These playful decks from Elephant Playing Cards are covered with images of tiny people (aka “pipmen”) who live among the cards, like a crew building the Ace of Spades, and an old West gunfight on the 2 of Clubs. Every time you play, you’ll discover some new detail. Available in white-on-black or black-on-white.
THE BEST Playing Cards
While it’s not as powerful or accurate as Mark Rober’s motorized playing card thrower, Brick Experiment Channel’s version is still pretty sweet, and was built entirely using LEGO components, giving it double the geek cred. Now we want him to build a version that fires cash… or minifigs.
Elephant’s playing card tech-decks feature custom illustrated fronts and backs inspired by the intricate traces on printed circuit boards. They come in blue, green, white, or our favorite, a premium edition with two-tone foil on its box, and gold and silver metallic inks.
There are professional card throwers out there who can land a playing card on its edge every time. But if you don’t possess those skills, you could always build a mechanical solution, like The Practical Engineer did. His motorized launcher can fire playing cards at speeds nearing 200km/h (or about 124 mph).
Outfitter Bradley Mountain teamed up with 1924us and Art of Play to create this playing card deck that features camping inspired imagery, including hand-drawn face cards, letters, numbers, and suits, along with instructions on how to stay alive using only a playing card. This red version is the 4th in the series of limited-edition decks.
Card Experiment’s dramatic decks feature colorful images inspired by traditional Japanese Musha-e woodblock prints. The series of three decks include intricate illustrations of Suikoden warrior figures on their face cards. The Musha cards feature light imagery, while the Goketsu has a darker and more ominous look.
To commemorate the end of the Skywalker saga, premium playing card maker Theory11 presents a duo of official Star Wars decks. Sold in Light Side and Dark Side variants, they feature custom court cards of iconic good or evil characters, and card backs and boxes featuring spaceships of the Rebellion and Empire.
These unofficial but still awesome playing cards feature vintage images from classic Kaiju and creature features like Destroy All Monsters, Mothra, and Godzilla vs. The Thing. Since Godzilla really is Head Monster in Charge, we think every card he appears on should be a King.
VXD presents a truly unique deck and display case combo. Limited to just 499 pieces, each set includes a deck of Frozen Metal playing cards, a matching anodized aluminum card box, and an acrylic “ice” cube for display. The cards feature wintry holographic patterns which appear as you tilt them in the light.
Theory11 teamed up with illusionist Derren Brown to create this beautifully-detailed deck. Victorian-inspired imagery adorns their fronts and backs, and their green and gold boxes resemble antique books. For a special gift, check out the leather-bound box set, which includes two decks and a letterpressed note from Derren.
Modern Awesome Labs’ unique playing cards are printed with a special ink that reacts to body heat. Simply swipe your fingertips over the surface of the cards, and the images on their fronts transform to new shades. After you put them down, they reset to their original color after about 30 seconds.
Keymaster Games teamed up with Fifty-Nine Parks to create this beautiful deck with a U.S. national park on each of its face cards, including Acadia, Arches, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky, Joshua Tree, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion. Check out Keymaster’s cool PARKS card game too.
Coolest Thing introduces us to Bryan Berg, a professional card stacker who holds several Guinness World Records for his gigantic and complex houses of cards. Now, Berg attempts to build one of his paper skyscrapers with a twist – assembling it outdoors. Along the way, he explains a bit of his architectural technique.
Next time you get together for a game of poker with your pals, serve them up some pizza too. You won’t even have to call Pizza Hut, because this pizza comes in playing card form. GamaGo’s delicious-looking cards only come in pepperoni, so if you want ham and pineapple, you’re out of luck. Also available: donut playing cards.
Designed by Khanh for BombMagic, these cards have a gorgeous design, inspired the objects and patterns found in ancient Lạc Việt culture. The backs feature an intricate geometric pattern with hieroglyphs, while the court cards display Vietnamese faces, and the suits and numbers are uniquely stylized. More pics on Kardify.
These light-up playing cards aren’t playing cards at all. They’re props for cardistry performers to enhance their visuals, and to help beginners learn moves. Sold in sets of four, each one has LED lighting inside that illuminates a detailed pattern that appears on both of its sides. Available with blue or green lighting. (Thanks Kory!)
Designed for cardistry and magic, The Seers‘ latest playing cards feature a bold red and black geometric back design with an all-seeing eye at center. Their fronts offer high contrast designs that really pop, along unique, but easily recognizable suits, numbers, and face card images. The uncut sheets make sweet wall art too.
Metalsmith and watchmaker Clickspring created this incredible 24k gold-plated card press for puzzle collector Chris Ramsay. The process of meticulously milling, cutting, and engraving each part is just as fascinating as the piece itself. Those snake pieces alone are stunning.
Designed by Hong Kong’s HypieLab, and printed by the US Playing Card Company, these offbeat cards feature a recurring image of a brain with a pull-chain on/off switch, meant to symbolize great moments of curiosity and imagination. They’re done up in an unusual color scheme to reinforce those creative thoughts.
These unique playing cards not only feature images of fossilized dinosaur skeletons, but they can be printed onto traditional card stock or metal, giving them some serious heft. The cards feature a wide variety of prehistoric creature on their fronts, with a raptor and cracked rock texture on their backs.
We know that crushing and cutting playing cards with a hydraulic press can be quite spectacular. Now, witness the explosive dispersion of energy in the most impressive way yet, thanks to the guys at Kron Technologies, who helped put together a bullet time rig with 72 of their Chronos 1.4 high speed cameras.
Designed by December Boys, these unique playing cards feature a twisty black and white zig-zag pattern on both their fronts and backs, creating for dramatic illusions for cardistry enthusiasts. Comes with four double-backed green cards for chromakeying effects in videos.
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