How would you play this taxon guessing game?

I thought it might be an interesting challenge to make a web-based game for your mobile device (phone or tablet) that could be played by you and one or more friends.


  1. A player (the guesser) sits facing the other players (the describers).
  2. The guesser places the mobile device on their forehead, with screen facing out towards the describers.
  3. The mobile device displays a series of taxa, one at a time.
  4. For each taxon:
    a. the describers describe the taxon (without naming it), and the guesser tries to guess the name of the taxon.
    b. when the guesser guesses correctly, the describers confirm, and the guesser moves the device to trigger the display of the next taxon (or one of the describers swipes the screen to trigger the display of the next taxon).
    c. if the taxon can’t be guessed, the guesser (or describer) can skip the taxon.
  5. Game ends when the guesser either:
    a. runs out of time (most correct guesses wins), or
    b. correctly guesses n taxa (fastest time wins)

It’s a fairly straightforward concept, but there are a few different ways to approach it. So I thought I’d try to get a sense of how you all would prefer to play before trying to do any coding. If you get a chance, please answer the questions below:

1. How should taxa be displayed?

  • Name only
  • Name and photo
0 voters

2. How should taxa be selected? (select as many apply)

  • Based on top n taxa observed (in a place or project, within a date range, within a particular ancestor taxon, etc.)
  • Based on descendant taxa for a selected taxon (or taxa)
  • Based on a user-defined set of taxa (input as a comma-separated list)
  • Based on a specific iNaturalist list
  • Based on an iNaturalist dynamic life list
0 voters

3. When should the game end?

  • When time runs out (most correct guesses wins)
  • When guesser correctly guesses n taxa (fastest time wins)
0 voters

4. Limit the amount of time the guesser has for each taxon? (taxon would be automatically skipped after n seconds)

  • Yes
  • No
0 voters

5. Would you even play this game?

  • Yes
  • No
0 voters
1 Like

Instead of having the guesser hold the device against their forehead, the game could also be played by letting a describer hold the device without revealing the screen to the guesser. The advantage of this is that you could also play using something other than a mobile device, as long as the guesser can’t see the list. The disadvantage is that the describers wouldn’t necessarily be looking directly at the guesser.

6. How would you prefer to play the game?

  • With the guesser holding the device against their forehead
  • With a describer in charge of the device
0 voters

I don’t know which app/game it was, but I kill at the nature categories in similar apps ;) I’d love something like this.

1 Like

Third option: with alcohol :white_check_mark:


I’m not sure if it would be more fun to play this with my less nature-y friends or with the researchers I’m friends with

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