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$2,939 pledged of $10,000 goal
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$2,939 pledged of $10,000 goal
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About this project

The final deck, completing the Celtic Myth playing-card set originally funded on Kickstarter in October 2013.

  • Contains symbolism derived from Celtic history and mythology
  • Explanations of symbolism provided
  • Original artwork by Medieval Studies Professor, James Acken
  • Free to ship a deck in USA, +$3 to Canada, +$6 everywhere else
  • Printed by the USPCC

James is our Creative Director and primary artist, and he has put his rather impressive background as a Professor of Medieval Studies to good use on this project. Drawing from well known myths to the more obscure, highlighting historical figures, and drawing upon the influence of evolving Celtic traditions, his knowledge and artistry are readily apparent throughout the decks.

Below you will find samples of the artwork used for the Tuck Box, the Card Back, the Court Cards, and the Pips for the four suits. We've also included a graphic detailing how your pledge dollars will be spent.

For more information about this project, or about how we all ended up working together, please scroll down to the end of the page.

While the artwork is mostly complete, this project can't go to print without your funding and support! So please, pledge today! 

Note: Color scheme for the card back updated but not yet finalized. A detailed description of the symbolism found on the card back will be included in Update #1.

Note: Tuck Box design impacted by the 12.5K Stretch Reward. 

The symbolism contained in the deck is drawn from the history and mythology of Celtic culture. Each card has been painstakingly composed by Medieval Studies professor James Acken. This deck completes the set, which is comprised of (1) the first symmetrical deck featuring figures representing order and healing, (2) an asymmetrical deck featuring two figures in opposition to each other - those with a leaning towards order and healing set against the more chaotic and destructive, and (3) this symmetrical deck, featuring those figures representing the more chaotic, and at times, destructive, forces.

This deck, as with the ones which came before it, is comprised of the standard 52 poker-sized playing cards. It will also contain two jokers, as well as one to two information cards which will include, among other things, information as to where you can find more detail regarding the symbolism contained within each card. 

In the interest of space, we have limited the amount of artwork displayed below. We can easily include additional work in updates though, so if you'd like to see something else, just let us know!

Each card has been carefully researched and each contains imagery rich with symbolism. We will include a sampling of images and explanations in updates as the project progresses, up until the pledge rewards are shipped. An explanation of that symbolism will eventually also be made available on our website at  www.culturlan.com/info/celticcards, and on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Culturlan . 

$10 Early Bird. 1 deck. Limited to 50 backers. Please add $6 to your pledge if you are an international backer ($3 if Canadian). [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

$12 Deck. 1 deck. Please add $6 to your pledge if you are an international backer ($3 if Canadian). Additional decks available. International Backers please add $3 per additional deck ($1.50 if to Canadian destinations). [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

$15 Stripper Decks. 1 stripper deck featuring artwork identical to the regular decks. Please add $15 for each additional stripper deck you would like to include. International backers, please add an additional $6 S&H ($3 for Canadians) for the first deck, and +$3 S&H for each subsequent deck (+$1.50 for Canadians). [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

$22 Bridge Set. Both symmetrical decks (i.e. the deck from this project and the prior project, funded in October 2013). Each deck features different Court cards, Tucks, Jokers, and Backs. Explanations of the symbolism contained in both decks also provided. +$9 S&H for all international destinations except Canada, which is +$4.50. [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

$35 The Complete Set. All 3 decks of the Celtic Playing Cards series, featuring both symmetrical designs and the asymmetrical. +$12 S&H for all international destinations except Canada, which is +$6. [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

$75 Uncut Sheet (Signed & Numbered). The production run for this reward will be limited to 100 uncut sheets, displaying every card in the deck. Each sheet will come hand-signed and numbered by James. Please add $25 to ship to international destinations ($12.50 to Canada). [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

$120 Brick. 1 Brick of 12 decks. Please add $20 to ship to international locations ($10 to Canada). This reward is limited to 8 backers. [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

$250 Artist Workshop (group). Join James via Google+ for a 2 to 3-hour guided group session on developing Celtic-knots and other group-directed artwork. Group size limited to 6 backers. Limited to 5 groups. We will work with Backers at this level in an effort to provide time & date options which fit with their normal schedules. [Estimated Delivery: October, November, or December 2014]

$500 Artist Workshop (individual). Join James via Google+ for a 1-hour individual session in which you may discuss  mythology, illustration techniques, inking, creating Celtic-knotwork, and/or whatever else is of  interest to you.  [Estimated Delivery: October or November 2014]

$2,500 Immortalized .... Your likeness will be included as 1 of the 2 Jokers in the deck, containing authentic symbolism derived from Celtic culture. At this level, you will also receive a signed brick containing 12 decks, along with a signed 8x10" full-color print of the Joker. [Estimated Delivery: December 2014]

MORE THAN ONE DECK: International shipping is expensive.There is simply no getting around that. However, shipping in bulk is less expensive, so while we ask backers to include an additional $6 for international shipping destinations for the first deck, please only add $3 S&H for each subsequent deck.

CANADIAN DESTINATIONS: Due to a variety of reasons, shipping to Canada is less expensive than other locations. As a result, if you are shipping to a Canadian address, please halve the international shipping amount to $3 for the first deck, and $1.50 for subsequent decks.

If you have any leads for reliable yet more affordable international shipping options, please let us know!

We will be offering the first two decks in this series (i.e. the Asymmetrical deck and the first Symmetrical deck) as add-ons for $12 each + S&H fees of $6 per additional deck for all international destinations except Canada, which is $3 per deck.

Asymmetrical Tuck
Asymmetrical Tuck
Asymmetrical Deck - Heart Royal Flush
Asymmetrical Deck - Heart Royal Flush
Symmetrical Tuck - Order & Healing
Symmetrical Tuck - Order & Healing
Symmetrical Deck (Order & Healing) - Spade Royal Flush
Symmetrical Deck (Order & Healing) - Spade Royal Flush

 We will also be offering the Sword of Victory T-shirt, featured below ($20):

Note: You will have the opportunity to specify size and cut (men or women's) in the Kickstarter survey which will be emailed to all backers after the funding period is complete. A sample of the Men's shirt is featured above.

Our final add-on is a collectible coin which can be used to designate the dealer in your card game or to protect your cards.

COLLECTIBLE COIN. 1.75" coin with antique silver-finish featuring a raised Cultúrlán logo (owl and salmon) on one side, with the raised Ace of Spade Sword of Victory design on the other. Reeded edge. ($10)

Note: While the finish is known as "antique silver," it does not contain any precious metal, silver or otherwise.

We offer a wide selection of T-shirts featuring our original artwork in addition to the Ace of Spades Sword of Victory design displayed above. Every piece contains imagery rich with symbolism. If interested in learning more, please visit our website at www.culturlan.com or send us an email at "info@culturlan.com".

$11,000. CUSTOM SEAL. At the 11K level, every deck will include a custom seal designed by James exclusively for this deck.

$12,500. BICYCLE BRANDING. The United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) has worked long and hard to develop the Bicycle brand and it is therefore unsurprising that they should charge extra for its use on the Tuck Box. Once we hit 12.5K though, we'll be able to cover that additional cost and will include the "Bicycle" brand, as featured on the first two decks of the series.

$15,000. TOURNAMENT. As we pass the 15K level we will be providing all backers with the opportunity to join us at Cloak & Blaster in Orlando, FL for a Texas Hold'Em tournament in December! The first 64 backers who choose to pick up their pledge rewards at the C&B will receive an entry into the tournament as well as a $3 coupon which can be used for food or drink (everyone who picks up their pledge rewards here, will receive the $3 coupon, regardless of whether they play in the tournament or not). The Cloak & Blaster promises to be a destination in of itself and tournament winners will receive prizes from both the C&B and Cultúrlán!

$20,000. AUDIO TRACK. As we pass the 20K level, all backers will receive a custom audio track prepared by Caitlin Warbelow and Kyle Sanna. For those unfamiliar with them, both are extremely talented and we are confident you will enjoy listening to them (to give you a sense of it, the background music in our project video is of them playing). 

$25,000. CUT-CARD. As we pass through the 25K level all backers will receive a full-color custom cut card (possibly outside of the deck) featuring newly designed original artwork on both sides of the card. 

We will be revealing additional Stretch Rewards as we break through the levels outlined above! 

Back in late 2012, the four of us joined together to form an entertainment and design company focused on transforming history and mythology into artwork (and, hopefully someday, games), and placing that artwork on commonly used items in order to make that history and mythology more accessible. Our first playing card project was an incredible learning experience for us, and the Kickstarter, Celtic, and card-collecting communities offered an incredible amount of support as we navigated that new terrain. 

Our decks are designed to incorporate traditional symbolism while highlighting relevant aspects of myth and history through our artwork. As a result, not only do our decks showcase the art, they also tell a story. To assist folks in understanding the intricacies of each story, we've provided free explanations of the figures and symbolism on our website at www.culturlan.com/info/celticcards.

When we began our first project we essentially didn't know what we were doing. Oh, we had a firm handle on Celtic mythology. And James is an incredible artist. But Kickstarting a playing card project? That was new to us. And it showed. 

Luckily, we had the good fortune to attract a number of backers who were not only patient with us, but whom also displayed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and support each time we released new art or shared an explanation of the mythology and symbolism. Their guidance was invaluable. We also had the very good fortune to work with an incredibly patient and talented team at the USPCC custom division. As a result of all of this, we have learned quite a bit. 

In the end, we created two decks we are proud to share. However, we do believe we have left one thing undone. Because we only printed two decks in connection with the first project, half of the figures from the asymmetrical deck have been sidelined. All of the figures in each deck have a rich story to tell, so we determined to launch this project to correct the lack. 

WITH GRATEFUL THANKS

Special thanks go out to Alan Caudel for his invaluable assistance in editing and splicing to create the clear and concise project video from the mishmash and likely barely legible editing notes we provided him.

Thanks also go out to the Caitlin Warbelow and Kyle Sanna for their musical contribution. Both stunning artists in their own right, we encourage everyone to listen to them; we are confident you won't regret it.

And if you are in the Florida area, and haven't been to the Cloak & Blaster in Orlando, it's worth a visit. We were fans even before they agreed to host the Stretch Reward tournament (not so surprising really, considering the convergence of drinks and gaming).

And last but by no means least: Many thanks to Danielle Acken, for not killing James (or any of us) on the long road transforming these decks from concept into reality.

James has been fascinated by history, mythology, and artwork since at least High School, where we all met. Despite early aspirations of becoming a professional artist, he pursued his love for history and mythology through his undergraduate years, and again through his graduate studies, eventually earning a Doctorate in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto in 2006. He is currently employed by the University of Victoria in British Columbia, with prior employment at Simon Frasier University in Vancouver and the University of Highlands and Islands in Scotland. His deep and broad knowledge of Celtic history and legend is readily apparent in the beautiful renderings he has created for this project - a sampling of which are detailed above.

If you've read our bio at the top of the page and the project description above, you already know the really important stuff us. However, if you are keen on learning more, definitely check out our website at www.culturlan.com or our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Culturlan.

Risks and challenges

We've learned quite a bit from creating and delivering rewards for our prior project, and we are confident in delivering this project's pledge rewards on time and as promised as well.

There is always the risk of printing issues however, though the USPCC has been a byword for quality in this industry for quite a long time now. There's also a risk with fulfillment issues, even though we only use trusted delivery sources.

Unforeseen events can and do happen and while we are confident we can deliver the rewards on schedule, we can't absolutely guarantee it. What we can guarantee is that we will do our utmost to live up to the trust you have placed in us and promise to stay in regular and frequent contact with all backers via Kickstarter throughout the project, until the pledge rewards are delivered. As a backer you can expect to hear from us at least once per week via project updates. If you have more immediate questions or concerns, feel free to email us at "info@culturlan.com" or post comments here, on Kickstarter.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    EARLY BIRD .... 1 deck featuring original artwork designed by Medieval Studies Professor James Acken. Explanation of symbolism included.

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    THE DECK .... 1 deck featuring original artwork designed by Medieval Studies Professor James Acken. Explanation of symbolism included (add $12 to your pledge for each additional deck you'd like us to include + S&H. S&H is an additional $6 per deck for all international destinations except Canada, which is only $3 per additional deck).

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    STRIPPER DECK .... 1 stripper deck. Please add $15 to your pledge for each additional deck you'd like included with your pledge reward(s). If shipping international, please include an additional $8 per deck ($4 if shipping to Canada)

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    Pledge $22 or more About $22

    BRIDGE SET .... Both symmetrical decks. Each deck features different Court cards, Tucks, Jokers, and Backs. Explanations of the symbolism contained in both decks also provided.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    THE COMPLETE SET .... The set of all three Celtic Playing Card decks, consisting of the original symmetrical deck, the asymmetrical deck, and the new symmetrical deck. Explanations of symbolism provided.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    UNCUT SHEET (Signed & Numbered) .... James will personally sign and number each Uncut Sheet in the order in which the pledges are received.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    BRICK .... 1 brick of 12 decks. International Backers, please add $20 S&H ($10 for Canadian shipping destinations).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    ARTIST WORKSHOP (group) .... Join James via Google+ for a 2 to 3 hour guided group session on developing Celtic-knots and other group-directed artwork. Group size limited to 6 backers. Limited to 5 groups.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ARTIST WORKSHOP (individual) .... Join James via Google+ for an individualized one hour session on illustrating, inking, and developing whatever type of artwork you desire.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    IMMORTALIZED .... Your likeness will be included as 1 of the 2 Jokers, containing authentic symbolism derived from Celtic culture. At this level, you will also receive a signed brick of 12 decks, along with a signed 8x10" full-color print of your Joker.

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Funding period

- (30 days)