Wildlife Card Game!

Hey all!

Just thought I’d share a wee project I’ve been working on for my godson and see if there was any interest to go further with it (as well as get thoughts and ideas from you lovely people).

This is my godson with his birthday present - a card game I designed called ‘Ecodex’ based around animals native to my home country, Scotland. I love animals (hence iNaturalist!) but I’m struck by how little a lot of people engage with the natural world, particularly kids. Scotland has some AMAZING wildlife, and so I wanted to make something to encourage Zak to get out and explore nature.

It’s basically a deck of 44 animals with hand-drawn ‘Pokemon-esque’ illustrations, grouped into 11 habitats. Each card has Top Trumps style data (size, weight, speed etc.) as well as some interesting facts, and its designed so you can play Top Trumps, Happy Families or Old Maid with the set. Each card also has a ‘Seen?’ checkbox, to get Zak outdoors to try and find them all. There are also 4 blank cards so you can make your own, an ‘Old Maid’ card (‘Lost in the Woods!’), and a few instruction cards.

Basically, what do people think? Would this be something anywould would be interested in? You can see some of the artwork at my instagram page if you like as I upload it: https://www.instagram.com/_ecodex/

  • Would people be interested in an actual set of these?
  • Are there any Scottish animals you think would be a crime to miss out in a proper deck?
  • I’ve done Scotland - which other countries or regions could I do next?

Thanks very much, hopefully this will be a helpful indicator as to interest!


I can’t really contribute anything because I know nothing about Scotland, and even less so about how to draw, haha. Nevertheless I want to leave a quick message that I really really like the game from what I can see on the photo, both the idea and the concept and the pictures themselves. Lucky Zak!


You might want to consider doing a set for Florida, as you could include Manatees, Spoonbills, and many other cool species.

Also I would consider asking slightly older children what they think of the game once they have had some experience with it.


Ah, that would be cool! Humingbirds and Alligators - great shout. And good idea with asking older kids too - I’ve aimed the reading level and stuff at 7+ year olds, but I don’t imagine that will negatively impact older kids too much.

That is so cool! Especially being here in Scotland too makes it really interesting to me. I definitely think the younger generation would be interested in this, I remember in primary school when it was raining we had cards with animals on them we would look at when it was raining.

This may seem a bit subjective but maybe you could do moths? My dad and my sister hate moths, my dad is absolutely terrified of them. I also notice quite a few other people in my family don’t like them. Don’t know if it’s just a thing in my family or not but if it isn’t then it may be good to introduce moths to people from a young age. I think they are lovely! There are loads of amazing moths in Scotland, for example the antler moth which is my favourite.

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I would love to see a deck for Arizona.


Well, I reckon that 8 to 10 year olds should be able to give you some intelligent feedback.

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I agree – Arizona has a ot of very cool and picturesque organisms!

I also figured that if they were for sale in Florida, the tourists/visitors might want to buy them.


@susanhewitt that’s a great idea – marketing the current deck to tourist shops and visitor’s centers in Scotland seems like a winning move.


That’s a brilliant idea! And you’re right, there’s lots of people who seem irrationally scared of moths, but they are so beautiful. I saw an ermine one recently - absolutely stunning!

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What sort of animals would it have?

Look at all these awesome critters! Lots to choose from😀

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Yes! There are some very cool ones. The Eared Quetzal is beautiful, and the Green Anole is stunningly weird. :P

Just off the top of my head:

California Condor
Elegant Trogon
lots of hummingbirds to choose from
Seller’s Jay
Western Diamondback
Gila Monster
White-nosed Coat
Gambel’s Quail
Greater Roadrunner
Vermilion Flycatcher
Rock Squirrel
Botta’s Pocket Gopher
Cactus Wren
Harris’s Hawk
Banded Rock Rattlesnake
Neotropical Vinesnake
Bighorn Sheep

And tons more great options, too.

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I think what you need is plants, there’re many regions with unique flora (ad for you as author it will be much easier to get the whole deck of endemic species)!

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So far I have the roundleaf sundew - found on the peaty bog land up north, but could definitely expand that out! Good shout :)

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Scottish Wildcat

Great shout - that one is in there for sure. I would love to see one in the wild, but given how rare they are I might have to settle for Edinburgh zoo…

When I was a child, I was a lot into such cards. Dunno if kids today can still be enthused (or does it have to be an app now?).

The European Commission has a card game about ‘pollinators’:
Can be had for free in several languages. I got the physical set by mail for free (for the niece of a bee-keeping friend). Can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Here’s what it looks like:

A similar idea:
Use this bingo game to explore pollination. Hunt for pollinators, the flowers they pollinate, and the fruits that result from pollination.

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