Fin de Siecle – Kipper
Fortune Telling Deck
Author: Ciro Marchetti
Artist: Ciro Marchetti
Contributors: Fortune Buchholtz, Stella Waldvogel, Susanne Zitzi
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
The Fin de Siecle is a 39 card deck (3 additional cards have been added to the traditional 36 cards – Poverty, Toil & Trouble, and Community) and 83 page companion book based on the traditional German Kipper system. While maintaining the basic concept and numbering, the visual setting (originally from the Biedermeier period in Bavaria) has been adapted to the Victorian period in London. The deck also incorporates an animated video version of each card, which can be accessed by downloading a specific app and signing up (which is free). Full instructions are included in a downloadable, full color pdf document.
The deck and companion book come packaged in a beautiful cardboard box that opens the long way, and has a magnetic closure. (As often as my cats knock my decks down, I truly appreciate these magnetic closures!)
In his introduction, Marchetti talks about the background of this deck – about his meeting with Johannes Fiebig, from the publishing house AGM-Urani/Konigsfurt/Urania, where they discussed various aspects of cartomancy publishing. One of the gifts that Marchetti was given was a copy of the original version of the Kipper. He was then asked if he would like to produce an updated version of this deck. Initially, Marchetti declined, due to the commitment that such a project would require in both time and effort. However, when he started working with the cards he had been gifted with, he began to see what could be done. In the end, he moved the location from Bavaria to Victorian Britain.
Each card is presented with a small black and white scan, the card name and number, and a short write-up by each of the three contributors (Fortune Buchholtz, Stella Waldvogel, and Susanne Zitzi).
The spreads that are presented are the Triple Pyramid Spread (by Stella Waldvogel) and the SOS Spread (by Susanne Zitzi).
The end of the book carries information on accessing the interactive application for this deck.
The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 1/8”, and are of good quality card stock. I love the silver edging – such grace and quality! The card backs have a black border surrounding gold imagery with the image of the face of a Court Jester in the center. The cards are not reversible.
The card faces show the same black border, with the number centered on the top, in gold. The card title is centered on the bottom, in gold lettering. A gold border surrounds the card imagery. The cards maintain a sense of continuity in that elements from one card are also found in other cards (i.e. the paintings seen in the study of the Main Male reference other cards in the deck).
Note: I have chosen to give the explanation from one of the three contributors (all three have contributed an explanation got each card). The need for the contributors has an interesting background – there simply is very little information about the Kipper system in English, so there was a need for knowledge from individuals that were familiar with this system.
1 – Main Male
(Fortune Buccholtz) “The male significator and co-protagonist of our novel. In keeping with the time, he’s a fine gentleman, a so-called Man of Qualities, and we meet him in his study. Note the paintings in the study refer to other cards. For an opposite-sex reading, he’s the partner of the Main Female, Card 2. In a same-sex reading, he’s the partner of the Wealthy Man, Card 13.”
7 – Message
(Stella Waldvogel) “Informal communications such as letters, texts, notes, memos, phone calls, voice messages and e-mails. (Card 27 is the card for formal paperwork requiring a signature.)”
8 – False Person
(Susanne Zitzi) “Don’t trust everybody or everything you see. Even salt looks like sugar. This card warns you against dishonesty and deception. Hold your cards close. Check your motivation and targets too.
21 – Family Room
(Fortune Buchholtz) “Midmorning coffee is served in a bourgeois drawing room, true to Victorian style. The drawing room in better houses was off the formal parlor, and was a place to withdraw to for entertaining close friends and family. Society visits would have been kept in the formal parlor, so we know we’re now in a welcoming and supportive space where secrets and personal matters may be shared. Literally, it’s a room and stands for all private and enclosed spaces such as living rooms, hotel rooms, offices with doors, apartments. More abstractly, it represents privacy and intimacy. This sense of closeness can also refer to the time and place, as in soon, near, right next to you, or shortly, no more than a month.
36 – Distant Horizons
(Stella Waldvogel) “This is a card of dreams and fantasies. The card that follows this one can be a dream (or fear) coming to pass. But is a card is followed by this one, it will remain just a dream for the time covered by the reading. Hopes will come to pass if Card 26 is next to this card. It can also stand for a message from overseas. The timing is usually summer.”
I love the information that Marchetti includes on the background of this deck, and on why the move from Bavaria to Victorian Britain for background. This deck is very good at showing the day to day of life, as it existed in Victorian times. The deck is very easy to use, and a pleasure to read with!
© July 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.