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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Arseniy Balabin of Castle and Kingdom Playing Cards



The Castle & Kingdom Playing Cards are a beautifully illustrated deck of cards inspired by those delightful animated movies that we've all come to love over the years. Created by Arseniy Balabin, this enchanting deck features illustrated characters that proclaim their position within a specific kingdom.

For example, the Hearts portrays romance and the true stature of the royal court, while the Clubs rules the forest and the Kingdom of Nature. A unique story of fantasy and fairy tales on each deck of cards.

We reached out to Arseniy and we had a chat about his design background, the inspiration behind the Castle & Kingdom playing cards, the design evolution of the deck and his thoughts on Kickstarter.

Can you tell us about yourself and what is your creative background?
I am originally from eastern Europe and I traveled a lot with my family at a young age. I graduated from university a few years ago with applied computer technology but I missed the opportunity to work in that field by mistake. My current job is in the food and beverage industry. We just launch our first Kickstarter project, Castle & Kingdom playing cards featuring the work of Alexander Skachkov. He's one of my most talented friends, I know. We co-operated our ideas and designs, to launch something we know you're gonna like.


This is your first Kickstarter Project. Why Kickstarter?
Every product starts from sharing a concept that develops into draft design, prototype and then finally produced. Not forgetting the budgeting and marketing too! Kickstarter is an excellent platform to combine all these steps in the most effective way. With more than 900 similar campaign over the past 5 years, it is incredibly difficult to see such success from a similar crowd-funding platform. Also, they do provide an easy-to-use interface to create project outlines and updates.

Can you describe the Castle & Kingdom Playing Cards and why you’re passionate about it?
I adore European history. The theme of playing cards along with Castle and Kingdom compliment each other well. Unlike other playing decks that use the usual square faced designs for every suit, Castle & Kingdom illustrates characters that masterfully reflect their position within a specific kingdom! From Hearts portraying romance and the true stature of the royal court, to Clubs who rule the forest and the Kingdom of Nature. Every card tells a unique story of fantasy and fairy tales.


How much time did you spend working on the deck and can you briefly go through the design evolution of one of your unique card design?
I know that some enthusiasts work on design for a couple years and unlike professional game designers, we were finding ways to do it faster. The design of Castle and Kingdom took us around 2 months. All characters on our playing cards started from paper.

As you can see with Queen of hearts, we had some option to choose which side she looks. First variant was eliminated just before adding colors. Second sample seemed to us much better and has been transferred to digital painting.


From the project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why?
One of my favourite reward offered is the 2 decks and poster pledge tier. The poster features the castle on a sunny day with the 4 rulers from each kingdom, I think it's gonna be cool when your friends ask, "What is that? I haven't seen that movie!". Of course, the early bird special is pretty awesome! Wish, I had the opportunity to price the decks as low as possible. So, all I can do is to quote limited quantity for backers.

What are your thoughts about the continuous strong growth of playing card projects?
Custom Playing cards by amazing artists and entrepreneurs are easily made available now. Printing companies offer a minimum quote which aspiring designers can use with well supported services. Even USPCC is ever-ready to co-operate with individuals and any decks can be Bicycle branded. This has increased the awareness amongst collectors.

Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
There are many playing card decks I like but since I am a fan of Mafia video games, one of my favorite is the Ger-Made deck. Another really amazing ark work I find is the Sherlock Holmes Museum playing cards by Chao Yung Huang. Hope, she'll surprise us again.

Thank you Arseniy for your time and sharing with us your Kickstarter project! All the best! Pledge starts from $10 and the Castle & Kingdom Playing Cards will be printed by the USPCC.
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