Commons:Suggested category scheme for playing cards

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to: navigation, search

Playing card cat scheme.png



A major weakness of any hierarchial organization of categories is that it tends to imply a tree. But the network of relationships among card categories is more complex, and the same, identical image is found at several different terminuses of the network.

On the other hand, the image is difficult to edit, while a linear text version is easy to edit. Keep both in mind when categorizing card-related images.

Many quite different kinds of items belong to Category:Cards, which are not Playing cards at all. Within this discussion, the word "cards" must be taken to refer to playing cards only.

The distinguishing features of Playing cards, as opposed to all other types of Category:Cards, are:

  • They always are designed in definite, finite sets, each set being called a deck.
  • Within each deck, while one side of each card (front) is usually unique, the other side (back) is usually identical, thus obscuring this uniqueness when viewed from the back.

Specifically excluded from Playing cards are Baseball cards (and related) and Pokemon cards (and related). While these may bear a strong similarity to the subject of this category, they fail one or more tests. For instance, the set of all Pokemon cards is indefinite. Such cards belong, indirectly perhaps, to Collectables.

Tarot cards are included within Playing cards; so are French-suited cards, of which Poker cards are a subtype. The primary purpose of the former is divination, while that of the latter is gambling; however, both have been used for both purposes and are closely related.

A characteristic feature of cards is that each deck forms an ordered set, and indeed, this ordering is generally multidimensional. Thus, a standard poker deck may be ordered by rank, by suit, and by order within the deck -- two distinct dimensions at right angles to one another, and a third generated by a prescribed ordering of the first two.

Complicating the issue is the fact that, in general, ranks and suits form categories as well. Thus, nearly every deck of Tarot and playing cards contain Kings -- and there is a direct, rather than a casual or accidental link among these Kings. Nearly every deck of cards considered here is divided into four suits, and each suit in any given deck corresponds to one of the four elements of the ancients: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.

Note that it is unwise to attempt to categorize cards according to deck order, since not all decks contain the same number of cards. However, each filename should include a deck order sort key, if an entire deck of individual cards is uploaded.
In theory, the deck order sort key can be generated by rule from rank and suit, but in practice, there is no mechanisms to permit this; and in any case, the filename must be generated by the uploader at upload time.

For the convenience of modern readers, suits are placed into categories bearing the names of the modern, french-suited, standard, poker / bridge deck.

See Also[edit]

Template talk:Ct

External links[edit]

Category:Playing cards


As defined above

Fortune telling[edit]

The activity of fortune telling or divination; includes objects or people other than only cards

Card playing[edit]

The activity of card playing or gaming; includes objects or people other than only cards


Images of single cards

Groups of cards[edit]

Images of groups of cards, perhaps entire decks

Sets of cards[edit]

Groups of cards in which all belong to the same deck

Mixed cards[edit]

Groups of cards including those from multiple decks

Tarot cards[edit]

Primarily used for divination; always consisting of the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana

Rider Tarot[edit]

AKA Rider-Waite, Rider-Waite-Smith; this deck is in the public domain but note that many derivative decks may still be under copyright

Marseille Tarot[edit]

Thoth Tarot[edit]

Playing cards[edit]

These decks are descended, directly or indirectly, from the Tarot Minor Arcana

French-suited cards[edit]

The most common modern design, worldwide

Standard playing cards[edit]

A very strict standard design based on the work of Thomas de la Rue in the mid-to-late 1800s

Poker playing cards[edit]

The most common format for standard playing cards; also used in many other games (Note that although pinochle decks contain an unusual selection of cards, each one individually is identical to a poker card)

Bridge playing cards[edit]

Nearly identical to poker, but slightly narrower, to make it easier to hold a large number of cards in one hand

Novelty playing cards[edit]

Ranked and suited as standard cards, but bearing unusual designs -- often every card bears a photo (e.g., the "Iraq deck")

Nudie playing cards[edit]

Novelty cards in which the theme is scantily-clad or unclad persons -- ranging from pinups to frankly pornographic

German-suited cards[edit]

Designs traditional in Germany

Spanish-suited cards[edit]

Designs traditional in Spain -- these are very closely related to Minor Arcana

Special playing cards[edit]

Cards in which the general structure of the deck has deviated significantly from the Minor Arcana and the standard deck (e.g., "Uno", "Mille Bornes") -- note that these are often copyrighted

Cards by suit[edit]

It is meaningful to categorize cards from widely differing decks by corresponding suit -- this category should be empty, except for its four subcats

Spades (cards suit)[edit]

All cards, of whatever deck, regardless of actual symbol, whose suit is identified with Tarot Swords and the Element Air

Hearts (cards suit)[edit]

As above; Tarot Cups, Element Water

Diamonds (cards suit)[edit]

As above; Tarot Coins (Pentacles), Element Earth

Clubs (cards suit)[edit]

As above; Tarot Wands (Staves, Batons), Element Fire

Cards by rank[edit]

It is meaningful to categorize cards from widely differing decks by corresponding rank -- this category should be empty, except for its fourteen subcats.

Court cards[edit]

The ranks King, Queen, Knight, and Jack belong to this auxilliary subcat.

Ace (cards rank)[edit]

All cards, of whatever deck, whose rank is 1 (traditionally ranked both above King and below Deuce)

King (cards rank)[edit]

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to French-suited King. This includes the Knight from the Thoth Tarot deck (!)

Queen (cards rank)[edit]

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to French-suited Queen.

Knight (cards rank)[edit]

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to Rider Tarot Knight. This rank is not present in a French-suited deck. Note that the corresponding rank in Thoth Tarot is Prince, not Knight. Other Tarot decks may include a corresponding Cavalier.

  • There is speculation that the standard Jack represents both Knight and Page, but that is disorderly. Majority opinion tends toward the Tarot Page as the sole ancestor of the French-suited Jack.

Jack (cards rank)[edit]

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to French-suited Jack. Tarot decks may refer to the corresponding rank as Page, Jack, Knave, Valet, or Princess.

Ten (cards rank)[edit]


Nine (cards rank)[edit]


Eight (cards rank)[edit]


Seven (cards rank)[edit]


Six (cards rank)[edit]


Five (cards rank)[edit]


Four (cards rank)[edit]


Trey (cards rank)[edit]


Deuce (cards rank)[edit]


Major Arcana[edit]

Tarot cards that do not, with one exception, have corresponding cards in common playing decks -- note that numbering varies occasionally, but this is not especially important; the only absolutely essential numbers of MA are The Fool, which has none; and The World, which always completes the cycle (21)

The Major Arcana may be thought of as a fifth suit, but this view is not generally accepted. However, due to technical limitations, this is a subcat of Cards by suit.

The Fool (MA 0)[edit]

Technically, The Fool has no rank whatever; in computing terms, its rank is not zero, but null -- this subcat includes the Jokers found in a standard poker deck

The Magician (MA 1)[edit]

The High Priestess (MA 2)[edit]

The Empress (MA 3)[edit]

The Emperor (MA 4)[edit]

The Hierophant (MA 5)[edit]

The Lovers (MA 6)[edit]

The Chariot (MA 7)[edit]

Strength (MA 8)[edit]

In this subcat, Strength in every deck, though in some decks it is MA 11 -- group by symbol, not by number

The Hermit (MA 9)[edit]

Wheel of Fortune (MA 10)[edit]

Justice (MA 11)[edit]

In this subcat, Justice in every deck, though in some decks it is MA 8 -- group by symbol, not by number

The Hanged Man (MA 12)[edit]

Death (MA 13)[edit]

Temperance (MA 14)[edit]

The Devil (MA 15)[edit]

The Tower (MA 16)[edit]

The Star (MA 17)[edit]

The Moon (MA 18)[edit]

The Sun (MA 19)[edit]

Judgement (MA 20)[edit]

The World (MA 21)[edit]

Card backs[edit]

Almost anything can, and has, been used as a card back design -- note that many card back designs are copyrighted

Geometric card backs[edit]

Formal card play (i.e., for big money) generally demands a highly formal, geometric design that is very difficult to clearly mark during play

Photographic card backs[edit]

Photos of almost anything, from dogs to waterfalls and leather-clad men, have been used as backs of decks intended for casual play

Advertising card backs[edit]

Decks have often been produced with advertising matter on the back

Reading card backs[edit]

While the purpose of most backs is to conceal the identity of the card, readers reveal them to those who know the secret -- generally used for cheating

Special card backs[edit]

Some designs are strongly linked to the design of a special deck -- note that these are generally copyrighted

Cards by format[edit]

This category should be empty, but for its subcats. In theory, all images should be uploaded in one of two formats: PNG, for rasters; or (when available) SVG, for vectors. Note that lossless, free PNG is preferred to both lossy JPEG and proprietary GIF. The old distinction between photo-like images and indexed-color images no longer holds, since PNG does it all.

Note also that PNG may be used (with a transparancy alpha channel) to define card images with rounded corners.

However, in practice, uploaders will use JPEG and GIF, so these are given their own subcat. A cleanup task is to search these subcats and convert all members to PNG.

Ideally, all card images should be vectorized -- and all men should be brothers.

Cards in PNG format[edit]

In theory, only the largest possible size of each image should be uploaded as PNG. In practice, there are scaling issues with the MediaWiki engine, and cards are usable over an extremely wide range of display sizes.

Cards in PNG format (large)[edit]

Images large enough to print well at high resolution. The arbitrary benchmark is 1500 x 2100 px, which is sufficient to provide 600 ppi resolution at actual size (2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch) for a standard poker playing card.

Cards in PNG format (small)[edit]

Images small enough to display well at screen resolution. The arbitrary benchmark is 180 x 252 px, which is correct for display at 72 ppi resolution at actual size (2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch) for a standard poker playing card.

Cards in SVG format[edit]

("soon") -- Vector images encode shapes, not pixels, so they may be displayed at any size.

Cards not in preferred format[edit]

Images here are acceptable, but should be cleaned up into another format.