This entry is part of 2 in the series Tarot Deck Reviews


CONTRIBUTER(S): Original drawings by Pamela Colman Smith under the direction of Arthur Edward Waite; Recolored by Mary Hanson-Roberts; conceived by Stuart R. Kaplan

PUBLISHED BY: U.S. Games, Inc.

AVAILABILITY: Universal Waite on Also on the US Games, Inc. site.

ABOUT THE DECK: This is a newer version of the classic Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck that has been recolored by another artist. The deck comes with two insert cards, one with the name of the deck with pertinent information about its designers and publisher, and one advertising a nonfiction book about Pamela Colman Smith.

GUIDEBOOK: The guide book is more of a booklet. It fits with the deck, which came in a tuck box.

CARDSTOCK: The cards are thin and very flexible. It’s a little difficult to shuffle these in my preferred manner because their flexibility makes them springy so they tend to fly about a lot. However, they do very well with overhand shuffling due to their glossy smooth surface. In measurement, the cards are standard tarot sized.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS DECK: I previously bought the Original Rider Waite Tarot Pack on Amazon, and those cards never really resonated with me. This deck does. The colors are bright and this makes the imagery clear. I also like the fact that the backs of the cards are done in a design which makes it impossible to tell which cards are upside down, as I’m also learning to read reversals; I’m not inclined to flip the cards over so they’re all oriented the same way.

Universal Waite Tarot Cards, Fronts and Back

WHAT I DISLIKED ABOUT THIS DECK: I wish it had a book instead of a booklet—I feel this version of the deck should be showcased as a good alternative to the original RWS deck.

CLOSING REMARKS: I resisted getting a RWS deck for years because the examples I’d seen I didn’t like the art of. I didn’t realize until recently, it was the coloring of the cards that turned me off of them so much. This deck makes the cards much more accessible to me. The imagery is beautiful with Mary Hanson-Roberts’s choices of colors. I would recommend this particular version of the RWS deck for anyone who wants to learn about the original symbolism in the deck.