Fifty-two cards, four suits, with an ace and three face cards in each. It can’t get much simpler, right? But it can get a whole lot more complicated. That seems to be the thinking behind Bicycle’s new Jacked Up! cards, which feature an NFC chip embedded in each card. The cards can be read by any smartphone with an NFC chip, plus a free Android app. Separate decks will be sold for Solitaire, Hearts and War. (War? Really?) The Jacked Up! decks were displayed at the International Toy Fair, and should be available in April.

So if you’ve got a smartphone you can play cards on, and you’ve got, well, cards that you can play cards with, what do you need a connection for? The NFC function is thrown in as sort of a digital wildcard: scan a card, and suddenly the rules change. All of a sudden jacks are wild or the river flows over the sixes or something (admittedly, I’ve never learned how to play Hearts). A random change and a losing hand could instantly become a winning one. The decks include some plastic smartphone stands to keep your phone private.

So, who’s ready to dive into the exciting world of augmented playing cards! To be honest, this sounds like a bit of a reach – cramming new technology into something that’s better left alone. Even with amazing video games around, people still manage to play with real, physical cards – heck, with the sensory overload that is modern video games, playing a round of cards is a downright relief. If you still insist on inserting technology into every aspect of your life, the Jacked Up! decks will start at around $8 in a couple of months.

[via PC World]