Over the past few months, we’ve all rediscovered old hobbies and learnt new games. 2020 has been difficult, but for many people lockdown was an opportunity to spend time with the people you live with and bond. Now, as we’re all trying to spend more time inside and not mix too much, buying a pack of cards is a good way to have a bit of fun, cheer up and do something new. If you’re into something high stakes, grab the poker chips and play for loo roll (far more valuable than money, now) or you can do something simple like snap or switch to Victorian and learn cribbage. If you’re by yourself, solitaire can be fun and it’s nice to play even off a computer.
We know that our steampunkers are always looking for a way to bring more cogs, clockwork, corsets and waistcoats into their lives. So we’ve compiled a collection of our favourite steampunk cards, which you can play with at home for now, and learn some magic tricks and go to your next convention as a steampunk magician. Or, if you prefer, take them to a bar, or to your friends’ houses, or get a pack for a steampunk friend for Christmas. Cards are versatile, fun, and just Victorian enough to feel pretty steampunk-y.
Our first pack nicely combines the traditional pictures on playing cards on the face, and then mixes up clockwork and cogs on the back and over the packet. They’re pretty and functional, and sometimes new designs of cards can throw players off, so it’s nice to have something straightforward so you can focus on the games.
You don’t have to go down the rabbit hole to appreciate our next pack. These Alice in Wonderland cards are almost guaranteed to be a hit at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and we think that you and your friends might have some fun with them too. Even better – Alice, the Cheshire Cat and the white rabbit are there as the King, Queen and Jack. As for the Queen of Hearts? Well, you’ll have to buy them and see!
It’s easy to get lost in a game of cards, but getting something cards that are genuinely beautiful can be extremely nice and make playing an even better experience. The signs for the four houses are pretty widely used, so it’s great to see an original interpretation that still allows players to see, clearly, what they’re using. These cards are unique, decadent and have something wonderfully steampunk-y in their design.
If you like steampunk because you like cogs, these cards will be perfect for you. The designers have taken the standard shapes and worked them into clockwork creations, then offered you a peephole. It’s a nice and kooky design that pays homage to (arguably) steampunk’s most recognisable items.
These cards make a point to say that they’re not steampunk cards: they’re cyberpunk. They’re designed to be tough and not mark up if used by someone who’s still bio/organic and hasn’t fully converted to cyborg yet, which is a nice touch. Cyberpunk/steampunk aside, these are really pretty, with embossed colours that look like precious metals and shaped like cogs and other bits of machinery. Use them for tricks, use them for games… just make sure you’re getting them out and showing them off.
Our final pack might be my favourite. They’re black, silver and gold, which looks striking and pretty, but more importantly the jacks, kings, queens and aces are all illustrated with different fantasy beasts. These are gorgeously done, but they’re also a fun way to change up ‘normal’ cards. If you find that there’s an overlap between your interests in fantasy, your love of steampunk and your desire to play card games, this might just be the pack for you.
There are lots of reasons it’s a good idea to own a pack of cards – not least, you can play with them by candlelight when the electricity cuts out and you won’t need to worry about draining your phone battery! But the ones we’ve looked at have been beautifully designed and would enhance any game. Taking the time to invest into something small and nice is a great way to perk up your home, or you can give them as a gift to a fellow steampunk gamer.