Oblique Strategies


Eno’s Oblique Strategies have a dinner party game feel to them:

The cards were solid black on one side, and had the aphorisms printed in a 10-point sans serif face on the other. Where the earlier versions were a quiet, well-dressed neighbor who, once you got used to her/him, turned out to be a funny, intriguing, and frighteningly prescient friend, the 1996 version is the equivalent of going to the other apartment on your floor to ask directions to someplace and discovering a large, noisy party full of tipsy graduate students attempting some kind of fashionable dance en masse who pause only to give you advice in a half-dozen languages. But I digress. Perhaps it’s best to attempt a description of their intention and function.

Steal a solution.

Describe the landscape in which this belongs.

What else is this like?

List the qualities it has. List those you’d like.

Instead of changing the thing, change the world around it.

What would make this really successful?

Who would make this really successful?

How would you explain this to your parents?

Try faking it. – from Stewart Brand

What were the branch points in the evolution of this entity

Back up a few steps. What else could you have done?

When is it for? Who is it for?

What do you do? Now, what do you do best?

First work alone, then work in unusual pairs.

What most recently impressed you? How is it similar? What can you learn from it? What could you take from it?

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