Tempting Fate: an asymmetric card game for psychics

John Ohno
5 min readMay 31, 2017

Tempting Fate is a game for two players.

Game layout


The querent is the player who takes an offensive position.

Fate is the defensive player.

A path is a line of cards set in front of Fate. The goal of the game is for the querent to defeat Fate by attacking and extinguishing paths.

A token is an item, such as a bead or coin, used to indicate that a card has been attack. One token per attack point is used. The bank is a pile of unused tokens.

A zener card is a card containing one of five symbols: a circle, a cross, three wavy lines, a square, and a five-pointed star. Decks of zener cards were historically used to test for ESP.

A tarot deck is similar to a typical playing card deck, but with an extra suit (the trumps or major arcana). Tarot decks are well-known divination tools. The four non-trump suits in a tarot deck are called the minor arcana, and they are coins (or pantacles), cups, swords, and wands.


One player, the “querent”, takes an offensive position and plays with a standard 78-card tarot deck. The other player, “fate”, takes a defensive position and plays with 100 zener cards (20 of each type, or five sets).



John Ohno

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net