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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Steam Ark Playing Cards

“Steam Ark” playing cards illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2014

“Steam Ark” playing cards illustrated by Chet Phillips feature 54 portraits of Victorian-style steampunk animals divided into four suits or clans: woodland, predator, aerie & simian. The faces of the animals are very expressive, sharp and vibrant with good poses and stance. Each character has a quirky name with uniform and clothing, and even the pip cards have different artwork. The box has a nice vintage feel with ornate floral designs and a ‘marble’ background complimenting a striking, bold title. Overall a very well done deck!

“Steam Ark” playing cards illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2014 “Steam Ark” playing cards illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2014

Above: “Steam Ark” playing cards illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2014. 52 high-quality, plastic-coated poker cards + 2 different Jokers + 4 Clan Suit cards + extra card in special box. The deck is divided into 4 Victorian Steampunk animal clans: Predator (Big Cats/Spades), Simian (Monkeys and Apes/Diamonds), Aerie (Birds/Hearts) and Woodland (various woodland animals/Clubs). The deck was printed by a U.S. company, Liberty Playing Cards, located in Arlington TX. Children's book illustrations taken to another level... all artwork © Chet Phillips 2014.

Steam Ark playing cards are available to purchase here

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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