News Release

New Brunswick Science Teacher and Cartoonist Co-invent Chemistry-based Card Game

Co-creator Exhibits in “Inventor’s Corner” Booth 178 at Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair

January 30, 2011, Toronto, ON

Richard Gowan, Head of the Science Department at Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick, Canada, and James MacDonald, a graphic artist and marketing consultant, have completed the development of a new educational game called “The Rare Earth Chemical Element Matching Game” and tested it successfully in classrooms.

The Rare Earth Game is a card game in which players “bond” together combinations of playing cards that depict chemical elements as cartoon characters, such as cute Oxygen, monsterous Cerium and heroic Meitnerium. Players then raid each other’s “Labs” to capture the highest quantity of “Protons”.

“A few years ago, Rick and I dreamed up the idea for a game based on the elements of the periodic table but we were too busy with our respective careers,” says MacDonald. “In 2009, I suddenly found myself unemployed, so I used the time to design, cartoon and write the original content for the game, with Rick co-writing the game rules, providing research material and proofing the emerging product.”

In December of 2010, the prototype was finally completed. The game has been tested in 5th grade, 7th grade, 9th grade and 10th grade classrooms. All age groups played the game enthusiastically and actively learned from it.

“Not all students are auditory learners. The game provides memorable characters for visual learners and hands-on play for kinetic learners,” says Gowan. “I have been particularly gratified to hear boys and girls ask questions about game-play that are simultaneously questions about the science of Chemistry.”

The Rare Earth Game is designed first for the education market, where innovations to help struggling science students are much needed. Simultaneously, the game will sell through retail toy stores and online. Each game box comes with 108 chemical element playing cards (2 to 4 players).


Richard Gowan is a native of New Brunswick, and a graduate of Mount Allison University (B.Sc., B. Ed.), and the University of Victoria (M.Sc). He has taught senior high school courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and served as Science Department Head at schools in Southern California and New Hampshire. Over the last seven years, Gowan has taught Chemistry and Biology at Rothesay Netherwood School in New Brunswick where he also serves as Head of Science, Varsity Hockey coach, and Junior Varsity Soccer coach.

For more information on Rothesay Netherwood School please visit

James MacDonald, originally from Ontario, is a graduate of York University (B.F.A.) who began his career drawing editorial cartoons for the "Bolton Enterprise". With more than 20 years of marketing management experience in the USA and Canada, MacDonald has launched multiple products and spearheaded marketing project management, database marketing and online marketing programs. MacDonald has also been a top selling account manager and an innovative sales manager. MacDonald currently resides in Quispamsis, NB.

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Rare Earth Game Business Contact: James MacDonald
Cell: (506) 608-2232

Jim MacDonald exhibits the Rare Earth Game at the Toy Fair

Jim MacDonald exhibiting
at the Canadian Toy and Hobby Fair

Rare Earth Packaging

Final Packaging
(click to download high resolution photo)

Reverse of Rare Earth Card

The reverse side of each card displays the trademark
Rare Earth octagon with an octet of arrows.

(click to download high resolution photo)

Rare Earth Cartoon Character Oxygen

The cartoon character for the chemical element Oxygen

(click to download high resolution photo)

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