Fun with Fossils in SimplyFun's Latest Game, Fossil Sweep!

Fun with Fossils in SimplyFun's Latest Game, Fossil Sweep!

Have you always wanted to be a paleontologist? Then get ready to uncover the fascinating world of fossils with SimplyFun's newest life & thinking game, Fossil Sweep! Fossils come in all shapes, sizes, and textures, ranging from animal bones to intricate plant imprints. As you play the fossil cards in your hand, see how many layers of artifacts you can find before they are lost forever! So get out your excavation tools, and let's dig into Fossil Sweep!


What are Fossils Anyway?

Fossils are the ancient remains of bones, footprints, shells, bugs, or imprinted plants. Their discovery helps scientists (called paleontologists) study the past and the origins of life on earth in prehistoric times. Most fossils are discovered on land that was once underwater. Discovered fossils may consist of sea creature shells, animal bones, and plant matter that have hardened into rocks, dinosaur footprints in mud that have since fossilized, and insects encased in tree resin.

What are fossils? Images of fossil examples.


Digging for Fossils in Fossil Sweep

Family playing fossil game, Fossil Sweep.

Players take turns matching the fossil layers on the cards in their hands to the card layers on the dig site. The goal is to get rid of as many cards in your hand before someone plays a 'Sweep Card' or runs out of cards, ending the round. 

Cards have different point values, and the goal of the game is to discard as many cards as possible. The player with the fewest points at the end of the game wins! This sounds counterintuitive, but stick with us—this game is dino-mite!


What's in the Box

  • 90 Fossil Cards
  • 15 Dig Dare Cards
  • 5 Sweep Cards
*BONUS: Fun-fact insert that teaches players about prehistoric eras when fossils were formed.


Setting up the Game

Set-up image for playing fossil card game, Fossil Sweep.

-Shuffle all the cards together, and place the deck face down in the center of the play area, creating the draw pile. 

- Deal cards face down to each player, using the table below. 

-Players can look at their cards but should not show them to others.

-Turn over the top card from the draw pile, and place it face up where everyone can reach. This is the start of the dig site. If the card is a Sweep card, replace it by putting the card at the bottom of the draw pile and draw another card. 

-The first player to name a dinosaur out loud goes first, then play continues clockwise.


How to Play Fossil Sweep

Girl holding up a box of fossil game, Fossil Sweep!

This game is played in rounds. Each round consists of playing cards from your hand onto the dig site until one player has played all their cards or a Sweep Card is played. Any cards still in your hand at the end of a round are put into your lost pile, which counts against you at the end of the game. On your turn, play a card with the goal of removing as many cards from your hand as possible by overlapping layers onto the dig site and making other players take additional cards from your hand before the round is over.


There are Three Types of Cards in Fossil Sweep!

Fossil Cards

Family playing fossil game, Fossil Sweep!

Fossil Cards are made up of three layers of fossils, each with its own color. Ready to play a fossil card from your hand? Match one of the layers on your card to a layer on an outside edge of the dig site. Next, place your card on the table by overlapping the matching layers of fossils.

If you can double down and match TWO layers of fossils on your card to TWO layers on the outside edge of the dig site, the unlucky player to your left must randomly draw a card from your hand, bringing you one step closer to zero cards and victory! 

Match all THREE layers on your card with the THREE layers on the outside edge of the dig site, and now both the player on your left and then right must each draw a card from your hand. Boom! Now you are two cards down and closer to the win! Playing with just two players? Then the other player must draw two cards from your hand!


The Fossil Card -Wild Layer

You're in luck! You have the Fossil Card with the Wild Layer! Now what? Some Fossil Cards have a Wild Layer with every fossil color. This layer can overlap ANY type of fossil. These cards help you give more of your cards to other players by easily making double and triple matches.

TIP: Fossil matches can only be played on the outside layers at either end of the dig site, not on layers in the middle.


Unable to Play a Card During your Turn?

Sometimes you don't have the 'luck of the draw' and their is no card to play during your turn. If that's the case, draw one card from the draw pile and then play it, if possible. If the odds are against you and their is not fossil match to make, your turn is over.


Dig Dare Cards

Family playing fossil game, Fossil Sweep!

Dig Dare cards may resemble Fossil Cards, but they have excavation tools and rocks on the center layer of the card. If you can play a Dig Dare by matching one of the outsite layers of the fossils on the card to an outside edge on a dig site, they you can challenge the player on your left to play a card that matches the outside edge of the Dig Dare Card.  

If the player can play a matching fossil on the outside of the Dig Dare Card, the site is saved. Their turn is over, and it is the next player's turn.

*For more information on playing Dig Dare Cards, check out the 'How to Play Video' on the Fossil Sweep product page!


Sweep Card

Family playing fossil game, Fossil Sweep!

When a player places a Sweep Card on the table, the entire dig site is swept away. All cards on the dig site are discarded along with the Sweep Card. All cards in all players' hands have become lost fossils and are placed face down into a lost pile to the side of each player. After playing the Sweep Card, the player's turn is over, ending a round of play. A new hand is dealt to all players, and a new dig site is started by drawing the top card of the deck and placing it face up for all players to see. It is the next player's turn.

Note—A Sweep Card cannot be played to escape a Dig Dare Card.


How the Game Ends

The game ends when there are not enough cards to start a new round or the draw pile is empty.



The player with the fewest points in their lost pile at the end of the game is crowned the winner of Fossil Sweep!

Different cards are worth different points:

• Fossil Cards are each worth 1 point.

• Dig Dare Cards are worth 3 points.

• Sweep Cards are worth 5 points.


💡 Try This: Looking to add even more strategy to gameplay? Try playing a round where fossil matches can be played ANYWHERE on the dig site—the layers in the middle AND on the outside layers at either end. When playing like this, all cards still work the same. 

*Just remember that when playing Dig Dare Cards, the center layer in gray cannot overlap any other layer, including wild layers AND other gray Dig Dare layers.


Who to Play Fossil Sweep With?

Fossil Sweep is a clever card game that makes game night enjoyable for the entire family! If you prefer an adults-only game night, Fossil Sweep is a great addition to your tabletop games wishlist. It can be played with 2-5 players ages 8 and up in as little as 20 minutes, or you can play multiple rounds for hours of fun!


If You are a Fan of Joyce Johnson Games, You'll Love Fossil Sweep!

If you have a passion for board game design, don't miss our Q&A session with world-renowned game designer Joyce Johnson, the inventor of Fossil Sweep! With 56 games under her name, she gives us insight into how she got started in the game design industry and what it's like to design and license games like a pro!

Family fossil game, Fossil Sweep!

Are you intrigued by fossils? Do you also love strategy games with unique game mechanics? How about matching games that are portable too? Then there's no bones about it, you'll love Fossil Sweep! Click the link to shop this fun and fascinating fossil game!


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Q+A with Board Game Designer Joyce Johnson

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