not only you have the card deck, you also can have that beautiful uncut sheet! I can totally see that framed and hanging in my living room!
I really loved your site, Kicksarter is full of beauty, and it is nice to be taken by the hand by someone like you who has great taste for these products!
Thanks for the review!!
Thank you Fito – you’re an uncut fan like me :) I love them!! This deck does look really great as an uncut sheet. But you know what….? Playing cards are meant to be looked at and held. Don’t be afraid of taking them out of the box. Take them out, shuffle through them, play a few hands of cards with them, then put them away and keep them safe. If we were meant to just look at the tuckbox then we might as well just buy a photo….. Enjoy!!
I read your article about Olympus Card playing review. Your article is very clear and detailed. The images that you have chosen is very appropriate. You show the reader rather than telling them. This will inspire them even more. They will keep coming to your website more number of times and this will help you in your sales.
Thank you Shivaram. I always like to make sure I’ve got lots of great images to go with my reviews. That way the cards sell themselves, but hopefully people read through my article too (sometimes) :)
I had no idea I could be able to get a set of my unique playing cards. This is actually a great gift to give. I have a friend that loves to play cards. Every time I go to their house, we are playing spades. Lol It would be fun to get them their own playing card set. It actually would be a good conversation piece. Thanks for sharing.
Evie, I am having a poker night in my house this Friday which my family are coming up for, and I have so many amazing decks that I have to choose from to play with…..!! But I know whichever I go for they’ll be a talking point. It’s no longer about just the ‘standard’ deck of cards. There are lots of really cool cards out there made from first class card stock. And this Olympus deck is one of them. Definitely a great gift to give to anyone. Hope you get a deck – let me know what you and your friend think of them :)
I think I am becoming a card collector. It is so cool that you can design your own limited edition card deck. I am definitely going to keep an eye on these. I love the fact that they are limited editions. Being able to have one of these decks would be a true collection. Thanks for pointing this design out. It is definitely worth keeping up on.
Thanks Kitty. It’s a beautiful deck – I love the colours. I’ll tell ya – for every hobby or interest out there there’s a deck of playing cards that reflect it. I’ve always been fascinated by Ancient Greece and this deck would indeed be a great addition to any collection. :)
I’ve never really thought about collecting playing cards. I collect coins, mostly the ones with silver value.
I might be interested in collecting cards, all the examples you show are really cool and unique!
Is there any monetary value to these different cards if you wanted to sell them?
Yes Brok. A lot of what has been funded on Kickstarter ends up on ebay or Amazon for a lot more than the original price. But it’s not just about brand new cards. People see collectability in different ways. Just for example, if you had a deck of cards from the Titanic you can be pretty sure they’d be valuable to a Titanic enthusiast. Or maybe a rare deck of sealed Snoopy cards from 1981 that you know for some reason only 100 decks were ever made.
It’s not as easy to call as with silver – that has basically a set value. Cards are like anything else collectable – the value is in the eye of the beholder :)
You can totally see how dedicated Jyl is to playing cards. Her article is amazing. Thanks for helping out.
Thank you so much Tom. It’s always great to get a thumbs up from the designer :)
But like I’ve said before, if the deck isn’t a good one, then my review can’t be either. It’s great to enjoy writing about a deck, and even better when the deck speaks for itself, which yours does. :)
Very creative introduction to a really amazing and thoroughly done post! These Bicycle Olympus playing cards look absolutely gorgeous and make me want my own set!
The added interview with Tom just shows how truly passionate you are in collecting playing cards and am surprised to see they are only producing a limited amount of sets. I think it’s really cool how you are encouraging others to pledge their support!
Thanks Pete. I have to admit that sometimes my reviews tend to write themselves when there’s a particularly good deck involved. They are a stunning deck and definitely one to get a person started with collecting :) I’ve become quite a Kickstarter addict, so I love the whole concept of it. And I think it’s great that now people have a means by which to raise funds to help realise a dream. What’s not to like :)
Pegasus hey…who ever knew Poseidon and Medusa would create such being??!!
Over the years I have seen many fancy decks of playing cards, but none have ever struck me quite like these ones. They are magnificent. Clearly created with attention to detail, and hidden within, a story of the Gods!
I love your interview with the creator of the deck Tom Anderle. It really opened up for me the world of playing cards, and just how much fun it would be to have created your own deck, and then played with them, as Tom said.
Thank you for sharing this review. I am off to consider what deck I might create!!!
Wow Cindy – I’m glad to hear you’ve been inspired :D You will let me know if you do create your own deck and let me do a review…? ;) I would love to have the artistic tendencies required to design a deck of playing cards, but that dream is a long way off for me…. So you go for it.
It’s easy to see why, when you look at a deck like this, how people are compelled to get creative with their own deck. Funding closes on 28th August 2015 for this deck, so get on over to the Kickstarter page and grab a pack or two.
A fascinating subject and a well written review, I love the design of these cards and I have to say that Dionysus, the wine god is a personal favorite :)
It is great that you interviewed the designer of these cards, that was very interesting. I have not come across the Kickstarter website before, but am going to read your post ‘The Phenomenon that is Kickstarter’ to find out more, really enjoyed your post, thanks.
Thanks Rob. Is it Dionysus who is a favourite of yours, or the wine…….? :D If you have any questions about the Kickstarter post just put them in the comments and I’ll get back to you. It’s a great medium for helping to raise money for various projects. And it’s helped to fund a LOT of new playing cards. Let’s hope it proves just as successful for Olympus :)
Wht an intriguing topic to see and read about. It would never have occurred to me that you could design and have you own playing cards printed.
Not being a card player I do not have any packs on hand. But I do remember that playing cards were well used on the 2 passenger ships I sailed on in 1954 when my family made a round trip from New Zealand to England and back again.
The reason I remember is that the cards were generally supplied by the ship doubling as advertising media for the shipping company. Lots of ship images on the reverse side.
Are old playing cards traded and do they have value in a market?
Yes Ian, people collect all sorts of playing cards for all kinds of reasons. The older advertising decks are still in demand, especially in good condition. There could be someone who collects just shipping line decks, or transport decks, or just decks with boats on them. As with anything else though, monetary value depends on rarity and desirability. So if you have any of those decks you should check the likes of ebay to see what they’re being sold for :)
I love different styles of playing cards, so I find your site pretty dang awesome. This particular set of Olympus themed cards are really well done, and I am glad to see you were able to get some good feedback from the designer as well. I think I will be supporting him over on kickstarter…
Good stuff Sean. I like it when my reviews inspire people to pledge :) Glad you like the review, I think it adds something when the designer/creator gets involved. Let me know what you get :)