Storyteller Tactics Review: The cards

Storyteller Tactics Review: Unboxing

My Storyteller cards arrive in Australia

Britni Pepper
Published in
7 min readMar 11


The sealed box — image by author


Dear Reader, I bought them!

It honestly didn’t take a real lot of selling for me to press the BUY button for the Pip Decks Storyteller Tactics card deck.

Once I had grasped the system's value and how I could use it in my work, the cards and the Vault and the other resources became something that I needed to move forward.

I almost don’t need the actual cards. The virtual deck has a complete set in PDF format — and you could print them onto thick paper or cardstock if you wanted — plus you get a significant bundle of extras in videos, templates, etc.

Personally, I think the best part of the deal is Steve Rawling explaining, with copious examples, exactly how the system works, one video per card:

Nevertheless, once I decided to write an in-depth review, I knew I needed the actual cards so that I could take photographs of them without worrying too much about image copyright infringement.

After all, as an editor for the ILLUMINATION publications part of my job is making sure that the writers follow the rules about intellectual property and what sort of example would I be setting if I were flouting our own rules?

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Yes, they are a bit spendy

The actual cards work out to be more than pocket change. A legitimate business expense if you can persuade the boss to buy them.

I’m pretty much my own boss nowadays and I thought fairly hard before flashing out my credit card.

As I noted in an earlier article, the images and text on the cards are available for free and Lord knows there is no shortage of blog posts and video walkthroughs on the Pip Decks site to guide users and hangers-on.

Not to mention dedicated Slack channels where you can ask for help, chat with the Pip Decks people, see what others are doing.

You get the best value if you buy the whole package, virtual cards, physical cards, and The Vault. As I said, I didn’t need to think too long about buying these. Stick with me and we’ll find out why.

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Fast Track

Right from the moment I placed my order for the cards I had tracking info available. Of course, it starts slow with the report that the package information has been received by the people with the trucks before the parcel is even made up but it’s reassuring to know what’s happening.

Sending parcels to the other side of the world can be a little fraught these days. All told it took exactly two weeks to get from the UK to Australia and maybe my refreshing the page a hundred times a day didn’t help speed things up.

Arrival! (image by author)

In due course my cards arrived. Well done Pip Decks for using a mailing package that isn’t too flimsy or too big and bulky for the task. Amazon would have shipped them in something about the size of a footlocker filled with plastic bubbles, I am sure.

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It’s just a pack of cards, you say, and how vital is it that we see you pulling the wraps off?

Fair question but as noted above these can be pricey and they are an investment. Having them well protected so that they arrive safely is important.

Inside the carton. (Image by author)

Again, well done Pip Decks for recycled, recyclable, organic packaging. No one-use plastic to help clog up the environment. The carton did its job, protecting my cards, and I popped it into the cardboard recycling bin.

Inside the box. (Image by author)

Okay, there is a bit of plastic shrink wrap covering the card box and the cards themselves. Fair enough. This protects from damp or rain along the way.

The box is sturdy, labelled and decorated in the Pip Decks corporate style, and will sit well on the bookshelf or tumbling in the briefcase. It’s not going to come apart or wear away easily. For travel it might be worth stowing it into a storage pocket in your bag, or putting a rubber band over the lid; if the lid works off and the cards get out, then they may get creased or torn.

A nice little touch: inside the box is a bit of artwork, a hidden treasure that took me some work with my phone to capture.

Thinking inside the box. (Image by author)

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The cards themselves

The cards are about twice the dimensions of regular playing cards. Sturdy, plastic-coated, they should stand up to years of use.

There are 54 regular cards in the system and “foreword and afterword” cards giving a bit of information about the system and designer.

Half a hundred treasures. (Image by author)

One nice touch is that the cards have coloured borders depending on the type. Recipe cards are buff, Concepts red, Characters yellow and so on. The more organisation the better. I love this; it is a well-thought-out system giving the user more control. Keep the colours in line and finding the card you want shouldn’t be more than a couple of seconds work.

The system — how it goes in a nutshell. (Image by author).

The first system card has a black border. It explains how the system works in a summary fashion and lists the type of cards, using symbols and the colour codes noted above. This really is something that has been carefully organised and speaks volumes to how much of a help the cards will be in your professional life.

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The system

Although you don’t need the cards to use the system and you can make a good start using it without spending a cent, just using the ample free resources Pip Decks makes available, the cards are something concrete you can show to co-workers, or to lay out in a storyboard fashion to help get your thoughts in order.

Although there are a tonne of online tools for mind-mapping and layout, I like having physical entities I can move around on the table to experiment with until I get things sorted out the way I want them. All I need is right there in my hands.

The system itself is brilliant. Although everything in it may be found in books on storytelling, here is all you need to know summarised and organised and linked. It is a real powerhouse you can put in your pocket and refer to at a moment’s notice.

If you want to drill down on the details, go to the books you should already have on your shelf. The cards give you the guts of storytelling in an immediate, hands-on fashion. You can work out your plan and then fill in the blanks from your own resources for your own needs.

You can pull out a random card and roll it over in your mind as to how you might use it. And then follow the links to other cards to add in supporting themes, characters, ideas.

In articles to come I will look at the cards and the system in more detail.

For the moment, I can heartily recommend going to the Pip Decks site, looking through the free resources such as the videos and the blog and the actual card contents and getting your storytelling juices flowing.

Trust me, you can make a big difference. Even if you have been telling stories since childhood — like me — the Storyteller Tactics system can take you to the next level.

I’m excited. Come along with me as we look further into the cards.


Use my discount code BRITNIPEPPER to get 15% off. I get a few dollars in return. The bold links above are affiliates, same deal. Or just go to the website, no strings attached, look around, discover the system for yourself.

My review series is free. I explore the cards, the systems, the tactics, link to independent reviews, and even show you how to get every word, every diagram, every dot point on every card for free, without paying a cent, with the blessing of the firm.

I believe in these cards. They are the wisdom of storytellers, passed on from ages past. The tactics work. They are a secret guide in the palm of your hand, and while they are expensive, they come with a money back guarantee.


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Britni Pepper

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.