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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Matt Preuss and Nicolai Aaroe of Märchen Playing Cards



A collaboration between Forge Arts and Nicolai Aaroe, Märchen Playing Cards brings the mysterious world of German legend to life. The cards celebrate Germanic culture from the Brothers Grimm to the cuckoo clock, with lavish designs.

Fully custom, the Märchen back design decorated with an entrancing blend of scrollwork, foliage, and heraldic crests. The courts are meticulously illustrated in exquisite detail by Nicolai each featuring a different German legend. All face cards will be printed with metallic gold inks. Stunning!



We managed to have a quick chat with Matt Preuss from RarePlayingCards and Nicolai about Forge Arts, designing Märchen Playing Cards and their plans for the future.

For those of us who don’t know, tell us a little about Forge Arts?
Matt: Forge Arts is our new custom label brand for RarePlayingCards.com. This new brand will be comprised of originally designed decks of playing cards that we collaborate on with very talented artists from around the world.

Our experience with RarePlayingCards.com has attributed to our passion for custom decks with unique, elaborate artwork and interesting themes. We finally wanted to bring to fruition the fun ideas that we have thought of over the years that would appeal to the community.

Forge Arts as the project creator for Märchen is now building its foundation on Kickstarter. It is important to note that while Märchen Playing Cards might be our very first deck, everyone involved in the project is very experienced in the field and we are very confident that this is going to show when the decks are manufactured.


What do you guys love most about being a designer? And what are some favorite projects you’ve worked on?
Matt: Nicolai Aaroe, the lead artist of Märchen, has worked on several successful decks in the past including Indictus, Dominus, Midgard and more. Nicolai will address the design aspect of Märchen.
Nicolai: The freedom to do whatever you want to do with a theme is very appealing to us and we do our best to work within some of the more acknowledged standards for poker playing cards, in relation to pips, values and indexes. For Märchen, we want it to be as unique as possible while still playable. The Germanic theme is something that is appealing to us personally, and being able to draw inspiration from the local area and geography was an absolute plus.

Can you describe the Marchen Playing Cards? and why you’re passionate about it? 
Matt: Märchen brings the mysterious world of German legend to life. The cards celebrate Germanic culture from the Brothers Grimm to the cuckoo clock, with lavish designs. Being our premiere deck, Märchen has been a blast to work on. We’re passionate about German folklore particularly and this project allows us to use our shared creativity to create a premium deck of cards that will be cherished by any collector. We really got a taste for creating decks ourselves and we already have our next idea planned well.


Talk to us a bit about going from the first draft to the final version. How did you get to this finished product?
Matt: Getting to the finished version was an exciting journey. Today there exists many types of custom decks with various themes, but we have yet to see one with a heavy Germanic element.

The first draft was loosely derived from a central idea of a Germanic themed deck. Starting with the court cards, we then took inspiration from various folklore and legends that stemmed from that region. We researched characters that would fit well with the court cards and bolster the story of the deck. From there we included the joker cards comprised of a cuckoo clock, castle, tree, and crest. Finally, we polished every design and character into the final version.


What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
Matt: Deciding to have two separate editions of the deck was the biggest breakthrough. This allowed us to expand our creativity since the Schwarzwald edition is tied to the Black Forest and the Hamelin edition is tied to the medieval towns and castles of a past era. This creates a contrasting element to the deck that really gives it life.

What’s next? Can we expect more deck designs in the future?
Matt: Absolutely! We already have another project ready to go that we’re excited to announce in the near future. However, our primary focus right now is to fully fund and produce a high-quality debut deck for all of our backers.


Finally, what are your favourite playing cards?
Matt: No. 17 Le Chat Rouge by Stockholm 17
Nicolai: Magna Carta by Seasons Playing Cards

Thank you for your time, guys. At the time of writing, the project is 72% funded with 20 days to go. If you want to support Märchen Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter here!


Märchen will be available in two editions: Schwarzwald (dark green) and Hamelin (cream) Edition. Each tuck box will be sealed with an individually numbered sticker draped in a stunning, deep red color. Pledge starts from $14 and the deck will be printed by Legends Playing Card Co. on their diamond finish card stock. Dealer chip, companion booklet, and uncut sheets are available as an add-on.
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