Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Tim Coonfield of Rattler Gorge Playing Cards

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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Tim Coonfield of Rattler Gorge Playing Cards

Rattler Gorge Playing Cards is a truly unique deck of cards inspired by the legendary Old West now funding on Kickstarter. Tim Coonfield (Insragram: @thecardguyyt) in collaboration with DeckIdea has designed a cool deck that tells the story of one of the dozens of towns that dotted the Old West. Welcome to... RATTLER GORGE!

The deck features fully custom artwork, from the unique eye-catching tuck box, card backs to the courts, pips, and the gorgeous Ace of Spades. The two-way back design features the revolver central champer with metallic inks that provide ornate detailing throughout. Corner elements are inspired by the intricate inlaid patterns from the handles of prized revolvers. 


Meanwhile, the court cards focus on the unique and diverse characters of the town. The Ace of Spades features weapons that ruled the wild frontier, from revolvers to rifles, these were tools to threaten or protect depending on who held them. The deck is fully custom, yet fully functional design, perfect for the family or themed game nights.

Last week, we had a chat with Tim about his collaboration with DeckIdea, the inspiration, and the design process behind the Rattler Gorge.

For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us about yourself and how did The Card Guy come to be?
I fell headfirst into cards back in 2018 and immediately became overwhelmed with the number of decks that were out there to collect. I started looking through different video reviews just to help me narrow it down. There’s a lot of great guys out there working to share the decks of the world, but I was all about trying to go deeper on what made these decks special and there really wasn’t anything out there that was doing that at a consistent level. 

So for me, the channel was – and still is – about just talking about what I see and like about the decks I have. You’re genuinely hearing what I like about the decks. What I learned about the decks. That’s always been my driving motivation with the channel. The channel has given me an outlet to connect with this amazing community in such a unique way and genuinely is what has kept me tethered to this hobby for so long!

Can you describe the Rattler Gorge and why you’re passionate about it?
Everyone in this hobby I think dreams that they’re going to produce a deck of cards someday. I was absolutely no exception there. So in some ways, I legitimately just wanted to fulfill that dream. Rattler Gorge represents to me trying to not just check the box of on getting a deck of cards, but to put out a deck that I would want to buy. I think a lot of the “hype” on the deck has centered around the tuck case. But I’m also really proud of what we did with the court cards. I love a deck that tells a story, so whether it’s Callow’s boys or “Smoke,” the town sheriff…I was so excited to build a little back story behind the characters. It’s incredibly gratifying to see how well this has been received because this was an exciting project to put together! 

How did you and DeckIdea end up collaborating together?
I’ve been a fan of DeckIdea since day 1. Go look at the backer card for his 1969 deck and you’ll find my name at #11. I’ve been chatting on and off with him ever since then and I absolutely love the creativity he puts into his designs. It was really in the last year or so that we started heating up conversations about working together on a deck and it’s been an amazing ride ever since. Honestly, some of the collaboration on my end was born out of necessity. My artistic skills would graciously be called “negligible.” But it’s also been a great pairing since both of us approached this with a passion for building a project that would deliver something truly unique for collectors! 

What role did you play in the art direction and how much time did you spend working on the deck?
The entire process was a truly collaborative one that Jason and I have been engaged in for the last several months. My primary goal was to make sure that the deck did justice to the western themes. Whether it was little things like picking the name of the town or tweaking the cast of characters for the court cards, that was my biggest focus. I spent a lot of the time thinking through stories that would make sense around the characters and trying to ensure that the details we added made sense with the period. Jason is truly a fantastic and talented designer and was able to incorporate that feedback – mixing it with his own style – to make a deck that I think came out great! 

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?
The whole idea actually started out with a completely different passion of mine – BBQ. I have eaten more brisket and pulled pork than can possibly be healthy and have always wanted to do a deck inspired by the pitmasters that I’ve encountered all over Texas as we’ve traveled to some of the best BBQ spots in the state.

For a variety of reasons, that deck remains on the back burner. But the idea quickly morphed into the idea of a western town. Being from Texas, western art and style are pretty prevalent even in the more urban areas, so it was familiar territory for me. Once we went that direction, we almost immediately seized on the idea of the tuck being one of the “buildings” from the town. I’d been playing around with Year of the Ox and seen the fantastic things Legends has been experimenting with around die-cut tucks, and the swinging doors seemed like such a fantastic way to offer something unique. 

From there, things started to fall into place pretty quickly. The court cards are always a big part of every deck for me, so coming up with a set of characters was a ton of fun for me. The snake-oil salesman (king of diamonds) hit me early in that process and it was something I couldn’t shake, and it was just a blast to fill out the rest with a variety from the town. The process was a great one and – not being the artist myself – I feel lucky to have worked with Jason and DeckIdea to translate the idea to art in such a fantastic way!

What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
I love so much about the deck, but it has to be the tuck case. I think a lot about the state of innovations around playing cards – whether it be metallic inks, holofoil or gilding. But to me I think making creative use of die cuts is a concept whose time has come. So many people consider themselves “tuckists,” and giving those fans something unique just has the potential to add so much to the experience. I love the experimentation that some creators (like Ark Playing Cards) are doing with insane and complex tuck cases, but to me there’s something powerful about using simple openings in the tuck case to create an evolved experience with the deck. Rattler Gorge just does something DIFFERENT in the tuck case, and I will always appreciate that in a deck! 

Finally, what are your favorite playing cards?
Thirdway’s motto is “decks that tell a story,” and that’s a huge one for me. Anyone who’s seen my channel knows that Thirdway Industries tops the list for me. Giovanni Meroni’s mythology-inspired decks are vivid, exciting, and feature so much detail and life in the court cards. Some of my favorites there? Monolith and Sins are two designs that I think stand a cut above Gio’s outstanding line, but I can’t think of any of his decks I don’t enjoy!

I’ve also become a huge fan of Jocu. Alessandra Gagliano is an incredibly talented artist and her ability to work fine symbolic details into her court cards leaves me constantly impressed. Fillide and Onda are absolute masterpieces I’d recommend to anyone. 

There are so many other designers doing fantastic work particularly in the full custom designs that I prefer. Uusi, Montenzi, Design Imperator, Kings Wild, and Steve Minty – just to name a few!

Thank you for your time, Tim, and congratulation on hitting the funding goal! At the time of writing, Rattle Gorge is already 712% funded with 17 days to go! If you like what you've read here and want to support Tim and DeckIdea, you can find it on Kickstarter Here!

Pledge starts at $10, there will be TWO editions available on offer- Dessert Dust and Noir. The Desert Dust Edition captures the natural colors of the west. A deep brown tuck includes illustrations on the center of every good western town - the saloon. The Noir version features black and white tones that pay homage to the silver screen movies that turned the stories of the old west into legend.

The most unique feature of all is the strategic laser cutouts on both the front and back of the tuck. On the front, classic swinging doors inviting you into the saloon. On the back, a circular cutout reveals the central design feature of the back design of the cards, the iconic revolver chamber.

The decks will be printed by Cartamundi with SlimLine B9 Finish.

Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Tim Coonfield of Rattler Gorge Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 8/09/2021 Rating: 5

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