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Published December 07, 2022 Updated July 17, 2023

Arthurian by Kings Wild Project

Arthurian Playing Cards by Kings Wild Project, a luxury playing card deck designed by Jackson Robinson, inspired by the myths and legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

2017 Ireland USA Expert Playing Card Co. Kings Wild Project Jackson Robinson Celtic Fantasy Kickstarter King Arthur Literature Luxury Myths & Legends Add to Collection

Above: The box features Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur, which folds into the tuck flap.

Above: The Arthurian Kickstarter launch video.

The Arthurian Playing Cards from Kings Wild Project, designed by Jackson Robinson, is a luxury playing card deck that celebrates the legendary story of King Arthur and his court. Every card of this deck boasts advanced design, printing and manufacturing techniques including intricate, texture-layered, multi-coloured foiling which “capture the spirit of the King Arthur legend”, says Robinson, and “give the cards an extra dimension of detail and vibrancy”.

Above: Sir Lancelot on the ace of hearts, Lady Igraine as the queen of diamonds and Sir Galahad as the jack of spades.

Arthurian is Robinson’s 22nd successful Kickstarter campaign, raising a total of $64,211 from more than 1,000 backers to bring the project to life. Arthurian has since had multiple reprints, including special editions. Reviewed here is the Arthurian Holy Grail special edition.

According to Robinson, “the Arthurian legend is full of rich characters and a wide range of lore. All this history makes it an ideal foundation for a playing card deck. Kings, knights, queens, love, betrayal and brotherhood are just a few of the themes that play out in this beloved story.

I remember being inspired as a kid with cartoons and illustrations from King Arthur and all those things kind of led up to me wanting to do my own version of the King Arthur legend,” says Robinson. He found the element of brotherhood and loyalty that surrounded the Knights of the Round Table particularly compelling and decided to illustrate the deck in the style of the Book of Kells, which originated in the same geographic location at the same time as the King Arthur legend. Robinson adds, “I wanted to create a deck that embodied this story and stayed true to the era and legend of King Arthur.

The Book of Kells

Animals

Above: The Book of Kells is a 9th-century illuminated manuscript that is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Western art. It is known for its elaborate and intricate illustrations and decorations, many of which feature animals.

People

Above: On many pages of the manuscript, the more you examine them, the more people you see. It's remarkable how the artist captured so many people in each picture and how they interact. As you examine each page's details, you can spot people, emotions, and activities that give the manuscript life and movement.

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript believed to have been created by Irish monks around 800 A.D. The illustrations and text of the Book of Kells contain numerous references to Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Some scholars hypothesise that the manuscript was created as a gift for King Arthur and his court, while others believe it served as a source of inspiration for the Arthurian legends. The Arthurian legend also features prominently in Irish folklore and mythology. The Book of Kells is an important source for comprehending the Arthurian legend and its cultural context of origin.

Above: Early sketches and digital drawings showing the developing of Sir Gawain on the jack of clubs.

In an interview, Robinson said: “I am immensely proud of the Arthurian Deck and the level of detail and craftsmanship that has gone into its design. I believe it is a perfect representation of the legend of King Arthur and I am sure that it will be a stand out addition to any game night.

The pack contains 52 cards plus 2 jokers (see below) which join together to form a unique diptych of the Questing Beast. Robinson adds “It's always interesting to try and choose a character or subject to feature on a diptych joker. For the special edition, I decided to go with a less well known but extremely interesting character called the Questing Beast.

The bottom of the box notes that the deck is made in China by Expert Playing Card Company, as well as Robinson's distinctive signature bible verse, 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

List of characters from the Arthurian legends and their corresponding cards.
Card Character
Jack of Spades Sir Galahad
Queen of Spades Lady of the Lake
King of Spades Arthur Pendragon
Jack of Hearts Mordred
Queen of Hearts Lady Guinevere
King of Hearts Sir Lancelot
Jack of Clubs Gawain
Queen of Clubs Margause
King of Clubs Uther Pendragon
Jack of Diamonds The Green Knight
Queen of Diamonds Lady Igraine
King of Diamonds Merlin

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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