H.P. Lovecraft has been one of my favorite authors since I first read At the Mountains of Madness, so when I ran across the Albino Dragon booth at RTX last weekend and saw their newly released playing card set, I instantly bought myself a pack. I’ve always loved playing card designs, because they merge illustration and graphic design in such a fascinating way. These cards in particular are pretty awesome, especially if you’re a Lovecraftian.
Fans of the master of horror will recognize many of the abominations illustrated here (Nyarlathotep, the Shoggoth, and Cthulhu himself to name a few), although that certainly isn’t the only draw. The illustrations themselves are spine-chillingly beautiful, and I have to say they’re some of the better playing cards that I’ve ever seen.
Even if you’re not a Lovecraft fan, you can enjoy the art and design of this deck. The creatures are painstakingly rendered, and even the tiniest of elements have been customized to reflect the theme. Oddly enough, some of my favorite cards are the Aces. They use the most minimal imagery, but I love the simplicity of them, especially the subtle corner illustrations. Albino Dragon works with several artists to provide their illustrations, so when I find out any names I’ll be sure to update this post.
Albino Dragon also produces several other niche sets of playing cards, including a cyberpunk theme and a Princess Bride theme, so if that’s the sort of thing that interests you then you should definitely check those out. Their store also sells tabletop games, prints, custom dice, and all kinds of other nerdy goodies.
Here’s a sample of the illustrations found in this devious deck: