How to use the card deck for serious strategy planning

Games to play with the card deck

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 Robert Cantrell, the author, is a professional strategist and a client of Atchity Editorial/Entertainment International




A game for the world as it is…

(This game can be used for training and to solve real world problems.)

  1. Select a strategic problem to solve. 
  2. Describe what the problem is and what the problem means.
  3. Build a cause and effects chain forward and backward from the problem.  For example, if the problem is “I do not have outside support, meaning I will have to proceed on my own,” you might go forward with “I will have to proceed on my own, meaning I will have to succeed with the resources I have,” and then “I will have to succeed with the resources I have, meaning I will have only one chance to reach my objective.”  You might go backward with “I have moved beyond the capacity of my support to reach me, meaning I do not have outside support,” and before that, “my objective is remote, meaning I have to move beyond the capacity of my support to reach me.”  Go forward and backward at least two steps from the central problem; branches are acceptable.  (Within reason, the broader your cause and effects chain or net, the better your potential result.)
  4. Deal at least five Strategy cards from the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck to each player.
  5. Allow each player, on successive turns, to apply a Strategy card anywhere along the cause and effects chain – to include supporting previously played cards – in a way that supports the resolution of the original strategic problem.  For the example in #2 above, the card 10 of Diamonds, FEINT IN THE EAST, ACT IN THE WEST, evokes the possibility that you might draw an adversary away from your objective thereby eliminating your need for support at the objective.  Queen of Hearts, CREATE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING, evokes the possibility you might cause your adversary to believe you have support even though you do not.  You might further develop the Queen of Hearts by playing the 3 of Clubs, SOW A DISCORD, that evokes the possibility you might allow your adversaries to discover “secrets” that are actually false – the secret in this example being that your support has greater reach than it does. 
  6. Draw cards to replace those used.
  7. Play until you have a plan, succeed at a plan, or until cards run out.
  8. For real world problems, play is continuous as the situation changes.
  9. You win as a team by solving the strategic problem, though a moderator or group consensus can award the designation of winner for training games.


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