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5 Things You Should Know About the WILD WEST: Deadwood & The Black Hills Decks


The WILD WEST Playing Cards- Deadwood & The Black Hills is a fully-custom deck that features historical legends of Wild West’s Deadwood and The Black Hills regions. Designed by Randy Butterfield of Midnight Cards, every element, except for fonts and the Tuck Boxes’ Interior Map, have been hand-drawn from scratch.


The card backs and aces were inspired by elaborate engravings found in leather and weapons of the Wild West era. The Clubs and Spades Courts focus on historical figures who were instrumental in Deadwood’s growth and notoriety, while the Hearts and Diamond Courts include historical figures who were influential in The Black Hills and Montana regions. The Deadwood Face Cards have a cream / tan background, giving the design an overall sepia tone vibe. The Black Hills Face Cards have a gunmetal grey background, which contrasts beautifully with the Courts' drawings.

Here are 5 things you should know about the WILD WEST: Deadwood & The Black Hills Decks:

1. Drawing Medium
The Wild West Decks are the first designs that Randy did all of the hard work off the computer. Randy told Kardify, "It was liberating! It was such a great feeling to draw everything the old-school way, just pencil on paper. I still had to do a lot of work in Photoshop (outlining, cleanup, adding color, design layout..), but the brunt of the work was in the drawing stages."


This had a great effect on Randy's family. Randy continued, "For the first time, I could work on a Playing Card project while hanging out with my family at night (I usually only worked on Cards after my wife and kids were in bed for the night). My daughter, Violet, must’ve liked seeing me draw while we were hanging out and/or watching television after dinner. Violet would get out her drawing pad, and draw her own fun characters and scenes. And she continues to do so now, which is very similar to how I was as a kid (always drawing something in the hours after dinner and before bedtime)."


2. Consistency
One of the toughest aspects of creating a fully-custom design is consistency. Randy had not drawn seriously with pencil on paper in many years, so the first few Court drawings had much rougher details and shading than the later Courts, Jokers, Backgrounds and Back Card drawings. "Wild Bill Hickok’s Court Drawing was the first one I drew, as a sort of proof-of-concept to myself. Most of the later Court drawings took around 2 hours of cleanup work in Photoshop. Wild Bill’s drawing was so rough, when compared to the later drawings, that it took over 5 hours of Photoshop cleanup for his Court."



3. Theme
Before now, all of Randy's fully-custom designs have focused on themes of International inspiration: ROME Decks = Ancient Rome, Imperial Decks = Imperial Russia / Faberge Eggs, ORNATE Decks = Baroque Design from Europe. "The Wild West Decks are my first fully-custom design that’s inspired by American History. I found the research to be much easier and more source materials available than past themes. I’m sure part of it is due to America’s young history, when compared to the rest of the world!"


4. Scouting Trip
With the designing of these Decks on the horizon, and Randy's turn to pick the destination for his family vacation, Randy chose Deadwood and The Black Hills for his summer 2018 trip. "We stayed at the Cadillac Jack’s Casino for 6 nights in Deadwood, and saw almost everything there is to see in The Black Hills. I learned a lot from that trip, and even changed a couple Court characters based on those learnings (added Potato Creek Johnny and Phoebe Hearst). We were a little worried that the kids wouldn’t enjoy the trip, but there were plenty of family-friendly sites and excursions. We would definitely return to Deadwood in the future!"


5. Wild Bill Connection (Maybe)
"When I was a kid, we had always heard stories that we were somehow related to Wild Bill Hickok (on my dad’s side of the family). So I think a Deadwood theme is one I always “needed” to tackle at some point. Once I got into the design, I asked my mom about family tree info for my dad’s family. I joined Ancestry.com and jumped into figuring it out. I found the connection to a few Hickoks (2nd great grandmother, Rachel Angeline Hickok, and her father and grandfather). But that’s as far as I could get. I never could find a connection to James Butler Hickok (Wild Bill) and my Hickok relatives. Maybe it was just a story handed down through my father’s family? I doubt we’ll ever know for sure. Either way, I had a blast creating the WILD WEST: Deadwood & The Black Hills Decks!"


The WILD WEST Playing Cards- Deadwood & The Black Hills decks are now funding on Kickstarter and pledge starts at $15 for a single deck. Also, the Limited Collectors Set will be available during the campaign. The exclusive 2-Deck Collectors Box in Gold/White FOIL includes a WILD WEST: Deadwood Deck with GOLD GILDED Edges, a WILD WEST: The Black Hill’s Deck with BLACK GILDED Edges and a 32-Page Companion Book. LIMITED to 250 Sets.

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5 Things You Should Know About the WILD WEST: Deadwood & The Black Hills Decks Reviewed by Ivan on 4/25/2019 Rating: 5

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