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Rorrison's Sinners Deck Review

Official Review

June 29th, 2015 9:18pm
Reviewed by Tracy Atteberry
For the impatient, this deck begins with a good design idea, executes some great design elements, but has enough flaws that I'll probably not use this deck with friends or for public performances.

The Sinners deck is produced by Enigma LTD, designed by Alan Rorrison and has a light back design with white border and a touch of Masonic imagery.

The box: The box design has a simple matte white finish with black lettering. For a deck called "Sinners" the spare black and white box design works well. The back of the box replicates the card back design which is fairly typical. The front of the box predictably replicates the ace of spades design. I like it when the box tuck and side flaps have a little something extra. Here the tuck flap says "Every saint needs a sinner". One side flap has the pip for the six of diamonds and the other shows the Masonic square and compass. Points for that.

Inside the box: There are 56 cards inside the box, the standard deck of 52, two jokers, a light/dark double backer, and a blank faced card. The ace of spades, the jokers, and the four kings have a special design while the rest of the deck is the standard USPCC design stock. The cards themselves handle exactly like you would expect of a deck from USPCC -- nicely.

The two jokers are identical, showing an apple with a bite out of it, the word "Sinner" in the pip locations, and beneath the apple the text "Original Sin, So Mote It Be". All in all, a nicely designed joker.

The ace of spades is labelled "Sinners" at the top and a large spade pip design filled with a Masonic eye with filigree filler.

The four kings in this deck are also special in that their faces are not standard. A bit of internet research (so it must be true) suggests that the faces belong to Alan Rorrison (king of spades), Geraint Clarke (king of clubs), Lloyd Barnes (king of hearts), and Owain B-Miles (king of diamonds). This will likely be of interest and attraction to some collectors and general fans of the deck's producers. On the other hand, as someone who tends to use card decks for close-up performance I find it somewhat detrimental. When a spectator notices this, what do I say? What story do I tell? This is an additional caveat I'm not usually looking for in a deck used for performance. Again, if your reasons for getting the deck are not close-up performance then this may not matter to you.

Finally, the back design echoes the Masonic eye design and uses filigree to edge out a border. There are also light pencil-gray sketching marks used in the background, presumably for texture. Given the clean design elsewhere, the back design definitely leaves me wanting more, or maybe less.

A quibble: The publisher's description states both that these decks "bring a touch of the Masonic" and that "the deck is full of Masonic symbolism and imagery". I feel that they should have stuck with the first line. I'm not convinced that an all seeing eye on the card back and a square and compass symbol hidden on the box flap justify the second, broader statement.

As suggested at the beginning, I like the initial design idea behind this deck and several of the executed design elements. For me, however, there were enough downsides that I'm not likely to use it as a close-up performer. As a collector, however, I'll definitely squirrel it away and bring it out to expose curious party guests to my curious hobby.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Rorrison's Sinners Deck

Author: US Playing Card Co
Publisher: Enigma LTD
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $11.50
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Manufacturer's Description:

Rorrison's Sinners bring a touch of the Masonic to the playing card world.

From start to finish it took us over a year to get this deck to the finished result, the deck is full of Masonic symbolism and imagery, which culminates in a truly stunning deck.

The deck strays away from conventional playing card design with a unique colours and back design. The tuck box is a soft matte finish and sports black embossed lettering giving the feeling of real luxury.

Sinners were printed by The United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) in Erlanger, Kentucky as they consistently deliver well made and quality decks.

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