The Plugged Nickel Playing Cards are not gone for good. We'll relaunch in a few months, so keep an eye on our site (www.vixentorgames.com) for info on joining the Facebook page or Twitter. More details will be coming as we have them!
Start with the Old West. Then add a little bite to it. Skeleton cowboys and barbed wire. Guns and dynamite. And a bullwhip.
The Plugged Nickel Playing Cards are a limited-print, specialty deck of cards printed by the United States Playing Card Company, so you know you're getting the same quality and finish you expect from the company that creates the world-famous Bicycle playing cards. There will be no second printing - once these decks are gone, they're gone for good.
The highlights of the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards are the face cards. Each was specifically designed to resemble its traditional counterpart, from the angle of the head and pose of the body to the shapes found in the body of the card itself. The barbed wire, of course, is new.
That does it for the courts, but I still have a few aces up my sleeve. Literally, aces. Not literally my sleeve, though. Next time I update here, I'll show off the aces, and before too much longer, we'll get to the jokers and the ad card.
I'm particularly excited about the ad card.
The piece de resistance, the feather in the cap of this Kickstarter, is the extremely limited card box. This wooden box is made of South American walnut that grows in an area prone to lightning strikes. The wood gets these cool black streaks from all the electricity being pulled up out of the ground.
The lid of the card box boasts the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards logo, carved right into the wood. This picture shows the lid and showcases the gorgeous burn marks that the lightning has made into the wood.
The inside tray of the box is carved from a single piece of walnut, and has space to hold two decks, six dice and the dealer's coin. Here's a shot of the box with the lid up. The dice are just standard dice for now, but they will be the Plugged Nickel specialty dice in the finished product.
The card boxes are extremely limited. Only five will be available, and when they're gone, they're gone. These boxes will not be available after the Kickstarter ends. The boxes go for $150 each, and will come fully stocked with two decks of cards, a dealer's coin and six dice. These are not technically add-ons - they are available at the highest pledge level.
While the focus here is on printing the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards, and making them as great as they can be, we do have a few cool extras for you to add to your pledge.
There are three options for art prints. The first two are the card back and the Ace of Spades, from either the Rusted Tin or Wanted Poster deck, each available as a 20 X 30 giclee print. These are high-quality art prints, signed and numbered, printed on bright white archival paper. Each is available by adding $40 to your pledge.
The third art print option is for a set of four 8 X 10 prints, this time of the four kings. These lords of cowboy poker will be proud to decorate your game room or office, whether you prefer the Wanted Poster look or the Rusted Tin. Like each of the art prints, these are high-quality giclee prints, signed and numbered, on bright white archival paper. You can add a set of the kings by adding $40 to your pledge.
Personally, I can't wait to be holding an uncut sheet of the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards. There are two decks, so there are two sheets available. Each is available by adding $40 to your pledge ($80 for both of them).
We've also got a few great bits for poker fans. First up is the dealer's coin. This is a heavy, 1.5" coin, 4mm thick. Obviously, the image below is an artist's rendering; the real coin will look even cooler. You can grab up one of these great coins by adding $10 to your pledge.
Some custom dice will go nicely with your custom cards. These are engraved dice, bone-colored, with the insets painted black. Again, this is just a mockup. A pair of dice can be yours by adding $6 to your pledge.
The dice will be made by Dice Empire. They make a whole bunch of cool custom dice - you can see them here:
We will be using Backerkit to sort out the add-ons when the project is finished. Once the project closes, we will send out Backerkit surveys so you can tell us exactly what you want.
I don't just want to print a couple decks of cards. I want to print two of the coolest decks ever seen. I need $25,000 to cover postage and printing; everything after that will go to making the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards even more awesome.
The first improvement to the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards is a pretty obvious touch - at $30,000, we'll have custom seals on every deck.
The next upgrade after the custom seal will be to add embossing to the tuck box. This will make the design pop out, and give the deck a great tactile feel. We'll do that at $35,000.
Once the embossing is in the bag, I want to add copper metallic ink to highlight the art on the tucks. When we get to $40,000, both tuck boxes will get metallic ink.
Art on the inside of the tuck box is a really cool touch that you don't see with every deck. That will happen at $45,000.
To make the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards feel authentic, I want to use upgraded stock on the tuck box that will give it a rougher, more natural feel. We'll see that upgrade at $50,000.
The art card in the Plugged Nickel Playing Cards looks awesome - cool enough to hang on the wall. So when we hit $50K, every backer who is getting a deck of cards will get a postcard-sized version. And yeah, I'll sign every one of them.
I've got more ideas for interesting stretch goals, but let's not put the cart before the horse, shall we? When we get close to $55,000, I'll add some more stuff I would love to see happen with these decks.
The Plugged Nickel Playing Cards started out as just a creative impulse - I thought it would be fun to design a deck of cards. And it was. But after I designed a deck of cards, I wanted to play poker with them, and figured other people might want them, too. That means getting them printed, and the US Playing Card Company will make them look and feel great.
As I was adding color to the hand-drawn designs, I ended up with two very different looks. The problem was, I couldn't decide which I liked more. So I went with both. The decks share the same line art, but the similarity ends there.
The Wanted Poster deck is the closest in appearance to a traditional deck of cards, with colorful court cards and a relatively neutral background. I wanted it to look like, well, a wanted poster, so I went with sort of weathered paper texture.
The Rusted Tin deck is more of a departure from the everyday. The background resembles rusted metal, and every card has a red or dark brown background, depending on its suit. The face card art and pips are burned into the background, but with enough contrast to still stand out.
I also wanted cool pips, and since I was already doing barbed wire everywhere else, I thought, what the heck, let's go for broke. The pips on the cards are highly customized and all wrapped up in barbed wire. But at the same time, I have played poker with some custom decks, and let's face it, all that artsy-fartsy stuff doesn't mean a hill of beans if you can't tell what card you're holding. So the corner pips are essentially the old standby suits - but with a skull in the middle, because, you know, dead people.
I did start off with some art extending off the edges of the cards, but again, I've played poker with some of those custom decks, and that art can mark the cards and make it easy to tell where the face cards are hiding. Not only that, but after being a designer for 15 years, I know that dark colors at the edge of the card make chips and scratches show up and look ugly in a hurry. So while I did get pretty wacky with borders and barbed wire and skulls and what-not, I kept the edges white. You'll be able to play with these cards for a good long time.
A few other notes:
I'm digging the idea of Kicking It Forward, so to that end, I've agreed that 5% of what I make on this Kickstarter will be spent supporting other startup projects on Kickstarter. Which isn't that hard, really - I spend more than I should on Kickstarter as it is. You can read more about Kicking It Forward here:
Finally, I want to thank Cauhaus for providing the music in the video. The song is called Rednecks with White Faces, and it's channeling Johnny Cash if he was into vampire movies. You can hear the whole song here:
This might be my first Kickstarter, but it's not my first rodeo. I've owned VixenTor Games for seven years now, and have been a professional print designer since the 90s. Sure, things can go wrong, but I've allowed a wider delivery deadline than is strictly necessary so I can underpromise and overdeliver.
We could run into snags with the printer. Any good designer counts on it, even, and builds it into the timeline. If it happens, it won't be the first time a print project ran overbudget or past the print date. We stay flexible, deal with it, and hit our deadlines.
We could hit some issues with fulfillment. But again, I've done this before. I've shipped all over the globe, dealt with customs forms, ordered bulk pickups from the post office. I'm almost certain something will go wrong - but years of fixing my own mistakes has helped me learn how to deal with them, so if your order is broken, I'll make it my personal mission to make sure you're not just compensated. I want you happy.
The non-card rewards are another potential pain point. I'm not stamping the coins or building the card boxes. And working with new vendors means unpredictability - which is why I've already been in contact with those vendors and arranged fail-safes, including backups should the primary sources fall through.
One area we won't hit any problems is making the art. I've been working on these cards for nearly a year now, and this one is in the bag. The art is drawn, colored, refined, cleaned up, positioned and assembled. As soon as this Kickstarter project closes and I know how many decks we're printing, we're off to the races.
I figure there are other areas where this whole thing could hit a hiccup, and I won't know about them until they happen. That's the reason for the July delivery date - it gives me time to adjust if unforeseen complications throw me a curveball.
In short, there's nobody as excited to own a deck of the Plugged Nickel Playing cards as I am. I aim to make everything as smooth as possible, because this isn't just a business venture. It's personal for me, and so I've got a bigger stake than just money.
Kickstarter does not let me calculate shipping separately for every country. Canada would cost less than France, for example. But if you are international and would like to pledge, just send me a message and tell me what pledge level and add-ons you would like. I will calculate shipping for you, so that you can pay a more reasonable level of shipping. If you have already pledged and added that international shipping, message me so I can get you a shipping quote and you can lower your pledge.