As with almost everything put out by Astor, the props are top-notch, and also the prices are pretty top-notch also. Most Astor items cost a bit more than I think they should, and maybe this one does also. But this one (DESIRE TEST) is does come with beautifully printed JUMBO cards, and the effect is VERY powerful for lay audiences. You can see the endorsement from Jeff McBride on the package, because he recognizes the strong emotional hook that this prediction effect has for a spectator.
The effect is based on a classic effect called Design in Mind (which I first saw in the 1970's from Supreme), and also has some elements of Syd Bergson's wonderful "El Numero" (another 1970's classic). Astor has taken the Design in Mind method, connected it with beautiful props and a great presentational context that truly involves the spectator on a personal level.
The mental magi shows a clear plastic "envelope" that holds some jumbo (5x7 inch) "Desire" cards. The front card (visible through the clear plastic envelope holder) shows five elemental desires which are found in all humans. Each desire is represented by a bold and simple graphic: Love, Revenge, Power, Wealth, and Health/Balance.
A spectator is asked to consider how she controls (or is controlled by) each of these desires in her own life. She is asked to think about each one carefully, but to say nothing -- as how each of us handles our elemental desires is a very personal part of our lives. The mentalist suggests that if she is truthful with herself about how each of these desires impacts her life, she will be more successful in positively controlling their influence. The mentalist then asks her to focus on just one of these desires -- perhaps the one that she feels most in control of, or maybe the opposite, the one she fears or understands the least in herself. When she is thinking of this secret desire, she is asked to remember times when it was strongest in her life, and also to imagine how she wants this desire to effect her life in the future. As she does this, the mentalist draws something on the back of the plastic envelope with a dry erase marker.
Now the front card (with the five Desires showing) is moved to the back of the envelope from the front. This exposes a large image of just one desire. The spectator is asked whether this is the Desire on which she is focused. She says no, and so this card is moved to the back of the envelope, revealing another large Desire image. Again the spectator is asked if this is the Desire that she has in her mind. Each large Desire image is shown until the spectator verifies that , yes, this is the Desire she is focusing on. (Let's say it is Wealth). After a little cold-reading or psychological analysis patter, the mentalist finishes by explaining that he can always sense a person's strongest desire, and that she should embrace that desire, both for the strengths and weaknesses it creates in her life. Because she has been very honest with herself in choosing that Desire above all the rest. The mentalist then shows the prediction he wrote on the back of the envelope -- it is Wealth! (Or whatever Desire she has chosen).
I have given the extra wordy description on this one because I want you to be able to imagine just how personally and emotionally involving this effect can be for the spectator. It takes Desire Test far beyond being a simple (but effective) prediction of one choice out of five things. I have been performing Desire Test for a number of years, and frequently have had spectators tell me later that they appreciated the way I "helped" them with the Desire Test. Even if they know it is a "trick", they appreciate the chance to think honestly about aspects of their life.
As mentioned above, this Astor item feels expensive for what you "get" -- six jumbo cards and a plastic envelope. It sold for $45 when it came out (though it is hard to find now). But you "get" much more than props -- you get the moments of audience connection, memory and emotion.
So maybe this one isn't so expensive after all. Nonetheless, I will still sell it for less than the suggested price from Astor, because I am such a nice guy :-)
Comes with everything you need, except a dry erase marker. (Supply your own dry erase marker)
Brand new and unused.