So I got lucky a couple weeks ago and scored this weird little thing off Ebay. US Games published it from 1982 until fairly recently–I want to say 2014?–but before then, it was published by Zolar’s publishing company.
The box has wear. I’ll probably tape it as I don’t buy stuff like this for an investment. I buy it because I like it. Getting it for what I did with the box and the LWB was definitely a score. The cards are in near mint condition and were probably never used. The colour change around the edges is likely due to age.
It’s an odd little deck. It’s 56 double sided cards. The Minor Arcana are on one side, and this includes the Knights of each suit. The Major Arcana are on the other side along with astrological cards to fill in the gaps. I’m not sure how to use the astrological cards as such. The Tarot part I can do in my sleep.
The colour scheme leaves a lot to be desired. It’s bold, it’s clean, but orange and mint green? Really? I think it was originally salmon pink, and it does appear pinkish orange when not in pictures, but 50+ years have changed things. Colour plates can change as they age and this may be the case here. I don’t know. I’d like to get my hands on a USG copy but they’ll cost me about $50 a pop. I could also do without the keywords printed on each card, but at the same time, it’s part of the deck’s charm. The side of the box says ‘Nothing to learn!’ Hell, where’s the fun in that?!?
The cardstock is on the thin side. I wouldn’t trust it. Then again, I’ve had really thin decks that I thought would crease or fall apart and they still hold up. Yes, Lo Scarabeo, I’m looking at you. Still, though, I wouldn’t subject these to a lot of use just because of their age.
The main thing that gets me, though, is the fact the cards are double-sided. The flip side of the Moon is the 8 of Pentacles/Diamonds. So the two can never appear in the same reading in this deck. That’s ridiculous. Any readings with this deck will lose a lot of nuance just because of this. Also, how is the user to tell which side is the front and which side is the back of each card? Usually decks will have uniform backs. Maybe this was an attempt to save cardstock, but it doesn’t work. Maybe the sitter is supposed to close their eyes when they shuffle? Uhh…sure, whatever.
I’m still glad I scored a copy for my collection, though. This is a deck that probably should not be revived. I can’t see where experienced readers could really use this well. It’d also just confuse the hell out of beginners. If people want keywords, they can try to scare up a copy of the Starter Tarot, which does have keywords on each card, or take a marker and write keywords on each card in their deck. It’s up to the user, basically. As for ME reading with this deck, it’s not going to happen unless someone specifically requests this. It’s an interesting novelty, though.