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New Spread: Vexing Vexillography

Flags are powerful symbols. Visible and recognized from afar; rallying points for citizens and followers; and not to mention their rich heritage of heraldic traditions.

Primarily a flag is carried as a symbol of something. Something to which you belong or not. Someplace you are a citizen of or not. And usually something displayed as an act of patriotism.

For this deal, we will dabble in Vexillology or Vexillography as suits your fancy. The former, of course, if the deal inspires a story placed in the history of the flag itself. The latter, should the deal inspire the story of the creation and design of a new flag.

We’ll begin by shuffling the whole deck, and picking a field of color as a background. Then we will deal four cards, placing them in a grid laying out as a flag flies in a stiff breeze.

Imagine a pole at either the left or right edge, perhaps even topped with some finial ornament suitable to the occasion.

From there, your story will find its place, doff its cap, and salute its flag.

Example

The flag: fowl, Wisdom, Racket, and balm
On a field of lavender (#bebada)
Bordered in white (#eeeeee)

Chicken Little needed a new way to rally her friends, as the old way clearly wasn’t working. She spent all night thinking, then all day planning and all the next night sewing.

Surely the farmer wouldn’t miss those old bed sheets, although his wife might. Well, she decided to worry about that another day. For today, the new flag was everything.

The wind was up, so it snapped and crackled merrily in the breeze, presenting the images of the coop and egg for home along with a sturdy tree for safety.

Finally, something she could stand behind!

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New Spread: Lava

The floor is lava, the carpet and furniture (and drapes) are safe.

No the entire island of Hawaii is not melting. But Hawaii is evidence that if enough lava piles up in one place, the result can be amazing.

Lava does flow, is hot, sometimes splashes, and is always something to be wary of.

Deal a meandering path of cards. The flow runs hot at the start and cools as it goes.

The cards either the flow itself of what it flows over. Your choice, but choose wisely. Then again, it is always your tale to tell, so choose as you wish!

Example

The path: Strength, Lantern, dog, teddy bear, Past experience, sunk, and nose

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New Spread: It Didn’t Happen

Plans change. Things happen. But we are flexible and can adapt and change with them.

Or that’s the idea at least. We’ll deal some cards that define a thing at a place.

Then we’ll deal some cards that define the obstacle that brought it all to its knees.

Are the original plans strong and sound? Then perhaps they absorb the obstacle and become something different and better.

Is the obstacle impossible? Then perhaps the plans have to be scrapped. But then what are we doing with that thing or at that place?

The Deal

Shuffle the concrete and abstract cards separately.

Deal a concrete card for the place, and one more for the thing.

Deal a pair of abstract cards as the obstacle.

The Tale

Find the story in the wreckage of the plans over the obstacle. The thing can go on, perhaps at a different place. The place might still have an event, but its a different thing. Or perhaps it is all swallowed in the giant black hole created by the obstacle. Regardless, find the story to tell out of the wreckage.

And never be bitter about plans that have to change. There’s always a story available, after all.

Example

The head image shows that a Gramophone at a Frog was blocked by Guardianship and Reconciliation.

The grand ball of all frogs has hit a snag. Lawyers for the kingdom have ruled that all frogs must submit to testing for latent enchanted princes, in hopes that the lost prince might be recovered. The problem is that nearly every frog in the kingdom is enchanted, and the prince really wants to stay lost. He’s been enchanting others as fast as he can to improve his disguise for years now.

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New Spread: Walk in the Dreamlands

Since Spring has arrived in a fashion almost completely unlike Spring, let us now toy with unexpected twists and turns and take a walk in The Dreamlands, where everything you see is resting only on the tissue of your dreams.

Dreams are one way your mind sorts its experiences to find the unexpected interrelationships.

While that sorting is happening, things are a little less logical, a little more twisty, and sometimes simply jump from scene to scene without logic, rhyme or reason.

Shuffle all the cards, and if you are daring, even let some of them get flipped over so that they are face up in a face down deck.

Deal about seven cards to the table, flowing across in front of you. The cards are the pivots that twist the flow of the dream. Take your Silver Key in hand, find your way through the Enchanted Wood, and if you return to tell the tale, recount the dream that you had.

Example

On a puddle of pale peach we have: sunk, Frog, Abhor, Limited, dog, chicken, and Knowledge

This is a journey that began under water, fought off killer frogs, turned around to hate the way you came, found yourself turning in place like a dog trying to settle for a nap but unable to get comfortable in a chicken’s nest, and for one blinding instant knowing the secret to a perfect omelet served on your grandmother’s prized peach china.

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New Spread: You Broke that How?

Inspired by a friend who recently broke something in the least interesting way possible, let’s spin a tale of a much more interesting way it broke.

You Broke that How?

Tell the tale of how it broke, but don’t bother with anything mundane, or even necessarily true. The more fantastical an explanation, the better, really. The goal is more to entertain than to be believed, so err towards the outrageous and implausible.

The Deal

Shuffle both decks together and deal three cards, left to right.

The first represents the important bit: what actually broke.

The second represents the principle cause: the thing that broke it or the way it broke.

The third is a wild card, available to hint at context, back story, a witness, an alibi, or nothing important at all.

Example

Clumsiness broke by Carrot, with Racket.

We all know I’m clumsy enough without help. But after eating enough carrots, I turned orange, turned heads, and got run over by an entire badminton team. This explains my general aches and pains, and the distinct bruise shaped like a shuttlecock on my forehead.

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New Spread: Paint me a Picture

Paint me a picture, draw me a map, write me a song. Describe a person, place or thing, or the environment of a person, place or thing, at a single moment in time. Look into the past, present, or future. Just don’t let the hands on the clock move. If you have ever wanted to channel the ghost of Proust, seize the moment before it is lost. (Just consider using few words…)

Shuffle the whole deck.

Deal a card to the table. This is the central object or theme.

Deal four more cards around it to give it a frame. These cards color the scene in some way. Use the framing cards as little or as much as you like.

Together, this spread is a still life of sorts. Let it model for you, and describe the scene it represents. Be as specific and vivid as you possibly can.

The example deal shows a bat framed by Carrot, Peace, Phone, and Bomb on a lavender background.

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New Spread: It’s a Black and White World

Take all the polarizing rhetoric to its natural conclusion. There are no nuances, no colors, not even shades of grey. Ignore those colored patches on the cards, they are just noise to you.

Black and White World

Our cards stand for the most extreme, absurd, narrow, or harsh interpretations only.

As a reminder, we deal them over a black and/or white background, no shades of grey here.

Note that any subject can be spun into absurdist rhetoric, the stories need not be (and likely should not be) born of the political moment. The goal is to have fun with it, not to create life-long enemies. Unless you want to create enemies over the merits of fish over chickens, of course!

The Deal

  • Shuffle the entire deck.
  • Deal three cards in “Tiny Stonehenge” formation.
  • Call the bottom two cards the participants.
  • Call the top card the topic.

Interpretation

The participants discuss the topic, but in terms and viewpoints as polarized as possible. They admit no middle ground, no compromise, no shades of grey between their black and white. Worse, they don’t even agree on the nature of the topic. The left participant sees the topic from its left end, and the right participant see it from the right.

The story need not be strictly in the form of a dialog, of course. For example, it can be written from a single point of view without respect for the real views of the other participant.

For that matter, don’t feel restricted to only two participants, but only two are chosen by the deal of the cards.

And do always remember that the real goal is to have fun!

Example

We find disguise and fork discussing beauty vs. intelligence. Disguise sees only beauty and fork sees only intelligence.

This could be a debate about the merits of Miss Universe vs. the Nobel prizes.