Hi all! This deck has just released in the UK from Titan and will release in the USA in August from Simon & Schuster. I picked it up straight away and I've been working with it since. Here's my review!
There's debate in the tarot community over pop culture decks. Some people think they cheapen tarot; some people think they're useless since they can't be interpreted intuitively like regular cards if you don't know the fandom. However, a lot of people – and I count myself squarely in this group – think they can be really helpful, as they provide an extra 'handle' to help learn the meanings of the card.
TNG is the Star Trek series I grew up watching. Although I've watched and enjoyed all the other series, this was my first introduction, and these are the characters I still think of when someone says 'Star Trek' in my hearing. I was so excited when I saw this deck was coming out and I'm really pleased that I got to review and do readings with it.
Anyway, you don't want to hear me babble on. Let's get to the review!
The set is housed in a sturdy cardboard box. The lid lifts up to reveal the guidebook. The cards are underneath the guidebook in a well, with a ribbon to help lift them out. There's a fantastic image of the Enterprise on the inside of the well, and the outside of the box is patterned with Starfleet chevrons. Titan/S&S put a lot of work into their fandom decks and making the box suit them, and I'm really impressed at this one.
The guidebook is well bound and comfortable to hold. It starts with a brief introduction to tarot in general and to the deck in particular; like a lot of decks, the Minor arcana have been renamed in this deck. I'll get to that when we discuss the cards.
For the Major arcana, the book features a full page reproduction of the card image, a short description of how that character or image fits the meaning of the card, and then upright and reversed images. I love a guidebook that has the artwork inside as it makes it really easy to study the artwork; with these cards, there isn't a lot of background detail, but some decks do and it makes it easier to really examine them closely. I also love that there are reversed meanings; personally, I'm a mood reader, so I don't always read reversals, but I do love having the meanings there.
The Minor arcana are arranged by suit, Court cards first. They still have the card image, but it's smaller now, and to fit each card on one page instead of two we don't have the explanations of how the card matches the meaning, but we do still have upright and reversed meanings.
After the Minor Arcana there's a couple of pages on caring for your deck and preparing for readings, and then it gives three spreads created specially for the deck: a three card Calculating the Odds, a five card Red Alert and the seven card Prime Directive, which I have tried and found quite interesting – it picked out aspects of the situation I hadn't thought of before. I do plan to try the other spreads as well, but for now I've just tried that one.
The cards themselves are standard tarot size. The back features a lovely design in black and silver: it's not completely reversible as the laurels and stars would be slightly different, but you'd need to be looking very closely to notice, so you could use this deck for reversals as long as you didn't study them too closely.
The cards are matte rather than glossy, and when I first took them from the box they had a tendancy to cling. I've spent a lot of time, probably several hours by now, shuffling and dealing them without reading, and they have loosened up a lot. Be prepared to spend some time with them, but there was no real difficulty in it.
The cards have a very slight forward bend which I haven't been able to work out of them, but it doesn't impact the use of them at all. Likewise, some of the cards are printed with slightly more black space on one side than the other, but that doesn't bother me at all.
The cards themselves are presented in a sort of frame. Major cards have the number at the top, in Roman numerals, and the name at the bottom.
Minors have a symbol at the top to represent the suit, and the number at the bottom in Arabic numerals.
The Minor suits are colour coded within each suit. Cloaks, which represent Wands, are green and the Court cards are Romulans; Latinum, Pentacles, are gold/yellow and the Courts are mostly Ferengi; Bat'leths, Swords, are red and the Courts are Klingons; Starships, Cups, are blue and the Courts are Federation members. This is a pip deck so the Minors are all represented by increasing numbers of the suit item.
I have found that although this deck is truthful, it tends to come at the truth from an angle you wouldn't normally expect, and the cards often need to be thought about. This isn't a deck for quick, off the cuff readings, it's one to use when you can take some time to really dig into the meanings. Likewise, because it's not RWS standard, I don't recommend it for complete beginners, even if they are Star Trek fans; the ideal recepient for this deck either knows tarot at least a little already, or has no intention of learning tarot and just wants these as an objet d'art. Because these are very lovely; they're hand drawn, but it's always very clear who the characters are, and the scenes that don't feature characters are very pretty and lovely to look at.
I'm really enjoying working with this deck and I highly recommend it to others.
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