Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Poker Decks - What do I use?

This is a quick post to point some folks in the direction of some nice gaming aids.

Shoot N' Skedaddle requires two matching poker decks for game play.  Each character activates on a certain playing card, twice per turn.  These cards are shuffled together to create the activation deck.  Aces are assigned to players - allowing them to draw from their special deck 1-4 times per turn.

This is a simple way to add some period feel to your games.  I currently have two sets of decks which I use:

Highlanders 1864 Playing Cards, and Bicycle Expert Back playing cards.

The Highlander deck is a replica deck of playing cards from 1864 (ie. Civil War, Western expansion etc.).  They are produced by the US Playing Card company.  Your best bet is to search Highlander 1864 etc.  They are beautiful quality cards, even featuring fake tax stamp art on the box cover (seen in photo).

The cards are printed on wonderful stock and have a very simple back (slight stains included!) with rough art on the front of the cards.  Note you'll find no advertisements or small print on these cards.  No numbers or numerals even!  This adds a little bit of a challenge for some players - forcing you to identify jacks vs. kings and counting up pips for card values.  They are a light creme colour face.  The cards also have a hard pointed edge - not rounded like modern cards.  Wonderful cards - my preferred decks.

The backup decks are Bicycle Expert Backs.  These have a fake vintage look.  Sadly it's nothing more than a stain print applied over standard looking playing cards.  While nice, they're nowhere near "vintage" looking.  Not bad though considering the cost.

The cards are modern (ie. very slippery when new) and easy to shuffle.  You can see the same fake stain print on several different cards.  All in all not bad, but they really pale in comparison to the 1864 replica cards --- particularly for "feel" in the Old West games.  It never hurts to have back up decks though in case I feel like running two games simultaneously for friends.  Using different decks also keeps me from swapping cards by accident.

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