Designed by Ariel Marcy, Go Extinct! was first published in 2014. It's essentially a version of the traditional US family card game Go Fish and its British equivalent Happy Families but the theme adds an educational element illustrating the evolution of mammalian species.
The game uses a deck of 58 cards showing various animals and a colour coding that puts them into families and illustrates their evolutionary lineage. There are two copies of each animal card. The 3–6 players each have a hand of cards and are trying to complete sets of related animal cards (ie: those of the same colour) by asking other players individually if they have a specific animal or particular colour in their hand. You can score with just two matching (but non-duplicate) cards but you'll score more if you hold on to try to collect three or even four. But this of course is where a push-you-luck mechanic kicks in: until you lay them out as sets, the cards in your hand are vulnerable to being snatched by other players' requests.
There's a full-size playing board but this is really used only as a reference chart showing the relationships between the various species and their lines of lineage: you're using the board as a display poster and players' aid rather than a surface on which to play. The colour coding is generally effective in representing the relationship and common ancestry of species but it could give rise to issues if you're playing anywhere other than a well-lit room: some of the colours, particularly the different shades of pink, can be hard to distinguish.
This edition of Go Extinct! ties in with the Stardust series of children's science books by Bailey and Douglas Harris; hence its very prominent subtitle: Stardust Catches the Carnivores. Art is by Anita Tung and children will find the illustrations appealing. The game comes with an educational booklet that explains in more detail the ancestry of the carnivora and the game's evolutionary tree. It introduces many of the Latin terms used in phylogenetics, so you can expect your kids to finish this easy-to-play family game knowing more than they did when they started.
Go Extinct! is published by Steam Galaxy and it's live on Kickstarter right now. You can find out more and back the game by clicking here.
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