# exploring out of this world part 1

A while ago, I was thinking about decision fatigue while standing in line getting groceries, having just watched this yt video about how grocery stores are set up to take advantage of that. It got me thinking about John Kennedy's Red & Black OOTW. (It's worth checking out if you don't know it. It’ll help with understanding this post.) The process drags out a bit so it's kinda perfect to do while nudging a cart around the store. Presentation would go something like bringing up decision fatigue with my friend, and for each item she decides to buy or not buy, she’ll either put a card that she thinks is red in her right pocket or black in her left pocket respectively. By the end of the shopping trip, she would end up with all red cards in her right pocket, and black cards in her left. Still a lot to figure out, but this was the starting point.

Then I thought the stack should alternate by pairs of the same color: 2 reds, 2 blacks, 2 reds, 2 blacks, etc. And you can say that both cards could be red, or both could be black, or one of each. They make their choice, and you discard the other one. And you can also shuffle up the two cards “to make it more interesting” or whatever. Anyways, with pairs, you're going through the deck twice as quickly and each turn feels like there are more probabilities which gives their choices a bit more weight. So, that's pretty cool.

But then if it’s essentially “turn-based”, the number of cards in each turn don’t have to be the same. So instead of alternating in pairs, the stack can be like: 14 red, 14 black, 8 red, 8 black, 2 red, 2 black, 1 red, 1 black. You’re still alternating colors except you start with 14 red cards, then 14 black cards, and the number of cards decrease with each turn. But one of the issues is the alternating feels too even just going back and forth between the two colors. So I thought you should break up the pattern.

This lead me down a path that I had all typed up and was planning on sharing. But as simple as the set up and process was, it still felt too rigid with all the counting to keep track of the groups of cards. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just felt like there was more to explore. So this sat in my draft for a while… until one day, an idea came to me as a shower thought. And I reworked some parts and now it’s in a much better place. The improvement made the set up much simpler, and freed up the process so the tracking is minimal, pattern feels less repetitive, and there are a few layered elements that make the entire process feel even more random- which I think hasn’t really been done in OOTW before. At least not in anything widely known.

So I’m breaking this post into 3 parts, so each is not super long. In the next post, I will share the first routine with the 14r/14b/8r/8b/etc stack. Then in the following post, I will share the latest evolution.

Quick name drop on an interesting take on OOTW recently- if you are subbed to The Jerx, his book White Wand Chronicles Vol. 1 has a great version, and Chris Rawlins’s PredicTABLE is also great. Both of those are question-based where the cards represent the spectator’s yes/no answers instead of the traditional color-based approach.

So, if you’re into that and know what’s up, something you can try is to have them to pull up Chat GPT on their phone to generate the questions with a prompt asking for “fun and interesting either/or questions to get to know someone”. I tried it and the first time, it gave me some boring ones. But then I just asked to make the questions less generic, and it listed more interesting questions. I think this feels more involved and interactive since neither of you know what the questions will be.