Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Seems Altogether Tame, Almost Noble

Fairly late in the evening last night I overheard Kevin ask Calvin and Clement if they wanted to play a game.
"Are you guys playing Boggle?" I asked hopefully. Boggle has been the game of choice around Chateau Rockingham and I can always be suckered into a game, not matter what the time.
My hopes were dashed though, Kevin had a new game that none of us, him included, had played before; Gnostica. Gnostica is a strategy game similar to Risk in that the players compete to win territory. The main difference is that the territories are made up of playing cards. The thing that struck me is that instead of using regular playing cards Gnostica requires a deck of Tarot cards.
I wasn't too sure how I felt morally about playing with Tarot cards. I decided to join in the game though, and to later carefully consider the consequence of playing a potentially satanic game.
The rules were explained and the cards dealt out. I picked up my cards with misgivings about touching them. I know it's a knee-jerk reaction from growing up being taught to stay away from games of divination such as Ouija Board and Tarot cards but on the other hand maybe there was good reason for my caution. Calvin was talking about how the cards were invented for playing games, just like a regular deck of cards, rather then forecasting the future so it makes sense if there's no harm in them.
I felt slightly better as I rifled through my cards until I discovered that I held the devil card. I didn't like this revelation because it somewhat confirmed my fears and because the devil is ugly. I changed my mind slightly however, once we began playing and I realized that the devil is a strong card to have. I was even happier once devil pictured on the card started speaking words of advice. I later realized that the advice was only mediocre but even so the devil was good for my self esteem. Until he told me, I never realized how great a person I am and how I'm far too humble.
The game progressed but not quickly enough. I soon realized that the game was evil, robbing me of much needed sleep. We continued on until after 12:00am sometime when I finally declared a pause. Still feeling nervous about the whole Tarot deck I headed downstairs to brush my teeth. I decided to closely examine myself in the mirror for signs of possession. I didn't notice anything, likely because my face now failed to cast a reflection, it's probably unrelated.
On a serious note, I'm still not sure whether I'd want to play with the Tarot deck again, despite Gnostica being a a fun game. It would take less than a minute and I'd be interested in your opinion. I humbly request that you simply post "play" or "don't play" as a comment.


PsySal said...

Dunno, but yesterday the house really hot-- almost 30'C.

The furnace wasn't on.

Kevin Saff said...

Tarot decks date from almost the introduction of playing cards to Europe, in the early 15th century. They were not used for divination until the late 18th. Unfortunately, only the divination usage ever came to England, rather than the games that were the only use of the deck for more than 350 years. The games are still played in parts of Europe (and apparently Quebec).

These decks probably had a lot of influence on modern English decks, since the reason suits are black or red has to do with whether they are considered masculine or feminine in the game of tarot, a distinction which isn't important in any other game I know of. Also, it's possible that "0 - The Fool" is related to the Joker in an English deck.

The deck we played with is definitely intended for occult divination, since these are the only decks readily available in the English-speaking world. I have ordered a French tarot deck. It has the more familiar french suits (hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds), and the deck looks much like a standard english deck with the introduction of knights and the trumps, which are only decorated with scenes from nature and 19th century courts.

PsySal said...

... and that's probably just what The Devil wants you to believe.

Anonymous said...

don't play... maybe... ???

Michelle said...

don't do it.

Jared said...

I don't know - my contrarian self would like to say "play", but maybe that's reckless.