The Tarot of Loka is designed for game playing, not divination, and that intent is made clear in the companion LWB (little white booklet). However, I hope no one will mind too much if I focus my deck review on using the Tarot of Loka for divinatory purposes, since that is my area of interest.
Inspiration for the deck comes from the fantasy world of Loka, which you can see in another game, Loka: The World of Fantasy Chess. Warriors in four armies, the armies that correspond with the four suits, Fire, Earth, Water, and Air, are at battle, though two suit armies are in alliance versus the other two suit armies. In some ways, the tarot game for Loka as instructed in the LWB reflects that premise.
The original intent for the Tarot of Loka is a family-oriented card game, for four players. The LWB provides the rules for the game. I’ve found a number of reviews online for Tarot of Loka as a card game, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m afraid you have come to the wrong place and I apologize for the inconvenience. Some great reviews of the deck as a game can be found here and here, among others. My review, however, is going to look at the viability of the deck as a divination tool.
I won’t be using this deck for game playing for a silly superstition-sourced reason: I never use a deck, any card deck, for both game playing and divination. It’s one or the other. I can’t remember who “taught” me that, but that was one of the first and earliest “rules” I learned about cartomancy. Is it a silly “rule”? Yes, of course it is. However, call me a closed-minded fool, but I can’t pull myself out of that habit. So, because I do want to be able to use this deck for divinatory purposes, I won’t be playing games with it. So again, my review is focusing on the Tarot of Loka as a divinatory tool, which is not the deck’s intended purpose.
The Tarot of Loka is designed by Alessio Cavatore, an Italian game designer, and illustrated by Ralph Horsley, who does some really incredible medieval style art. The Tarot of Loka began as a Kickstarter campaign and was first published by River Horse Press, though later came to be distributed through Llewellyn.
The card dimensions are a typical Lo Scarabeo size, about 2.5″ x 4.6″, and as you can see in the above photo, symmetrical along the vertical side, which eliminates reading reversals or having to look at a card “upside down” when it comes up in a reading. They’re bordered dark brown, which looks great on these cards.
The card backs are not reversible, but it’s a very subtle difference, so not really significant. There are beautiful, ornate medieval-inspired designs with a center medallion that shows the symbols for the four suits of the Minor Arcana connected with the central symbol for the Major Arcana, or trumps. I love the card backs. These backs are exquisitely designed.