TYPE: Card games with and without a game board
SKILLS: Geographic knowledge of the names and locations of the 47 prefectures of Japan; comparing numbers and ranks.
LANGUAGE FOCUS: Prefectural names, capitals, comparatives, ordinals, large numbers, percentages to 2 decimal places, question practice.
LEVEL: beginner to advanced; mixed levels OK
AGES: 10 and up
GAME TIME: LINK 20-30 minutes, WAR 5-10 minutes, HOLIDAY 10-20 minutes
GAME ENDS: When all the cards have been played
INCLUDED IN THE DOWNLOAD: (all PDF) game board (46 by 46 cm), prefectural cards, rules, question cards, map key.
A PNG file of the game board is also included (5400 by 5400 px at 300 dpi)
States of the World is a collection of board and card games drawing on basic geographical knowledge of several types including country/prefectural 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: Japan 2017 (this download), Europe 2017, Asia 2017, Africa 2017, USA.
Coming soon: Oceana, The Americas, The Caribbean
The games will be updated every 2 years to reflect changing data. These updates are freely available to purchasers of the original game.
GAME 1: LINK (2-5 players)
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 prefecture 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) Miyagi?) 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 Miyagi is Sendai.). The winner can either keep the card they are holding or change cards with the losing player. 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 country cards have been used. Points are scored for linked prefectures (1 point for each contiguous prefecture, minimum 3).
Three or more contiguous prefectures: 1 point for each
Hokkaido + Okinawa 3 points
Tokyo + Osaka + Kyoto 5 points
QUESTIONS (Larger number or higher rank wins; correct answer wins)
Based on both players’ cards (hidden from view). Players must say the numbers correctly.
1. How big is it? (land area, national rank 1st-47th)
What is the population? (2016 or latest available data)
How high is the highest point? (meters above sea level)
How big is the economy? (all Japan = 100%)
5. What’s the capital of questioner’s prefecture?
6. Point to questioner’s prefecture on the map.
Points are only scored for linked prefectures in the same region (Tohoku, Shikoku etc).
Double points are scored if the entire region is captured (all of Shikoku yields 8 points).
The names of the prefectures are not announced (unless required by the question).
OPTIONAL RULES FOR QUESTIONS
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 Only a subset of questions are used.
5 The same question can’t be asked twice in a row.
GAME 2: WAR (in pairs)
A War-type card game can be played if you only have 5-10 minutes to spare. Follow the same routine as above, except the winner keeps both cards. The player with the most cards at the end wins. Alternatively, the player who can link the most prefectures wins. A single deck can be divided among several pairs of players. The board is not necessary but a blank map is needed to answer location questions.
GAME 3: HOLIDAY
All players start at and return to the same prefecture (Kagoshima or Hokkaido). All players draw a destination card. Players roll a single die and move that many spaces (prefectures) in an effort to reach their holiday destination and come home again. Every space traversed must be named correctly. If a mistake is made, the player ends their turn on the last correctly identified prefecture. When the round-trip 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 prefecture.
A player may not visit the same prefecture twice on the same turn.
A player can move fewer spaces than the number on the die.
The other players can look at the map key to ensure the prefectures are named correctly.
Hokkaido and Aomori are linked by a tunnel.
Okinawa can be reached from Kagoshima only if a 3 or higher is thrown on the die.
For games 1 and 2, conversation templates can be used. For example:
A: Where are you?
B: I’m in Saga.
A: How many people live in Saga?
B: There are 833,000 people.
A: There are 5,103,000 people in Fukuoka. Fukuoka has a bigger population than Saga so I win. Let’s exchange cards.
For games that don’t announce the prefecture:
A: (thinking: I have Fukuoka. It has lot’s of people so I’ll ask the population question.)
How many people are there?
B: There are 833,000 people.
A: 5,103,000 people. My prefecture has more people than yours.
(Thinking: I don’t know what her prefecture is but it sounds small. On the other hand I
have no use for Fukuoka....)
Let’s switch cards.