One person remarked:
"It's doesn't work because there isn't an alluring story. They need to do it based on an ancient religion like Pokemon is based on Shintoism. Imagine if you could draw on the power of animals and nature like Native Americas. I am sure that nerds could get into that."
My response is simple: be good at prompting players to consider the evolutionary and existential story behind these organisms.
Also, one of my friends who remarked that the information on the "flip side" of the cards evoked memories of her interest and excitement in reading "wildlife fact file" cards when she was younger.
Beyond laying down facts, perhaps we can provide added opportunity for inspiring "the sense of wonder" by including a section on current scientific mysteries or interesting puzzles?
We can pose current theoretical curiosities by drawing from current hypotheses. What I'm about to lay down would benefit some refinement to make it more accessible, but let's use the European Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster) card as an example.
Merops apiaster exhibits cooperative breeding behavior. The offspring will frequently nest nearby or may stay with their parents even when they've matured. [ you can google the abstract I'm pulling evidence from on the Oxford Press: Lessels, Avery, and Krebs (1992) Nonrandom dispersal of kin: why do European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) brothers nest close together? Behavioral Ecology 5 105-113 ]
In the big picture (as I've come to understand it), cooperative breeding makes evolutionary researchers wonder: If individuals are supposed to compete to ensure their survival and reproductive success, how does cooperation that requires an individual to forgo reproductive opportunities exist? [Like I said, it might benefit from some re-wording to make it more accessible but that's the evolutionary puzzle I'd pose.]
[It's been a while, but if I recall correctly, this article articulated a fair overview of what's going on in biological altruist research: Okasha, S. (2010) Altruism researchers must cooperate Nature 467 653-655 ]
It's admittedly a new initiative that kicks the scope of phylo to a new level, but I hope to seed the idea and think there exist ways to tie in the narrative of "ultimate behavior" (which I gave an example of above) and the historical aspect of evolutionary phylogenetic development (who's related to what, etc. I think it's worth including but my imagination has yet to give a good example yet) on the informational backside of the cards.