Just a quick recap of some recent activity happening with regards to a new collaboration with the Genetics Society of America.
Basically, we’re on board with making a genetics’ themed Phylo deck, and this one we’re also working on with a mind to introduce some new variant game mechanics to the mix. At this point, student job positions were fielded out (see here), and we’ve got a stellar four person team (2 undergrads and 2 graduate students) who will be working on this mechanic over the summer.
Right now, we are still discussing specifics, but we do have a number of known priorities which can be loosely summarized as:
1. Inclusiveness. Launch date for the deck will be at the convergence of a variety of model organism conferences held in 2016. Note that the 2016 meetings include mouse, drosophilia, zebrafish, c. elegans, yeast, ciliates, and population/evolutionary/quantitative genetics. Therefore, somehow producing a deck that will highlight the diversity in this mix is key.
2. Some educational objective. Particularly, interest in embedding the notion of the societal value of genetic research, as well as perhaps provide insight into the science process of how this sort of research may be done.
3. Option to take advantage of existing GSA media (examples would include things like http://www.drosophila-images.org/)
Since the summer position ads went out, there were a few bites in the sense of crowd folks thinking about what this game might look like. Below is a summary of a current possibility, that happens to be quite nicely thought out.
How about a possible “Mahjong game mechanic” (a bit like Gin Rummy except only the first person out/completing a hand collects points. This sets up a race like element in that you can hold out for a better hand (which is worth more points), but opponents going for easier low scoring points may finish first.
Essentially, game revolves around species cards that are actually tweaked to be more or less like a “discovery obtained in species” card. In this, the species cards also states a discover/result/data/hypothesis, as well as the required cards needed to complete this hand. Such cards generally provide insight into the process required to obtain that discovery (i.e. you need a wet lab work card, field work card, DNA sequencing card, bioinformatics card, grant application card, publishing card, etc). Hands that require more cards are worth more points (exponential scale?)
We discussed this a bit earlier, as this idea is rather clever, given that it does address all three priorities, as well as (and this is also cool) provide a portal for researchers to independently make their own species/discovery cards.
Still, the role of the students is to evaluate this option, and decide whether to adopt it, adapt it, or come up with something different altogether. Stay tuned.