Sunday, February 13, 2011

Science Illustrated

A few years back, one of my grad school pals came up with a card game based on the day-to-day lives of scientists. You hire and train scientists, then use them to make discoveries and mess with the other players' scientists.

Of course, having been designed by a very analytical person, the first incarnation of the game was about a thousand times more complicated than that one-sentence summary. It was also called Scienze Warz, if I remember correctly, which . . . really doesn't bear commenting on.

Along with a lot of other people, I gave some helpful feedback, and Kevin went through a process of simplifying and streamlining game play. The original version, despite its complexity, was already a lot of fun, and every subsequent version became more so.

I also offered to illustrate the cards.

It was a reckless decision that ended up taking hours and hours of time that probably should have been spent on my thesis, but somehow I managed to graduate anyway. After the Thesis (okay, not immediately after) I decided the next Thing to Finish would be the card game.

Last month, I completed the last illustration. It was a Force Transducer:

That one took a long time, because Kevin is a biomechanist and he really knows about force transducers. He kept giving me advice about what the quintessential force transducer should look like. And fair enough, because my original drawing, while based on personal experience, was hardly the Platonic ideal of a force transducer:

If you've never heard of a force transducer, just trust that Kevin was right and I was wrong.

I was probably just as wrong in my interpretation of what an Analytical Chemist does all day. But because we don't know any analytical chemists, this fanciful illustration made it onto the card:

By now you've probably guessed where this post is going. Indeed, it is a long-winded advertisement for the game, mercifully renamed The Game of Science. You can buy it at The Game Crafter! Even if you don't buy it, you can check out some of my other illustrations.

However, you can't see the backs of the example cards on the website, and I had a lot of fun designing them, so I'll post one here:


  1. All I know about analytical chemists is from what I know of analytical chemistry: Titrations. Endless titrations.
    (Finished organic chemistry. May take biochemistry, but that's probably about all the chemistry I'll be able to fit in my degree before grad school.)

  2. So, could we argue that the woman in the illustration is . . . titrating . . . something?
    You are way more chemically prepared for grad school than I was. I actually (sit down for this) didn't take any chemistry in undergrad. I know! Crazy! I just always liked physics better.


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