The Classic Art Token Project is a Kickstarter project that has designed dozens of trading card game tokens illustrated with the fine images of classic art. Each token is designed to function with several trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more. The project is headed by Josh Krause, Webmaster of Original Magic Art.
The launch includes 48 designs, featuring paintings such as The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1562. As you can see, the tokens each have a decent educational factor, and can be a fun way to improve knowledge of art history. My favorite has to be the Germ token, illustrated with Paul Fürst’s Der Doctor Schnabel von Rom (above), which is a raven-person physician painted in the 17th century. I just can’t help loving the irony of the doctor being the germ, especially because so many doctors kill their patients via infectious diseases due to the pervasive poor hygiene.
Now, all of the images are public domain or attribution-only restrictions. This means you can get every piece of art on the internet–if you wanted to do all the work to make your own cards. That part isn’t what makes this project special. The major draw for this project is theme. A lot of research went into these tokens. Dynamic images were chosen to represent each character, and the contrasts, irony, and flavor of these tokens are what makes them truly special.
If the base 18 tokens aren’t enough for you, there are many more to be had! Each additional set is $30 but includes tokens useful for specific formats, including Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage. To get all 48 of the token designs, you won’t have to buy every set (phew), because the full set is a reward for pledges of $30+. If you pledge for the full set, you will also get all of the cards that are unlocked, with potential for a total of 72 cards, but that depends entirely on stretch goals.
The backing options also include playmats designed with some of these classic art pieces, and they are beautiful. If you’re still looking for a playmat that highlights your tastes, check the collection out. You can buy them solo with a $25 pledge, or choose a bundle, which includes significant discounts.
Now for the Good, Bad, and Ugly:
- Unlicensed product means that the tokens are not “colored” for use with standard decks, and there will be no Thrull or Merit Lage, as those are proprietary.
- Initial backing isn’t a great value. Most official tokens are cheaper than the $.66/each for the Basic Set.
- Backing the Full Set at $30 is about the same price-per-card, but that average price will plummet as the stretch goals are met.
- With a funding goal of $5,000, funding and stretch goals could be met quickly.
- Each of the collections comes out at $.55, which is much higher than the going cost of similar official tokens. There is no way to mitigate this cost or customize the tokens. If you want 8 Zombies and 5 Warriors, you have to buy multiple collections (Standard + Vintage).
- While the theme is fabulous, there is little original art or design involved.
This project doesn’t strictly need a Kickstarter to produce the products. As they say in the “Risks and Challenges,” they’ve already completed the work. Now they just need people to buy the product so they can print it.
Verdict: If you want to add a lot of tokens to your collection, or just add some variety, pledge for a full set to get maximum value. If you’re looking for value, anything but the full set is going to be too expensive. The full set itself will only reach its true value if the stretch goals are met. It’s live on Kickstarter now, so check it out for yourself!
Update: the Kickstarter funded within minutes, and is only a couple of pledges from meeting their second stretch goal.