A Celebration Of Ingenuity: The Joy Deck – A Different Deck Of Playing Cards Review

Playing cards have served as a source of entertainment and challenge for centuries. From classic games like poker and blackjack to elaborate card magic routines, these simple rectangles have captured the imaginations of people worldwide. But what if a deck of cards could be more than just a tool for games?

Enter the JOY Deck, a creation by Brian South that pushes the boundaries of traditional playing cards, offering a unique blend of artistic design, hidden surprises, and a playful twist on functionality.

The Joy Deck – A Different Deck Of Playing Cards Review

Basic Specification Of Joy Deck

The JOY Deck maintains the standard format of a deck of cards, comprising 52 cards across four suits (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs) and two Jokers. However, its departure from tradition lies in the way these elements are presented.

JOY Decks Designs and Fun

The JOY Deck’s design philosophy extends beyond novelty. Here’s how it elevates the gameplay experience:

1. Hidden Messages

JOY Deck’s Designs and Fun

The JOY Deck isn’t just about aesthetics. Look closer, and you’ll find a treasure trove of hidden details woven into the design. The cards are infused with hundreds of words and numbers, including the word “JOY” itself, cleverly concealed within the artwork. This element adds a layer of interactivity, encouraging players to become detectives and uncover the secrets embedded within each card.

The meticulous artwork on each card transforms gameplay into a visual treat. Imagine the delight of revealing a meticulously crafted Queen of Hearts, where the card itself is composed of numerous miniature queens. This visual intrigue also adds a fresh dimension to familiar games.

2. Improved Recognition

The Joy Deck Improved Recognition

For beginners or those unfamiliar with traditional pips, the JOY Deck’s design offers a more intuitive way to recognize card values. Thematic representations like “Three of Clubs” formed entirely by threes are easier to grasp than abstract symbols. This can be particularly beneficial for younger players or those new to card games.

What’s more, the JOY Deck isn’t bound by the traditional imagery of court cards. Brian South, the creator, has hinted at the possibility of unique character designs for Jacks, Queens, and Kings, potentially adding a thematic layer to classic card games.

JOY Decks Printing Highlights

A deck of cards is only as good as its physical quality. The JOY Deck takes pride in its exceptional printing, ensuring a delightful user experience:

A deck of cards is only as good as its physical quality. The JOY Deck takes pride in its exceptional printing, ensuring a delightful user experience:

1. Premium Card Stock

The deck is rumored to be printed on high-quality, 310gsm black core paper with a linen finish, similar to what one might find in high-end casino decks. This translates to a luxurious feel, increased durability for shuffling and gameplay, and a satisfying snap when dealing cards.

2. Vivid Colors

JOY Deck’s Printing Highlights

The vibrant color palette used in the JOY Deck’s artwork is brought to life through a superior printing process. Expect crisp details, rich colors, and a level of visual fidelity that complements the intricate designs.

WJPC’s advanced printing method ensures crisp details, allowing you to appreciate the intricate lines, subtle textures, and hidden elements woven into the artwork. Every detail, no matter how small, will be sharp and clear.

3. Flawless Finish

The Joy Deck Flawless Finish

By eliminating friction and card clumping, the linen finish contributes to a more fluid and uninterrupted gameplay experience. You can focus on strategy and enjoyment without technical hindrances.

Also, the smooth, consistent finish elevates the overall quality perception of the cards. It feels more sophisticated and durable, adding a touch of luxury to your game nights.

4. Special Edging

The Joy Deck Special Edging

The addition of a special purple foil edge elevates the JOY Deck beyond a standard playing card experience. It adds a touch of elegance and sophistication, making the cards feel truly special.

The shimmer of the purple foil catches the light, creating a visually stunning effect. It also adds another layer of playful energy to the design, making the cards even more captivating to hold and admire.


The JOY Deck is a celebration of creativity and a testament to the potential for innovation within a familiar format. It offers a captivating visual experience, introduces a layer of discovery through hidden details, and caters to both seasoned players and newcomers alike.

With its launch on Kickstarter still underway as of March 11, 2024, the potential for further exploration and discovery remains. Support it now!

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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame also helped promote his Kickstarter project about this deck, you can see his article here: