The Making of Fossil Card Game, Fossil Sweep!

The Making of Fossil Card Game, Fossil Sweep!

Step into the fascinating world of fossils as we take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Fossil Sweep. We'll uncover how this Joyce Johnson card game went from a berry theme to fossils and the design process that led SimplyFun's in-house artwork designer, Laine Garrett, to this dino-mite new take on the game!

If you love game design, ancient relics, and card games with sneaky strategy, keep reading to discover the exciting process of creating an educational game!


About Fossil Sweep

In this fun fossil layering card game, players match 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. The cards in the game have different point values, and the player with the fewest points at the end of the game wins. Fossil Sweep is a 20-minute family-fun card game for 1-5 players, ages 8 and up.


The Origins of Fossil Sweep

The Origins of Fossil Sweep

Fossil Sweep, in its original prototype, was called Blueberry Blast and was brought to us by game designer Joyce Johnson. Joyce has been a part of the SimplyFun family of designers for many years. A few of her award-winning games include SimplyFun's Spell Trek and Math Room. With 56 game design credits, we always welcome the opportunity to work with Joyce to create engaging games for our players!


"I was inspired to create a game about layering
(matching) images as part of the play pattern."
-Joyce Johnson


Researching the New Direction of the Game: Fossils and the Fossil Wars

Researching the New Direction of the Game: Fossils and the Fossil Wars

During the research phase for the game, our in-house design team learned a lot about fossils, including the vicious rivalry of the Bone WarsDiving deep into the subject matter is an essential yet fun aspect in creating a SimplyFun game. Our designers want to research the theme as much as they can. Then, they highlight the part of the subject that pertains most to the game and provide some interesting fun facts for the players to deepen their learning. That's why a 'Fossil Fun Facts' booklet is included in Fossil Sweep!

Although the design team decided not to include the Bone Wars in the game's story or mechanics, they highly recommend that players do some digging to learn more about the history of paleontology and the Bone Wars.


Behind-the-Scenes with SimplyFun's Artwork Designer, Laine Garrett

The Fruitful Beginnings 

The original game had a fruit theme and an additional type of card called a 'blue bam.' When you played a blue bam card, another player had to show that they had a certain number of blue-layer cards in their hand, or else they had to draw additional cards. We removed that card type after several playtest rounds to help streamline the rules since there were already so many different card mechanics at play and because those cards weren't really fun to play or have played on you. It felt like it slowed down the game a bit.

Fossil Sweep Behind the Scenes- Blueberry Blast

Playtesting the Game 

When playtesting, we noticed that we had the most fun when we were interacting with the other players. Doing things like offloading your cards onto another player or playing Sweep cards and dooming everyone equally. Those kinds of interactions are fun because you feel like you're steering the direction of the game. We ended up adding a Wild Layer to the game to help encourage more of that interaction.

Fossil Sweep by SimplyFun, a fun fossil-themed card game for ages 8 and up.

From the first time we played, We loved how simple yet interactive the game was. The rules are nice and basic, easy to explain to others and remember during gameplay. Even though it's a simple game, it stays engaging and keeps you thinking. We playtested it a lot and it stayed fun throughout our months of playtesting. In fact, we were all still excited to play it when the production sample arrived.


The Game Redesign

Fossil Sweep Behind the Scenes- Card redesign

The cards of this game are certainly unique! They're all larger-than-average cards, and their sides have a fun wavy die cut that gives them a unique look and feel. They were also designed to give all the information up on top of the card so that if you hold them with the short edge up rather than fanned out like you normally would hold a hand of cards, you'll be able to see what you have to work with easily.

Fossil Sweep Behind the Scenes- Box artwork


Who is Fossil Sweep Designed For?

People who like simple but strategic games will like this one! Often, the trickiest part of playing games with friends and family is getting everyone together to read and understand the rules, so this game is great because it sets up and plays quickly.


Ready to play and learn even more about Fossil Sweep? Check out:

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

Meet Fossil Sweep Game Designer, Joyce Johnson!

Shop Fossil Sweep

Shop All Life & Thinking Games


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