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Karl Treen
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Location: Providence, RI, USA
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The Food Forest decks have been available since last September, and I'm mailing out packages almost every day now!  More ideas are in the pipeline but, as a one-man shop, I need to leverage every tool available to create and test new instructions.  Currently there are several that have been tested or that are still in testing mode.  I could definitely use feedback on those that are still being tested.  Beyond that, there are so many possibilities for these decks that a team of developers and testers could literally create hundreds of uses for them.  But I don't have a team.  So this forum is to provide space for folks (including me) to brainstorm new ways of playing, and teaching, with Food Forest.  I'll use this forum to announce new instructions as they are developed, and you can use it to describe ways that you use your own decks, or to brainstorm ideas that you think might be worth developing.

If you don't yet know about FF, you can learn more here: About Food Forest

So far I haven't created any rules that use the classification found near the bottom of the outer circle of each element.  This classification describes the element as either "root/tuber", "fungus", "groundcover", "herbaceous", "shrub", "climber", "understory", "canopy", "structure", "animal", "insect", "natural disaster", or nothing.  (See the Blueberry example below.  Its classification is "shrub")  As you can see, many of these classifications refer to where the element falls in the layers of a food forest.  It has long been my belief that these classifications might be used as "suits", if you will.  I have been meaning to build rules around this concept, but have not yet gotten around to it.

One idea that has floated around, half formed, in my mind is as follows: each player would be dealt several plants or other items, and there would be several dealt face up in the center.  Perhaps these would be dealt in rounds, with some going to each player and some to the center (I don't know how many for each).  Each player would add things to the central collection according to rules I haven't yet figured out.  The goal would be to build a multi-story "straight", if you will, using the classifications and Permaculture zones (labeled "pz" - see image below), but possibly with other requirements (like one element shouldn't shade other elements, or that the classifications have to exist with one logically following the last (root, then fungus, then groundcover, etc. ) 



Maybe there would need to be some requirement for input and output matches, etc.  The objective could either be competitive, with one player taking the central "trick" under certain conditions, or it could be cooperative, with the objective being to create a food forest with a certain number of completed guilds.  Now remember, I haven't even tried this out, but I think it could be a lot of fun to play if we got the rules finalized.  There might even be two versions, one competitive and one cooperative.

The idea of a common pool of elements goes back to a brief flirtation I had with Texas Holdem several years back.  Maybe just starting with Texas Holdem rules, using the layers to build straights, and the inputs and outputs to create pairs, someone could invent something even better, and less complex, than my idea above.

You can find completed instructions, and some undergoing testing, here: Instructions for Food Forest

Beyond all this, do you have ideas of your own?  Have you found new ways of using the decks with different age groups?  Have you invented your own ways to play?  I use them in the classroom with elementary school kids where we play Picklet (found on the instructions page above) .  I am eager to hear how others are using them.  With such a creative group of people, there are probably some really interesting ideas just waiting to be tapped.

And remember, Paul Wheaton has his own permaculture playing cards which are very cool, indeed.  You can see Paul's cards here: Permaculture Playing Cards
 
Devin Lavign
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Interesting I had been looking at the zero reply category and came across this. Looks like a fun way to incorporate permaculture ideas into recreational fun times with others.

I had picked up the permie playing cards when I saw them, so just placed an order for these.
 
Karl Treen
Posts: 68
Location: Providence, RI, USA
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Thanks Devin! 

I'll get that into the mail Thursday morning.  I am assuming you are having it shipped to a different name, since the order I received at about this time isn't under your name but looks like the right section of the country... 

This deck contains a lot of plants that should grow well in your zone.  I am hoping, eventually, to expand with more cards for tropical and dry climates, too.

Once you have the cards, please don't be a stranger to this forum.  We would love to have your ideas!

Cheers,
Karl
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 133
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
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This looks brilliant.

I see variations like Community Garden, where the object is to work collaboratively to build that community food forest, and everybody wins when it gets done--
versus Homesteaders, where the winner gets their own food forest growing first.  In Homesteaders, you can barter with your neighbour for the cards you need.  Obviously your neighbour wants to barter for their own benefit, too.  Demerits for unconnected cards (add their value like Scrabble tiles?)
Desert Island, the premise being to pack minimal supplies to take to an island retreat:  players take turns shopping at the seedy Saturday seed exchange (drawing cards from the deck), trying to get a complete suite without duplication, returning extra seed packets until they have everything they need.
One could do a Square-Foot Gardening version, which can be a solitaire or for a group, where you have to fit your whole interconnected garden within a certain grid, like 2 cards by 8 cards for example, if that would actually work.
Maybe a Dominoes version, kind of a solitaire, where the object is to create the longest chain of connections possible, ideally 52 cards snaking across your table.
Feedback Loops, where everyone takes turn drawing from the deck...if you make a match, you draw again until you don't make a match; then it's the other person's turn.

Do you want feedback on your existing instruction document?

On another note, has anyone tackled the idea of Permaculture Tarot, or should I let well enough alone? 

 
Devin Lavign
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Karl Treen wrote:Thanks Devin! 

I'll get that into the mail Thursday morning.  I am assuming you are having it shipped to a different name, since the order I received at about this time isn't under your name but looks like the right section of the country... 

This deck contains a lot of plants that should grow well in your zone.  I am hoping, eventually, to expand with more cards for tropical and dry climates, too.

Once you have the cards, please don't be a stranger to this forum.  We would love to have your ideas!

Cheers,
Karl


Yep shipped under a different name. And I will share ideas and impression on this forum when I get the cards. BTW my brother is a huge gamer. 1/3 of his basement is various types of RP games, board games, and card games. So I will also share the cards with him and get his impressions and ideas to share here. He might have some great insights.
 
Karl Treen
Posts: 68
Location: Providence, RI, USA
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Regan/Devin - Thank you!

First Regan, what a ton of awesome ideas!  I am going to have to get back to you with full feedback because tonight is just too busy to do your post justice but, wow, wow, wow!

Devin, that would be really helpful!  I know that hundreds of people are using this game out there in the world, and I know that they are really creative folks.  But without a crystal ball, it's impossible to see (and pass along) all of the cool ideas they are having.  I would love to hear any ideas you come up with!  This deck is so open-ended that, as Regan has so aptly pointed out, there are a ton of possibilities.  We've only tested the tip of the ice berg!  And I picked up more printer cartridges tonight so I'll get your stuff in the mail tomorrow! 

Thanks again!
K-
 
Devin Lavign
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Just got my cards, so will be taking some time then will give my input after I have some experience with them.
 
Karl Treen
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Location: Providence, RI, USA
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Excellent!  Thanks Devin!
 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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AWESOME!!! I literally missed the Kickstarter by one day. I have to use cellular data, "for the past year", so I've been out of the loop. And I was so bummed that I missed the Kickstarter opportunity. I'm happy to see you have a website up. I placed an order earlier this morning.😃 I'm looking forward to it. I'm gonna get another set for family, and I was wishing that I had done so as I checked out. LOL
 
Karl Treen
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Location: Providence, RI, USA
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Thanks Joshua.  Let me know when it arrives.  Might be there already. 

I've been so tied up with house projects, Permaculture presentations and garden planning (not to mention the day job) this month that I haven't had time to check back in here.  February should offer more time to focus on game instructions again.  I am torn in many directions but really appreciate all of your support and enthusiasm!



Cheers!
Karl
 
Karl Treen
Posts: 68
Location: Providence, RI, USA
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Hello friends!  The Food Forest website just got a BIG facelift, courtesy of my artistically inclined cousin Bonnie.  Please let me know what you think!  I've been so busy in the classroom, running Permaculture Providence, building trellises, and getting my own seedlings started that it's a wonder this even happened!  Please share with friends on social media, etc.  And let me know what you think about the new design! Click here!
 
Regan Dixon
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"Guilding the Dandelion":  love the name, haha!
 
Karl Treen
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Thanks Regan.
 
Karl Treen
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Are you looking for a way to get free decks of Food Forest game cards?  I've been so busy with my garden that I haven't had a chance to develop any new games this spring.  So I am looking for people to help me design some - and I'm willing to pay with a PDF copy (for your testing and development) as well as 3 real, honest to goodness, free decks after your game is accepted!  That's an $85 value - just for playing games!

Note: I will pay US shipping costs only.  If you do not have a US mailing address, I will still send along the decks, but you will need to pay the difference for shipping to your location.

Here's the deal:
1. Contact me first with your idea(s) - you can find my email address on the "Contact" page of my website: https://foodforestcardgame.com/pages/contact - so that I know you're working on something.
2. If your idea sounds like it's got legs, I'll send you a free PDF of the card game that you can print out to develop your game - that's already a $10 value just for contacting me!
3. Submit your game to me in a format that I can open in Microsoft Word.  It should be similar in format to the games I have posted on my website, requiring little editing (if any) from me.  If you can add relevant, helpful images to your rules, I'll throw in a forth deck!  Feel free to grab images from anywhere on my website or to take pictures of the cards you have printed out.
4. Once I have received and accepted your submission, announce your new game on this Permies thread.

Make it a class project!  Get others involved!  This is a great way to get free teaching materials for your organization!

I am looking for simple and complex games, but you need to write your directions in a way that is easy to follow.  Preferably, games will help to teach Permaculture principles but, for simple children's games, we can be a little flexible.  Please have a friend read your instructions and try to play your game before submitting it.  If your game is accepted, you will be given full credit for the game on the Food Forest Card Game website, and we will be happy to put a link to your own website along with it.  You will also get those 3 free decks for you and your friends.

I look forward to seeing your ideas!

Happy spring!
Karl
 
Karl Treen
Posts: 68
Location: Providence, RI, USA
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Hey folks... Karl here. Sorry to be so out of touch on this forum! It's been quite a summer in the garden (as well as in life) but it's time to buckle down at the desk again!

I wanted to let folks know that we have been working on a Dutch translation of the Food Forest card game. Yes! A Dutch fan was kind enough to translate all of the text for us, so I am now in the process of formatting a PDF version of this, but don't expect there to be hard-copy versions of the deck anytime soon. The printable PDF is actually a lot more cost-effective for overseas educators, so that's what we're starting with. Hopefully the day will come when this deck is available in multiple languages. In the meantime, please keep the game ideas coming and I'll keep plugging away!

p.s. don't forget to check out the new Food Forest card game website!

Cheers,
Karl
 
Mark Tudor
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This is a really neat idea! Perhaps this would be an expansion pack to the existing game rather than a standalone game, but I play a lot of simulation/strategy games and I can see having some setup where you have "an external pressure" on your homestead, whether that is due to excessive "pests" that you have to accommodate/redirect (Plants vs Zombies!) or perhaps runoff from upstream that you use a combo of earthworks and filtering to minimize the impact on you.

You could also provide an optional monetary value for outputs and inputs, and come up with a competitive play with the goal of who can reach a certain annual net profit first, as Paul would say Permaculture should be profitable! Or use the monetary value goal to beat out Monsanto for winning hearts and minds! 
 
Karl Treen
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Hey Mark,

Thanks for the great ideas! The deck does come with "disasters" cards (tornado, drought, aphids). Some of the games use them to throw challenges in your way.  I should probably add a hurricane card, I guess, given the recent devastation! With respect to earthworks, there is also a "swales" card and there are beneficial insects that can counteract the aphids. I can totally see more games based around these potential disasters (kids really love it when there's a threat of disaster). I also can see ways of playing poker-style games with the cards. I will have to think about how the monetary value could be applied for grown-up games.



I sometimes get push-back about competitive games. My goal is to have a variety of games that suit every type of player - from competitive to contemplative. Although Permaculture itself is certainly not meant to be competitive, the nature of games is often at odds with this non-competitive ethic. Fortunately, the deck is open-ended enough to accommodate both the Zen Buddhist and the thrill-seeker.

Please keep the ideas coming. I love it!
 
Karl Treen
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Having just read through a thread on the pawpaw fruit and, since this is a fruit featured on the Food Forest playing cards, I thought the info might be of interest here: https://permies.com/t/50190/Intolerance-Pawpaw-Fruit

The gist of the thread is that some folks have negative reactions to the pawpaw fruit (and leaves and bark), especially after eating the fruit cooked or in large quantities. Pawpaws contain toxins, which make them less susceptible to pests but also make them something that should be eaten in moderation. The thread lists several varieties that have lower amounts of toxins, so those who have not yet planted paw paw trees should consider these types when planting.

The issues that people have with the fruit appear to be more annoying than life-threatening. Personally, I have eaten pawpaw fruit with no ill effects and have fed them, perhaps unwisely, to children during classroom projects. I have never seen any negative reactions, but I have never seen them eaten in large quantities and have never prepared them cooked. I have eaten several of the fruit at a sitting but have not repeated this often. In the future, I will eat them in moderation and share them with a warning.

It does not seem like the reactions are so violent or frequent as to justify replacing this card in the deck. My sister had a similar reaction to strawberries after eating too many of them, and there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that cause negative reactions in some people but are staple foods for others. That said, more info will also be added to the pawpaw card in a future printing.

Best,
-Karl
 
Judith Browning
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Karl, I'm glad you had reason to pop this back up....I just now ordered the game, had meant to awhile back and needed a reminder
Looking forward to playing it with family over the winter.

I'm trying to buy my gifts at permies this year
 
Karl Treen
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Judith!

Thank you so much for your support! Please make sure to note that these cards can be used to play many games, NOT just one. This is the most common point that people miss.

The cards are intended as an open-ended invitation to game creators and regenerative gardening enthusiasts. While I have developed several games for the cards, and will be working on more this fall, I really hope that a community or people will evolve to create more games for these cards.

Perennials can do so much for us to create food stability. If planted correctly, and gently nudged, they can create very productive, low-maintenance food supplies. All they need is design, planting, space, time and a little love.

Best wishes,
Karl
 
Judith Browning
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You are very welcome Karl...I have an ulterior motive as our son and family have a brand new blank slate two acres and I'm hoping it will inspire some permaculture type planting.  They are open to possibilities.....
 
Karl Treen
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Judith, that's great! Where are they located?
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Karl Treen wrote:Judith, that's great! Where are they located?


They're in Arkansas, same as us....hot summers, rocky soil, unpredictable winters....lot's of growing potential.
I say rocky soil, because their acres are and every place we've lived in the past forty years has been, until now...I can finally dig a hole to plant in without a pick and a pry bar 
 
Karl Treen
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Judith, so glad you've found a place without stones!

If you know folks who still have stony ground, woodchip gardens might be a way to go. This video by justin rhodes about Paul Gautschi and his "Back to Eden" garden. It's a great way to eliminate the need to till, fertilize and water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-MSMfmbxaU&feature=youtu.be


 
Karl Treen
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I went mushrooming today and found more hen of the woods mushrooms than I could carry. I also found chaga, which surprised me because I have never found it before.

Depending on where you are, edible mushrooms can be really easy to find. That doesn't mean that fungi shouldn't be included in your food forest. Fungi are going to be there anyhow, but you have the opportunity to help determine which type you would prefer to have there. In my forest garden, giant puffballs appear in late summer. These were not planned, but I know that their hyphae are working in my garden to move nutrient, water and information where it is needed most. Mycelium are amazing organisms. If you haven't looked into how they can benefit your food forest, maybe it's time to find out!

Below is a picture of some Hen of the Woods mushrooms that I found today!

 
Karl Treen
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A NEW GAME for the Food Forest cards!!!

For those of you who are still getting used to the cards, I know that many people learn better by watching than by reading. I am hoping to make some instructional videos in the near future so that folks can watch how games are played.

In the meantime, here is another simple game you can play to get used to the cards' basic mechanics. Please let me know if you have suggestions/improvements on these instructions.

The game is called "House is Wild!" and is based on "Crazy Eights". Click the image below to find out more!


 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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