Chris Cards Glow V2 Playing CardsI’ve always been fascinated with the idea of playing cards that use ink that reacts to ultraviolet light. In this case, I’ll be covering an example of such a deck, namely Chris Cards Glow V2 Playing Cards, which is a recent release from 2022. Although it’s commonly called UV ink, technically it’s the light that is UV, not the ink. Whatever the case, if you have a UV flashlight or similar light source, playing cards that use this ink look particularly amazing in the dark. For a while I was even keeping a running list of decks that had this, although I haven’t kept it up once I hit around two dozen entries. But it was the striking feature of decks with UV ink that first attracted me to the Glow deck by Christof Schmitz. A cardist and creator from Germany, he has released several decks under his brand Chris Cards, with the help of fellow team members Dan and Lena. His first Glow deck appeared last year, with the help of crowdfunding support on Kickstarter. The card backs of the main deck featured borderless black backs, with a design that relied on white lines. Under UV light, this design sprang to life with vibrant blue and purple. The tuck case of the Glow V2 deck has a fairly straightforward design in black and white, and the back design is similar to the original deck. Once again the design of the tuck box and the cards uses two UV colors, but this time around the card backs and faces light up in a vibrant green and a vibrant red, for a whole new look. The card faces proved to be a real surprise for me. These are all white, with a custom design in red and black for the indices. Especially striking are the court cards, which have lots of missing detail and plenty of white space. It almost seems underwhelming, but that’s deliberate, because under a UV light these come to life with full detail, including borders and more. A single giant pip resides on the Aces as well as on all the number cards, and these also come alive under a UV-light source. On their own, this deck works fine for playing card games, or even for card magic or cardistry. But it is especially spectacular when using it for card flourishing in the dark with a UV light. For me, this added a whole level of enjoyment to cardistry that a regular deck can’t provide, no matter how good the design. With the flick of a switch, the Glow V2 deck lights up like a Christmas tree, and it feels like you’re performing with cards that have an in-built lighting system. Head to Christof’s Instagram (e.g. these stories) or to his youtube channel to see this deck being put through its paces, and see how amazing it looks under UV-light. As for the handling of Glow V2, I found it to be excellent. This deck is printed by WJPC in China on their popular 300gsm German card stock, which is the same stock used for Stockholm17’s recent Notorious Gambling Frogs decks. It feels very soft from the get-go and is especially well-suited to card flourishing. Many people have compared it positively with USPCC’s crushed stock, and the performance and feel reminds me very much of that, so it is ideal for cardists. Even though this particular deck has borderless backs in black – normally a bad idea as white shows underneath with wear – the back design of Glow V2 cleverly has white areas on the edges and corners. This cleverly disguises any signs of wear in the area where they would normally appear. My only complaint is a minor one, namely that over time I saw some tiny flecks of black move to the faces. But overall I’m very impressed with the stock and the handling. I’m not surprised that many creators have been turning to WJPC in the past year, given that their pricing tends to be more affordable than some of the more well-known printers, without compromising quality. It’s also worth mentioning that some gilded versions of the Glow V2 deck (250 in red and 250 in green) were also produced, and these are still available from the creator.
Chris Cards Holographic Playing CardsAlongside the main Glow V2 deck, a Chris Cards Holographic deck was produced at the same time. This was a more limited edition, with a print run of only 500 decks, all individually numbered. Not only does the tuck box of the holographic deck have holographic foil but the cards themselves also have holographic foil on both sides. Unlike the Glow V2 decks, the details on the court cards and other face cards don’t have white space printed with invisible ink that shows up under UV light but show full details. This deck really comes to life when the cards get the benefit of being well-lit when they shine with a bright array of rainbow colors. Both the Glow V2 deck and the Holographic deck appeal for different reasons, and in both cases it is the novelty factor of shiny colors that is so gripping – one shining by day (Holographic), the other shining by night with the help of UV-light (Glow V2). Especially for cardists looking to find something different to use for creating fun videos, or just to enjoy casually, both of these decks have what it takes to provide something truly different and yet very satisfying. About the original writer:
A well-known and highly respected reviewer of board games and playing cards. He loves card games, card magic, cardistry, and card collecting, and has reviewed several hundred boardgames and hundreds of different decks of playing cards.
He is considered an authority on playing cards and has written extensively about their design, history, and function, and has many contacts within the playing card and board game industries. In his spare time he also volunteers with local youth to teach them the art of cardistry and card magic.