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A stunning deck of playing cards featuring character art, world fiction, and original card games designed by the celebrated artist! Read more

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This project was successfully funded on May 15, 2014.

A stunning deck of playing cards featuring character art, world fiction, and original card games designed by the celebrated artist!

About this project

Beyond the plains of Collier Bluff and the glistening towers of Goldstaxx lies the land of Cassyno, a world of dark fantasy, magic, and games of chance created by French comic illustrator and concept artist Bengal. It is a land divided into four kingdoms, controlled by four powerful Houses, each possessing access to a unique source of magical energy. These Houses have held a tenuous peace with each other since the great War of Seven, but secret agendas have been bubbling beneath the surface for some time now, and soon the Grand Game will begin again…

This exciting new world, and the powerful ruling individuals within each House, have been purposefully designed to represent the four suits of a standard deck of playing cards: House Lockheart, House Ironspade, House Whisperclub, and House Diamondshard. Each kingdom differs in aesthetic, politics, magic, and agenda, and all of the unique ruling characters have intertwined stories that set the stage for numerous competitions and challenges. This wonderful new world could be described as Alice in Wonderland meets Game of Thrones.

Far from just another deck of playing cards, this set is as much a gallery of original character art by Bengal, as well as the fantastic setting for numerous stories of magical intrigue, medieval espionage, and dramatic conflict between four unique kingdoms. Each face card, plus the "knight" (the 10 card), features a key character from the world, each of whom possessing both strengths and weaknesses, allies and foes, allowing for unique original gameplay as well as an abundance of exciting stories to tell.  With 20 original characters to draw from, the dramatic combinations are outstanding.

*mockup design, work in progress
*mockup design, work in progress
"Styrendor the Tower" (10 of Diamonds)
"Styrendor the Tower" (10 of Diamonds)
Queen Ovelinia of House Ironspade (Queen of Spades)
Queen Ovelinia of House Ironspade (Queen of Spades)
Celina Lockheart (Queen of Hearts)
Celina Lockheart (Queen of Hearts)
Lord Eric of Diamondshard (King of Diamonds)
Lord Eric of Diamondshard (King of Diamonds)
Jumini Greenthorn of House Whisperclub (King of Clubs)
Jumini Greenthorn of House Whisperclub (King of Clubs)

Fans of Bengal’s work, comic book illustration, and concept art will love the gorgeous original character design created specifically for this deck.

Fans of fantasy fiction will be engaged by the intricate politics and lore weaving these characters and their houses together and against each other.

Fans of tabletop gaming will be thrilled by the numerous original card games designed for these characters, each of which are drawn from within the fictional world’s setting

Magicians and fans of slight-of-hand magic can enhance their illusions by incorporating the characters into their performance narrative.

* image from Bengal's original graphic novel LUMINAE
* image from Bengal's original graphic novel LUMINAE

This unique project has been designed specifically as an alternative to yet-another art book (which Bengal hopes to produce definitively in the near future), to be presented instead as a full set of 52 standard sized playing cards, printed by renowned playing card company USPCC (makers of Bicycle brand playing cards), packaged in a custom tuck box, also featuring original artwork.

*mockup design, work in progress
*mockup design, work in progress
*mockup design, work in progress
*mockup design, work in progress

This deck will be supplemented by a 48 page World-Game booklet featuring historical lore and character descriptions, setting the stage for a wide variety of stories and challenges.  This booklet will also contain rules for five original card games drawn from within the fictional world that can be played with the deck itself. These games range from traditional games redefined to incorporate the characters to competitive games that draw upon the fictional strengths and weaknesses of each house.  These games will draw heavily on the fiction, occupation, strengths and weaknesses of each House, character, and card value to add easy-to-pick up strategy and depth to each unique game.

(cover mockup only; book included in game box)
(cover mockup only; book included in game box)
(cover mockup only; game box includes one deck and World Book)
(cover mockup only; game box includes one deck and World Book)

In addition this booklet will feature original contributions from other well-known artists, including Claire Wendling, Mahmud Asrar, Kim Jung Gi, Enrique Fernandez, Joe Madureira, Ben Caldwell, and Marguerite Sauvage.

Finally, to further support this core project goal, an additional, bonus deck of cards will be offered featuring “Bengal’s Cosplay Girls” – a complete deck of 52 cards featuring a selection of never-before published works from his Griseline sketch collection.  Each card will feature a different girl in a different costume design, some of them familiar, others wholly original. This bonus deck will only be printed in a limited run, and will only be produced for this campaign.

While we would be happy with any show of support, you can receive a single core deck for as little as $10.

  • Additional decks can be added a la carte to any tier for $12 each. (Limit of 5 extra Cassyno decks imposed by Kickstarter -- please contact us of you would like more.)

A Limited Edition Joker card will be added to special decks, available only to those who pledge $15 or more.

The World-Game booklet is included in the GAME BOX, available for pledges of $25 or more, which packages one deck and one World Book into a single box.  Plus, at this level, your name will be printed in the back of the booklet as thanks for your support.

  • Additional Game Boxes can be added a la carte to any tier for $25 each. (Limit of 5 extra Game Boxes imposed by Kickstarter -- please contact us of you would like more.)

The bonus “Cosplay Girl” deck will be included with any pledge of $50 or more.This deck will only be offered through this campaign, and will NOT be reprinted again. Each Cosplay Girl deck will be signed by the artist.

  • JUST ADDED!!!  Additional Cosplay decks can be added a la carte to any tier for $25 each.  (Limit of 2 extra Cosplay decks imposed by us, due to it's limited run.)

A limited number of uncut sheets of both decks -- the Cassyno deck and the Cosplay Girl deck -- will be available for collectors and fans at the $45 and $75 level, respectively.  Get BOTH uncut sheets at the $90 level!!

  • JUST ADDED!!!  Additional uncut sheets of either deck can be added a la carte to any tier for $22 each.  (Limit of 1 extra uncut sheet per design imposed by us, due to it's limited run.)

An exclusive Tshirt, featuring one of the original illustrations, and produced by We Love Fine, will be available at the $65 level.The final design will be defined by backer popular vote as the pieces are completed.

  • Additional shirts can be added a la carte to any tier for $20 each. (Limit of 5 extra tshirts imposed by Kickstarter -- please contact us of you would like more.)

A portfolio set of eight 11x17 cardstock poster prints selected by the artist from the complete set will be available at the $100 tier.  Each piece will feature the original character art digitally printed on sturdy cardstock and suitable for framing. 

  • Additional portfolios can be added a la carte to any tier for $30 each. (Limit of 5 extra Portfolio sets imposed by Kickstarter -- please contact us of you would like more.)

Signed copies of Bengal’s first two US Edition graphic novels, NAJA and MEKA, can be had at the $150 level.  Each hardcover book, published by Magnetic Press, is 8.5x11” and features the complete collection of each respective title.  Naja is 248 pages, while Meka is 96 pages.

  • JUST ADDED!!!  Signed copies of either book can be added a la carte to any tier -- MEKA for $30 each or NAJA for $40 each (plus extra shipping, +$6 US / +$18 Int'l for first book, +$4 US / +$12 Int'l each additional book).

For $225, you can OWN THE ORIGINAL LINE ART created to produce one of the portraits!  This one-of-a-kind, original artwork will be offered at a first-come, first-served basis.  With only 22 portraits in the initial plan, quantities are limited!

  • JUST ADDED!!!  Original art can be added a la carte to any tier for $150 each.  (Quantities limited to what pieces remain available.)

Bengal will illustrate a figure of your choice on a blank “sketch card” at the $300 level.

In summary, here's a chart of what is included with each support tier:

And to reiterate, you can add the following items to any tier "a la carte" by simply adding the appropriate amount to your pledge and letting us know via message what you are adding.  (Please note that there is no additional shipping to add one a la carte item, but adding 2 or more a la carte items may require additional postage, depending on weight and quantity of your full order.)

  • Additional CORE DECKS can be added a la carte for $12 each.
  • Additional COSPLAY DECKS can be added a la carte for $25 each.
  • Additional UNCUT SHEETS can be added a la carte for $22 each.
  • Additional TSHIRTS can be added a la carte for $20 each.
  • Additional PORTFOLIOS can be added a la carte for $30 each.
  • ORIGINAL ART can be added a la carte for $150 each.
  • SIGNED COPIES OF NAJA can be added a la carte for $40 each (plus additional S/H).
  • SIGNED COPIES OF MEKA can be added a la carte for $30 each (plus additional S/H).

While we are focused primarily on the original project as presented, we can now offer additional features to complement our initial goal:

  • $21,000 STRETCH GOAL REACHED!!!   We will enlarge the size of the World book from 5.5 x 8.5” to 6.625 x 10.25” (traditional comic book size), and it will come to you bagged and boarded. Please note that the World Book will feature a cardstock cover and 100# interior paper weight, regardless of size, so it will certainly be much higher quality and thickness than what you might imagine from a “standard floppy comic book”.
  • $25,000 STRETCH GOAL REACHED!!! Bengal will create new character illustrations for ALL 52 cards – not just the face cards included in the original goal, but all numbered cards as well. These characters will represent townsfolk and citizens within each kingdom, each with their own occupations and abilities that contribute to and modify many of the game rules included in the World Book.
  • If we reach $30,000, we will expand the World-Game book to 64 pages, with more fiction and two more card games.

And if we reach higher levels, we can offer things such as foil stamps on certain cards or the tuck box, customized dice, custom chips and challenge coins, and a custom Cassyno pouch to contain them all.  As we meet each target, we will announce new items.

Bengal is most well known in Europe for illustrating several popular BD (short for ‘bande desinee’, the French term for ‘comic book’), including MEKA, NAJA, and LUMINAE (each of which will be published in English for the first time this year by Magnetic Press). His unique style blends the dynamism of Japanese manga and anime with a digitally painted texture usually reserved for concept art and cover painting.

He also co-founded the popular French online artist community CFSL.net (also known as “Café Salé”), which has produced numerous workshops and art books featuring dozens upon dozens of professional artists and illustrators, giving forum to their work and work opportunities.

His current work and daily sketches can be seen at his tumblr page, Griselines.

Risks and challenges

The only risk -- and really the purpose of this Kickstarter campaign -- is funding. We need your help to allow Bengal the freedom to complete his vision for this world, specifically the final artwork. Production vendors for all materials have been identified and priced out, and game design is largely based on modifications of tried-and-true classic (public domain) card games re-purposed to be set within the fictional world of Cassyno.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • No, the logo is still being designed and refined! We agree, the distressing and ornamentation is a bit… excessive. While we may still stay within the calligraphic realm, we’ll certainly improve on the legibility.

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  • Not at all! We might even say “not even close”, although these are several different directions we are exploring. The mockups in the campaign show a variety of directions we are playing with. We do wish for each House to have a different feel and motif, but we would like for there to be a unifying consistency among all four suits. As we work on new designs, we will share them with backers along the way for feedback and ideas.

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  • Perhaps? Still playing with the layout. Bengal is focusing on the character art itself, with which we will get as creative as possible for the final card design.

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  • No, in fact that background image in the mockup is taken from Bengal’s original graphic novel LUMINAE. The cover will be an original design featuring new artwork.

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  • Our plan is to offer 4-6 different games that can be played with a standard deck of cards, tailored to fit within the fantasy world of Cassyno. Some of our favorite card games include discard games like Cuttle and Q2J, combat games like Duel and Unbreakable, group games like Four Sisters, and conquest games like Nobility and Shrine. Each of those benefit from assigning strengths, characteristics, or personalities to the different cards in a deck, so that sort are perfect for adaptation. As amateur game designers ourselves, we might even come up with something brand new to playtest! (Of course, if any backer out there has any suggestions, we’re open to ideas!)

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  • The plan is to include World/Kingdom history, setting the scenario for centuries worth of lore, followed by individual biographies for each of the characters in power featured in the deck. These biographies will feature the ‘clean’ artwork, without any of the special treatment applied in the card design. The contributing artwork by the friends mentioned in the campaign will further illustrate the world and backstory. And then, of course, there will be the rules for each of the games mentioned earlier.

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  • Nope -- we will narrow down new designs once Bengal has finished more artwork, and very likely present a few designs to the backer community to vote on their favorite. (And who knows, maybe if we're successful, we can offer more than one design to choose from!)

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  • Right now, the plan is softcover / cardstock, as that will work best for a 48pg book. We are considering comic-size (6.625" x 10.25"), so rather like a squarebound, prestige-format comic or trade paperback.

    If, however, we can exceed our target goal, we would LOVE to increase the page count and upgrade the cover with embossing, foil stamping, or even step it up to hardcover! Keep spreading the word and help us raise the bar as high as possible!

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  • Great question!
    The core deck offers a standard 52 card deck, plus two "normal" Jokers -- cards that are marked as Jokers, but aren't necessarily illustrated as original "Joker" characters.
    The "LE" Joker is a bonus character designed and illustrated by Bengal, that would replace one of the two 'normal' joker cards.

    (Note: there is a promotion running online right now through a certain website -- Bleeding Cool -- that can allow you to get the second replaceable character-joker! Go to www.bleedingcool.com and search for the article and it will tell you how to get this extra bonus! It's simple, really!)

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  • Short answer: to make that base tier most attractive. :)
    And to make the 2 decks + LE Joker + game book equally attractive.
    There was some carefully considered psychology involved in structuring our reward tiers...

    While we have yet to speculate what the final demand will be and what our final print run might entail, we do anticipate having at least a few decks left over that we can sell online for a retail price, which we would make available at $12, hence the "a la carte" price.

    If it helps, you can think of that extra $2 difference helping to offset the additional postage that extra deck or item might require.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    0 backers

    Thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    75 backers

    ONE DECK OF CARDS. Plus thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    26 backers

    LIMITED EDITION BONUS JOKER card, and one deck of cards. Plus thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    120 backers

    WORLD OF CASSYNO GAME BOOK featuring character biographics, world lore and history, and card games to play drawn from inside the world. Includes both printed and digital pdf version. Includes LE Joker, one deck of cards, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    57 backers

    BUNDLE OF TWO DECKS OF CARDS, plus the World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    25 backers All gone!

    LIMITED UNCUT SHEET OF CARDS. Includes TWO decks of cards, plus the World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    140 backers

    BONUS LIMITED EDITION "COSPLAY DECK" featuring 56 fantasy girls from Bengal's sketchbook. This limited edition deck will only be printed once and will be signed by the artist! Includes one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $65 or more

    10 backers

    LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT featuring one of the original character designs, plus one Limited Edition "Cosplay Deck", one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $80 or more

    9 backers Limited (16 left of 25)

    LIMITED UNCUT SHEET OF "GIRL DECK" CARDS. Also includes Tshirt, one Limited Edition "Cosplay Deck", one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $90 or more

    6 backers Limited (9 left of 15)

    NEW!!! UNCUT SHEETS FROM BOTH DECKS -- ONE MAIN DECK SHEET AND ONE COSPLAY DECK SHEET! Also includes Tshirt, one Limited Edition "Cosplay Deck", one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    6 backers

    LITHOGRAPH PORTFOLIO - 8 prints suitable for framing, one Tshirt, one Limited Edition "Cosplay Deck", one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    29 backers

    SIGNED COPIES OF NAJA AND MEKA GRAPHIC NOVELS, plus one Limited Edition "Cosplay Deck", one T-shirt, one Lithograph Portfolio, one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $225 or more

    2 backers Limited (20 left of 22)

    NEW!! ORIGINAL ART FOR ONE OF THE PORTRAITS! You will receive the original piece of artwork used to produce one of the cards (selection will be made on a first-request basis, once all portraits are complete). Also includes ONE signed copy of EITHER NAJA or MEKA graphic novel (you choose which), plus one Limited Edition "Cosplay Deck", one T-shirt, one Lithograph Portfolio, one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    ORIGINAL SKETCH CARD OF YOUR CHOICE, plus one T-shirt, one Lithograph Portfolio, one Limited Edition "Cosplay Deck", one main deck, World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    EVERYTHING!!! Includes TWO main decks, TWO cosplay decks, uncut sheets for both decks, an original sketch, signed copies of NAJA and MEKA, the Lithograph portfolio set, a T-Shirt, a World of Cassyno game book, one LE Joker, thanks on the preview site and behind the scenes material, backer-only updates, and digital wallpapers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)