looking for a deck-type-thing

Every so often I get stuck on a story, in a way that involves my brain going around and around in the same rut without exploring different possibilities. Sometimes when this happens, I turn to external tools to help me brainstorm new options — most often cards of one kind or another. Which kind depends on the story in question: I have at my disposal tarot (two different decks), Brian Froud’s Faerie Oracle, Edward Gorey’s Fantod Pack, that Once Upon a Time storytelling game, another thing of that type for B-movie horror tropes that I’ve never actually used because I don’t generally write that kind of story . . . .

But it works best if the cards I’m using have at least some aesthetic/conceptual connection to the kind of story I’m working on. Which brings me to my question:

Does anybody know of something like that which is East Asian in flavor?

Doesn’t have to be some kind of traditional thing (I have a hanafuda deck, but it ain’t much use for story ideas, unless I really need to brainstorm flowers). Could be a game — though please, something where I can buy the entire deck in one go; I do not want to wander down the primrose path of a collectible card game like Yu-Gi-Oh! or whatever. Doesn’t even technically have to be cards, though I like cards, so that’s what I’d most like to get.

Any suggestions?

4 Responses to “looking for a deck-type-thing”

  1. Bennett

    I have a couple ideas here, though nothing is exactly what you’re describing unfortunately.

    First up, although it is a collectible card game, Magic The Gathering released an East Asian influenced expansion almost a decade ago called Kamigawa. I don’t recommend trying to purchase it, but if you’re looking for ideas, there’s a card search function on http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Advanced.aspx which lets you narrow a search of all magic cards ever printed by a variety of criteria, including expansion (look for Champions of Kamigawa, Betrayers of Kamigawa, and Saviors of Kamigawa). This avoids having to actually buy the stuff, especially since any of the randomized packs from a set this old are going to be overpriced on ebay.

    Next up, there’s a new game that came about via Kickstarter called Japanese: The Game. This might be more in line with what you’re looking for, it’s not random expansions, each set is enough cards, and while it’s based on the idea of learning Japanese through a game, the cards are really well made and have a lot of very nice images in the background (I have a core set and some expansions, though as it’s not a major company, it can take awhile to get an order fulfilled in my experience.) Find them here: http://japanesethegame.com

    I also found this: http://news.oberlin.edu/articles/cards/ in a quick google search.

    I’ll think further on this at work. I’m sure there’s more out there that I’m just not thinking of this early in the morning.

    • swantower

      Thanks, Bennett! I’ll check those out. And do let me know if you think of more . . . .

  2. Jeanne / Grey Cat Quilts

    If you enjoy water colors, I would highly recommend Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s Shadowscapes Tarot Deck (http://www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/). It’s beautiful, and if you happen to read Tarot, the symbolism is very well done.

    If you’d like to browse a number of options, Aeclectic Tarot has sorted a number of the tarot decks featured on their site by theme (http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/themes.shtml). I’ve often used Aeclectic Tarot to preview decks prior to adding them to my collection.

    • swantower

      Oh, I hadn’t realized Stephanie Pui-Mun Law had one! That’s lovely.

      I’d *like* to find a non-tarot option, if I can, so as to have a deck that arranges significance in a different way. There are a few on the Aeclectic Tarot site, but none of them have quite clicked for me — I may end up going with a tarot deck after all.

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