Name Change – Phylo!

Things are humming along! We have over 100 images submitted, 30 or so queued up for card production, and over 40 folks signed up on the forum (in fact, one set of rules is arguably close to beta testing). The response has been simply wonderful, and these numbers don’t even the include the numerous comments and chats culled from coffee meetings to blog posts to tweets. To us, this outpouring is something else, especially in light of the fact that we’ve technically only seeded an “idea” out there!

The website, itself, is being prodded, poked and tweaked as we speak, and should be ready for a beta launch in about a week or two. At this point in time, the main emphasis on the website is that it allows set-up, production and printing of cards in a low maintenance and open access manner. The cards will initially have only a few major attributes on them, but will also allow for commentary so that we can continue to polish the way cards will look over time. Hopefully, you’ll find it a treat when it’s public, but if not, then do go with the crowd sourcing mentality of this project, and let us know what you think.

Probably the main news to report is that we’ve decided to change the name of the project to “PHYLO” (note that the logo above is only a “tester”). This was primarily due to conversations with various folks (notably Cory) who felt that having a name with “mon” at the end could set ourselves up for trademark issues since there is inferred linkage to the term “Pokemon”. In any event, the “official” URL will now be (although note that the will still work).

Finally, with info on hand from the forum, we’ve quickly made some card mock-ups (see above) so that you can get the general sense and feel of the cards. We’ve done this because a number of media outlets have inquired about the project, and many of these requested visuals. Anyway, for now, note that the cards have a few attributes already. These include: (at the top), name, latin name, a number depicting scale, another number depicting food chain rank embedded in a coloured circle (indicative of diet); (in the middle) some basic classification data; and (at the bottom) simple habitat information, name and URL of artist, and some info regarding preferred climate. More detail about this can be found at the forum, but better yet, sign up and weigh in on the various discussions.

Dave Ng

Game Design Ideas?


Please do check out the images that have been submitted so far – they are, in a word, awesome! Also, at this point in time, we have gathered a collection of individuals from the scientific community to participate in the project. They will be asked to focus on coming up with 12 potential attributes suitable for presentation on these cards (although use of all 12 may be subjected to space constraints). Note that their choice of 12 will be strongly influenced by the feedback culled from a variety of different communities, particularily those who are passionate about game design.

To facilitate this, we have started a forum at Anyone can view the forum’s content, but registration is required for participation. You can self register at this forum (by posting a new topic or leaving a comment). Hopefully it will soon be an independent place for dialogue and discussion on the project. We also have a FriendFeed site at This site can provide a place to upload content (word docs, images, pdfs), should you not have a website/blog to present files. Reading the FriendFeed is open to anyone, but participation/uploading privileges will require a quick registration process.

For gamers, we are interested in all of your ideas, including specific calls for organism images, or other specialized cards. In particular, it would be wonderful if there are folks out there who feel the urge to fully design gameplay rules. We hope that a number of these rules can facilitate initial beta testing of preliminary card sets and card games. Rules of this nature will eventually inhabit a “game” section of the finished official phylomon website.

Again, please visit and register for the Phylomon forum by starting or contributing to a discussion (registration is initially prompted when you want to start a topic or comment in the thread)..

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me or send a tweet. The official website is on track for a March 2010 release. This website will be fully capable of generating imaged blank cards. We are hoping that the first of the working card sets with edited content and some game play rules to be available by April/May.

Dave Ng

A Pokemon Wish.

(From The World’s Fair)

Do you kind of wish Pokemon cards had REAL creatures not FAKE creatures?

If so, you should join this facebook group. Or to discuss further, please go to

Here’s part of what started this group and project: a friend of mine passed on this “letter to Santa:”


It quite nicely demonstrates an issue with advocates of biodiversity – that is, what can we do to get kids engaged with the wonderful creatures that are all around them? They obviously have the ability and the passion to care about such things, but it appears misplaced – they’ll spend a ton of resources and time tracking down fictional things, when they could easily do the same with the very wildlife around them. As a bonus, if they do learn a little more about biodiversity, they will hopefully appreciate their surroundings a little more, not to mention the possibility of just being outside a little more.
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Initial Soft Launch


Well 2010 is here, a.k.a. the International Year of Biodiversity, and to us at the SCQ, it means that we’re finally ready to go ahead with our long awaited phylomon project. “What is this?” you ask? Well, it’s an online initiative aimed at creating a Pokemon card type resource but with real creatures on display in full “character design” wonder. Not only that – but we plan to have the scientific community weigh in to determine the content on such cards (note that the cards above are only a mock-up of what that content might be), as well as folks who love gaming to try and design interesting ways to use the cards. Then to top it all off, members of the teacher community will participate to see whether these cards have educational merit. Best of all, the hope is that this will all occur in a non-commercial-open-access-open-source-because-basically-this-is-good-for-you-your-children-and-your-planet sort of way.
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