Friday, October 10, 2014

Quick Review - The Scrambled States of America

The Scrambled States of America
Designer: Mary Ellroy
Publisher: Gamewright
Quick Review - The Scrambled States of America
OK, I confess, I haven't actually played this game.  But I watched while my wife and sons played as part of their homeschool lessons.  In The Scrambled States of America there are two decks of cards, one deck of states, and one deck of challenge cards.  Each player starts with a map of the US and a number of state cards that show a cartoon picture of the state (with faces, arms, legs, etc.) as well as the name, capitol, and nickname of the state.  Then players take turns drawing a challenge card and then racing each other to find a state in their hand that completes the challenge.  Some of the challenges are as simple as finding a state with a particular letter in the name, some are more challenging, like finding the state that is closest to somewhere else.  Through this kids will learn the location of states on the map, names, nicknames, and capitols of the states, and sometimes other geographic tidbits.  A simpler version of the game allows for players to play without racing each other.  The game ends when all the state cards are used up.

My boys had a lot of fun playing this game, even asking to play again the next day.  It's a simple way to learn some basic state facts and basic geography, but that's all it is, basic.  Part of the problem is that each player will only see a fraction of the states each time they play.  And during each game players will only be looking at some of the information about each state.  So to be of any real educational value the game will have to be played a lot.  But the game is simple and quick enough that the boys can play it whenever they want, even without an adult.

Both of my boys have said that they liked the game a lot and wouldn't change anything about it.  My wife thinks its a good supplement to standard lessons in US geography, but can't stand alone as a sole supplemental game.  We don't currently have any other US geography games, but we have been eyeing 10 Days in the USA to play alongside this one.

Preliminary Rating: 5/10

Playing The Scrambled States of America

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GJJG Game Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with my family and friends.  Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some are print and play versions of games.  Where applicable I will indicate if games have been played with kids or adults or a mix (Family Play).  I won't go into extensive detail about how to play the game (there are plenty of other sources for that information and I'll occasionally link to those other sources), but I will give my impressions of the game and how my friends and family reacted to the game.  First Play Impression reviews will only get a single rating of 1-10 (low-high) based on my first impressions of the game during my first time playing.  Hopefully I'll get more chances to play the game and will be able to give it a full review soon.

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