Card Deck

Card Deck

What is it?

Card Deck is a game that provides structure to speedy brainstorming, and results in a stack of cards that can then be used for a variety of purposes.

How to Play:

Usually, the mentor is the recorder in this game, but both (or all) players can make cards and/or post-its. Set a timer and brainstorm as many ideas as you can that fit a specific category. Write each idea on a separate card.

Step two involves pulling and using the ideas on the cards. If each player had a different brainstorming assignment, each one might pull a card randomly. The two ideas are matched up, often with unexpected results.


  • If one player is the recorder, both should call out ideas, and the one who is writing jots ideas down as quickly as possible.
  • If both (or all) players record their ideas, write until time’s up, and then sort out your favorite ideas to share with one another.

Alternate Uses:

Idea Generation: Card Deck is an easy way to gather category-specific or story-specific material to use for a storytelling activity or improvisation game. One fun approach is to create a who, a what, and a where deck, and then mix and match.

Problem-Solving: Using the shorthand HMI at the top of a card, players can then complete the question to collect problem-solving material that fits the challenge at hand.

Plot Development: Start the plotting process by clearing your mind and putting scene ideas on cards. Once you have your ideas out in front of you, you can sort them into order, combine ideas, add ideas, and more.

Avoiding Distraction: Often ideas come in waves, or problems come in tangles. Rather than becoming lost, use Card Deck to drain all of the mind-clutter, and then organize the questions or ideas into categories that can be dealt with one at a time.