So I wouldn’t normally cover something quite like this but I received these cards as a momento from a transfer student that we had staying with us from Spain. Hence the Spanish. Sorry if I translated that incorrectly, Ines but I truly do appreciate the deck of cards.
Lets talk about what this deck is about first. This deck was released to support the Queen Sofia Foundation (Fundacion Reina Sofia) of Spain. The foundation focuses on mental health diseases like Alzheimer’s. Sounds like a pretty good foundation to me.
The cards in question here are made by Fournier who are owned by the United States Playing Card Co and is currently based in Vitoria, Spain and have been around since 1868. This particular deck is based on their No. 1 fifty card Spanish deck of cards. Games that can be played with this deck are listed on the Spanish Playing Cards page on Wikipedia.
The tuck box is special compared to a regular No. 1 deck as it has a special logo on it for the Queen Sofia Foundation but the rest is pretty much standard. The blue colour used on the deck is more of a silver blue which continues on to the backs of the cards.
Fournier is world known for their incredibly high quality cards and the cards included in this pack are no exception. They are cut to an incredibly smooth edge which is certainly not something the USPC can claim on any of their standard decks. This all said they still claim to be plastic cards. Well just like my Fournier 605 decks they are plastic coated but under that plastic coat is paper. That said, these are incredibly good quality for plastic coated cards. Usually with this style of card you’d expect to see something cheaply made from China. Other cards made like this from the USPC include Aviator’s and Hoyle. Fournier cards are different however, they have a stiffer stock. Not thicker but stiffer. Sort of how a Bee deck is stiffer than a Bicycle. Same kind of idea.
The plastic finish on this deck feels really good in the hands unlike the first time I held a 605 deck. That deck did not impress me. This one feels different and I can’t completely tell you why. They fan and spread well though trying to faro shuffle may frustrate even the best of us. Sure did to me though admittedly I am not good at it to start. The slick and smooth edges of the cards are the culprits here but it doesn’t bother me that much. I’m not a magician or a cardist myself. I’m a gamer.
The back design is borderless which I appreciate quite a bit and since this is a Spanish deck it’s faces are totally unique. This is a 50 card deck with 48 playable cards. This gives us 12 cards per suit instead of our 13 in a standard poker deck. The two extra cards are advertisement cards but in this case there are no ads. One card is a dedication card to the Queen Sofia Foundation stating “Nos encanta recordar. Luchemos porque todos podamos hacerlo” which translated means, “We love to remember. Let’s fight because we can all do it.” according to Google Translate. The other card has a statement of quality from Fournier.
The cards are actually slightly larger in size compared to a standard poker deck of cards but only slightly. They still feel good in the hands at that size so I can’t complain.
Should you buy a deck? I am unsure where you’d get one of these specific decks outside of Spain and as such it may be pretty hard to track one down. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend picking one up unless you are curious or an insatiable collector. You can get the same experience from a deck of No. 505 or 818 decks that are more readily available over on this side of the pond.
Again I would like to thank our previous exchange student, Ines, for passing these along to me.