3-D Collectable Cards

by Jennifer Knighton

Collectable card game players are always looking for unique ways to make their decks stand out from everyone else’s. Some people use decorative card protectors while others rely on creative combinations that will annihilate their opponents in unexpected ways. One of the most interesting methods I’ve seen used to stand out is the use of 3-D strongholds and other such starting cards.

You may have come across these gems as awards given in tournaments or seen them used by opponents. The styles vary depending on who has made them, from very straightforward to elaborately detailed but, no matter the style, each one is unique.

I’ve managed to contact two individuals who create 3-D pieces for card games: Jenny Langley and Leon Phillips. They both tell me of seeing them first by someone from the Philippines who has been called Sunshine. The first ones were made with copies and wooden frames. Both were inspired by what they saw and managed to develop very unique styles from the same basic beginnings.

“Too much free time” is a line I’ve heard used by many of the most creative people I know when describing how they started their chosen craft. Jenny Langley is just another in a list of people who’ve said it. She had spare time while working at a game store and had some experience working in fine detail with miniatures. She decided to start cutting up some cards. “I make them for Legend of the Five Rings, with Strongholds, Winds, and Sensei, along with a few personalities and stuff for custom favor markers or to back other 3ds.” She has also made them for Magi Nation. She says Magi Nation was easier but L5R look the best. Jenny makes them primarily for friends but they have been used as prizes in tournaments.

When Leon Phillips began making them he made them using flat layers from cards he collected from friends. The 3-D pieces themselves have become more detailed as his experience and creativity develop. He now bends the cards so that the streams look like they’re going into the distance. In some cases he’ll even use a layer of glass to make birds fly through the air unattached from the other layers. His prize piece is the Sepulchre of Bone from the Legend of the Five Rings, as pictured here. He uses 40 layers in this piece. Primarily Leon has been making them for the Legend of the Five Rings but he has also made them for Spycraft, Magic, and Anachronism.

Now he’s well connected with WOTC and AEG and is given cards specifically to create them with. For the last few years, AEG has given out his 3-D strongholds as prizes at GenCon. He makes about 20 3-Ds for AEG every year. He’ll even do a few for employees for the fun of it. You can see further information on Leon’s pieces at http://hometown.aol.com/masterofmujina/ as well as a basic guide on how to make them.

Regardless of the style or the artist creating them, these 3-D pieces make a unique addition to anyone’s collection. The pieces are as unique as the people who create them.

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