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BASTILLE Playing Cards

A High Quality deck of cards customized in France and Manufacturize in the USA

About the project

BASTILLE is a high-end deck of playing cards 100% customized, designed in France and made in the USA, with the theme of the History of Playing Cards from the fifteenth century to the present, discover on this page the depth of this concept and help us to realize this project!

BASTILLE is a playing cards deck that will be published in 2500 copies and will not be reprinted thereafter. It will become a collector's item. 

Why this Bastille playing cards deck? 

In France there wasn't to our knowledge a deck of cards fully customized high-end cards designed for magicians, collectors or players on the theme of the History of playing cards themselves. The Bastille package brings together all its qualities. In short, a concept and a design 100% made in France and an American quality manufacturing (United State Playing Card Company) We have designed a fully customized playing cards deck (Back, Faces and tuck) on the theme of the History of playing cards from the fifteenth century to the present day, illustrated by symbols or characters specific to the region of Dauphiné and Grenoble (South East of France in the French Alps) but known at the national or international plan. The aspect "handmade" is very apparent on many details of the design of cards to symbolize cards made hands one by one in the Middle Ages by our elders.

The name : "BASTILLE" 

The word "Bastille", which has the advantage of being known worldwide, refers to the French Revolution that began in the Grenoble's land(South East of France). For the city of Grenoble, the Bastille is also the fort built by the famous french war architect Vauban, this fort overlooking the city. 

The format : Poker. This is the size of the cards most used by magicians, so it seemed logical to adopt it. 

The manufacturer : US Playing Card Company (which manufactures including Bicycle, Tally Ho, Bee etc ...). We chose this manufacturer because it was the only one to offer us the famous "Air Cushion Finish" which made its reputation by its quality throughout the world. 

The creators and designers: Robin Champ to the drawings and the creation of the Bastille game concept (co-creator of the Card Magic learning site: and Jonathan Courat to the computer layout (professional graphic designer) . We also had the help of the painter and sculptor Przemyslawa Karolak who corrected some drawings during the graphic design of the deck and helped us to combine the colors by family and by seasons. 

Release date: March 2018

The Back of the cards:

Objective of the back of the cards: to gather the maximum of regional symbols while preserving a graphic style of card back old, neat, classic and esoteric.

The details of the back: You will find a lot of different symbols of our region: The 3 roses symbols of Grenoble in the center. The  Genepi's bottles which is an alcool made with a flower from the Alps. The gentian flowers. Fir branches. The cross of Saint Bruno who use to live in the Chartreuse Mountains. The peaks of the Alps. The Ibex of the Alps. The Grenoble's Dolphin. The helmet and sword from the Bayard Knight. Moons and stars referring to starry nights in the mountains. Black grouse from the Alps. The text in Latin language that means: Cards stay as the world turns.

The faces of the cards:

The Cards History is the heart of our project, each person taking control of our deck of cards goes beyond the classic experience of a card game. Each card tells the story of a character known in our region, a time, a season. The cards deck have a rather enigmatic origin, we simply know in the Middle Ages that they came from the East with rules common to the manufacture:

- 12 figures for the 12 months of the year.

- 4 families of cards for 4 seasons.

In the city of Lyon in the 15th century when the printing press began it becomes a wonderful tool of mass culture. The Lyon Citizen had the brilliant idea to retain only two colors easily printable for the 4 families composing a card game: red and black. Indeed at the time the card games were handmade and drawn card by card, which made them quite rare and expensive. They also created 4 symbols (or points) representing the 4 families of a cards deck, illustrating the societal structure of this period:

- The Spade for the Nobility. -

- The Heart for the Clergy.

- The Diamond for the Bourgeoisie.

- The Club for the Peasants.

To cultivate the authenticity of this story and the origin of this concept we chose to keep the French symbols (or points) as they were printed in the nineteenth century, and not the American symbols which become a world standards with a charm less.

12 figures for the 12 months of the year: To illustrate these remarks we have chosen to use the 12 months of the year of the French revolutionary calendar (French Revolution which has its roots in Grenoble).

4 Families for 4 Seasons:

We also find in the center of each cards figures a symbol of the season they represent:

The snowflake for the winter, the flower for the spring, the sun for the summer and finally the spinning dead leaves in a whirlwind of air for the autumn. We also decided to associate the Spade the Heart the Diamond and Club with the 4 seasons of the year:

The Spade for winter symbolizing the coldness of the nobility.

The Diamond for Spring because this season is the symbol of the abundance, the opulence proper to the Bourgeoisie.

The Heart for Autumn because it is the season where everything dies and which best evokes death and belief in the past and therefore the Clergy.

Club for the summer season wheat fruit of the work in the fields and therefore Peasants.

The chosen characters:

-For the Nobility (the Spades):

The King: Pierre Terail de Bayard (known as Knight Bayard) "the knight without fear and without reproach".

The Queen: Mathilde d'Albon Duchess of Dauphine.

The Jack: The Duke of Lesdiguières (known as the fox of the Alps).

-For the Bourgeoisie (Diamond):

The King: Antoine Barnave (initiator of the day of the Tuileries in Grenoble)

The Queen: Woman of the bourgeoisie gloved middle age referring to the glove industry of Grenoble and its region in the nineteenth century.

The Jack: Stendhal (world famous Grenoble writer and author).

-For the Clergy (the Heart):

The King: Saint Bruno founder of the monastery of the Chartreuse monks (in the municipality of Saint Pierre de Chartreuse in the Chartreuse mountains)

The Queen: Louise de Ponsonnas founder in Grenoble of the Sainte Cécile monastery.

The Jack: A Chartreuse monk holding the recipe for the delicious Chartreuse liquor known all over the world and produced in Voiron en Isère.

-For the Peasants (the Club):

The King: Louis Mandrin, specialist in tobacco traffic, counterfeiter and highwayman in the Dauphiné refusing to pay the taxes he ends up quartered on a wheel in the city of Valence.

The Queen: The Melusine Fairy of the Sassenage Caves in Dauphiné. It was the symbol of popular belief, it is said to appear as a siren in the caves's water of the caves and that she cast spells to the unfortunate who saw it.

The Jack: Crixus the Alobroge, the oldest reference of this deck of cards, he was the right arm of Spartacus during the slaves revolt under the Roman Empire. He is out of the period covered by the game but he is too important for our region not to appear in this cards deck.

All these characters and their biography are detailed on the website of our club.

The Aces of this Deck of cards:

Aces were all worked in large format, and composed of elements symbolizing each of the four seasons.

-As of Spades: representing the Winter season with a snow-covered mountain peak (the game has its roots in the Alps), a devil evoking the engraving of the Renaissance spits out a torrent of icy water as one often finds in mountain. The water of the torrent pours on a parchment banner on which is written: The Nobility in french. Two Hermines (animals living in the Alps) lend their curves to the Ace of spades, they are the symbol of the nobility in France.

-Ace of Diamond: representing the Spring season by a swallow seen from below in full flight and a butterfly seen from the front. Their contours form a rhombus like a tile. Small lily of the valley flowers fill the void between the two animals. This time the parchment bandage crosses the Ace and you can read: The Bourgeoisie.

-As of Heart: representing Autumn Season by pumpkins and phalloid amanitae. On the parchment banner it is written: The Clergy.

- The As of Club: representing the Summer season by ears of wheat moons smiling and pouting (because in summer the moon is often very visible and peasants of the Middle Age thought it affected the crops) and as the sun as on the engravings of the rebirth. The parchment banner indicates the family: The Peasants (in French).

The Tuck:

Gathering the maximum of regional symbols while maintaining a graphic style of old cards back, neat, classic and esoteric, this was our goal when creating this package.

The deck of cards is often the element that attracts first, the eye of the collector. That's why we chose to give it a graphic atypical and classic at a time, illustrating the name of the deck of cards with the Bastille fort hidden among the details of the package. It contains the ancient names given to the city of Grenoble from Antiquity (Gratianopolis) in the Middle Ages (Cularo) capital of the French Alps, recalling our identity and the love we bring to our mountains.

The small flashes on the sides of the Bastille Fort symbolizes the "Houille Blanche" developed in Grenoble in 1878 and which allowed to transform the hydroelectric energy into electricity.

The Chartreuse Card Club appears on the wall of the fort to show the origins of our project. The Saint Bruno's cross, as well as the bees of the capital of the Alps, queens of our mountains complete the graphics. On the main tongue of the package we find stylized mountains symbolizing the Alps, overlaid with moon phases reminiscent of time passing.

On the small tabs we can see the wink done to the designer (R for Robin Champ or King of Clubs ("Roi" in France) and the graphic designer (J for Jonathan Courat or Jack of Spade) who helped to design this cards deck. The chosen colors are black and white symbols of the night and the day and therefore the time that passes.

The Joker:

The Joker being always a card apart in a deck of cards, it was necessary to choose a drawing symbolizing a rather enigmatic place of our beautiful region. It seemed obvious to choose the Tower Sans Venin. Which symbolizes the ancient history and the mystery  Grenoble's region.

The Gaff Card:

For the magicians we added an extra card to do special magic tricks: a three of spades with a white back.

What are the funds for?

Your contribution and the outcome of this a project will allow above all to perpetuate the opration of our website from our association of cards magic learning ( Indeed we can invest in new video and sound tools, allow the renewal of our video license over several years and solve a lot of other technical constraints related to the operation of a website.

Your contribution will also finance the production of the first fully customized French card game on the theme of the History of Cards. You will become a owner of a collector's item edited to only 2500 copies.

And if the Ulule campaign is a real success why not fund another project of card games on another theme ... We have a lot of original ideas!

About the project owner

Come and discover our Internet web site:

And our Facebook page

In the middle of the French Alps, we are a team passionate Card Magic and beautiful cards games from Grenoble... That's how we came the desire to set up an association: the Chartreuse Card Club, develop a website and create a card game call Bastille.

And here is the team of the club:

From left to right: Alexis Avella, Jonathan Courat, Cythalie Champ, Robin Champ, Lionel Nguyen, Tarik Guerouache, Jerome Ardid.

What are our motivations? What is our state of mind since the begining?

For this cards game project it was first by practicing card magic, or simply playing for some members of the association, this is how we start to collect beautiful card decks. With a small collection of over 200 different decks to all of us, a certain frustration is born in noting that all decks of cards have a concept but that is often very simple and do not try to go beyond a graphic concept. Beyond the graphics, the deck of cards has a History, an authenticity very rarely transmitted in its various forms marketed. This is how the idea of ​​the Bastille concept came to Robin CHAMP.