by KC Tobey
Have you ever thought of playing chess with your playing cards? This gorgeous custom deck doubles as a chess set.
About this project
Two of the Oldest Games in History
Few people realize, but a deck of playing cards is actually an excellent portable chess set. It has just the right number of cards.
I’ve created this deck with that purpose in mind. It is not just a deck of cards that can be conveniently used as a functioning chess set, but a deck of cards that creates a gorgeous, unique chess set.
The classic chess piece has a very simple, elegant design. The classic playing card has rich and intricate art. In creating this deck I tried to marry those aesthetics to create simple, yet visually rich designs.
How it Works
Two Deck Setup
- First you create the 8×8 ‘board’ by laying out the cards, back side up, at intervals. Eight rows, four to each row, as shown below. This should take 32 cards.
- Next you lay out your ‘pieces’ on the board you’ve created. With two decks you can have a unified set (from the same suit). For example: there is only one Ace of Spades (Rook) in each deck, but taking one from each deck you can have two matching Rooks.
- You’re ready to play!
One Deck Setup
- Create the middle of ‘board’ by laying out the cards, back side up, at intervals. Four rows, four to each row, as shown below. This should take 16 cards.
- Next, you lay out your ‘pieces’ on either side of the cards you’ve just laid out. You will use combine the Hearts and Diamonds to make a complete set and the Clubs and Spades to make a full set (organized however you want).
- You’re ready to play!
The Four Suits
These cards have been designed to be presented in a chess formation. Each suit is aesthetically and thematically unique so that any of the four suits can be played against the other.
The color and shape language of the art is based on the suit, while all other design elements are based on chess pieces and the way a chess board looks.
Give one, Get one
The future is an exciting place for strategists and problem solvers. Chess has an amazing potential to foster the type of critical thinking and confidence that our youth will need to make great things happen. For every deck of Chess Playing Cards sent to you, one will be donated to local youth groups (after-school, development and chess clubs).
The cards will be printed by The United States Playing Card Company on traditional stock and embossed with an Air Cushion finish.
Each Chess Playing Card Deck will contain 52 cards, 2 Jokers, a blank card, and an edition card.
Risks and challenges
I’ve been refining this custom deck for months, teasing out all the design details. I feel it is finally at a point where we can proudly present it to the public. Fortunately, I have spent months vetting manufacturers and outlining the production logistics so that ‘Chess Playing Cards’ will reach the donor as scheduled; however, there can often be hitches with manufacturing, so we’ve left a little cushion and hope to have the decks to backers sooner. We have been thorough in establishing relationships with the manufacturers and working out the kinks ahead of time to ensure a steady roll out.
The manufacturer is ready, the cards are ready, and we are ready. Help us bring this to life!