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Published June 16, 2022 Updated November 24, 2023

Fractal Seed - Cyberpunk Playing Cards by Ivan Fortunov

Cyberpunk playing cards inspired by advanced science and technology in an urban dystopian future. Designed by Ivan Fortunov, 2021.

2021 Bulgaria Ukraine Noir Arts Ivan Fortunov Cyberpunk Kickstarter Pop Culture Sci-Fi Add to Collection

Above: the front of the box.

Above: the back of the box.

The Box

The box's design has been embossed, and imprinted with goil foil. Inner foiling was planned, but the campaign didn't unlock this during its funding.

On the top of the box there's quote from the film Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott) "like tears in rain", which artist Fortunov says is "a tribute to one of the biggest inspirations for this cyberpunk deck".

Blade Runner is considered one of the early catalysts of the cyberpunk genre, and now almost all cyberpunk pop-culture references the film.

Ffractal Seed, cyberpunk themed playing cards designed by Ivan Fortunov, a Bulgarian game designer, architect, and artist. The deck was produced in collaboration with Ukraine-based Roman Kotiv, the owner of Noir Arts. Roman Kotiv has been producing playing cards for the local Ukraine market under the Noir Arts brand since 2005, and offically incorperated Noir Playing Card Company (NPCC) in 2014; where he's been focused on producing decks funded via Kickstarter in collaboration with artists from around the world.

Artist Ivan Fortunov raised £5,729 (USD$7,155) from 337 backers through a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2021, producing a limited edition print run 1,000 Fractal Seed decks.

Fortunov was originally inspired to create the deck by the launch of the Cyberpunk 2077 video game, and decided to create a deck of playing cards around the themes found in the game and the broader cyberpunk genre.

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of low-life and high tech“. When the cyberpunk genre is applied to playing cards it results in hi-tech pips and cybernetically enhanced courts.

All the courts are reimagined approperately for the cyberpunk genre, Fortunov notes "during the design process of the court cards, I tried to keep as close as possible to their contemporary interpretation regarding facing directions and props", which results in the courts being instantly regonisable whilst unique.

The jokers depect a man with cybernetic attachment on his head, maybe plugged into the Metaverse? Fortunov says this is his favourite card and he "loves the mystery that surrounds this card".

There are 56 cards in the deck: 52 playing cards, 2 jokers, 2 gaff cards. The gaff cards show a cross-like illustration. The gaffs were intended to be used as special cards in a game which was planned as a strech goal for the Kickstarter campaign. The campaign didn't reach its full funding goal to unlock the game, but the cards remain in the deck. The other gaff notes the deck is a limited edition of 1,000 printed by NPCC. See the back .

Above: detail from the queen of diamonds. See details from the tuck flap.

Above: the ace of spades, the joker and a gaff card, see the other gaff card.

Below: arist Ivan Fortunov says "During the design process of the court cards, I tried to keep as close as possible to their contemporary interpretation regarding facing directions and props. In fact, there are quite interesting rules and mysteries about it. For example, the Spades are facing right, while all the rest of the cards are facing left, except Jack of Clubs - he's right-faced as well. There is also quite a controversy about the object he is holding. Some early Rouen cards show an arrow, which eventually turned into a peculiar prop. I decided to go with the arrow."

References

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By Adam Wintle

Member since March 15, 1997

Adam has been involved in developing the site as well as reviewing new decks and conducting research. He is particularly interested in innovation, Kickstarter and East Asian cards. He is a member of the IPCS and webmaster of the EPCS.


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