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The Marseille Sophistiqué

Tarot Sophistique three cards

These lovely cards are from the most antique-looking new deck in my collection.

The graphic novel artists who created the Marseille Sophistiqué followed the Conver Tarot de Marseille pattern very closely. They’ve taken great pains to make it look like an antique woodblock deck from the 1700s, giving us a standard TdM with just enough personality to make it unique, without destroying its charming, old-world character.

The soft gray background has subtle areas of discoloration that you find on antique decks. The lines are somewhat irregular, as if the cards had been printed from well-worn woodblocks. The predominant colors are soft rose, gold, sage green, and gray. Colors bleed over the lines in places, just as they do in the old stenciled decks.

The booklet foregoes divinatory meanings in favor of rules for playing various tarot card games. The artists created a deck for gaming, the TdM’s original use. But anyone who reads with a Conver-style TdM will feel right at home with this deck.

Marseille Sophistique Queen of CupsThe lively facial expressions tempted me to make up stories about the cards. Justice is so stern she’s scary. The Papesse looks like she’s having a big oops! moment after the Pope caught her with a romance novel between the pages of her prayer book. A certain Queen has had a bit too much of whatever’s in that large goblet she’s holding. She’s about to burst into tears and create a scene.

The deck is packaged in a sturdy box. The card stock is lightly coated and easy to handle and shuffle; and the soft colors are a refreshing change from the rather harsh, strident colors of many modern TdMs. The creators poured a lot of care and attention into their deck. I highly recommend it.

This very affordable deck can be ordered directly from


One Comment Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Bonnie Cehovet and commented:
    I have this one bookmarked for purchase!

    May 26, 2015

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