The Medieval Tarot by Card-Shark

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The Medieval Tarot by Card-Shark

Postby Replicant » May 23rd, '09, 22:52



The Medieval Tarot
by Christian "Card-Shark" Schenk

Image

The Effect
Just imagine! A Tarot deck that brings the past to life. Matching the look of the Gypsy Deck, the images were taken from the "Mittelalter Tarot" by Lo Scarabeo, Italy. The Tarot size of 60 x 110 mm can be handled very well and let you perform all your favourite moves (palming, DL, several counts).

The cards seem to have seen many years pass by as they look old and worn. But in fact they are absolutely new and printed on the best playing card stock available (3-layer paper, linen structure, high flexibility, the same that you know from your favourite Bicycle deck).

The backs are marked in a very subtle way so that - if you like - you can easily find out which card is selected. Only those in the know will notice the secret. All the above features make this deck perfect for magicians.

Increase the possibilities with this deck by adding the cards of the extension set.


Cost
£25 + £3 postage and packing

I purchased mine from The Card Collection but it is also available directly from Card-Shark for €27.50/US$29.50/about £24, plus postage and packing.

Difficulty
(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

Not applicable. Depends what you do with them.

Review
Included in the box:
:arrow: A full 78-card, marked tarot deck
:arrow: Advertisement card
:arrow: 22-page "little white book" (LWB) in English and German
:arrow: Small leaflet explaining the marking system

Click here to see a PDF file with images of every card in the deck.

The Medieval Tarot deck is a very nice deck indeed. The quality is high and the cards have a "linen structure" feel to them, which remind me a little of Waddington's playing cards. The cards are smaller than your average tarot deck, being just 6x11cm in size; this is great if, like me, you don't have huge hands. They feel nice and are easy to handle and shuffle but bear in mind that the deck does not handle or spread quite as well as a USPCC deck (Bicycle, Tally-Ho, etc.) This is not an issue, however, as I have no intention of handling them like a magician with a deck of Bikes.

Each card features beautiful artwork taken from Lo Scarabeo's Mittelalter tarot deck. The Majors are very nicely illustrated with the main primary colours in muted tones; not garish at all. Christian has re-designed the card faces and they look fabulously atmospheric; the border of the illustration fades into the background giving it a nice, er...faded look, and helps to give the impression that the card is a lot older and worn than it looks. The cards have English and German titles. Personally, I would have preferred Latin instead of German, but that's just me. The borders (both front and back) are a faded light brown colour, which is a nice touch. The red back design is very nice indeed.

Image Image

The good thing about the Medieval Tarot deck is that Christian has also produced various gaffed cards and forcing decks that can be purchased from his website. This is very useful for those of us who perform bizarre-style magic that incorporates tarot cards and opens up the possibilities in terms of what can be achieved. A very useful addition that I will no doubt be taking advantage of in the not-too-distant future.

The marking system
Christian states that the marking system is "virtually unnoticeable" and he ain't wrong! I must confess that it took me a good while to get used to reading the backs as the markings are so very subtle. Seriously, anyone who has less than perfect eyesight is going to have trouble with these markings; sometimes it can take me a good five seconds to read a card and I make the odd mistake on occasion. I'm sure I will improve with time. Given the elaborate nature of the back design, I can't help thinking that a different method for marking the cards would have been preferable; I think that the back design lends itself perfectly to Ted Lesley's marking system. Having said all that, I still like the marking system on the Medieval Tarot deck; but just be prepared to take your time learning the system and getting used to it, especially in the early days.

The LWB contains a short history of the deck, a couple of lines which give the meaning for each card and a very nice seven-card spread that will come in very handy for any palm readers out there. ;)

Overall
This is easily the best tarot deck I own. Even though it hasn't been hand-aged, I still love the look and feel of the deck. I don't know how it compares to other marked tarot decks on the market (notably Outlaw's Carnie Tarot and the Black Hart's Telltale Tarot, which are both Majors-only decks) but Christian has done a great job with this and the only reason it doesn't score a perfect ten is because I found the markings to be difficult to read sometimes, especially in dim light. Apart from that relatively minor quibble, the Medieval Tarot is very highly recommended if you're in the market for a marked, 78-card tarot deck. Go get it.

Score: 9/10
Image

Last edited by Replicant on May 24th, '09, 11:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Wishmaster » May 23rd, '09, 23:19

Thanks Replicant.

I have a small, but growing collection of standard Tarot decks and this one is nice enough to add to the old wish list. :)

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Postby Replicant » May 23rd, '09, 23:38

I forgot to mention that you need to be familiar with the numerical position of the Major Arcana, which is easily memorised if you don't already know it.

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Postby dat8962 » May 24th, '09, 09:10

Nice review Replicant

Member of the Magic Circle & The 2009 British Isles Close-Up Magician of the Year
It's not really an optical illusion - it just looks like one!
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Postby gunnarkr » May 24th, '09, 16:33

Great review, Rep.

In my opinion, everything that comes from Christian "Card-Shark" Schenk is of superb quality and well made.

He also has a A Tamariz-Stack Trainer (under Free Bonus) for those interested in memorized, stacked, numbered deck.

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Postby Reverend Tristan » May 24th, '09, 18:57

I looked at these a while back but picked up the playing cards that they do instead, I must say I don't like them they look too new. Which was why I didn't buy the tarot deck. I know I'm going to have to get to work on them with some wirewool and tea already tried it with the jokes card and looks 100 times better.

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Postby pcwells » May 24th, '09, 19:06

I have these, but have yet to sit down and work on the marking system. My first attempts to decypher it made me feel very dim indeed...

Otherwise, I agree that they're lovely cards.

Pete

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Postby magicbyfish » May 25th, '09, 10:47

there is also a wild card set that goes with that deck , allowing you to do a seemingly impromptu wildacrd routine with a few of the better known cards

alex

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Postby Replicant » May 26th, '09, 15:34

pcwells wrote:I have these, but have yet to sit down and work on the marking system. My first attempts to decypher it made me feel very dim indeed...


I know exactly what you mean. Even with the instructions, I was thoroughly confused at the beginning and didn't know what I was looking for. Even the riffle test proved fruitless! Image

But it does get much easier as I have discovered. The marking system is definitely growing on me; very subtle indeed, even when you've figured out the system and know where to look. The participant or querent doesn't stand a chance of spotting these markings.

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Postby EckoZero » May 27th, '09, 23:46

Curses.

I was just saying to the missus I want a new Tarot deck.

Replicant, stop writing bloody brilliant reviews.
You just make me part with my cash!

You wont find much better anywhere and it's nothing - a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism

Tony Corinda
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Postby Replicant » May 28th, '09, 00:03

You're welcome. Image

I've just ordered another very nice tarot deck (not marked) from France. The Jean Noblet tarot. Ecko, if you're still undecided, check out the Noblet at Tarot History. Splendid.

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Postby EckoZero » May 28th, '09, 00:15

It's got to be these.
I've wanted to do something with a marked tarot deck and a pendulum for a long time :twisted:

You wont find much better anywhere and it's nothing - a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism

Tony Corinda
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Postby feifei » May 30th, '09, 13:55

Thanks for the great review. I love the looks of the cards, just ordered one :)

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Postby FRK » Dec 26th, '10, 23:46

Is this set better then the market Tarot set from Black Hart ?
I had this set and sold it thinking I would never get around to working with it, wish I had kept it now of course....(Black Hart one)..

Also been looking in to easy to understand Tarot system and again Black Harts name keeps coming up...

What you guys think ??

Thanks

FRK

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Postby philipksmith » Dec 27th, '10, 09:03

I do agree, this is a wonderful deck. I bought mine at Blackpool last year and (guess what) it's still on the shelf!

Can anyone recommend any good books containing tarot effects?

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