NOUVEAU Playing Cards. United Cardists 2016 deck. The beginning of a happy end

The followers of Max Playing Cards know this deck very well. I have already spoken several times about NOUVEAU Playing Cards and I even used it as an example of the unpredictability of crowdfunding in Kickstarter where decks that deserve to be printed, are not able to get it.

The end of the story of this deck is a happy ending. It was for me a real satisfaction to know that NOUVEAU will become the deck of the year of our friend forum United Cardists. After Grotesque (2014) and Delirium (2015), Mike Ratledge will produce Nouveau as the United Cardists symbol for the next year.




I didn’t want to miss it so, as I am proud to have a fantastic relationship with both,  I quickly talked to Mike and to the artist, Karin Yan (Bona Fide Playing Cards). This is what they told me.


  • Max Playing Cards – Hello Karin, hello Mike, thank you very much for sharing your time with Max Playing Cards’ friends to talk about this new deck.
  • Karin Yan (Bona Fide) – Thank you for your dedication and support along the way. I have many hopes set on this new approach to our NOUVEAU deck with the collaboration of United Cardists :). Let’s see how it turns out this time around.
  • Max – First of all, tell me a little bit about yourself, your experience as a designer and the work you’ve done.
  • Bona Fide – There’s not much to explain about my experience as a designer because I don’t have any whatsoever. I work for an insurance company and I’m a law student; drawing and design is just a hobby for the few free moments I get. I’d like to say I have some kind of artistic qualification but I haven’t been presented with the opportunity yet so this deck’s design is just the result of the enthusiasm and passion for art (though I have to admit that it can be lacking when it comes to a strong artistic foundation). In spite of that, we’ve proved (and will keep doing so) our will to get an optimal result so I’m taking all comments, suggestions and constructive criticism we get as a chance to learn and improve,
  • Max  – Who are Bona Fide? And who is behind the creation of this deck?
  • Bona Fide – Bona fide Playing Cards is made up by my siblings and me. The idea of making a custom deck was theirs, just like the meaning behind our design and the use of Art Nouveau. The final push for creating this deck was the fact we always enjoyed playing cards; NOUVEAU is the result of the combination of these ideas and my designs.
  • Max – You did endless efforts to fund Nouveau. I think it is one of the clearest cases of the unpredictability of crowdfunding projects. Many members of the card community agreed that Nouveau should have been funded from the beggining. Have you found an explanation for this?
  • Bona Fide – As this is our first deck we can’t really compare with a previous experience and tell what led to the failure of our campaigns. I don’t think that the design was the reason behind it; of course we know that many people won’t find it appealing but I still don’t think that it’s the main cause. Our guess is the poor mismanagement and marketing of the campaign, though we can’t tell for sure. In spite of that and in my opinion, we probably didn’t choose the best theme for a first deck, taking into account that this style doesn’t have a very big fanbase.
  • Max – Which are the main changes from the original deck to the new one?
  • Bona Fide –  I’m still working and putting the finishing touches on the design with the help of fellow designers and a few collectors; so far I can say that the main changes are the back and tuck, which were redesigned taking into account all the feedback and suggestions we got till this day. The new design works better for an Art Nouveau theme and it includes details showing our collaboration with United Cardists. Another important change are the jokers; I completely redesigned them, ditching the jesters that inspired our original jokers and using Pierrot and Harlequin instead (these clowns were very popular in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries). Regarding the remaining cards, so far there aren’t any major changes though I’m still putting the finishing touches just like I mentioned above.
  • Max – Do you have other projects in mind now when Nouveau is finally going to be a reality?
  • Bona Fide – Even if our experience wasn’t good so far (sometimes becoming kind of discouraging), I have to admit that we started this journey with the idea of NOUVEAU being just the first of many custom playing cards designed by Bona fide Playing Cards. We have several ideas for future decks but right now our priority is funding and producing NOUVEAU as the UC2016 deck; if we succeed, we’ll start working on a new deck right away.
  • Max – Mike, how did you decide to release Nouveau as the UC deck of the year 2016?
  • Mike Ratledge (United Cardists) – Several people asked about whether UC might be able to make Nouveau a reality, and after talking to Karin, I decided that she would be our first female artist for the UC annual deck series.
  • Max – How will you release the deck? Crowdfunding?
  • UC – It will he crowdfunded on Kickstarter, exact timing not yet decided.
  • Max – Can you tell me anything about the printer, print run, editions, …?
  • UC – The Expert PCC or Legends PCC will print the deck, and other than the standard green edition, depending on the funding, we might be able to offer the red edition as well. There is talk about making a collector’s Ultra Limited Edition of about 40-50 decks, but until we have funded for about ten days we will not be able to decide if we will offer it. . Of course, all of this depends on Karin, as well.
  • Max – Thank you for everything. I wish, as I have always done, the best of luck with this project and you know Max Playing Cards will be always at your disposal.
  • Bona Fide – Thank you Max, as well as all those that showed their support since the beginning of this journey :). We hope that this time we’ll make it and succeed in producing a worthy UC2016 deck.




I will be aware to tell about the project as soon as it is launched. A group of people in United Cardists is working with the designer to make this deck a real smash hit. I’ll keep you informed.

By the way, if you do not know United Cardists, it is because you are not in this world (of playing cards). Take advantage and join this group of crazy people.

See you soon!