Third Millennium Playing Card Design

© 2001–present James H. Vipond

Here, in brief, are my principles for modernizing American playing cards, similar to the M Pack by Zzota Ltd. I have created decks for Mike’s Cards, a solitaire card game package for macOS and Windows, but the principles should apply to other game programs that allow custom decks, like Wiz Solitaire, PySolFC and those that support REKO/RKP decks.
  1. Keep the four French suits (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs), but make each suit a different color. Harold Lohner has created a Card Characters font, based on the corner indexes on Bicycle® playing cards.
  2. Since so few modern nations have hereditary sovereigns, the court cards, or têtes, should be replaced with family members. My preferred rank order is 0 (has a large circle and is usable as a joker), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, daughter (replaces the 10), son (replaces jack), mother (replaces queen), father (replaces king). An alternative rank order might be 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, princess (to replace the 10), jack, queen, king; this would especially be suitable for blind bridge players, as the Braille symbols for letters A through I double as figures 1 through 9.
  3. Portraits should be single-ended, but for those who insist on double-ended cards, each card may have two identical full figures, each rotated 180 degrees with respect to the other. The portraits on the têtes are not intended to depict specific real people, nor should they be considered standard.
  4. I am considering different deck styles to be used with different games in Mike’s Cards:
The zero of each suit, rather than the one of spades, would carry the identity of the cardmaker. Zeros may be used either as traditional jokers or as wild only in their respective suits.
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