E-ink playing cards prototype is really cool

Years ago, artist John Bergin and I pitched Black Library (the novel, audio, and art books division of Games Workshop) on an idea for an Emperor's Tarot. In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, there's a deck of cards, called the Emperor's Tarot, that is sometimes mentioned in the rulebooks and the plentiful fiction.

Making a tarot deck is one thing, and Bergin had the art and design chops, and I the knowledge of the tarot and 40K universe, to pull it off. But, in the fiction, the Emperor's Tarot is made out of something called psycho-reactive crystal and the images on the cards change to reflect shifting influences and circumstances (powered by the dark and mysterious energies of "The Warp"). We thought of every gimmick imaginable to emulate this (square cards divided into a 4-image "X," cards with image leaking off the edges to create multiple meta images when placed next to each other, etc).

In the end, Black Library said they liked our proposal, but passed on it, saying it would be too difficult and expensive to produce. I jokingly said that we'd just have to wait until psycho-reactive crystal was a real thing.

Maybe not. E-ink might be close enough, if this prototype of Jonah Stiennon's Wyldcards is any indication. And dig the groovy Tree of Life circuitry underneath the cards!

[H/t Clive Thompson]