Kickstarter Helps Jefferson County Man Launch “Edge of Extinction”

IMG_1627-e1444683403584-796x1024[1]CORSICA, Pa. (EYT) – One Corsica man reached out for support for “Edge of Extinction: the Educational Trading Card Game” and quickly exceeded his goal.

Jason Strohm asked for support through Kickstarter, a web-based program that allows on-line contributions and support.  Described as an educational card game about wildlife conservation, the more than 240 game flashcards can be played as a deck-building card game in school classes or at home.

“I wanted to see if people thought it was as interesting as I did,” said Strohm. “This will allow me to start the game.”

The Kickstarter campaign passed the $1,000 goal in five days, and as of Friday afternoon, Strom had 27 backers with pledges of $1,328 and there are still over two weeks left in the campaign.

game cardsThe new card game, expected to be ready early in December, deals with endangered species and making more people aware of the parts and pieces and the regular common plants and animals and how they can affect and make endangered species.

Strohm’s two daughters Athia and Maia and wife Janine earlier created a card game called “Wild: Northeast America” that was an educational card game where a family or groups of boy or girl scouts and other organizations sit around a table and learn as they play. The goal was for players to have a good time and pick up some knowledge about nature.

“Edge of Extinction is the next version of that,” said Strohm. “We had a ton of really good feedback on the first game and many offered advice.  “Dr. Joseph Gaspard, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s director of science and conservation, said that if there’s a really good way of helping people learn without letting them know they’re learning, that’s a good idea.”

Strom took the advice back home, and the family talked about it.

“The girls decided it would be a great idea to do something about it, but they are also 10 and 14, and they’re also on cheerleading and everything a kid gets into at that age,” said Strohm.  “I said I would move forward on this and pull you girls back in when you’re ready.”

The most effective way to reach the projected audience, according to Strohm, was game cards, including trading games he played in high school like “Magic: the Gathering,” “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” or “Pokemon.”  He used that model and went out and took pictures of nature, other snapshots, and did some research of what endangered species are on record and how they interact with each other.

“The premise of it is you have ten rounds, and you can have as many people playing as you like because you basically at that point have collected trading game booster packs or you bought a starter deck,” said Strohm.

“You and your friends or you and your classmates are hoping to win based on how you constructed your data.  You have ten rounds, and everybody has a total of ten turns unless something affects that in the middle of the game and, at the end of the 10 rounds, you add up how many points you have in play. The winner is the most successful at creating the most diverse ecosystem. For example, a Hellbender which is a salamander in the Clarion River is an expensive card and worth a lot of points, but it takes an enormous amount of other cards to be in play before that can be brought out in play. Once you’ve displayed an endangered species, typically you’ve won the game at that point.”

The average time for a game probably depends on your age.

“If you’re younger like seven or eight years old, you can pick it up in like seven seconds, but if you’re like me who is 38 or my counterparts, it will sometimes take half an hour to play a game,” explained Strohm. “In schools, I think it’s going to be a range of 10 to 20 minutes to plan a game.”

The cards in this game are broken into 10 categories: Animals, Conditions, Fungi, Humans, Invertebrates, Microbes, Multi-player cards, Plants, Regions, and Special Regions.

Starter decks individually are $10, and booster packs are $4 each. Starter Packs also include the Allegheny National Forest, Peat Boggs Allegheny Front, Clarion River, and Appalachian Homestead.  The first of December you’ll be able to get them at different places.

“We already have a network of places that already sell the first game,” said Strohm.  “You should be able to get it locally and in this region, and, yes, they would make good stocking stuffers for Christmas.”

The Kickstarter approach should also help with another of Strom’s goal for the game; putting the game in regional schools.

“It’s not a loan, it’s not a grant,” said Strohm. “It’s actually based on a reward system.  If someone donates $1, they are sent a random card, $5 is a shout out on Facebook, with $10 you get a signed copy of the Grandma Strom card (Jason’s mom), at $25 you get a poster, at $50 I custom make a benefactor card, and you can be played in the game as a benefactor, and $100 which is called the sweet spot.  For $100,, you pick what school you want to send a complete set and four starter decks.”

The Sweet Spot donors on Kickstarter have already funded 11 schools, including:

  • Brookville Area High School
  • Clarion-Limestone Area High School
  • Redbank Valley High School
  • Fox Chapel School District
  • Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy
  •  Belleville Mennonite School
  •  Clarion University of Pennsylvania
  •   Taylor Diversion Programs (Tionesta)
  •  North Clarion High School
  •   Clarion Christian School
  •   Clarion Immaculate Conception School

For more information about Edge of Extinction by Jason Strohm, go to Kickstarter.com and search for Edge of Extinction: the Educational Trading Card Game.


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