James Chip


A drawing of a bare tree with two large playing cards entabgled in its branches. The title Wassail is in a jagged font above it.
View Wassail on itch.
Buy the print zine at my shop.

Wassail is a game of hot spiced drinks, ancient trees, cartomancy and ritual. I wrote it promarilly as a way to encourage people to interact and think about nature in their local environment.

This game has the players prepare a flask of hot wassail and head off into the forest at night to find the oldest tree, while there you will perform a ritual to bless the tree and discover the forests inner most secrets.

To play the game you will need the following:


A copy of the Wassail zine lays on a wooden desk surrounded by miscelanious objects and dry twigs. Who lenormand cards lie next to the zine.
Photo by Lizbeth Poirier
Buy the print zine at my shop.

The zine was print run was funded as part of zine month 2022 via itch finding. The money raised from this enabled me to commision zome amazing art form Lizbeth Poirier and to print a small batch of zines for the people who believed in the project. You can still grab a copy of the zine at my shop.

The zine features, along side the game, a biref guide on how to read lenormand cards, a simple recipe for wassail, and a very short story. The rules themselves are available for free below, but these extras are only available in the printed zine version.

The Ritual Itself

These are the brief instructions on how to perform the ritual in the game.

The Materials

Gether the following:

The Tree

At night move through a forest with friends; making lots of noise to shoo evil spirits.

Find the oldest tree.

Lay a ring of cards around its base.

The players each pour a cup of wassail and form a ring around the tree.

One person reads the following blessing aloud.

Wise old tree, we do come Wassail to thee. Do root go deep, bough go high, do green leaf blot out the sky. Take this gift and grow you well, good health to all your kith and ken.Shew to us you history, tell us, do your future be. Bless you tree of wood so old, grow you well your roots may hold.

Now pour some of the wassail from the flask onto the roots of the tree.

Together raise your cups, shout “wes hail” and take a drink.

The History

The tree will now reveal secrets from the forests past to each player.

One at a time players approach the tree and takes a pair of cards.

The order in which you take these cards is important, it dictates the order in which the pair should be read.

Look at the cards.

Think about what the tree might be trying to tell you with them.

Think about what secrets were revealed before, and how they might relate to these cards.

Do these cards represent a significant moment in the forests history? Do they tell you about someone, or something, that lived there? Maybe they are a continuation of a secret already revealed.

Share with the group what it is that these cards reveal.

The others may ask clarifying questions about the secret but should not try and influence the story themselves.

Players repeat this until everyone has read two secrets.

The Future

The tree will now reveal to the players what it thinks the future holds for the forest.

One by one each player removes a card from the base of the tree without looking at its face. Keep doing this until only two cards remain under the tree.

These two remaining cards represent what the tree expects the future holds in store for the forest.

Turn over these cards and together talk about what you think the tree is trying to tell you.

Let what the tree has already told you inform what you think the tree is telling you.

Is it a warning? Maybe a blessing?

Thank the tree and return home.


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