Categorized | Other Games, Reviews

Reviewing The Alleyman’s Tarot Deck and Guidebook

Posted on July 19, 2023 by Monica Valentinelli

If you’re a tarot or Kickstarter enthusiast, you’ve probably heard about The Alleyman’s Tarot. To date, it’s the most well-funded and backed tarot card set on Kickstarter. As one of the original backers, I thought I’d review the set and the guidebook after drawing and reading cards for some time.

The size of The Alleyman’s Tarot deck is considerable. There are 137 mismatched cards from multiple tarot card decks ranging from a few traditional, like the Sola Busca tarot, as well as unique cards from individual artists that include the 10 of Cups (guidebook, p. 46) by Enrica Prazzoli, the Magician (p. 3) by Roberto Papvero Crusca, and Guiseppe (p. 112) by Jake Youh pictured in this post. Cards from the bonus packs, which I also did pick up, are from individual artists and enhance the size of the deck as well.

Alleyman Tarot Card Guidebook interior page | The Thing Among Reflections | And Guiseppe Card Unlike other decks, what makes The Alleyman’s Tarot unique is both the story and collectible nature of the deck. This is not a deck that a traditional Major Arcana and Minor Arcana arc, because each card is pulled from a different deck, each card back is unique, and there are both non-traditional, traditional, and multiple cards for the same theme.

For example, the Death tarot card has many nuanced versions. Death cards (pp. 16-24) are included in the main deck for stubborn, rebirth, fire, blood, motel, dancing, riding, sowing, and shovel that enhance and clarify what this oft-misunderstood card means. This creates a lush fabric of colorful symbolic and literal illustrations in multiple art styles that are printed in standard and foil cards like The Fountain (p. 107) by Amy Smith.

To fully embrace the story behind The Alleyman’s Tarot, I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of The Alleyman’s Tarot Guidebook. Written from the Alleyman’s perspective, this is one of the best-written guides to tarot I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The Alleyman is present as a nigh-mythical figure who imparts wisdom and a card illustrated by Shan Bennion (p. 185) available in a bonus pack. Both upright and reversal meanings are present and written in an accessible, well-voiced style that’s perfect for new and experienced tarot readers.

Printed in a large font, the guidebook also includes thematic spreads that weave advice to read tarot for an interested reader. This is something a lot of tarot guidebooks don’t do, and it’s nice to see that featured in a deck that openly explores and celebrates a more collaborative take on tarot.

Alleyman Guidebook the Final Tarot Card | The Chariot card and Nine of SwordsI’ve been extremely happy with the quality of the cards; The Alleyman’s Tarot has a fantastic production value. All of the cards are the same size and quality, the bonus cards do fit inside the original case, and the case fits inside the premium cigar box so no extra supplies are needed. I’d prefer a linen card stock to help my clumsy hands shuffle the cards, but that’s a minor gripe considering.

The Alleyman’s Tarot Guidebook is spiral bound and, as I mentioned, credits each artist. The only drawback to this are the artists’ links; with the ever-changing nature of the web, the links became quickly outdated. I would love to see a page on the Alleyman Tarot website that updates them–while recognizing such a feat would be cumbersome given the volume of artists involved.

If you’re a tarot enthusiast who enjoys collecting cards, new to tarot, want a different take on the cards, or if you use tarot for multiple purposes, like writing prompts or character development, I strongly suggest checking out this deck and its accompanying guidebook. I’ve been very happy with this addition to my collection of tarot cards; every time I interact with them I appreciate the time, care, and attention it took to create this beautiful artifact.

The Alleyman’s Tarot, guidebook, bonus packs, and all accessories are available on the publisher’s website:

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