A deck of playing cards is wonderfully versatile, whether you’re alone or with friends. If you’re an avid user of playing cards, then it might be time to step away from the standard decks you’ve been using and go with something more pleasing to the eye.
Playing cards, on the whole, are fairly standardized, so there’s not much to worry about quality-wise. The only thing really worth mentioning is the material the cards are made out of. Your most common materials are paper and plastic. Paper can be the cheapest option, and also the lowest quality, but there are also paper decks that use thicker paper, which will stand the test of time. Plastic decks tend to last longer, but many don’t like the feel compared to paper, so that’s really just up to you. We’ll make a note for each deck stating what the cards are made out of.
So, with that covered, let’s look at some cool and unique playing cards.
Areaware Minim Playing Cards
If minimalism is your bread and butter, Areaware’s Minim deck does a great job of capturing that style. These cards were made to see how much of the classic playing card design you could take away while still being usable, this led to simple geometric symbols that replace the standard clubs, aces, hearts, and diamonds, and a simple diagonal line on the back of each card. While there’s not much here, that’s the whole point, and they’re striking because of it.
These cards are made out of PVC plastic and come in two variants: black or white.
MINIM Playing Cards, Black
For fans of the minimalist art style, this is the card deck to buy.
Stellar Factory Peak: Mountain Playing Cards
If you want cards with a bit more depth, the Peak deck is for you. Every card in this deck has a stylized depiction of a topographical map of a mountain in Colorado, with the name and elevation listed. Every mountain has an elevation of at least 14,000 feet, making this deck perfect for mountain or hiking enthusiasts. And, even if you don’t care about mountains, the cards look great regardless.
These cards are printed on high-quality casino-grade paper.
Peak: Mountain Playing Cards
Whether you love mountains, or just want a card deck with an interesting theme. This makes for a great deck.
theory11 Animal Kingdom Playing Cards
For animal lovers young and old, the Animal Kingdom deck should delight you with its hand-drawn depiction of animals in place of the king, queen, and jacks cards. While this is a simple change, it does make for a fun and charming deck.
These cards are all made out of sustainably obtained paper and vegetable-based inks.
This deck is sure to delight animal lovers young and old.
Ellusionist Killer Bees Playing Card Deck
Based on the real-life story of the creation of “Killer Bees,” this beautiful deck keeps its theme true through every card. From the hexagonal design on the back of cards to smaller touches like the king’s crown being made out of honeycomb and the queen holding a flower, these cards look great. They’re made out of high-quality linen-finished cardstock paper, and even support a good cause with a portion of each deck sold being donated to the International Union for Conversation of Nature (IUCN).
Ellusionist Killer Bees Playing Card Deck
A beautiful deck, with an interesting backstory.
Pipmen World Playing Cards
Novelty can be a great thing, and the Pipmen deck demonstrates that perfectly. Already, you have the fact that each card has completely unique art with the little stick figure-like Pipmen doing a bunch of random stuff like mining or skiing. But on top of that, all of the cards can be joined together into one massive image as demonstrated on its product page . Admittedly, you’ll likely only do this once if at all, but that doesn’t take away the charm.
On top of the great aesthetics, the Pipmen deck is also made out of high-quality cardstock, so they’re gonna last for a while.
Pipmen World Full Art Playing Cards – Incredible World First Puzzle Themed Cards, Standard Poker Card Size & Indices, Stand Out with The Coolest Deck of Cards Ever Made, Quality Second to None!
This deck rules at being fun and novel.
theory11 National Playing Cards
theory11If you prefer a classier style, plenty of decks try to capture that. We chose the National for not going overboard, as a lot of decks in this style tend to do. On the face of it, the design of the box and cards are all very simple, with subtle elegant patterns and golden highlights, making it look premium. The actual cards use a great mix of modern and medieval design elements and, just like the Animal Kingdom deck, are made out of sustainably obtained paper and vegetable-based inks.
National Playing Cards
If you want a deck that gives off a premium feel, the National does that great without going overboard.
GamblersWarehouse Bicycle Little Atlantis Playing Cards Day Edition
Bicycle is one of, if not the most iconic playing card manufacturer. And for good reason, it makes a lot of decks, ranging from cheap decks you’ll find at the dollar store, to higher-end stylized decks like Little Atlantis. Every card in this deck has a unique design based on sea creatures, and they all have an air-cushion finish to make them smooth to the touch. There are even steps taken to tell a little story with the cards, with each suit representing a different undersea kingdom.
Unfortunately, the material the cards are made out of are not listed. But they are likely made out of the same high-quality cardstock paper Bicycle uses in most of its decks. There is also a night version available that uses black backgrounds on the cards.
GamblersWarehouse Bicycle Little Atlantis Day Playing Cards Deck Day Edition
A colorful deck with a strong theme.
The History of Space Travel Playing Cards
This actually comes with two decks of cards, each covering a different side of space travel. The blue deck focuses on the various generations of astronauts, and the orange focuses on the various satellites used throughout the years. Both decks use the same pleasing art style and are great to peruse through for any space buffs.
The cards are made of cardstock and come in a nice and sturdy foldout box that would look great on a shelf or coffee table. There’s also an included booklet that teaches you various card games if you’re new to them.
The History of Space Travel Playing Cards: Two Decks of Cards and Game Rules Booklet with Space Trivia (Pop Chart Lab)
These decks are sure to bring out the space fan in anyone.
theory11 Star Wars Playing Cards
There has always been a huge selection of licensed playing cards, but theory11’s Star Wars decks stand above most for the intricate box design that fans are sure to find a few easter eggs in, and by having unique art for the cards. You’ll see your favorite Star Wars characters from all three trilogies faithfully represented, and there’s even a dark side version available if you prefer. (Note: both decks feature the same cards, only the boxes are different.)
And to make sure they last a long time, theory11 made them out of high-quality sustainably obtained cardstock.
theory11 Star Wars Playing Cards - Light Side (Blue)
A great deck for any Star Wars fan.
Ellusionist Jurassic Park Playing Cards
Another licensed deck that hits it out of the park is Ellustionist’s Jurassic Park Playing Cards. The outside box is great, designed to look like it was torn apart by a raptor. And, the cards feature great stylized depictions of dinosaur bones, all looking worn-down like they were just dug up. This deck will delight both hardcore and casual fans of the films, or dinosaurs in general.
The cards are made out of high-quality cardstock as well.
Ellusionist Jurassic Park Playing Card Deck - Officially Licensed Movie Playing Cards
Ellusionist knocked it out of park when it comes to capturing the charm of Jurassic Park in this deck.