Today I have a real treat in store for you, as I interviewed Matt Montrose, of Montrose Biology. Matt developed a card game called “Ecologies” which helps teach the science of food webs, trophic levels, and ecologies. I picked up this game after seeing an ad for it on social media, and I have to say it is a personal favorite. It’s small, easy to learn, and the artwork is just stunning!
Matt’s idea for the game came from his job. As a high school biology teacher, he developed a proto-game to teach the science of food webs. His students and their parents loved the game so much that they asked him to develop it into a professional format and sell it. Matt did just that and used public domain Victorian artwork as the designs for each of his cards. The artwork comes from old science publications, maps, and other sources, each beautifully remastered to go with the game. Sometimes I get distracted by the cards’ artwork and forget it’s my turn to play!
The “Ecologies” game is easy enough to learn and can be played by anyone, including kids over 8. It’s a great Christmas gift idea. I taught my parents how to play, and they thought it was really nerdy at first (which it is), but ended up loving it. The game works similar to Solitare, and players get points by building specific ecologies. In building your ecologies, you learn about trophic levels, consumers, and producers, as well as specific ecologies around the world. The game even has an expansion pack: “Bizarre Biomes,” which gives more ecologies and animals to play and can be played by itself without having the original pack. Matt is currently working on other specific expansion packs, including a marine one. You can learn more about the game here.
As a science communicator, I appreciated the effort and time Matt put into this game to help make science more fun. I’d highly recommend buying this game for a Christmas gift or a loved one, and it helps support local business. You can get your own game copy at Matt’s Etsy shop.
Listen below to our interview to learn more about Matt’s inspiration, research, and the game itself!