First Look at ARK's Azure Dragon & Time Machine Playing Cards

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First Look at ARK's Azure Dragon & Time Machine Playing Cards

Just when you think the team at Ark Playing Cards can't get any better, they release the teaser for the Azure Dragon & Time Machine Playing Cards. This series will probably be one of the most elaborate and brilliant playing card set ever designed and produced. 

The Azure Dragon & Time Machine Playing Cards Kickstarter campaign will be the fourth project by ARK. According to the campaign page, 
It took us a full year to bring this deck of playing cards from conceptualization to reality. We believe Holding such a beautiful deck filled with creativity would make anyone’s heart race with excitement. The process of bringing this to life was filled with challenges. Nevertheless, we consistently maintained our strict standards and pushed forward. Through repeated attempts and adjustments, these playing cards are now finally presented to you. 

Azure Dragon Playing Cards draws inspiration from one of the mythical guardians of the East. Taking shape in a uniquely designed tuck box, which magically doubles as storage and display of art. 

The Azure Dragon is one of the Four Devine Beasts with a long history in China, and it is also the most representative theme of Eastern culture. The design of the Azure Dragon Playing Cards pays tribute to and reproduces the classic image of the mythical beast. From the tuck box to the playing cards, and other design elements of the Dragon and the Warriors on the court cards.

Golden vines interweaved with the black frames embellished with dragon pearls are the main elements of the back design, which further enhances the exquisite details and holistic sense of each playing card. There are many details of cultural elements waiting to be uncovered, from the abstract fish swimming in a Tai Chi Yin and Yang pattern in the center of the back design, the wishful cloud patterns surrounding the dragon, and more...

The court cards portray generals and officers of different military ranks, wielding traditional Chinese weapons: Spades- Spear, Lance, Sword, Diamonds- Halberd, Bow, Axe, Clubs- Warhammer, Glaive, Trident, and Hearts: Dagger-axe, Dual Swords, Crescent Blade.

The design of the Aces is an extension of the golden vines and black frame patterns on the back design and combines delicate armor and weapons according to the color and shape of the suits. The Joker takes the Chinese Yin Yang Tai Chi model, combining the shapes of the sun and moon with armor-like designs.

The Azure Dragon playing cards will only be sold in the form of box sets. 3 versions are available, Classic Collector’s Box Set (Limited to 1000), Black Gold Box Set (Limited to 500), and Walnut Box Set (Limited to 300).

Meanwhile, the Time Machine Playing Cards are inspired by "The Time Machine" by H.G Wells, published in 1895. The design style ARK selected was based on the 19th-century industrial machinery at the time to pay tribute to the early depiction of the time machine by mankind.

In terms of design, the deck features a fusion of baroque-style design and steampunk elements, creating a free-flowing design. Clocks and hourglasses were incorporated to reflect the passage of time. Gears and cogs reflect the operation of machinery, and compasses reflect the direction one was to travel.

When the back of the card is riffled, due to the subtle differences of each back design of the cards, they work together to form what appears to be a delicate and beautiful flip-book animation. The rotating clock hands and gears, the sands of time falling in the hourglass vividly reflect the flow of time.

Like the Azure Dragon set, the Time Machine playing cards will only be sold in the form of box sets. There are 3 versions, the Classic Collector’s Box Set (Limited to 1000), Dark Flare Box Set (Limited to 500), and Walnut Box Set (Limited to 300).

The cards are printed by APCC on Italian black core paper stock. Available on Kickstarter from 20 November and pledge starts at $85.


First Look at ARK's Azure Dragon & Time Machine Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 11/18/2021 Rating: 5

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