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Very simple, very fun game about lions, zebras, antelopes, elephants and hippopotamuses. Build a herd of zebras or antelopes to win! Read more

pledged of $350 goal
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This project was successfully funded on January 21, 2013.

Very simple, very fun game about lions, zebras, antelopes, elephants and hippopotamuses. Build a herd of zebras or antelopes to win!

About this project

*Note: I've created a re-design for the cards. The design (original vs. new design) is being voted on in a backers-only update (Update #6). This is the new design being contemplated:

The original designs can be seen below. Thank you for looking!


Acacia turns 5 on January 21st at 5:44 AM. Please help me fund this for her by her birthday!

The Matching Lions Card Game is not really a matching game, but it is about lions, zebras, antelopes, hippos and elephants, and it is about fun. Because my daughter came up with the game idea, I wanted to keep her name for the game she created. She calls it "lion matching" or "matching lions" because you need two lions to chase away the zebras and antelopes. She came up with this game idea and told it to me one night as I was putting her to bed (I think she timed it just right so she could stay up a little later, haha). She explained the game to me, and the next day, with the help of some family members, we turned her ideas into a playable game. We made a deck of cards to use, and we played several games to fine-tune the rules and card ratios.

Realizing this game was quite fun and awesome, I started looking into ways of producing it into an actual card game so that others could enjoy Acacia's brilliant idea as well, and so that Acacia could have a real deck of cards for the game she came up with. I painted the animals using a set of watercolors and then outlined them with a fine-point sharpie. Acacia loves the pictures and has asked me several times to tape them to the cards we have been playing with so her cards will have pictures on them.  I'd love to help her make her game a reality. 

The video gives a rather good idea of the game rules, but I'll include below  a written set of rules to this game, and of course a printed copy of the rules will come with each purchased deck of cards. 

Game: Matching Lions

Players: 2 or more. 

Ages: 3+


At the start of the game, each player should be dealt 5 cards. At the start of your turn, draw a card. If at any time you run out of cards, replenish your hand by drawing five more cards from the deck.

Antelopes and Zebras are your herd animals. You need a herd of five to win the game. It must be a herd of 5 zebras or 5 antelopes, not a herd of 5 zebras and antelopes together (2 antelopes and 3 zebras does not make a winning herd).

On your turn you may place one herd animal face up in front of you, either a zebra or an antelope. When you have 5 of one kind in front of you, you win the game.  

Lions and Elephants are your action cards. On your turn, after you play a herd animal, you may also play either a lion or an elephant.

Lions: When you put a lion into play, it will stay face up in front of you until you use it. You need a pair of lions to use them. Since you can only play one lion on each turn, it will take a minimum of two turns to be able to use them. When you have your pair of lions, you may use them to chase away two animals from one other player's herds. Your matching lions can chase away 2 zebras, 2 antelopes, or 1 zebra and 1 antelope. The animals are chased into the discard pile, where the lions go also. You do not need to use your lions right away if you have two in front of you. You could gather several lions in front of you before using any pairs to chase away the other players' herds. You can use more than one pair of lions on your turn to chase away other players herd animals.

Elephants: Elephants are used the turn they are played. When an elephant is played, all lions jump back into their owners' hands, including your own. The elephant then goes into the discard pile.

The hippopotamus stays in your hand until you need it. A hippopotamus is played when another player is using their pair of lions to chase away your herd. You can play the hippopotamus to block the lions from chasing away your herd. The matching lions and the hippopotamus all go into the discard pile.

When the last card from the deck is drawn, the discard pile is shuffled and replaced as the deck.

One deck of the Matching Lions Card Game contains 75 playing cards and a set of instructions. If you would like to make the game easier or more difficult, you can change the number of herd animals needed to win, or change the number of herd animals that a pair of lions chases away. You can also lower the number of herd animals needed to win if you are playing with a large group of people.

The cards will be printed on high quality card stock in full color on both sides. This is what the backs of the cards look like:

The only difference between the images above and the printed cards is that the printed cards will have rounded corners, and the images used for the printed cards will of course be a higher resolution. The finished card size will be 2x3.5

Thank you very much for watching our video and reading our description. We hope you will buy a deck of cards and we are grateful for your support. Acacia and I are excited to play her game with a deck of colorful cards of pictures instead of letters only. I think her seeing her idea become a reality will be an awesome encouragement to her, and maybe in a few months we'll have another game idea to show you :)

12/7/2012: Congratulations, and thank you so much for helping me fund this project so quickly! International shipping is now available. I checked prices with USPS for numerous countries. Some countries were more expensive and some were less expensive. The number that I got most frequently was $11.60, so I priced the international shipping at $12 and am hoping that the shipping prices will even out so that I'm neither out any money nor overcharging.

The goal of $350 covers the costs of printing the cards and packaging them in plain white boxes. Custom boxes in full color are quite a bit more expensive. I would love to package these card games in beautiful custom Matching Lions boxes, but to do so, a higher goal needs to be met. If this goal is met, each deck of cards will come in a full-color box at no added cost to you.

Added to the deck:

Giraffe: Played as your action card. (instead of playing a lion or elephant on your turn) The giraffe lets you see one other player's hand. 

Added to the deck:

Hyena: This card is automatically played when drawn. Herds rotate--all herd animals run to the player to the left and stay there unless the hyena is drawn again. The hyena goes into the discard pile and the person who drew this card gets to draw again and then continue their turn. If you don't like this card you could of course remove it from the deck, as you might a wild card or a joker from another game, but I think it will add a level of excitement and chance to the game.

Added to the deck:

Wildebeest: A third herd animal. The wildebeest acts the same as a zebra or antelope in this game. Collecting five in front of you wins the game. You may play either a zebra, an antelope, or a wildebeest on your turn, followed by either a lion, a giraffe or an elephant. Because I am adding another set of herd animals, more lions and hippopotamuses  will also be added to the game to even out the ratios. 

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge to my project is the finances.

If the $1500 goal is reached, I will need to design the full color box for the cards to go in. The box will closely resemble the back of the cards, with perhaps a short blurb on one side. This will be a relatively easy task because of my background in graphic design and because I already have the cards designed.

I think the greatest challenge to overcome in this project will be trying to paint a wildebeest if the $3500 goal is met. I may go through a lot of trial and error with that one. I can honestly say I have never tried to draw or paint a wildebeest before. However, I am confident that it can be done! Also if the $3500 goal is met, I will have to paint a giraffe and a hyena as well (which I think will be far easier than the wildebeest), and I also will have to redesign the full color box to make it big enough for a 120 card deck.

After the cards have been printed, I will have to do a lot of counting to make sure the decks are correct in the card ratios. This will likely be the most time consuming part of the whole project.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    15 backers

    I will email you a PDF file of the cards, along with instructions and a guide to card ratios. You can print your own Matching Lions card game from home and play this fun game as much as you want! This PDF also comes free with all pledges higher than $5 and is included free in the higher reward options.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $8 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    Early Birds Special: 1 Matching Lions card game. Add $8 per additional deck of cards if more than one is desired. / Shipping is included

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    125 backers

    1 Matching Lions card game. Add $9 per additional deck of cards if more than one is desired. / Shipping is included

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    34 backers

    INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: 1 Matching Lions card game. Add $10 per additional deck of cards if more than one is desired.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    6 backers

    1 Matching Lions card game, plus signed, full color printed copies of the two sheets of paper I originally painted the animals on, practice strokes and all. You can frame them and pretend they are pieces of fine art, or you can view them periodically to feel better about your own artistic abilities after seeing how many times I failed at painting a zebra. Add $9 per additional deck of cards if more than one is desired. / Shipping is included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    2 backers

    BIRTHDAY PARTY PACKAGE: 10 decks of Matching Lions card game (can be used as party favors!) plus up to 30 Matching Lions themed birthday party invitations. The decks of cards will be shipped as soon as they are ready, and you have up to a year to redeem your birthday party invitations. The invitations can either be custom designed to include names and dates, or they can be fill-in-the blank style--that is up to you. Please watch the project updates for design options. I will load them as I complete them. Add $9 per additional deck of cards if more than one is desired. Add $2 each for additional invitations. I will email you to clarify what your needs are when this project is ended.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (46 days)