Review by Bonnie Cehovet
“The Tarot Game”, by Jude Alexander, is essentially a board game based on the Tarot. It comes packaged in a sturdy, magnetic lid, lift top box. The same style box was used for Jordan Hoggard’s “Tarot in the Land of the Mystereum”, and I am totally impressed with it (especially for this game, which has a multitude of small cards and loose pieces). The top of the box shows the very colorful game board, set against a night sky. Fanned in the right hand corner are one card each from the Major Arcana and the four suits.
Uses for the game are listed on the top of the box as:
The focus of this game is to embark on a personal journey of transformation, using the Tarot as a guide. Each time you play the game you gain a better understanding of the cards –you come to know them on a deeper level. Playing the game builds a story for each player – their own personal story. The players are basically having a good time while doing a reading for themselves.
- Teaches intuitive card reading to experienced and novice readers.
- Can be used as a meditation tool.
- Includes a 78 card keyword deck for those learning the Tarot.
- Allows you to use your own Tarot decks.
The package includes:
The game can be played alone as a meditation tool, or with 3-9 players as a story telling device. The game board shows a spiral snake, starting at the Fool and ending at the World, with segments in between for Major Arcana cards, activity cards and the infinity symbol. The players roll the dice in turn, which drives the movement of their game piece around the board. Actions are taken depending on the segment of the snake on the game board that is landed on. The Tarot cards that are encountered as play goes on are noted on the reading sheet, including comments and ideas from other players.
- Game Board
- Major Arcana Questions
- Reading Sheets
- Keyword Deck
- 36 Activity Cards
- Treasury of 90 Blessing Coins
- 9 Game Pieces
- 3 Dice
The game ends with a players arrival at the Universe (interestingly, an exact count is not needed to land there), or upon completion of their reading sheet (which may include traveling back towards the starting point).
A novice player is considered to be someone who has had limited to no exposure to the Tarot. An enthusiast is defined as someone who owns one or more Tarot decks, goes for professional readings, or does readings at home for themselves. An adept is defined as an experienced or professional reader. It is recommended that at least one player be a knowledgeable Tarot enthusiast.
The Novice reading sheet asks the player to define one theme in their life that needs attention or clarification, and to write a question or statement on that theme on their card. The first three Tarot cards encountered during play are written on the card, along with comments.
The Enthusiast reading sheet also asks the player to define a theme, and then ask a question or make a statement about it. Their reading sheet shows four positions: square (Body), oval (Mind), heart (Heart) and triangle (Spirit).
The Adept reading sheet asks the player to define a theme in their life, and then ask a question of make a statement about it. The Adept card shows the phases of the moon, defined as initiation, fuel, growth, realization, change, and release. The name of the Tarot card encountered and any comments are written on the reading sheet.
The Major Arcana Questions sheet lists five questions for each of the 22 Major Arcana cards. For example:
1. When do you remember being Foolish?
2. Who is the adventurous one in your life, and why?
3. In what area of your life do you need to free yourself?
4. What new path are you taking?
5. Tell of a time that you displayed fearlessness.
The game is set up by dividing the Tarot deck to be used into six piles: Major Arcana, Court Cards, and the four suits. Place them in order in the designated place on the game board. Place the activity cards (Spiral, Star and Question Mark) in their designated place on the game board. (The Major Arcana are purple, Wands red, Cups light blue, Swords yellow and Pentacles green. Each card contains three keywords, but no imagery.)
Note: activities for the Spiral include selecting the 6 of Pentacles from the Pentacles pile, noting its imagery, and then telling a story of a time the player gave generously that which was required at the time it was needed. The card is then recorded on the reading sheet. Activities for the Star include using the full deck, shuffling and drawing a card. The player then tells the group what the number means to them. If there is no number, then the player relates to the imagery. This information is then recorded on the reading sheet. Activities for the Question Mark include the player testing their psychic ability by drawing a card from each suit, and mixing them in a pile, and guessing which one you will pick. This is then recorded on the reading sheet.
Each player selects a game piece, and places it near the Fool. Each player receives a reading sheet, according to experience level. Each player receives five blessing coins from the treasury. Sacred space is then created by having on layer read aloud the grounding meditation in the game manual.
Suggestions are included for acting as a facilitator, as well as for holding a Tarot party.
I found the game to be well thought out, and fun to play. (Please note: to date, I have only played it as a meditation, which worked quite well.) I only have two quibbles with this game: (1) the name and (2) the lack of a Tarot deck with it. The trick playing game of tarocchi has long been associated with Tarot cards, and is generally thought of, and referred to, as the game of Tarot. The current 78 card deck that accompanies the game board could have been presented with images on one side, and keywords on the other. For those individuals that currently do not own a deck, to purchase one to be used with this game board is an unnecessary expense.
I would recommend this game for people like me who like to play board games. I appreciate that it can be played as a meditation if no other players are available, and that it encourages story telling – which is really what the Tarot is all about!
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.