Tony Porteous

Technical Designer

The Journey Deck

The Journey Deck - Tarot Cards for an Alternate Reality

A Kickstarter


IV - The Thief: Nothing can be achieved without taking the first step. Watch where you step, use the knowledge you have but always seek to learn more. Accept that even the wisest and boldest are at the mercy of blind fortune.

The Journey Deck is a unique set of general purpose Gaming and Tarot cards. It was crowdfunded through Kickstarter.


  • £9K Raised
  • 780 Decks Manufactured
  • 277 Backers
  • 6 different print variants
  • Every Deck is different


Lead Designer, Writer, Marketer

  • Game Design: Wrote clear design briefs for each card illustration. Designed a unique card system and custom card games to use with it.
  • Written Lore: Designed detailed background lore, including a set of 'secret scrolls' revealing the hundreds of easter eggs hidden in the art. Worked to match the style directions of the Empire game setting.
  • Data Management: Built a website to showcase the game. Built tools to manage development and fulfillment.
  • Leadership: Conceived, promoted and managed the Kickstarter campaign. Reviewed and guided the artists to hit the visual style.

Deliberately Alien Design

More Than 'Just Another Tarot Deck'

The goal of this design was to make something that feels Familiar, yet alien; as if it came from another world.

As such, every aspect is non-standard. The iconography is unique. the number of suits, trumps, and cards in each suit is unique. The shape of the cards is custom (68 x 109 mm). Even the pips are in the wrong corner!

The result is something that is immediately recognizable, but feels wrong like left-handed scissors. This was entirely intentional

Designing for the World of Empire

More Than an Empty Aesthetic

Empire is an immersive Live Roleplay setting by Profound Decisions with thousands of pages of lore. The goal was to make a deck of cards from that world.

  • Designed to be an old deck - I wanted to create something that felt like it had existed in the world for a long time. The imagery shows signs of in-world revisionism by centuries of church and state machinations
  • Religious Symbolism - The lore of empire is based on a spirituality of virtue and reincarnation. I wanted to express this in the art, while emulating the Christiano-Pagan enlightenment of real-world Tarot
  • All Corners of the World - The deck needed to be a diverse tool. I put effort to capture an equal mix of races and genders, as well as all the in-world nationalities

Bandit (And Other Games)

Designing card games for a five suited deck

In making an alien deck, I needed to make it still accessible to the players. As such I evaluated a number of basic games (poker, blackjack) and recalculated the odds to port them for the deck.

As a tarot 'trump' deck, I needed games that used the trump suit. I researched historical games that use the tarot deck, learning about the origins of 'trick taking' card games, then reworked them for play in the Empire Universe

Finally, I created a number of unique games to promote the deck.


The Journey Deck is based on Empire by Profound Decisions

Thanks to Steph Morris for photography

Thanks to Sofia Romualdo for video footage