A couple of days ago, LittleBear and I opened up a pack of cards. We'd already been playing Gin Rummy and Patience with a real deck of cards, but LittleBear found a children's pack we'd acquired somewhere along the line, and wanted to play with those. They had jolly pictures for the court cards after all.
|Inoffensive enough at first sight...|
It was only when we opened them and I had a proper look that I was filled with utter rage. Rage at the idiocy that would allow these cards to be designed, produced and sold. I've turned into Mean Mummy and informed LittleBear that we are Not Allowed To Play With Them. I can tell you're thinking they must be pretty outrageous aren't you? You're wondering if they have something strangely pornographic or perhaps racist on them? Nope. They are simply not fit for purpose. They have been "designed" by someone who has seen a deck of cards, but has never actually played a single card game in their life. Let me show you...
|All the cards. Can you spot a problem yet?|
|What cards do I even have?|
|My hands are not big enough for this game|
|Black writing and no suit-mark in the corner|
|Clear, succinct, unambiguous, compact|
That is good design. That is design that understands how a hand of cards is held, how they are used, what the important features are. The children's pack? It's a travesty, bearing a vague resemblance to a deck of cards. It can't actually be used properly. And there's no excuse for it. The manufacturing costs of printing a bad design are no greater than printing a good design. This isn't a case of costs being cut at the expense of functionality. This is simply a case of bad design. And I won't have it in my house. Sorry LittleBear.
* According to letters written by my mother, the trouble with playing pontoon/vingt-et-un/blackjack with me aged 4 was that I had a tendency to win the bank and was then terribly slow at dealing the next hand. Aged 4. I almost feel I'm letting my family down in not having taught my son to gamble before the age of 5. Almost.