Logo to the Catastrophic Card Game.

An Educational Biology Card Game

Nature Can Create Many Dangers... And So Can Your Friends!

My roles: Game Designer, Graphic Designer

Catastrophic is a game of community, conservation and catastrophe. Cultivate and support the development of the most robust community of plants and animals, weaken those of your opponents, and adapt to survive the events the planet and your opponents continually throw at you.

In late 2018, in association with DC Labs and The University of York, I got the chance to help create Catastrophic - a card game that assists first-year Biology undergraduates to learn key topics of a large introductory module that covers ecology and the traits of living organisms. It achieves this by stimulating discussion, engagement and excitement about the course's content without adding more formal teaching or assessments.

In the ten-week internship, I worked with four other students (three of which were Biology undergraduates) to create the game from scratch by ourselves. 

I was the only one out of the five with a game design and graphic design background, so my role mostly consisted of bringing 'the fun' to the game. I did this by using my experience to introduce key gameplay concepts to the group and game (like opportunity costs, catch-up mechanics, and turn phases), while we all collaborated on tying the gameplay to the real-life biological systems and topics depicted in the module.

I was also in charge of graphic design, and used Adobe Illustrator to create all the card design templates, logos and icons from specifications we laid out as a the group. I also implemented a system that used CSV spreadsheets with all the card data (such as name, effects, which icons to place, etc. for each card) that allowed automation of the rendering of a large number of different cards from my created templates.

It was a great and rewarding experience, and I am very proud of the final product! I made some great friends and I also learned a bit more about biology! I also am glad the project has lived-on since my contribution, garnering further support and updates due to the great reception upon its release.

Follow @Catastrophic_CG on Twitter to stay informed, and consider rating the game on BoardGameGeek!

And here is the official website, with updates on later versions!