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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Ehsan Ziafati of Warrior Women Playing Cards

Warrior Women is a stunning deck of playing cards showcasing the numerous warrior women that existed throughout history, providing brief accounts of their lives and the roles they played in the theater of war. Currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, the deck honors countless women have fought in every war in human history and they deserve to be remembered. According to the Kickstarter campaign page,
The stories we tell deepen our understanding of warrior women’s contributions to the world, showing how far they advanced and how we, as a modern society, value their courage. The timeline of these fearless warrior women was related before the 16th century when first firearms and modern weapons were invented. This is the first volume and we are willing to go for the second volume provided in the early centuries as well.

The fully custom deck features intricate yet delicate card back design, beautiful Aces, and gorgeous illustrated court cards from Boudica, Cynane, to Artemisia, Joan of Arc and Nakano Takeko. The deck is packaged in a stunning tuck created from a combination of classical patterns, gothic statistics, and old motifs, with weapons woven into the delicate embossed design elements along with intricate and detailed gold, silver and red foil.

Over the weekend, we had a quick chat with designer Ehsan Ziafati about his design background, inspiration and design process behind the Warrior Women deck.

For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
Hello. Thank you for providing us with such an opportunity. I am Ehsan Ziafati. I am a painter and illustrator. I have a master's degree in painting and always interested in storytelling. For this reason, I have been looking for ways to get my works’ audiences more involved. I formed a small team with my friends in order to design creative products together. Sadegh is a graphic designer. In the project, he was the project manager and proposed the ideas alongside me from the beginning. Maryam was responsible for communications and the project coordinator. As the artist of the project, I was also responsible for the task of illustrating.

Can you describe Warrior Women Playing Cards and why you’re passionate about it?
We have always had a history written only about men. It is a masculine history with a masculine purgation but within this history, there were also women who came over these obstacles and made dramatic changes in history. Their bravery and courage has been recognized and acknowledged beside men and sometimes surpassed and filled some eras with their fame. The courage of these warrior women is an unforgettable lesson for all of us. This game is a reflection of the courage and heroism of these heroes and helping the campaign can make this reflection stronger.

Walk us through the process you took to design the deck. How did you come out with the idea and how did you get to this finished product?
Our initial idea was to design a project with the theme of women, but we were not sure exactly what kind of women we were looking for. At the time, we saw a project in Kickstarter that had made women scientists of history the subject of playing cards. It was an interesting encounter, but we were sure we didn't want that kind of subject until we saw an article in National Geographic that introduced 10 women warriors of history and briefly described their lives and deaths. I never forget the moment we read the article, it was exactly what I wanted. Warrior Women who have conquered important masculine traits in history and become an outstanding pattern of their era. Women have also very important reasons to fight! It motivated us to get to know these women more. Whatever we progressed through the design process, we more concluded that the project should be implemented magnificently in a documentary and historical form so that it looks really like the pages of a 16th-century Etching book. Hence, we pursued the goal through the ink crosshatch technique.

What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
The most important achievement of this project for me was the admiration of women and their boundless courage throughout history. When its initial designing and releasing at United Cardists was started, we realized that how interesting it is to everyone and their endeavor alongside us to achieve this goal was a pleasure for us. The technical achievement of the project was utilizing from the monochrome crosshatch technique in designing which became very attractive in this format while it can be boring for many in the usual format.

We first noticed the deck on the UnitedCardists forum. What do you think of the playing card community in terms of the feedback and support that you’ve been getting so far?
United Cardists is something like Disneyland even for those who love playing cards and want to spend time with people similar themselves. United Cardists really helped us as a caring community from the very first moments of design. Even, we were firstly doubtful about this idea because there was a project at Kickstarter named Amazon Warrior and we thought the subjective similarity of our project with them would make no one listen to our message. However, the friendly community of United Cardists not only convinced us from the beginning point of project but also gave us a great incentive to focus on designing and executing cards until the last moments. It may not be an exaggeration to state that the completion of these cards is due to the encouragement and supports of United Cardists.

What’s next for Headless Kings? Are you planning to release more playing card decks in the future?
This project is going to have volume 2 or 3 as well. In continue we are thinking about turning it into a tabletop game. Both we and the others have been thinking that this idea has great potential and we certainly consider them.

Finally, what are your favorite playing cards?
There are a lot of deck in my mind, which each of them are my favorite for a specific reason. But in particular, I pay much attention to illustration based decks or character-based designs. Therefore, I can name Luminosity and Ragnarok which has always inspired me with lots of other amazing decks.

Thank you for your time Ehsan and all the best! 

Warrior Women playing cards will be printed by the United States Playing Card Co. Having raised 98% of its $11.8k goal with 15 days left to go, a pledge of $14 sets you up with a deck. Add-ons such as booklet, dealer coin, and poster are available during the campaign. Check it out on Kickstarter here!

Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Ehsan Ziafati of Warrior Women Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 3/30/2020 Rating: 5

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