Shanleya's Quest Patterns in Plants Card Game By Thomas J. Elpel. Illustrated by Gloria Brown Photos by Thomas J. Elpel and Mary Ellen Harte
Read the book. Play the game! The Patterns in Plants Card Game is a fun way to test your skills at identifying the family patterns described in Shanleya's Quest. Learn to see the patterns in the game. Then you will be able to recognize them in the real world!
Many different plant identification games are possible with this deck of cards. Please scroll down the page for a look at some of the options. More game ideas and rules will be posted here over time, and you are welcome to submit your own games! ISBN: 1-892784-23-8 March 2006. $15.00.
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The card game is superb and is unlike anything we have here, it compliments the shanleya's quest book wonderfully and there is always call for good ways to introduce children to Bushcraft. My wife wouldn't let me go to sleep last night until she had beat me at the memory game and crazy flowers at least 5 times, but whilst out flying Torin (my harris hawk) today I was able to identify the family of almost all the flowers I saw as a result.
Related plants have similar patterns for identification and often very similar uses. Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids Ages 9 to 99 will teach you the plant identification skills you need to play the card game. Play the game to practice the plant identification skills taught in the book. Then you will be able to recognize these same patterns in the real world.
Eight families of plants are featured in the book. As you read about each of the plant families, take a moment to study the wildflower cards from those families. Use the Plant Patterns Answer KeY included in the deck to verify which flowers belong to which families. When you have completed the book and reviewed all the cards, then you are ready to play the Shanleya's Quest Patterns in Plants Card Game.
Sharing the Game Do you want to introduce the game to a group of people without taking time to read the story? Have an experienced leader lay out all the cards in rows organized by family and describe the patterns with as little information as possible, showing the family patterns in the cards, such as:
Mint Family: Square stems and opposite leaves. Parsley Family: Compound umbels, like umbrellas with smaller umbrellas at the end of each spoke. Mustard Family: The 4-petaled flowers in the deck. Pea Family: Irregular flowers with a banner, wings, and keel. (Different from the Mint flowers.) Lily Family: 3 sepals and 3 petals of the same size and color in two over-lapping rows. (Looks like six petals.) Grass Family: No sepals or petals. Rose Family: The 5-petaled flowers in the deck. Aster Family: Composites-disk flowers and ray flowers. Each sunflower seed is produced by a 5-petaled "disk flower" within the composite head. The flowers grow from a pitted disk, like flowers in a garden. Even the perimeter "petals" are individual flowers. Additional details: Most Asters have disk flowers as well as ray flowers, but thistles only have disk flowers. Dandelions only have ray flowers. Also, compare Asters to red clover from the Pea Family, which has tiny flowers clustered together at the top of the stem, but no pitted disk.
Now, shuffle the deck and flip the cards face-up, one-at-a-time on the table, asking the group for the family names. With a pass or two through the deck, everyone will know the patterns well enough to move into the games.
Game 1. Plant Patterns Memory Game: Game Setup: For 2 to 8 players or 2 teams. Remove the "Monocot" and "Dicot" cards from the deck, then shuffle and deal out the remaining 50 cards face down on the table in a grid pattern (columns and rows). How to Play: Play moves to the left of the dealer. Turn over any two cards to look for a pattern match. A match consists of any two cards from the same family, as seen in the samples shown here.
If the player finds a match, then he/she takes another turn. If no match is found, then the cards are turned back over and the next person takes a turn. Check the Plant Patterns Answer Key if you need verification. Play until all cards are matched. Winning: The person with the most matching pairs wins the card game, but in the game of life, everyone wins by learning to recognize more of the plants that are all around us.
Game 2. Slap Flower: Game Setup: For 2 to 6 players. Shuffle and deal the entire deck out to all players. Do not look at the cards. Each player places their stack face down in front of them. Choose any family from the deck to slap. How to Play: Play starts to the left of the dealer and moves clockwise. Players take turns flipping one card face-up in the middle of the table. Players should avoid being the first to see their own card by flipping it over towards the other players. If the card is from the chosen family, then the first player to slap the card wins the entire face-up pile on the table. That player shuffles the cards and adds them to the bottom of his or her stack, then chooses a new family and starts the play from his or her deck. If a player slaps a card from the wrong family, then he or she must draw two cards off the top of their stack and add them face-up to the pile. Play continues around the table, with each person playing one card on his or her turn. Check the Plant Patterns Answer Key if there is a dispute about which family a flower belongs to. Winning: The person who accumulates the entire deck wins the game. Variations: For a shorter game, players are out when they lose all their cards. For a longer game, players who lose all their cards can slap their way back into the game. Sandwiches: Rather than designating plant families, try slapping "sandwiches" instead. A sandwich could be any two cards in a row from one plant family (such as two Rose family cards), or any two cards from one family with another card in between (such as two Aster family cards with a Mint in the middle). This game requires extra concentration and skill to keep track of the top three cards as they continuously change throughout the game.
Game 3. Crazy Flowers: Game Setup: For 2 to 4 players. (Combine 2 decks for larger groups.) Shuffle the deck and deal seven cards to each player. Place the remaining cards in the center of the table as a Draw Pile and turn one card up beside it to start the Discard Pile. How to Play: Play moves to the left of the dealer. Play any card from the same family as the upturned card. For example, if the starting card is a member of the Parsley Family, then you can play any other card from the Parsley Family. Play only one card each turn. Check the Plant Patterns Answer Key if you need to verify which family a flower belongs to. Family Cards: The black and white Family Cards can be used as crazy cards. Play one on your turn to change the pile to the family shown on the card. Monocot and Dicot Cards: The Monocot and Dicot Cards are wild cards. Play one on your turn to change the pile to any Monocot or Dicot family. You play the card. The next person chooses the family to go with it. (The Lily Family and Grass Family are Monocots. All others are Dicots. Review the Island Map in Shanleya's Quest for more information.) Poison Cards: here are three highly poisonous plants in the deck, each marked with a skull and crossbones. Play a poison card to "poison" the pile. Then play any other card from your hand to determine the new family of play. This is the only time in the game when you will play two cards in one turn. Draw Pile: If you do not have any cards to play on your turn, then take one from the Draw Pile. If you cannot play it, you keep it and play moves to the next player. When the Draw Pile is used up, then move the top card off the Discard Pile to continue the game. Shuffle the rest of the Discard Pile and turn it over to form the new Draw Pile. Winning: The first person to run out of cards wins the game.
Game 4. Wildflower Rummy: Game Setup: For 2 to 4 players. Shuffle the deck and deal seven cards to each player. Place the remaining cards in the center of the table as a Draw Pile and turn one card up to start a Discard Pile. How to Play: Play moves to the left of the dealer. Draw the top card from either the Draw Pile or the Discard Pile. If you have a "run" of three or more cards from one family, such as a run of Lilies, then you can play them down on the table for points. The black and white Family Cards are used just like other wildflower cards from the same family. You must discard a card at the end of each turn. Overlap the cards in the Discard Pile about half way, so everyone can see all the cards in the pile.
If there is a desirable card buried in the Discard Pile, then a player can, on his/her turn, take the entire pile down to that card, but must play that card in a run immediately.
Once a run has been played on the table, then other players can add to it on their own turns. For example, if a run of Lilies is on the table, then another person can play any other Lily Card off of that run. (The card is placed in front of the person who plays it, not with the other player's run.) Monocot and Dicot Cards: The Monocot and Dicot cards are wild cards that may be used to complete a run in any Monocot or Dicot family. For example, the Monocot Card could be used in a run of Lilies or a run of Grasses. The Dicot Card could be used in a run of any of the other families. (Review the Island Map in Shanleya's Quest for more information on Monocots and Dicots.) Going Out: The hand is over when a person plays all the cards in his/her hand. The player must have one card left to discard to go out. Scoring: The Monocot and Dicot cards are worth 5 points each. The Poison Cards (two in the Parsley Family and one in the Lily Family) are worth 15 points. All other cards are worth 10 points. Any cards on the table count for you. Any cards left in your hand count against you. Your score may be either a positive or negative number. Winning: Play as many hands as necessary until a player's total score reaches 300, or another winning total that is predetermined by the group.
Game 5. Shanleya's Harvest: Mission: Complete the Shanleya's Quest challenge by bringing something home to Grandfather from each island in the story. You need one wildflower card from each of the eight plant families to win the game, but watch out for poisonous plants along the way. Game Setup: For 2 to 4 players. Remove the Monoct and Dicot cards, then shuffle and deal eight cards to each player. Place the remaining cards on the table as a Draw Pile and turn one card up to start a Discard Pile. How to Play: Play moves to the left of the dealer. On your turn, draw the top card from your choice of the Draw Pile, the Discard Pile OR reach over and pick a card from any other player's hand. To end your turn, dispose of a card you don't want to the Discard Pile-or-if you drew a card from another player's hand, then give the discard to them. Every player should have eight cards in their hand at all times. When the Draw Pile is used up, then move the top card off the Discard Pile to continue the game, and shuffle the rest of the pile to draw from. Family Cards: The black and white Family Cards are the Guardians in Shanleya's Quest, with the power to collect a wildflower card from any other player. For example, if you have the Rose Family Card in your hand, then you may discretely show it to another player on your turn and ask them for a card from that family. They must give you a wildflower from the Rose Family, and you replace it with a discard from your own hand. If they do not have a card from that family, then your turn is over. To win the game you will ultimately have to discard the Family Cards so that you have only wildflower cards left in your hand. Poison Cards: There are three poisonous plants in the game, two in the Parsley Family and one in the Lily Family. These Poison Cards will not hurt you if you are dealt them at the beginning of the game, or if you take them from the Draw Pile-or if they are discarded to you. But, you will be poisoned if you draw a Poison Card from another player's hand--or if you ask another player for a Lily or a Parsley card and they give you a Poison Card. If poisoned, give your entire hand to that player so they can look at and choose one card to replace the card you took. Then your entire hand goes under the Discard Pile. Take eight new cards from the Draw Pile to start your quest again. To win the game, you must ultimately discard all Poison Cards from your hand and replace them with safe species. Winning: The game is over when a player shows that they have a wildflower card from each family, without any of the black and white Family Cards or any of the Poison Cards. You do not have to wait for your turn to declare a win. Another player may give you a discard that completes your hand, and you can show your cards at that time. If you do not have all eight families in your hand when you declare a win, then your entire hand goes under the Discard Pile. Take eight new cards from the Draw Pile and start the quest again. Variations: The Monocot and Dicot cards can be used like Family Cards. For example, with the Monocot Card you can ask any other player for a card from the Lily Family or the Grass Family. You specify the family; they choose the card. They may give you either a wildflower card, a Poison Card or a Family Card from that family. If they do not have a card from that family, then your turn is over. Review the Island Map in Shanleya's Quest for more information on Monocots and Dicots.
Game 6. Shanleya's Solitaire: Submitted by "Claransa of Brigadoon" Game Setup: Remove the Monocot and Dicot cards from the deck and shuffle the remaining cards. Cards are dealt for seven card solitaire: Deal seven cards out in a line from left to right in front of you, with the left card face up and the rest face down. Deal another row, but skip the first card, turn up the second and deal the rest face down. Continue dealing additional rows this way, until you have seven columns, with only one card in the first column, two in the second column, etc., with seven cards in the seventh column, and the top card turned up in every column. How to Play: Play any face up photo card onto another face up photo card from the same family, or onto a black and white Family Card. As face down cards are exposed turn them face up and they become available for play. When no more moves are available on the table, then pick up the remaning deck. Turn over three cards at a time and start a stack on the table; the exposed top card is available for play. When a family is complete (with all the flower photos on the black and white family card of that family) then it can be removed from the playing area to open up the column. Cycle through the deck three cards at a time until you run out of moves or win the game. Family Cards: The black and white Family Cards as similar to the King in a standard game of solitaire: You can move the Family Cards into blank spaces on the table as they open up, and you can play photo cards from the same family onto the black and white cards, but you cannot play the Family Cards onto other cards. Winning: The object of the game is to complete all the families and remove them from play. As with regular seven card solitaire, sometimes you will be stuck right away, and sometimes you will be able to play most or all of the deck. I tried the game and won on about my tenth try. Thanks Claransa for contributing the game!
With Shanleya's Quest Patterns in Plants Card Game you can make up your own games and rules and share them with us!