I backed the Cult Movie Cards campaign on Kickstarter back in 2014 and, some time later, came across Sins by Thirdway Industries; seeing the amazing decks available opened my eyes to the world of custom playing cards and set me down the path of discovery and collecting. I found plenty of like-minded people on United Cardists and Reddit who make this
addiction hobby even more fun and engaging.
After several years of buying, trading and selling decks of cards and related items, I have owned almost every deck I've searched for at some point; some I have sold on to others collectors but most I have kept. Nowadays, I find myself being quite picky when backing Kickstarter projects or trading with other collectors.
My favourite decks by Giovanni of Thirdway Industries include the Omnia and Sins series, especially Omnia Suprema and Sins Anima, and the Pantheon and Eva decks. I would consider Giovanni as my favourite designer; every deck and series he creates has a rich backstory that Gio adds to his Kickstarter campaigns as they run their course.
Lorenzo of Stockholm17 is another designer who creates fantastic decks of cards; favourites of his include the Ravn series, the No. 17 series (I fell in love with the Le Chat Rouge edition the moment I saw it), and the almost universally loved House of the Rising Spade.
House of the Rising Spade: Room 17
I consider the Room 17 variant of the House of the Rising Spade series to be my "if I had to choose" favourite deck; not only are the cards themselves beautiful and worthy of being hung on the wall (I have the uncut sheet waiting to be framed) but the tuck box is a work of genius, embossed with a newly created version of the alphabet and telling a story.
When the deck was released, Lorenzo also set a quest: decipher the alphabet and transcribe the story on the tuck box, and use the information to unlock Room 17, a password-protected page on his site. Those who purchased the deck received a print version of the tuck box (PDF, 1.2MB) containing a clue and starter to deciphering the alphabet, plus a smaller puzzle, the answer to which gave you access to the antechamber to Room 17.
A fellow collector and I had tremendous fun working on the alphabet and transcribing the story but we unfortunately stumbled on the first puzzle and therefore didn't get to claim any of the prizes. You can download our deciphered alphabet (PDF, 146KB) and (SPOILER!) tuck box transcript (PDF, 40KB).