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We want to allow rules to be used by museums to sell decks for biodiversity outreach and/or research related projects. Is this o.k.?

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Hello all,

The forum has been very slow for the last six months, but wanted to say that my lab hasn't forgotten about the project. In this respect, we're currently working with a few natural history museums on the project of producing museum specific decks, where physical decks can be produced (as well as online versions of them living on the main phylogame site).

We're actually also hoping that we can figure out a way where museums can also sell their "deck," especially if we restrict things in such a way that revenue gained must go towards outreach or research related areas.

Anyway, what do you think?

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2 Selling decks on Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:20 pm

Could this also work for an environmental NGO? Could they also create and sell decks? (I belong to Friends of the Earth)


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3 Not to be a downer but... on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:18 am

Well, seeing as everyone is required to license their art with the CC "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic" license, doesn't that prohibit sales?

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<i>Well, seeing as everyone is required to license their art with the CC "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic" license, doesn't that prohibit sales?</i>

Yup. But it doesn't preclude asking for new permissions for each individual picture a museum or NGO is interested in. This is one option, but we're also working on (I think) a better option.

Right now, my lab is testing a scenario where new art is directly commissioned (and paid for) for use on the website as well as permission granted for printed decks to be sold. Here, revenue generated is contracted for educational purposes only (i.e. like for the museum's outreach programs, etc). Ultimately, this means that there's a mechanism for high quality decks to be printed (which could also control things like rarity), and that the decks can be especially relevant for the host organization (i.e. the museum might focus on an exhibit or local ecosystems). The big question we're trying to get a feel for: is what is a fair price to pay artists for this art, and how feasible is it for a museum to recoup costs (and in what kind of timeframe), so that hopefully everyone - including biodiversity - wins?!?

Our initial pilot is with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver. Based on feedback with various illustrators, we're working with a $200 per image number (seemed to be a number in the middle of all the different numbers we heard), with a deck needing about 25 to 30 images (i.e. a total commitment of $5000 to $6000). This number seems to be reasonable right now (the artists we're working with have all agreed to it and seem pretty psyched to be involved).

The best case scenario is that the decks do so well, we can make a stronger case to pay artists even more for their work, but we'll have to see how it goes. Plus, this might depend on the museum - the Beaty, for instance, doesn't get a lot of traffic so it may take a while. Anyway, the Beaty deck should be ready by April/May of next year, but for now, I'm hoping to post something at the phylo site in the next week or so to bring everybody up to speed on this part of the project.

For now, do let me know if there are any other groups that might be interested in also having a go at this "printed deck" idea!

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I am interested in the printed deck idea for Friends of the Earth's (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) Youth and Education Network. We are planning a campaign to highlight the importance of bioidiversity, with bees and pollination as the focus.

So POLLINATION would be a keyword we needed. I notice you have removed pollination from the latest game rules, and it does make SPREAD a lot more understandable and easy to use. I have, however, trialled the game with a new action for the pollination keyword: If a plant needs pollination it has to have a pollinator placed next to one of its edges. If it doesn't have a pollinator, it can't support any other species. While not entirely accurate biologically, it does produce the desired results, in that pollinators did become relatively important and the ecosystem was made more unstable by the wiping out of a pollinator by an event card. I had 3 pollinators in a hand of 30, and a third of the plants needing pollination by insects.

We would mainly be using the decks of cards in schools (probably) rather than selling them, but could potentially sell them as well. However, I think it would take an extremely long time for us to recoup these costs, if ever. But that's not to say that if we could get enough funding we couldn't do it.

I am also interested in the autonomous DIY card making mentioned in other posts, and am considering looking for funding to do this - but want to discuss it. This raises issues about where the DIY card widget would go, as it would need to be on the phylo website, but also on ours.

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I was thinking about the notion of having different versions of cards, the better to represent cases where a given species might actually have two or more distinct sets of game-stats. If we choose to do this thing, it might make sense to let Museum X offer their own special editions of cards, based on whatever species exist in and around the physical location of Museum X. The question is whether or not the local exemplars of whichever species actually do (or should?) have game-stats that differ from what's in the 'canonical' Phylomon card for whichever species. Given the comparatively limited number of species which have Phylomon cards, maybe Museum X can produce cards for any local species which didn't already have cards?
Apart from that, how about specialized Event cards to reflect known biological events in the vicinity of Museum X? Ditto for any other types of cards which will ever show up in a Phylomon deck.

Not entirely sure whether this would be a good idea. On the one hand, it could help reinforce the idea of biospheric diversity; on the other hand, it's also uncomfortably close to the situation in MAGIC: THE GATHERING where you have Rare cards and Common cards and the course of any given game can be way the heck distorted depending on which Rare cards happen to be in which player's deck; on the gripping hand, the underlying purpose of Phylomon card-alternates is to reflect an existing reality, not to serve as virtual steroids for the game...
Anyway, it's an idea for people to consider.

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I haven't been here for ages and I'm glad you haven't given up. I notice that both MSE and Lackey are on your 'things to do' list and there was a reason I gave up: I couldn't keep up with the constant flow of new cards.

Which brings me onto the relevant part of this post: if you are going to start printing decks, it's not just a matter of getting art: you need to make sure you select cards for decks which work smoothly by themselves and which are balanced against the other decks you are making. While I suspect it's not as difficult as the entire process of commissioning art, templating it and getting it printed, it's not a quick process and needs to be done before you commission too much art. (This is true even if you are producing a set not fixed decks.)

I'm not sure how much I would worry about rarity to begin with: if these are being sold in museums I would assume you are less likely to have the repeated pester power that "commercial" CCGs have, so I would suggest fixed decks which you know will play well against each other (see above), which also in turn lend themselves to teaching. Booster packs, in some form, are definitely an option but then you are definitely heading down the collectable route and you might want to test the market for that.

Following the same train of thought, you might want to have a 'deck' code or symbol for each deck so it's easy to gather the right cards back together (I'm thinking for teachers but also for children who want to start again).

I'm not sure how much of that was necessary - I'm making assumptions from very little info - but it might be useful. alien


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Thanks for the continued feedback. Picking specific cards that work well together (in terms of game play) IS key. We're currently working on two museum based decks, and the playtesting element is actually one of the most important steps. (i.e. this is what we want in the deck, but hang on... does it work as a game?)

I'd love at some point for the community to present some general rules for making a "great deck." As in, you definitely need so many #1's and x number of event cards tends to make the game more fun, etc. We do have some guidelines from the past, but they were based around an older set of rules.

Anyway, the project (although it didn't stop humming), will definitely be ramping up in the next few months with these physical decks coming out, as well as a move to see if we can begin recruit for a website upgrade (primarily to allow an easier go of DIY cards, which the teacher community LOVES).

Rachel: I'm with you on the pollination stuff... We're going to explain that a little more fully in the Version 3 of the rules (I have a grad student hired starting in May to work on a number of Phylo related things).

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