Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year, Everyone!!!

Here is my latest work of card game art.  Sea buckthorn is a really cool nitrogen fixer that is hardy and salt-tolerant.  Personally, I only have two tiny specimens in my yard.  I am hoping that they will survive and bear fruit one day!

Thank you to everyone who all who has given me support and encouragement in the last year and a half.  This has been a massive project -- and continues to be.  2016 will see the launch of this new game.  I am confident that we are reaching a tipping point with Permaculture and sustainable agriculture, where it will soon become a household concept. 

Let us always remember to go back to Bill Mollison's text from time to time, so as not to forget the basics.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Facebook Page for Food Forest Card Game!

Hello Friends!

I have just created a special page on Facebook devoted to this card game. 

Please click here to go to the new page on Facebook!

My goal will be to share additional information there on sustainable gardening & Permaculture.  As fun as these cards are, they are meant as a jumping off point, not just an end in themselves.  So this new Facebook page will be one place to discover just how to apply companion planting in the real world after learning about it through the card games!

As we get closer to the launch date, it will be really important to let as many people know about the crowd funding campaign.  It is through this campaign that the card games will initially be purchased.  Sharing the new Facebook page is a great way to do that. 

I cannot launch this card game without your support, and this is why: During the crowd-funding campaign, you will be able to pre-order your own deck of Food Forest cards.  However, if the project does not meet its funding needs, I can't afford to print the cards in bulk, so all the money would be refunded back to you.  Therefore, it is crucial that we get as many people involved and informed as possible so that we can print these cards in bulk!

Fortunately, I have had so much interest in the game that it is virtually certain that we will be funded.  If everyone continues to help me spread the word, both by talking with friends and by "sharing", "liking" and commenting on the posts on this new Facebook page, we will almost definitely be able to print as many as we need.

Thank you again for all of your support during this process!  It has been so rewarding to share this information and artwork with you.  I am so grateful for all of the positive energy that this project has created, and I look forward to every day of this project!

Groundnut vine and tuber artwork for card game inspired by Permaculture
Groundnut vine and tuber

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sample Decks Available!

Hello friends!

For those of you who have not yet heard, the sample decks have arrived!  These are partial decks with about half of the designs that will be available in the full deck.  They can be played with 2-3 people (depending on the game) and will give the player a very good approximation of playing with the full deck.

Some of you have already contacted me with your mailing address.  For you, I will be sending out the samples early next week.  If you have not contacted me, please consider doing so.  I am especially looking for reviewers who can help to:
  1. Edit the deck for errors.
  2. Play the games with a variety of age groups
  3. Suggest improvements to games, or even help develop completely new games
  4. Broadcast to the world that the crowd-funding campaign is on the horizon for late February / early March (either through Facebook with pictures and shares of my posts or through other media venues.)
Please let me know if you have time and interest in helping with this editorial / publicity process.  In return, you will get the free sample deck and my everlasting gratitude!

Furthermore, we are in the process of rewriting the instructions to better suit this new version of the deck.  The instructions were previously written for an earlier version that I tested last winter.  The new cards are streamlined (with fewer icons) and a lot more attractive.  This version is proving even more fun to play, especially with a few tweaks to the existing game rules.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this project thus far!  It is unbelievably exciting to hold these professionally printed cards.  Everyone who has seen them is blown away with the quality of this nearly completed product.

If you do not have my personal email address already, please use the contact form on the right-hand sidebar to get in touch.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Learning Humility

Attention proof readers! For the record, I just noticed that I've spelled herbaceous incorrectly on the sample cards! Adobe Illustrator's type tool needs a spell-checker! Yet really I've no one to blame but myself and my misspent youth.
Learning humility is good exercise.

Permaculture playing card Daikon Radish from Food Forest Card Game
Daikon Radish (with herbaceous spelled incorrectly!)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Advance Copies Ordered

Reverse image of the Food Forest card game based on Permaculture ethics
Big News!!!

I have ordered 30 sample decks. Each of these decks has only 36 cards as opposed to the 68 cards that will be packaged with the full sets when we offer them (via crowd funding campaign) later this winter. Using these smaller decks, you should be able to play games with 2-3 people as opposed to 4-6 with the full-sized decks. 

In order to make these sample decks playable, I had to create duplicates of cards that will not be duplicated in the same proportion the full decks.  More explanations will follow for people who receive advance copies.
These decks are expensive, so I can only offer them to people who are serious about either reviewing them for errors or helping me get the word out about the eventual product launch (or both!). Please EMAIL ME with your name, address and other contact information if you would like to review a copy. I will do my best to get you one when they arrive.

Warmest wishes,Karl Treen

The blackberry playing card for the Food Forest card game based on Permaculture principles


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Design Changes and "bleed"

Midnight again...

So anyone who has ever designed for print KNOWS that you need to account for "bleed". Well, guess who has never designed for print! I actually knew about bleed but, until I came face to face with it in the dark of the night, I had no idea how much trouble it could cause! Anyhow, here is the new look. Let me know what you think. I actually feel like this problem led to a sharper design.  The problem gave me inspiration to clear up some design elements that my designer friend, Carl, had been not 100% satisfied with. Also note that the cards will be rounded in the final product rather than points. It would take too long to mock that up for every single card just now, but here's a look at something very close to a final product for one of my favorites...

The blueberry card for Food Forest a card game inspired by Permaculture principles

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Instructions Posted!

The chestnut card for the Food Forest Permaculture card game

Hello friends!

Due to a popular uprising, I have just added a link to the right sidebar called "Game Instructions".  You can probably guess what you will find there!  I have posted two card games so far and plan to keep posting new ones as they are developed.  Additionally, I have been really focused on getting as many cards up on the "Completed Playing Cards" page.  You can now preview more than 20 playing cards in "web-o-vision" color!  As I get more feedback, these cards (and instructions) may change slightly, but I wanted to get them up for you to inspect so that you can help me make them better!

I hope your weekend was relaxing and your upcoming week turns out absolutely spectacular!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Quick update and New Cards!

Apricot card for Food Forest, a card game inspired by Permaculture

Above is my new apricot card.  I'm rolling out a bunch of designs over the next couple of weeks.  Word is that I may have the opportunity for some media exposure and I am trying like mad to get ready for it.  Sleepless nights, long days, but it's all good.  There is something about working on meaningful work that makes it so much more worthwhile!

In the midst of all this business, I wanted to show you one of the new cards, and explain about a change in icons.  You can see a bunch more cards on the Completed Playing Cards page -- new cards are being added almost daily.  One big change is that I have swapped the "Beneficial Insects" icon for a new "Pollinators" icon.  The two main "predatory insects" cards will be included as "wild cards" and predatory insects will simply need to be explained in words.  The concept of predatory insects, and predator attractors, is simply too complex to represent as an icon.  In games where aphids come into play, the ladybug and the upcoming praying mantis card can nullify the impact of aphids.  In fact, this is how the most complex of the games was designed over a year ago -- as you will see when I have completed the rewrite of the instructions.  So, in a way, I'm going back to my roots.

I hope your holiday season is full of good cheer!  Ours is crazy... good crazy.  That's just the nature of things around here! 

Warmest wishes,

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Permaculture Playing card not made due to groundnut distractions

I pulled up a beautiful groundnut today (Apios americana) in search of more source material for my card artwork.  Above is a picture of some of my beautiful groundnut vines in bloom earlier this summer.

After a few pictures of the woody little node, I peeled it, sliced it into quarter-inch rounds, rinsed off some of the sticky latex, boiled it in salted water for ten minutes and, of course, ate it!  Groundnuts taste like nutty potatoes, but with loads more protein.  Alone, they dry out easily but peeled and roasted with new potatoes and chicken, you will be hard pressed to distinguish the potatoes from the groundnuts.

I have harvested relatively few groundnuts since I planted them two years ago, mostly because I have been sharing the "nuts" and letting them self-propagate until I have an abundance.  I was pleased to see the monstrous size of this specimen and am half-tempted to tear up my garden in search of more!  But then I am reminded of the goose and the golden egg.  Next year there will be four times as many.  Perennial gardeners must be patient gardeners.

I got so involved with my little groundnut snack that I lost track of time and didn't draw anything!  Oh well, you know what they say about "all work, no play..."

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Countdown!

We have several busy months before we are ready for the crowd-funding product launch, but it is about time I started sharing my Food Forest playing cards in a public forum.  This website is still under construction, but curious folks are demanding more details...

Food Forest - a permaculture card gameAs you may have heard, Food Forest is a card game inspired by Permaculture.  I will be writing a bit more about Permaculture in the future but, for now, please read my What Is A Food Forest page for a little more background.

There are currently several other pages to explore, as well:  Understanding the Playing Cards is a key to symbols and terminology on the actual cards.  I have also created a page on which I will be displaying my Completed Playing Cards.  Although I call them "completed", they are not going to print for a few months.  And I hope to provide more detailed information about each card, and why I included it, in the future.  Please share your ideas for improving these cards.  As with any Permaculture endeavor, it takes a community!

From the sidebar, you can subscribe to this blog and follow my progress on Twitter.

I will be creating a Facebook page soon but, if you are really excited, please "like" my Permaculture Providence page below.