Contact Staff Card Deck Instructions!

Here are the instructions for the deck! Some card clarifications are at the bottom of the page for assistance.

The Contact Staff Card Deck!

These cards have been specially designed to break down the

art of contact staff into its fundamental components. This

enables you to create new and exciting tricks, play games

with your friends, and expand your knowledge by playing

these cards in different combinations.

Contact staff theory, cards and game design by Jed Fowler.

Version 3.0


1x Instructional Booklet

3x Planes

4x Centre of Rotation

4x Calibre

11x Body Part

2x Spin Type

2x Combined

8x Transition

4x Rotations

8x Action

5x Body Position

6x Arm Position

3x Staff Height

2x Points of Contact

6x Side of Contact

3x Speed

4x Special

1x Blank (spare)

Before you start playing

Contact Staff is a physical activity that involves a staff moving

about your body. As such it is recommended to take

appropriate precautions before and during play. Remember

to warm up and stretch before playing. Take it slow and

steady, as there's no need to move the staff quickly. Your staff

should be lightweight, with cushy grip and soft ends. Do not

push past a comfortable range of motion or perform feats

you think may cause any issues. Of course, if you need it,

take a break!

Deck Overview

The deck consists of 74 cards, which are separated into 15

different types/colours. Each card type has a name and is

associated with a colour. A contact staff trick is created by

combining these cards to define each part of the trick in

sequence. The trick is performed one column at a time, from

left to right. All the cards in a column must be expressed at

the same time. There cannot be two cards of the same

type/colour in a column. To perform a trick, the performer

must move their body and contact staff in such a way that

all the conditions of the cards are met, one column at a

time, in sequence.

Each card also has a difficulty rating, which is represented on

each card by the following symbols:

= Hard

These symbols can help you determine how difficult tricks

may be. If you are fairly new to contact staff, you may want

to remove some or all of the "hard" cards from the deck.

Trick Example

In the example below, the contact staff must start at the right

wrist (the first blue body part card), then travel to the right

elbow (second body part card), then travel to the left

shoulder (third body part card). Once the staff touches the

right wrist, the trick starts. The performer must then

immediately meet all the requirements of the second column

(orange, green cards) while the staff is on its way to the

right elbow. After the staff touches the right elbow, the

performer must then meet the requirements of the 4th

column (brown, grey cards) as the staff travels to the left

shoulder (the final column). Once the staff touches the left

shoulder, the trick is finished.

The Contact Staff Card Game (2-5 players)

Gameplay Overview / Aim:

Over several rounds, players draw cards to create tricks to

challenge other players to perform. If the tricks are

successfully performed, cards are added to their personal

collections. In the final round, each player must use the cards

in their collection to create and perform a final staff trick.

Highest score wins!

1st Round Draft:

Shuffle all the cards in the deck together and deal out 7 cards

to each player. Each player simultaneously chooses one card

to keep, placing the card face down in front of them. Each

player passes the remaining cards in their hand (now 6 cards)

to the player to their left. Each player then simultaneiously

chooses a second card to keep, then passes the remaining

cards (now 5 cards) to their left again. This continues until

each player has 7 cards face down in front of them, and there

are no cards left to pass. Each player must now discard one

card of their choice, so the total number of cards in each

player's hand is now 6.

Performing Tricks:

Using the cards chosen, each player must create a staff trick

(keeping with the deck overview rules) to challenge the

player to their left to perform, using all 6 cards. When all

players are ready, the first player challenges the player to

their left (the performer) to perform the trick they have

created. The performer must then perform the trick, within

only three attempts. The other players in the game decide if

the performer has successfully completed the trick. Upon

successful completion, first the trick maker, then the

performer, are able to take one of the cards from the trick

and add it to their personal face down collection. The

performer then becomes the challenger and reveals the trick

they created to the player on their left. This continues until

all players have revealed their hands and attempted to

perform tricks.

Next Rounds:

Play continues with all the cards (except for the players'

personal collection) being shuffled, redealt and drafted as

above. Each player challenges a different performer each


2-player: Players play as above, for 4 rounds.

3-player: Players then challenge

4-player: Players then challenge  to their right, then left, then

right, for a total of 4 rounds.

5-player: Players challenge 2nd player to left, then 3rd player

to left, then player to the right, for a total of 4 rounds.

Final Round:

Do not deal out cards, instead, players now use up to 6 of the cards

facedown in front of them to create a trick for themselves

to perform. When all players are ready, all players

reveal their trick at the same time. Each player gets three

attempts to perform the trick they have created for

themselves. Should the trick be successfully performed, the

trick is scored 1 point for each "easy" card, 1.5 points for

each "medium" card, and 2 points for each "hard" card.

Highest score wins! In case of a tie, players add up the scores

of cards in the trick and remaining in their hand (if any are

left in the hand). If still a tie, whomever performs their trick

the cleanest wins!


NO PRACTICING. Once a trick is revealed, the performer

cannot manipulate a staff unless they are attempting to

perform their trick and being judged.

Communal rules:

This game can be played in a larger group, or with players

joining and leaving constantly. Just remove the card

collecting rules and final round/scoring, to keep playing

rounds continuously with players swapping out!

Game for Experienced Players, 3-5 players:


Each round, 3x "body part" cards are played out in a row.

Players take turns playing various other cards between the

"body part" cards to challenge each other and explore

various ways to move the contact staff around the body.

Each round, each player's hand gets steadily smaller until the

last player with cards in their hand wins!


Separate cards into two decks: “Body Parts” and the rest.

Shuffle both decks separately. Deal 3 Body Part cards out in a

row and set aside the left over body part deck for later

rounds. Deal 5 cards from the other deck to each player,

6 cards to the player to the right of dealer. The dealer is the

first performer. The two people either side of the dealer

place 1 card from their hand between either of the body

parts (as per example). The performer must then perform

the trick, within only three attempts. The other players in the

game decide if the performer has successfully completed the

trick. The performer must meet the card requirements, with

success determined by your peers.

If successful: the performer picks up one of the two condition

cards and the other card is discarded.

On failure: both cards are discarded.

Play moves clockwise.

The player to the left is now the performer, and players either

side place the new cards. The body part cards stay the same.

Repeat. Once everyone has performed, the round is over and

all the body part cards are then collected, shuffled and

re-dealt. When a player has no cards left and cannot play a

condition card, the game ends!

Options: For more difficulty, a random “persistent” card can

be added from the deck that affects the entire sequence.

Trick Creation:

There are two ways to create longer trick sequences that

make sense.

1. Tricks showing the blue body part cards as the base.

This style assumes the perspective of the staff moving about

the body, touching various body parts as it goes. Cards are

placed in columns between the body part cards, describing

how the performer and staff will behave between each body


Trick showing the light purple transition cards as the base.

This style assumes the perspective of the staff transitioning

from one style to another. As per above, but the purple

transition cards form the base of the trick:

Creation Game, 1+ players:

Shuffle the entire deck. Play 3 cards from the top of the deck

into a column. One person performs the trick the cards

create. Another card is then dealt from the top of the deck

and added to the column. If the card is a transition card (or a

body part card, based upon which style you choose to play),

it is placed next to the first column. The next card dealt after

the transition card starts a new column. Each column cannot

have the same card type (colour) in it. Players take turns

completing the trick as it progressively gets more difficult

and specific, until the trick is too hard! This way, you can

discover and create random new sequences with your friends!


H-O-R-S-E is a game played by multiple people. The idea of

the game involves matching staff tricks (based upon the rules

in the game overview section). The player who creates staff

tricks that the opponent does not duplicate, wins the game.

Example: The first player makes a trick by drawing out 6

random cards from deck, then rearranging them to form a

trick, and performing it. If it is completed successfully, the

second person must duplicate the first person's trick. If the

second person fails, they receive the letter "H". If the first

person's attempt failed, the second person may attempt the

trick or draw cards and make a new trick. If the 2nd person's

trick is successfully performed, the next player is obligated to

duplicate it (their trick may vary slightly, but as long as it

meets the requirements of the cards, it counts). Each time a

player fails a trick they attempted to duplicate, a letter is

"awarded". The game continues until one person collects all

5 letters of the word H-O-R-S-E, and the game ends.

Some Card Clarifications:

Drink: Take a drink of water (recommended/water bottle pictured). You can, however, take a sip of any beverage you prefer. Remember, all the cards in a column have to be hit at the same time. So if one of the other cards is 1.5 rotations, the drink would have to last for those rotations. But if it's a stall, the drink could be super quick as the staff stalls. 

Staff Height: Low/High: The performer must keep the staff as close to/as far as possible from the ground at all times.

Stepping(walking): The staff temporarily has two points of contact as it transfers from one body part to another. For example: The staff starts on the wrist. Then a second point of contact touches the shoulder, then the staff leaves the wrist and is now just touching the shoulder. 

Centre of Rotation: Off centre: Pick a point in space. That isn't on the staff. That's what the staff must rotate around. 

Static (3 Families): This card cannot be played in the same column as other cards of the family types; Spin Type,Rotation, Centre of Rotation, as it is all 3.

Wrap: Like a neck wrap. Or hand wrap. The staff doesn't have to be rolling.

Pendulum (2 Families): A pendulum occurs when the staff's

rotation comes to a slow stop due to gravity. This card cannot

be played in the same column as types; Spin Type, Transition.

Clockwise/CounterClockwise: The direction of spin as seen by the performer.

Calibre: "The character/level of ability" the trick must be performed to.

Arm Position: The arm that is manipulating the staff should be in this position.

Side of Contact: The side of the body the staff must touch.

Darkside: This is any body part facing the ground. So if you were to lean forward, your chest would now be facing the ground, so, Darkside. 

Lightside: This is any body part facing upwards. If your right arm is extended in front of you, the front of your arm would now be light side (the top of your arm changed from pointing front to upwards).

Lock/Trap: The staff is held in place by 2+ points of contact.

Slide: The staff moves smoothly across the body as if the staff is slippery (like there is no grip).