New Phylo Card Deck Features West Coast Marine Species

Looking for a new card game to entertain the kids and those young at heart? Check out the latest deck to hit the Phylo game circuit. Phylo: The Phylo(mon) Project is a crowd-sourced card game whose website boasts that it “makes use of the wonderful, complex, and inspiring things that inform the notion of biodiversity.”

Phylo’s new “West Coast Marine Biology Ocean Wise Deck” features original artwork of organisms and animals inspired by the Vancouver Aquarium®. A collaboration between the Vancouver Aquarium, Ocean Wise®, Sentinel Secondary School, and the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory, this card game was made possible by the outreach efforts of various local groups.

Saina Nemati (left) and artist Bita Mojtahedzadeh were part of Dr. Ng’s team and helped celebrate the completion of the project at PSEC’s West Van Science Academy graduation event.

In a world where kids know more about Pokémon creatures than they do about real creatures, the “West Coast Marine Biology Ocean Wise Deck” combines education and fun, by allowing them to build their own marine life food chain.

“Sentinel Secondary School was able to recruit an awesome team of Grade 11s and 12s, which included Sherry Hongyu, Saina Nemati, Sarah Pudritz, Elise Verdin and Bita Mojtahedzadeh,” says Ng. “Many of them had an interest in coastal environmental issues, which worked really well for this project.”

Left to right: Saina Nemati, Elise Verdin, Dr. Dave Ng, Sherry Hongyu  and Sarah Pudritz

The group worked together with the Ocean Wise® Education team at the Vancouver Aquarium to design a game that included species from within Vancouver’s coastal ecosystems. The students did a fantastic job of creating the structure and rules for the game, which were reviewed by teaching candidates who were doing a practicum placement at the Aquarium. They reviewed it to ensure that it met the needs of its core audience while maintaining ecosystem accuracy.

The goal of the game is to win as many points as possible by playing cards to build a food chain. The game includes species cards, but also event cards that can positively or negatively affect the food chain. It simulates real-life scenarios, using species currently living in the Vancouver Aquarium. Ng suggests that these types of games work well in teaching situations where there is a holistic intention, such as creating an ecosystem. Such games show how all the different components come together and work as a system.

Though the West Coast Marine Biology Ocean Wise Deck requires some strategy, it can still be played with children as young as eight. It’s best played with two to four people and can be used as an extension of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum Starter Deck.

This game can be downloaded for free online at or purchased as a gift at the Vancouver Aquarium Gift Shop.

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