The King is dead. So are the Queen and Jack. Well, not really, but a new deck of playing cards may make the monarchical ranking in cards as obsolete as monarchies themselves.
The new deck of cards is considered gender-neutral, and it is the brainchild of a Dutch card-games lover who came up with the idea while playing cards last year. She decided to market her vision, and it has taken off.
- Face cards lose face in a new deck
- Gender and race are out of the picture
- Creator sees GNC business take hold
Playing Cards Without Faces
So, what’s the deal with gender-neutral playing cards? It’s not that hard to figure out, though it may take time to adjust.
A gender-neutral deck replaces the face cards with Gold, Silver, and Bronze card rankings. Gold replaces the King, Silver subs for the Queen, and Bronze is in for the Jack.
The rest of the deck remains the same, and the suits are still the standard Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades. It doesn’t change the way you play a card game, maybe just how you see things.
How the Idea was Born
Indy Mellink, a Ph.D. student based in Rotterdam, grasped the notion of gender-neutral cards while playing card games during the pandemic lockdown. She began wondering why a King was worth more than a Queen, or a Queen higher than a Jack, for that matter. She said:
If we have this hierarchy that the King is worth more than the Queen, then this subtle inequality influences people in their daily life because it’s just another way of saying ‘hey, you’re less important,’Indy Mellink
She also noticed that the faces on the cards were all white. So Mellink decided to do something about it. After tossing around a couple of ideas, she came up with the Gold, Silver, Bronze standard, universally recognized rankings in other games such as the Olympics.
With her experience in graphic design, it wasn’t hard for her to develop some attractive images. Then she ordered four decks to let people try them out. Here’s how she described the growth in popularity of this new trend:
My friends and family loved them so much. They also wanted a pair, so I ordered a new shipment of about 50 just to sell to them, but it started spreading immensely, so I ordered a batch of 500, and then the rest started snowballing from there.Indy Mellink
Things took off with a bit of publicity, and now Mellink’s cards are on sale at her GSB Cards website and in-game shops in Europe and the United States.
How to Play with Gender-Neutral Cards
In a gender-neutral deck, face cards are replaced by cards with the same rankings, only different designations. The card that would be King is a Gold; the Queen, a Silver; and the Jack is a Bronze.
All the other cards remain the same, as do the suits. If you play games with Jokers, well, they are the same, too – we were never really sure about the genders of Jokers, anyway. They could be anything.
Of course, none of this changes the way you play card games. A Gold beats a Silver, and a Silver beats a Bronze. Games such as Hearts, Spades, and Rummy will be just as fun, and classics like Bridge, Canasta, Poker, and Blackjack, just as challenging. When you hit the tables to play Poker, it is merely a matter of replacing K, Q, and J with G, S, and B in your memory vault.
Try Gender Neutral Cards
The conventional deck of cards has been around for centuries, with practically the same design. For years, people have come up with customized playing cards based on various themes. But Mellink’s generic makeover appears to take a stand that has trend potential. Maybe it is time.
We haven’t seen gender-neutral cards turn up at real money online casinos yet. But check the settings on your games, and play along if a GNC option turns up. It could be fun.