Oblique strategies is a set of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt used to break deadlocks in creative situations. Each card offers a challenging constraint intended to help artists (particularly musicians) break creative blocks by encouraging lateral thinking. Whenever you’re stuck you draw a card and ponder how it applies to your situation. You may draw as many cards as you wish. In late 1974, Schmidt and Eno combined them into a single pack of cards and offered them for general sale. The set went through three limited edition printings before Schmidt suddenly died in early 1980, after which the card decks became rather rare and expensive. Sixteen years later software pioneer Peter Norton convinced Eno to let him create a fourth edition as Christmas gifts for his friends (not for sale, although they occasionally come up at auction). Eno’s decision to revisit the cards and his collaboration with Norton in revising them is described in detail in his 1996 book A Year with Swollen Appendices. With public interest in the cards undiminished, in 2001 Eno once again produced a new set of Oblique Strategies cards. The number and content of the cards vary somewhat from edition to edition. In May 2013 a limited edition of 500 boxes, in burgundy rather than black, was issued.
Their website is an online version of the deck, containing many cards from the printed editions.