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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


New Spread: Falling Leaves

Time marches on bringing with it a change of seasons and a new spread.

Leaves Fall Where They May

Fall is the time when the trees notice that the halcyon days of summer are over, and it is nearly time to nap for the winter. And naturally, their leaves are found everywhere.

For this spread, the cards fall as leaves do. You get the opportunity to rake up the cards and compost them into new ideas. You might find the occasional card landing face down, or even possibly cards blowing in from neighboring decks. Regardless, you get to pick it all up.

The Deal

Shuffle the complete deck, and toss a few cards haphazardly onto the table. For extra amusement, salt in a few cards from any other decks you may have lying around. Flashcards. Tarot. Pinochle. Fluxx. Old Maid. Uno. Whatever you have to let blow on to the table will add to the fun, possibly even an actual leaf! Don’t fret about any face-down cards. Ignore them completely, play around them, or turn them face up at your whim.

Just please do have fun with it and don’t actually put the cards in a compost heap!


We find scattered a mirror, widget, apple, Prudence, Wisdom, and Endurance. You can’t actually see prudence, it is hiding behind wisdom. There’s probably a message there. The apple is nearly speared on one of the uncountable prongs of the widget, which seems like a reasonable place for it.

The combination of the mirror and apple always makes me think of classic fairy tales. Of course, neither prudence nor wisdom usually figure very strongly on those, so I might mix in either an Aesop fable or a Kipling Just So story.


New Spread: Root and Branch Again

As the leaves think about changing colors and leaving the branches bare for the winter, I’m once again reminded of the dual structure of a tree. We see a network of branches overhead, and if you strip the dirt away, a network of roots below.

Let’s consider the tree as a source of inspiration.

The roots anchor it to the earth, provide stability, and most of the nutrients.

The branches carry the leaves to great heights, allowing them to see sky and photosynthesize most of the year.

For the roots, we will deal from the Concrete cards. For the branches, we will deal from the Abstract cards. Connecting the two sets is the trunk of our story.


New Spread: Again the River

Water has figured prominently in our public eye of late. Let’s return to see what happens when we dip our feet in the same river once again. Or is that really the same river?

As before, we deal a handful of cards from both decks, and seek to use them in order to drive our story forward, ideally without getting caught in an eddy, finding a sinkhole, or encountering a flood.

As always, remember to have fun!


New Spread: Eclipsed

In synchronicity with the Total Solar Eclipse of 20171, let’s let an eclipse upset our deals.



In addition to the full deck, you’ll need something round roughly the same scale as a card. I’m using a coaster2 with a diameter fairly close to the diagonal of a card. Extra style points go for using a coaster showing the face of the full moon, naturally.

Deal a fan of several cards, and drop the coaster on them so that it covers some or all of the card faces. Style points should also be awarded for relating the amount of card covered to the conditions of the eclipse. Where my keyboard is really located it will only see a maximum eclipse of about 80% of the area. So I won’t allow my coaster to cover more that 80% of any card.


The eclipse is often seen as an omen. In story, it’s occurrence can be used by a hero to sway the ignorant. In person, a total eclipse is an experience of a lifetime. Interpretation of the cards can grow out of the many myths and beliefs about eclipses and their significance to individuals and even whole societies.

The three cards show something openly, something hidden, and something obscured. The moon hides more or less of any of these depending on how it falls.

The thing most hidden by the moon is the key to unlocking a tale to tell.


The sample spread above shows a fan of apple, Past Experience, and fish eclipsed. The moon covers most of the fish.

This is an omen for a curious fish, reminding him of the past, and the dangers of accepting apples from strangers. He escaped the hook once. But once may be the only chance he will get. He must hope that one chance is all he needs.

  1. Visible along a seventy mile wide line extending roughly from Portland Oregon to Charleston South Carolina on August 21, 2017. Try NASA and here for lots of details and advice. 
  2. Yes, I’m actually using a circle drawn by the same software that is drawing the card faces. But I modeled that circle after the coaster sitting on my desk next to my keyboard.