Note: This file contains only the English texts found on the fourth edition Oblique Strategies deck, which is multilingual. Click here for more information on the fourth edition.

Abandon desire

Abandon normal instructions

Accept advice

Adding on

A line has two sides

Always the first steps

Ask people to work against their better judgement

Ask your body

Be dirty

Be extravagant

Be less critical

Breathe more deeply

Bridges -build -burn

Change ambiguities to specifics

Change nothing and continue consistently

Change specifics to ambiguities

Consider transitions


Cut a vital connection

Decorate, decorate

Destroy nothing; Destroy the most important thing

Discard an axiom

Disciplined self-indulgence

Discover your formulas and abandon them

Display your talent

Distort time

Do nothing for as long as possible

Don't avoid what is easy

Don't break the silence

Don't stress one thing more than another

Do something boring

Do something sudden, destructive and unpredictable

Do the last thing first

Do the words need changing?

Emphasize differences

Emphasize the flaws

Faced with a choice, do both (from Dieter Rot)

Find a safe part and use it as an anchor

Give the game away

Give way to your worst impulse

Go outside. Shut the door.

Go to an extreme, come part way back

How would someone else do it?

How would you have done it?

In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly

Is it finished?

Is something missing?

Is the style right?

It is simply a matter or work

Just carry on

Listen to the quiet voice

Look at the order in which you do things

Magnify the most difficult details

Make it more sensual

Make what's perfect more human

Move towards the unimportant

Not building a wall; making a brick

Once the search has begun, something will be found

Only a part, not the whole

Only one element of each kind

Openly resist change

Pae White's non-blank graphic metacard

Question the heroic

Remember quiet evenings

Remove a restriction

Repetition is a form of change

Retrace your steps


Simple Subtraction

Slow preparation, fast execution

State the problem as clearly as possible

Take a break

Take away the important parts

The inconsistency principle

The most easily forgotten thing is the most important

Think - inside the work -outside the work

Tidy up

Try faking it (from Stewart Brand)

Turn it upside down

Use an old idea

Use cliches

Use filters

Use something nearby as a model

Use 'unqualified' people

Use your own ideas

Voice your suspicions


What context would look right?

What is the simplest solution?

What mistakes did you make last time?

What to increase? What to reduce? What to maintain?

What were you really thinking about just now?

What wouldn't you do?

What would your closest friend do?

When is it for?

Where is the edge?

Which parts can be grouped?

Work at a different speed

Would anyone want it?

Your mistake was a hidden intention


Oblique Strategies © 1975-2001 Brian Eno/Peter Schmidt
This web page © 1997-2007 Gregory Taylor