DECK REVIEW | The Alleyman’s Tarot

Personally I believe in giving the cards to the person being read… I know that’s not economical or whatever but it’s how I’ve always done it. Do a reading, find the card that matters most to them, give it to them. So they remember. That’s probably why I’m always picking up new cards wherever I see ’em. You don’t have to, but I do.

I do.

If you’re gonna read my deck, consider adding cards you love. Take out the ones you don’t. If I ever come across another reader with my deck in their hands and it’s just how I remember it, I’ll be disappointed.

What’s the point of owning something if you don’t change it at all? If it doesn’t change you? So fuck it up. Write on the little shits. This isn’t sacred, these are tools and messages. Messages need written on.

My Tarot deck isn’t the one in your hand. Fuck no, that’s dumb. My Tarot deck is whatever cards I tell my stories with. Some days that’s a new Magic pack. Other days it’s a 300 card stack of business cards and little flyers. Had one made of cardboard a while back, got up to 40 cards before it was unusable.

What you have now is a relic of what I’ve done. Enjoy it, but keep it shifting.

No one and nothing ever got better by sitting still.

Hello Darlings,

It’s Dahlia, and these past few days have been an absolute whirlwind. But among the various things that have happened recently, one piece of mail stands out. Not long ago, we received our copy of The Alleyman’s Tarot.

For those who don’t know, the Alleyman’s Tarot was a Kickstarter project hosted a while back by the creator Seven Dane Asmund (whose mind we love). It became the single most funded Tarot Kickstarter ever, and it’s not hard to see why, especially now, looking at the finished product.

The basic premise behind the deck was the Alleyman, a mysterious figure who reads Tarot in an alley (I believe behind a liquor store), and is in the habit of collecting new cards wherever he finds them. He’s also in the habit of giving a card to whomever he reads for, resulting in an ever-changing deck that’s as unique to the reader as the circumstances of the question are to the person being read for.

Needless to say, we fell in love instantly.

A small personal note may be useful here as well… I’ve always loved the idea of giving a meaningful card to the person being read for. So they remember, as the opening page from the included guidebook points out. So they know it was real when they look back on the memory.

In fact, a large part of why I don’t currently do readings is my inability to change out cards easily. If I am ever in a position where I find myself with more cards than I can handle (not that far-fetched of an idea, to be fair), I’d be more than happy to read for anyone who wants it. And yes, you’ll be more than welcome to keep a card.

That aside, the project had run so long ago that we’d nearly forgotten about entirely. So, when the box arrived, I tilted my head at it for a good ten minutes trying to suss out what we might have ordered that I simply didn’t remember.

After a while though, I decided that ‘the shortest answer is doing the thing’ and opened the box.

What’s in The Box?

The cloth is soft and a little slick, and the design is absolutely gorgeous. (The phrase is ‘Make Your Own Way’.) For the tier I selected when we backed the project, I received the deck (which came in what looks like an empty box of long-stick matches), the guidebook, a high-quality casino chip, the cloth, one booster pack with 7 extra cards (not pictured), and a coin (sitting on the box).

The guidebook is styled like a cheap spiral-bound notebook with a sticker slapped on the front, complete with ‘sticky notes’ from the publisher on each page giving the source of the card the Alleyman is talking about. There’s even ‘water damage’ on some of the pages(!)

As you got to read at the beginning of this post, it’s written in a refreshingly easy-going style that really sells the illusion of this just being a random-ass deck that someone was working with. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that, as a writer myself. I will always be a fool for good and immersive world-building.

The Deck

The deck itself is an absolute beast – 137 cards total.

You’d think it would be difficult to shuffle and work with, being such a chonk, but it’s surprisingly comfortable to handle, even at it’s considerable size (cue the over-used ‘that’s what she said’ punchline).

The cards themselves are solid quality – rigid enough to hold up to being shuffled roughly but not so thick that you can’t bend them – and the colors come through beautifully. Some even have colored foil or similar accents on the edges.

I’ve already taken this deck apart and put it back together several times, a couple times on its own, then with my own card substitutions, and trimmed it down to a total of 108 cards. It’s still mainly ‘The Alleyman’s Tarot’, but I’m hoping to use it as a sort of spring board for building a proper custom deck later on.

And finally, a bit of love for this coin, honestly. I didn’t give it much fanfare in the beginning, but now that I’ve calmed down a bit, I like it quite a lot. 17 is also a significant number for me, so it was a bit funny to see it out of the relative blue like this.

On a Personal Note

I was shuffling these cards one evening, and I felt a certain tugging at my mind. There was something about seeing these mismatched cards in my hands, something about this over-sized deck, that was trying to unlock something in me.

After some focused thought and a lot of note-taking, I think I’ve nailed it all down.

I also realize that this was less a ‘review’ post; more of a ‘look at this amazing thing I have’ post, but I feel this is also a suitable springboard for some other things I’d like to talk about.

I’ll be back soon with another post detailing what I’ve learned/realized over the few days I’ve been around this deck.

Until then, I adore you all and I wish you all the best in the world. I hope you find my little revelations as useful as I did.


Dahlia (he/they/faun/she)

Thanks so much for reading! And be sure to support Seven Dane Asmund in their future projects as well! If this is indicative of their usual quality, I can safely say they have a very bright future ahead of them.

If you enjoyed this post or just generally enjoy what we do here and want to help out, feel free to share our posts around to anyone else you think would enjoy them. You’re also more than welcome to buy us a coffee, if you’re of the mind to support us financially.

Whatever you decide to do, thank you for being part of the Fruit Bat Flock, and we’ll see you again very soon!

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