States of the World is a collection of board and card games designed to improve number reading, to provide conversation practice using comparatives, and to develop geographical knowledge of several types including country names and locations, capital cities, and relative sizes of land masses, populations and economies. There is some element of luck (cards are drawn) but it is essentially a strategy game as players make decisions each round in their attempt to fulfill the winning criteria. The games can be tailored to suit any level of geographical knowledge and can also be enjoyed by groups of mixed geographic and English abilities.
Presently available: Europe (this download), Asia, Africa, USA, Japan.
Coming soon: Oceana, The Americas, The Caribbean.
The games will be updated every 2 years or so to reflect changing data.
GAME 1: LINK
Each round consists of 2 players drawing 1 card each and playing a mini-war (as in the card game War). Both players say the name of their country but keep their card hidden from view. Player 1 asks either a comparative question where players compare information on the cards they are holding; (eg What’s the population?), or an information type question based on the card she is holding (eg. What’s the capital of (my card) Sweden?) A player wins the round by having the higher number (or better rank) in the category chosen by the questioner; or by answering the question correctly (The capital of Sweden is Stockholm.). The winner can either keep the card they are holding, change cards with the losing player, or draw a new card (discarded cards are removed from the game). Then both players place a piece on their country on the map board. Play now continues with player 2 and player 3. The game ends when all the country cards have been used. Points are scored for linked countries (1 point for each contiguous country, minimum 3).
Three or more contiguous countries: 1 point for each country
Three or more islands: 5 points
Three or more micro-states: 5 points
Islands: Iceland, UK, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus.
Micro-states: These are represented on the map as purple dots and in the 5 small squares at the bottom of the board (in order from west to east: Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Vatican, San Marino).
LEVEL 1: COMPARATIVE QUESTIONS (Larger number or higher rank wins.)
Based on both players’ cards (hidden from view). Players must say the numbers correctly.
How big is it? (land area, world rank)
What is the population? (2016 or latest available data)
What is the highest point? (meters above sea level)
What is the GDP per person? (in US dollars, latest available data)
LEVEL 2: INFORMATION QUESTIONS (Correct answer wins.)
From the questioner’s card (hidden from view).
What’s the capital of questioner’s country?
Point to questioner’s country on the map.
What language is spoken in questioner’s country?
What is the national animal?
LEVEL 3: INFORMATION QUESTIONS (Correct answer wins.)
From the questioner’s card (hidden from view).
What is one important agricultural or industrial product?
Name two neighboring countries.
Point to the national flag. (Flag cards should be cut out and randomized.)
What are citizens called in questioner’s country?
Before play begins, players decide which and how many questions to use.
1 Questions must be asked in order.
2 Once a question is asked, it can’t be used again until all other questions have been asked. (A marker can be placed on the question card indicating which questions have been asked.)
3 Questions are asked randomly (dice throw).
4 Weaker students can only be asked level 1 questions.
5 The same question can’t be asked twice in a row.
6 The winning player can exchange her card with the (unseen) top card on the deck.
7 Country names are not announced (unless necessary to answer the question).
8 Instead of asking questions P1 gives 2 or 3 pieces of information and P2 guesses the country.
OPTIONAL CRITERIA FOR WINNING
The player with the longest chain of states wins.
GAME 2: WAR (cards only)
A War-type card game can be played if you only have 5-10 minutes to spare. Follow the same routine as above, except winner keeps both cards. The player with the most cards at the end wins. Alternatively, the player who can link the most countries wins. A single deck can be divided among several pairs.
GAME 3: HOLIDAY
All players start at and return to the same country (Russia or Turkey). All players draw a destination card. Players roll a single die and move that many spaces (countries) in an effort to reach their holiday destination and come home again. Every country traversed must be named correctly. If a mistake is made, the player ends their turn on the last correctly identified country. When the roundtrip is completed, the next destination card is drawn.
The game ends after a fixed number of turns (for example 10).
When a player reaches their destination, the remainder of their movement is forfeited and they must wait until their next turn to start the journey home.
A player may not pass through an occupied country.
A player may not visit the same country twice on the same turn.
The other players can look at the country key to ensure the countries are named correctly.
Islands can be reached from the nearest mainland country only if a 3 or higher is rolled; in other words it takes 3 movement points to cross the ocean.
Permitted crossings are:
Ireland to UK
Iceland to Norway
Malta to Italy
Cyprus to Greece
Note: There are land connections between UK and France (Channel Tunnel) and Denmark and Sweden (Drogden Tunnel and Oresund Bridge).
For the purposes of this game, there are no cards for Russia or Turkey. This is not a political statement.
Print out cards on heavy card stock (backs are included). Cut and laminate. Print out the high resolution game board. The png image (5400 X 5400 px, 300 dpi) is suitable for an 18 inch square board. Or just print out the 6 page PDF file and tape together for a game board. Round up small game pieces (about 25 per player).