Review: Snakes & Ladders by Mechanic Industries

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Review: Snakes & Ladders by Mechanic Industries

Postby EndersGame » Dec 9th, '22, 03:18

Snakes & Ladders Playing Cards

A unique deck of animated marked cards, with built-in card magic

I love decks with the novelty of flip-book animation. And no one does this better than Mechanic Industries. They have produced a growing range of terrific playing cards with animated decks. They've also found ways to combine this with card magic, and typically each of their releases comes with access to extensive free video tutorials, teaching fun magic routines that can be done with their creative playing cards and gaffs.

Snakes & Ladders Playing Cards is their latest release, and is billed as a re-imagining of the classic Snakes & Ladders game, "but in a Quantum Mechanics kinda way."


The board game inspiration behind this ingenius custom deck is immediately obvious from the tuck box, which features exactly what you'd expect: a snake and a ladder. The colour scheme of black, gold, and gray is our first introduction to the main colours we'll find on the playing cards. The tag line "Animatdna Playing Cards" is a clever play on the word "animated", and indicates something about the animations to be found within..

The back of the tuck box shows us the snaking ladder design that is the chief feature of the card backs. This is the effect created by animated card backs, when the deck is arranged with each suit from Ace through King: "Twinned serpents create a snaking ladder using our trademark 13 repeating back marking system. Riffle through the deck to activate the animation and give your spectators a truly magical moment... then hit them with the other hidden and surprise tricks."


The animations are very eye-catching in several ways. The first thing you'll notice is how twin yellow bands move up or down the card backs. But when looking more closely you'll notice other aspects that have been animated as well: a snake rotates in the center, between two snakes that also move in endless figure eight shapes. The top and bottom of the card backs also have lines that turn and move. It is very well designed, and will immediately attract interest from anyone that sees it.

You really need to see this for yourself by checking out the official promo video.


Won't that make it a marked deck? Well, yes it will, and that's one of the built-in aspects of the deck that you can use for card magic, since you can decode the information on the card backs to figure out the value and suit of any given card. The deck comes with a video tutorial for this that I'll cover in just a moment, but I'll mention already now that it teaches a gambling "demonstration" you can perform with the help of the marked backs.

While the card faces have a relatively standard look, making them well suited for card magic, the Snakes & Ladders theme is also very evident. It has been applied to all of the Aces, each of which is decorated with a snake or ladder, as is particularly evident with the showcase Ace of Spades.


Immediately noticeable is that the traditional red used for the hearts and diamonds has been switched and replaced with a vibrant gold, matching the colour seen first on the card backs. It's a stylish choice that works with the theme, without taking away from the deck's functionality.

The court cards also have some special touches. All the characters have been given gold serpent-like eyes, and each is holding a snake, while ladders appear on some of the cards as well.


The deck comes with two "Snake Reveal" Jokers, both of which feature a snake on a ladder.

One of these is curled up, and the art has been designed in such a way so that magicians can use it to reveal a forced 8 of Diamonds by means of a fun colour reveal, in combination with the animations.


A duplicate 4 of Clubs is also included for use in card tricks.

This is intended to be used especially in combination with the "Snakebite Gaff" that you can cut from the final bonus card that comes with the deck. The gaff is easily made, and depicts a serpent holding a torn corner from the 4 of Clubs. You can use this to create an unforgettable moment of magic as a snake shoots out of the deck, and steals the corner of the spectator's card.


All this is of course fully taught and explained in the accompany video tutorial. As we've come to expect from decks produced by Mechanic Industries, the ad card includes a link and password to instructional tutorial video on the Mechanic Industries website. In this case it is a full-length video that runs for 44 minutes. The video includes an explanation of the markings and how to use them to identify the cards, with a sample gambling demonstration routine performed and taught. There's also full teaching for tricks using the other gaffs, namely the Joker Reveal, and the Snake Pop Out.

Check out this official trailer video to get an idea of how these routines look, and to see some of the possibilities these offer.


Once again, Mechanic Industries have presented us with a full tool-kit that gives us everything we need in order to maximize the potential of this clever deck. It's not just a custom deck, although the animated backs alone should make it appeal to collectors. But in combination with the unique tricks that theSnakes & Ladders Playing Cards will enable magicians to perform, it's especially going to be shine in the hands of magicians who like the idea of impressing their audience with something unique and memorable.

Whether you're just a collector, or serious about performing card magic, you won't find much better value than what you get with Snakes & Ladders. And if you're not yet familiar with Mechanic Industries, this unique and attention-grabbing deck is a great place to start!


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Re: Review: Snakes & Ladders by Mechanic Industries

Postby Blaab » Mar 3rd, '23, 10:28

That is one very cool looking deck!

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