Rowan Senior Creates New Board Game Inspired By Volunteering At Fossil Park

Rowan University senior Lucas Petrin explains his game at Rowan’s Fossil Park. Photo credit: Rowan University

Rowan University student Lucas Petrin has developed a card game called Fossil Fracas: Not So Nice Age, inspired by his experiences volunteering in the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University.  

The game is a combination of his two passions:  the study of fossils and his love of games. 

Petrin has completed a prototype of the game, and he is now seeking funding for his prehistoric project through a very modern Kickstarter campaign.

“I launched the Kickstarter July 1, and it runs through Aug. 7,” Petrin said. “The goal is to raise enough money for a small print run as part of my BFA thesis.”

Petrin, a rising senior in the Biomedical Art & Visualization program through the College of Communication & Creative Arts, began creating Fossil Fracas in a game design class last September as part of his thesis project.

An honors student, Petrin said a popular board game club within the Thomas N. Bantivoglio Honors Concentration pits students against one another over such games as Shadow Hunters, a survival game set in a devil-filled forest.

“Shadow Hunters really inspired me,” he said. “It’s one of the games that we had the most fun playing as a group.”

Like players in Shadow Hunters, Fossil Fracas players conceal their identities from others as they try to determine who among them is on their team.

“The goal is to figure out who’s predator, who’s prey and to try to win with your team,” he said.

In creating Fossil Fracas, Petrin designed dozens of unique pieces of artwork including character profiles, action cards (which tell players what to do, how to interact with others and help them win), and ochre cards, which help players figure out the identity of others.

Set about three million years ago toward the end of the Pleistocene era, Fossil Fracas: Not So Nice Age takes place shortly before the dawn of humankind but long after the asteroid impact 65 million years ago that wiped out Cretaceous-era dinosaurs. Rowan’s fossil park in Mantua Township, a former marl quarry, is teaming with the remains of aquatic animals from the Cretaceous period that perished following the asteroid’s impact.

Petrin said that while the game is set in the Pleistocene era, it has a modern message: that the planet is fragile and steaming toward disaster.  He hopes, of course, that the game takes off commercially, but also that it raises awareness about the dangers of climate change.

“In my card game, the weather is getting colder and the animals are getting extinct. In reality, the planet is due for another ice age but it’s not happening, mostly because of all the greenhouse gases in the air, and we’re losing plants and animals,” Petrin said.

To learn more about Fossil Fracas: Not So Nice Age, visit Petrin’s Kickstarter campaign website.