Review – Harry Potter Chibi Playing Cards

I received the absolutely adorable chibi playing cards from a friend for Christmas. As I like card games, and I adore Harry Potter, it was certainly a welcome gift. Before I dive into my review, I would like to point out that my thoughts on the cards in no way diminishes my opinion of the thought put into the gift. I appreciate and love it all the same.

The Box

Harry Potter Chibi Deck Box

The box is fabulous. The box features elements of the Daily Prophet, a hint of the card designs, the Hogwarts crest, and points out that the cards are officially licensed. Keep that in mind. These aren’t just thrown together by someone wanting to make some money.

Card Backs and Jokers

Harry Potter Chibi Deck Back and Jokers

The card backs are great. For those less well-versed in Harry Potter characters and props, the back features, left-to-right: Albus Dumbledore, Ron Weasely, Minerva McGonagall, Harry Potter, a golden snitch, Hogwarts castle, Hedwig, Rubeus Hagrid, and Hermione Granger.

The Jokers are, if anything, even better. I love the references to the Marauders and their map. I especially love the characters interspersed throughout the cards. I’m not going to name them all here, as almost all of them appear on other cards below and you can match them to their names that way.

I will mention that the twins—Fred and George—appear on both cards, which is rather appropriate. And did you notice Draco and Luna hidden behind the Joker text on the mischief managed card? Although, I question why Draco features on cards that have absolutely nothing, otherwise, to do with him.

The Card Fronts

The cards do have the traditional hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades associated with them, although it’s easy to overlook that while staring at the designs.

The backgrounds feature several Potter-themed icons including house mascots, lightning bolts, glasses, owls, scarves, etc. The main images on each card are suitably adorable and chibi-like.

The only question I have about the general designs is why the designer(s) placed the numbers/letters and Harry Potter text at the top and bottom to create a reversible card when the main images clearly indicate which way is up. It strikes me as a bit odd.

The House Sets

And so we come to the heart of what confuses me. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out any rhyme or reason to which design feature in each house set. Just when I think I’ve found a pattern, there’s a change and I’m proven wrong.

Now, each design is lovely, I won’t argue that, but I’m a bit miffed at how loosely the designers interpreted the claim on the back of the card box: “features 52 different images”. I suppose, technically, that using four images of Fawkes instead of two, counts as a new image, but I feel that it’s cheating.

And if you compare the 5 of Hufflepuff with the 5 of Slytherin, or the 9 of Ravenclaw with the 9 of Slytherin, the only difference is the color. Each set of two features identical linework.

The designs also could have been placed much better. I’ve provided each house set below. Keep reading to find where I would have put each image and my thoughts behind the choices.

Gryffindor

Harry Potter Chibi Deck Gryffindor Set

Hufflepuff

Harry Potter Chibi Deck Hufflepuff Set

Ravenclaw

Harry Potter Chibi Deck Ravenclaw Set

Slytherin

Harry Potter Chibi Deck Slytherin Set

How I Would Change Things

Ultimately, I suppose no one cares where I feel the designs belong, but I’d like to share all the same. Perhaps others will feel the same way. And maybe it will inspire someone to create a new and improved Harry Potter deck. Who knows, weirder things have happened.

I chose a specific image theme for the card numbers: 2 is a spell, 3 is the king card’s pet, 4 is a creature, 5 is a wand, 6 is an artifact, 7 is a quidditch item, 8 is a founder’s artifact, and 9 is a house scarf, 10-K are people. I’m not going to include the Aces, as they all feature the Hogwarts crest.

Gryffindor

Original

  • 2 – Buckbeak
  • 3 – Crookshanks
  • 4 – Harry’s Patronus
  • 5 – Sword of Gryffindor
  • 6 – Firebolt
  • 7 – Gryffindor Scarf
  • 8 – Golden Snitch
  • 9 – Harry Potter Keychains
  • 10 – Wingardium Leviosa
  • J – Quidditch Harry
  • Q – Luna Lovegood
  • K – Neville Longbottom

My Suggestions

  • 2 – Harry’s Patronus
  • 3 – Hedwig
  • 4 – Buckbeak
  • 5 – Hermione’s Wand
  • 6 – Firebolt
  • 7 – Golden Snitch
  • 8 – Sword of Gryffindor
  • 9 – Gryffindor Scarf
  • 10 – Neville Longbottom
  • J – Ron Weasley
  • Q – Hermione Granger
  • K – Harry Potter

Gryffindor was easy. I kept several of the designs already used (Harry’s patronus, Buckbeak, the Firebolt, the golden snitch, and the Gryffindor scarf). As Harry’s pet, Hedwig is a given, as is the sword of Gryffindor. I chose Hermione’s wand over Harry’s or Ron’s wand because it’s more recognizable in a smaller size. I had to have the golden trio as J, Q, and K, so I moved Neville to 10.

Hufflepuff

Original

  • 2 – Fawkes
  • 3 – Owl
  • 4 – Snape’s Patronus
  • 5 – Goblet of Fire
  • 6 – Hermione’s Wand
  • 7 – Cornish Pixie
  • 8 – Gryffindor Tie
  • 9 – Golden Snitch
  • 10 – Engorgio
  • J – Draco Malfoy
  • Q – Hermione Granger
  • K – Ron Weasley

My Suggestions

  • 2 – Lumos
  • 3 – Crookshanks
  • 4 – Cornish Pixie
  • 5 – Luna’s Wand
  • 6 – Goblet of Fire
  • 7 – Quaffle
  • 8 – Hufflepuff’s Cup
  • 9 – Hufflepuff Scarf
  • 10 – Hannah Abbott
  • J – Justin Finch-Fletchley
  • Q – Susan Bones
  • K – Cedric Diggory

Hufflepuff was a little harder. I could only keep the cornish pixie and goblet of fire from the original. I went with Lumos as a recognizable spell. Cedric (as far as we know) doesn’t have a pet, so I chose Chrookshanks since he’s already in the original deck. I chose Luna’s wand because I love it, and I doubt many know how Hannah’s, Justin’s, Susan’s, or Cedric’s wands look. The choice of quaffle was random, and the cup and scarf are a given for Hufflepuff. I tried to choose the most-referred-to Hufflepuff students for 10-K.

Ravenclaw

Original

  • 2 – Dragon
  • 3 – Fang
  • 4 – Fawkes
  • 5 – Cauldron
  • 6 – Nimbus 2001
  • 7 – Wand
  • 8 – Harry Potter Glasses/Scar
  • 9 – Dark Mark
  • 10 – Hagrid
  • J – Remus Lupin
  • Q – Minerva McGonagall
  • K – Albus Dumbledore

My Suggestions

  • 2 – Wingardium Leviosa
  • 3 – Fawkes
  • 4 – Dragon
  • 5 – Dumbledore’s Wand
  • 6 – Mirror of Erised
  • 7 – Bludger
  • 8 – Ravenclaw’s Diadem
  • 9 – Ravenclaw Scarf
  • 10 – Hagrid
  • J – Filius Flitwick
  • Q – Minerva McGonagall
  • K – Albus Dumbledore

The original deck used Ravenclaw for the professors, and I didn’t see any reason to change that (sorry Luna!!). Wingardium Leviosa was chosen as one of the few (only?) spells we actually get to read a lesson on. Fawkes and his wand are a given, with Dumbledore, as are the diadem and scarf for Ravenclaw. I wanted to have a dragon in Hagrid’s house set. The Mirror of Erised made sense with the professors. The bludger was chosen at random. I didn’t see any reason to change Hagrid, McGonagall, or Dumbledore, but I felt Flitwick, as a more senior professor, made more sense.

Slytherin

Original

  • 2 – Hatching Egg
  • 3 – Owl
  • 4 – Nagini
  • 5 – Wand
  • 6 – Hermione’s Wand
  • 7 – Mandrake
  • 8 – Flying Key
  • 9 – Dark Mark
  • 10 – Master of the Dark Arts
  • J – Lucius Malfoy
  • Q – Bellatrix Lestrange
  • K – Voldemort

My Suggestions

  • 2 – Dark Mark
  • 3 – Nagini
  • 4 – Basilisk
  • 5 – Voldemort’s Wand
  • 6 – Nimbus 2001
  • 7 – Beater Bat
  • 8 – Slytherin’s Locket
  • 9 – Slytherin Scarf
  • 10 – Draco Malfoy
  • J – Lucius Malfoy
  • Q – Bellatrix Lestrange
  • K – Voldemort

I’m a Slytherin, and I’m not in love with the “all Slytherins are evil” trope, but, using Slytherin for the dark side made it easier. I kept the dark mark and J-K cards. Nagini, Voldemort’s wand, the locket, and the scarf were all given. I chose the Basilisk, given Voldemort’s connection to it, and the Nimbus 2001 as Draco’s (and the entire Slytherin quidditch team) broom. The beater bat was a must given how often Slytherin team uses it to play dirty. Draco seemed the obvious choice for 10 given my use of the Nimbus 2001.

That’s All Folks!

Phew, this was another long one. I’ll try and write something shorter next time. But I had fun with this.

Do you feel that the design placements were poorly thought out? Would you prefer the original, or do you like my suggestions? Let me know your thoughts by leaving me a comment. And thanks for reading!

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