OMEGALAND TAROT, CREATED BY JOE BOGINSKI, lives in a post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest (at least, it looks like the PNW to me). Characters in the deck are cartoon-ish, with sometimes-exaggerated limbs.They are placed in harsh situations, and there are topic-appropriate references to violence in the deck—although few images are really gory. Still, despite the desperate times depicted throughout the deck, I find the characters very human—and the deck, overall, surprisingly warm (and, somehow, reassuring).
As a tarot, OMEGALAND is brilliant in its close interpretation of the imagery of the classic Rider Waite Smith Tarot. For instance, the OMEGALAND Seven of Wands shows two armed men in a lookout tower, protecting their encampment. Below them sit five of their “tribe,” also armed. Compare this to the standard RWS Seven of Wands, in which a single armed man on high defends his territory!
And Temperance? Just as in the RWS illustration, a figure pours water from one container into another. Unlike the RWS version, though, in OMEGALAND, the figure filters the water as she pours! (Clean water is a big deal when you’re a survivalist!)
As smart as his tarot interpretations are, Joe Boginski is every bit as much an artist as he is a tarot-ist. He attended New York’s School of the Visual Arts, and exhibited the original OMEGALAND drawings—11×14″, colored pencil and ink on paper—at Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery in Stamford, Connecticut.
For OMEGALAND, Boginski employs a color palette I would call “moody”—lots of soft browns and greens punctuated with brighter colors. There’s a wonderful consistency to the artwork throughout the deck—excepting the Nine of Swords. That particular card is illustrated by a figure shown at a much different angle and seen from much closer proximity than any of the other figures in the deck. (In fact, Omegaland’s Nine of Swords reminds me very much of the Dreamer Nine card—Nine of Swords—in Emily Carding’s Tarot of the Sidhe.)
Card titles and suit names are standard, but the imagery is true to the survivalist theme: Wands are represented by rifles and pistols; Cups are canteens or other water containers; Coins are cans of soup(!); and Swords are crossbows.
For tarot readers and collectors, this deck offers lots of good basics: Nice card stock and a smooth satin finish give it a good shuffle. Cards are generously sized—at 2.95″ x 4.75″, they’re a bit wider than the norm. The fun, non-reversible backs show an image of a boarded up doorway. Soft-edged borders add to the scenes, rather than detracting—and card titles are written in a great font!
There’s also a quirky little illustrated bit of “masking tape” at the upper left corner of each of the Minors—including the Courts—inscribed with a single number, or a letter and a number, that signifies points for the Omegaland game. And about that game. . . . The deck includes six extra game cards, and the LWB dedicates the last dozen pages to instruction about the game. Which I haven’t played. Which I probably won’t play. But don’t let that stop you!
Published by US Games Systems, Inc., this fab deck is available in all the usual places.