States of the World is a collection of board and card games drawing on basic geographical knowledge of several types including country/state 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: USA (this download), Asia, Europe, Africa, 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 state but keep their card hidden from view. Player 1 asks either a comparative question (level 1) where players compare information on the cards they are holding; (eg How many people are there?), or an information type question (levels 2,3) based on the card she is holding (eg. What’s the capital of (my card) Texas?) 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 Texas is Austin.). The winner can either keep the card they are holding, change cards with the losing player, or change cards with the deck of remaining (unused) cards. Then both players place a piece on the map board. Play now continues with player 2 and player 3. The game ends when all the state cards have been used. Points are scored for linked states (1 point for each contiguous state, minimum 3).
Three or more contiguous states: 1 point for each state
Alaska + Hawaii: 3 points
Puerto Rico + Northern Mariana Islands: 3 points
Guam + American Samoa + U.S. Virgin Islands: 5 points
Washington D.C.: 2 points
LEVEL 1: Comparison questions
Based on both players’ cards (hidden from view).
1. How big is it? (land area, rank)
2. What is the population?
3. How high is the highest point? (feet above sea level)
4. How big is the economy?
5. When did it join the union? (earlier state wins)
LEVEL 2: information questions about questioner’s card
1. What is the capital?
2. Point to (my state) on the map.
3. Name an agricultural product.
4. Name an industrial product.
5. Name 2 neighboring states.
LEVEL 3: information questions about questioner’s card
1. What year did it join the union?
2. What is the origin of the name?
3. Point to the state flag?
4. Name 1 agricultural and 1 industrial product.
5. Name all neighboring states.
Before the game starts players decide which level or levels to use.
Puerto Rico is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware.
State flags should be cut out of the sheet and randomized.
The game board is a png file (5400×5400 px at 300 dpi) or you can just print out the 6 page PDF, laminate and tape together. Board size is 46 cm by 46 cm.
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.
OPTIONAL CRITERIA FOR WINNING
1 First player to link the Pacific to the Atlantic or Canada to Mexico wins.
2 The player with the longest chain of states wins.
GAME 2: WAR (cards only)
A War-type card game can be played (in pairs) 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. Or, alternatively, the player with the most linked states wins. A single deck can be divided among several pairs.
GAME 3: HOLIDAY
All players start in and return to California. All players draw a destination card. Players roll a single die and move that many spaces (states) in an effort to reach their holiday destination and come home again. Every state traversed must be named correctly. If a mistake is made, the player ends their turn on the last correctly identified state. 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 state.
A player may not visit the same state twice on the same turn.
The other players can look at the map key to ensure the states 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:
Alaska — Washington
Hawaii — California
Puerto Rico — Florida
US Virgin Islands — Florida
Guam — Hawaii
Northern Marianas — Hawaii
American Samoa — Hawaii