The Red Queen Game

RQGame_InfectionMatrixWe often focus so much on our research, that we forget about opportunities to share our teaching experiences with the science community. While at Indiana University, I had the privilege of attending the Lively lab meeting. One afternoon, Mandy Gibson and Curt Lively asked everyone to play test a new lab they developed to have the students explore the topic of host-parasite coevolution using playing cards. I found this game so fascinating that I couldn’t help but get involved in the development. After two semesters of teaching using the game (once at Indiana University and once here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks), we wrote up the idea.

This week, we published the full details of the game (Gibson et al 2015) and some of the learning opportunities in Evolution: Education and Outreach. This journal has a wealth of other labs. I used this board game called ACAGATATA in my evolution class this past semester as an in class active learning exercise (Eterovic and Santos 2013).

The game is very quick to learn and can be explained in about 10 minutes. The experimental game teaches the following concepts of coevolution:

  1. Coevolution is rapid
  2. That which is most fit now can soon become the least fit
  3. Rare advantage maintains genetic variation over time

We’ve also put a few of the game resources online over at Curt’s website here.

Full Citation:

Gibson, AK, Drown DM, Lively CM. 2015.  The Red Queen’s Race: An Experimental Card Game to Teach Coevolution. Evolution: Education and Outreach 8:10 doi:10.1186/s12052-015-0039-2