Saturday, 20 April 2013

Oblique Strategies - Musical Fun with Brian and Peter

"The internet... if you're not learning a new thing every day then you're doing it wrong."

Brian Eno - Games Designer?
©Rolling Stone Magazine
Today's new thing (well new to me anyway) is that noted producer and all round musical genius Brian Eno is also a game designer.

In 1975, he and Berlin born British artist Peter Schmidt, released Oblique Strategies, a limited run of 500 boxed sets of 113 cards signed and personally given as gifts.   Each card contains an inspirational phrase, question or dilemas designed to focus artists on other ways of solving problems and avoiding creative block.

in the early 80s Eno went further, creating his "Games for Musicians" for the recording sessions of the David Bowie album Outside.  Some of the characters he came up with would not look out of place in a William Gibson novel and on it's release Rolling Stone's critical review aptly characterised it as having a "jury-rigged cybernoir narrative".

It occurred to me how fun it could be for a Neutral (or Chaotic) PC to be furnished with a deck of these cards and for their player to respond to the whims of each card.  A cartomantic verison of The Dice Man, you could even make this into a cursed magic item like the Deck of Many Things.

Thanks to Sword & Backpack for leading me to this little gem and thanks also to Gregory Taylor who hosts a fine Oblique Strategies resource page.

In case you were wondering how much you have to pay for a 1st edition signed copy, ebay has one listed for $4,999!!

The Eno shop will also flog you a brand new (unsigned) copy for the princley sum of £30.  For technocenti an e-version is available at

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