This game consists of three major components: a game board, a divination tool, and decks of cards.
Creating a game board takes time, but it helps pull everything together and creates a feeling of specialness.
The game board used for “The VisionQuest Game” is the second canvass game board I have made. The first one is still being used for “The Guidance Game”. I went to the local arts and crafts store and bought a large piece of canvass that artists use for canvass paintings, and fabric paints (the kind used to paint designs on tee-shirts). When I got the piece of canvass home, I measured it and cut it into a circle measuring about 36 inches in diameter. I wanted to make it big enough to fit 12 decks of cards on and small enough to roll up into a large tubular map case. After I finished cutting the canvass into a circle, I drew an outline of the design on it and then started painting. My three daughters insisted on helping me with everything — especially the painting. Once the canvass has been painted, and the paint has thoroughly dried, it is remarkably durable. You can roll it up with no problem and the paint won’t peal off. 12 small circles have been painted on this game board, each a different color. The colored circles also have little white dots in the center of them that are numbered. The colors and numbers match the beads.
A game board is not necessary to play the game. You could simply stack your game decks in a circle and number them so you know which deck to draw from. Having played the game both with and without a board, I can tell you that using a board makes a real difference.
“The VisionQuest Game” is played with beads. I decided to use beads, instead of dice, because I liked the feeling of rolling wooden beads in my hand before picking one. Beads seem more soothing than dice, and also encourage a prayerful attitude. Dice make some people feel like they are in Las Vegas or playing a children’s game.
The beads I use are wooden beads that come with a 1/4 inch hole drilled through them. I bought a 1/4 inch dowel rod, cut it up into pieces that would fit exactly in the bead holes, painted them the same color as the 12 circles on the game board, shoved them (and in some cases, glued them) into their holes, and finally stuck a number on one end. When you pick up one of these little beads, one end is colored, and the other end is colored with a number stuck on it. All the circles on the game board are colored and numbered, too. At first, I didn’t want to use numbers. I hoped that the colors would be easy to match. But they weren’t, especially when the room is darkened, so I had to use numbers.
In all, there are 13 beads: 12 beads match the colors and numbers on the game board, while the 13th bead is “The Hopping Bead”. When a person draws this The Hopping Bead, they can pick whatever deck they want to.
Dice, obviously, are a lot easier to come up with than handmade beads. The original “Tuesday Night Game” required one six-sided die to choose one of the original six decks. I encourage you to use 12 decks though (because you have more options for answers). If you do decide to use 12 decks, you can use either a 12-sided die to play with, or a pair of sixes. Normally, you can’t roll a one using a pair of sixes. We found a way around this by making doubles a one.
You can also create a simple deck of cards to use as your divination tool. Simply take 12 or 13 index-card-sized cards and use them as I used the beads. Write single numbers on each card — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. — and shuffle through them to pick a card which, in turn, will direct you to a deck. Be sure the cards are thick enough so the numbers don’t show through. If you decide to use cards, it might be a good idea to laminate them to insure they can survive repeated handlings.
Now we come to the heart of the game: the card decks. You can create your own handmade decks and/or purchase commercial decks. A game made of all handmade decks has a lot of personal charm, but tends to lack the depth and diversity that commercial cards offer. Commercial cards, on the other hand, are generic and impersonal. I use both kinds of cards. One game might consist of mostly handmade decks, another game might consist of mostly commercial decks, while still another game might be an equal mix. Every game is different.
To help you create your own decks quickly, this website contains a list of some of the handmade cards we have created. If you come up with an idea for a deck that is not listed here, let me know and we’ll add it to the list!
This website also includes a page full of commercial decks that we recommend. If you decide you want to hunt down your own collection of commercial cards, you need to be aware that some decks work great with the game, while others don’t. Be sure to pick cards that don’t reveal their message on both sides. Ideally, you want cards that are generic on one side, and contain a message on the other. You also want cards that provide quick, direct messages, rather than cards that point you to a book with long, complicated messages. If you can image a group of people sitting around a table together while one member reads a convoluted, chapter-sized message, you can see how verbose decks can grind a game that thrives on group participation to a halt.
That said, there are many great commercial decks available today. With their help, you can get twelve decks together in no time!