The Forces Project is the latest in what is growing into a superb library of basic card magic reference DVDs (You can see our review of the Elmsley Count, Double Lift, False Shuffles and Cuts disks here). As its name indicates this volume concerns itself with probably the most universal of all requirements in card magic – forcing a card.

the forces project reviewThe introduction rightly limits the scope of the project – it isn’t meant to be exhaustive – but limits itself to some of (in their opinion) the most deceptive and useful forces around.
Each explanation starts with a ‘performance’ of the force. This is a bit odd since the ‘spectator’ role is taken by the computer – ‘stop’ (etc.) appearing on the screen – but it gives you a sense of what the thing looks like in real time which is useful.

What’s on the DVD?

Any advert will tell you the forces on the disk, so I’m not going to list them here. But in addition to the more well known ones there were a few I’d not seen before (e.g. the Jedi force and the topper move) and some which I wouldn’t naturally think of in the context of forces – though that is what they are (e.g. the prophecy move).

It’s an excellent spread including a number of variations and extra touches. The range covers in the hands forces, on the table forces, forces which require sleight of hand some which are mathematical or self-working, some which are a bit ‘knacky’ etc. They are all well explained – though if you pushed me I’d probably say that less than 10 minutes to explain the classic force is probably not enough (actually you could argue about that – in one sense you can teach the ‘mechanics’ of the force in minutes – but given the nature of this force you could equally spend hours on the nuances – perhaps it’s best just to get out and start practising?!).

The forces are interspersed with ‘advice’ slots where some helpful principles are discussed – including how to practise and how to decide which force is the right one for any particular routine.

Now I’ve been in to magic for almost 30 years, so you won’t be surprised that most of these forces weren’t new to me. But I’m probably not really the target audience. That being said, there were a couple I’d not seen before, some I’d forgotten, and some of the subtleties were really helpful. And perhaps best of all is having them all in one place – rather than scattered over a variety of books and DVDs I’ve read and watched over the years. So this is a really useful resource even if you’ve been in magic a while.

One of the things I like about this range of DVDs is that although they would make great introductions to card magic – they include some very sophisticated and subtle techniques and some truly impressive tricks utilising the moves. Let’s look at them next.

The Tricks

Maurice Fogel’s Triple Prediction – a classic face-saver if you need an impromptu borrowed shuffled deck trick! You’ll need to sell it to make it a miracle but it is all but self-working so you’ve got plenty of head-space to concentrate on presentation.

Liam Monier’s Blendo – a nice little ‘find two cards’ effect with an extra twist – you find a card which is the combined value of the spectators’ chosen card – and then visually ‘split’ it into the two chosen cards. It showcases a couple of the forces on the DVD. The visual finish (from Ben Harris) is what makes this trick. The routine does require a ‘colour change’ move which is a little knacky – but should be accessible to all with some practise.

Liam Montier’s Clock Trick – I wasn’t too excited when I saw the title of this trick – clock tricks are 10 a penny after all – but there’s a really nice twist which makes this rather special – and it doesn’t involve a clock at all! Combining Bannon and Hammon there are some nice subtleties which make it a surprisingly strong routine.

Jack Tighe’s Analogue Poker – a great trick to practise your classic force and a convincing location of the three cards which match the spectator’s ‘choice’.

Ted Annemann’s Par Optic Vision – a classic effect where you are able to divine the identity of three cards selected by a spectator.

Simon Aronson’s Decipher – a card ‘created’ by two different spectators is correctly located. Liam seems to love this one. It doesn’t do that much for me – but it is a decent plot idea and very easy to do.

In conclusion

There’s a lot that I like about this DVD – and I would certainly recommend it to anyone starting out in magic. The tricks are strong and the explanation is clear. Production values are high – though as on a couple of recent BBM releases you get some phantom shadows on the left hand side of the screen – which for some reason I find quite distracting. You probably won’t, but someone needs to sort the lighting out during filming!

The ability to force a card is an essential weapon in the magician’s armoury – get your head and fingers around this lot and you need never be at a loss when someone asks you to show them something.

Available direct from Merchant of Magic (with thanks to BBM who kindly supplied the review copy)  £21.99 (at time of writing)

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