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Players crisscross the nation, buying and selling goods while learning geography.

Board Game Review: ‘Game of the States’ from Winning Moves

Game of the States from Winning Moves Games heralds the return of one of America’s oldest board game classics with brand new twists. Dating as far back as the Greatest Generation, Game of the States combines play and education in a way that has taught state locations and capital cities to kids for decades. Even in our modern age of screen-learning, players will effectively gain geographical skills and have a good time while doing it.

The board for Game of the States is a map of the United States, each state serving as a space. Players pick a color with four “crates” and a truck. As with other classic games, players receive play money that serves as a score counter to determine the winner. The aim of the game is to collect the most money by crisscrossing the nation, buying and selling goods until the last package has been delivered.

Gameplay in Game of the States follows a balance of strategy and luck, making it a great family game where older players will not overwhelm younger ones still figuring out mechanics like the most efficient route through the U.S. or the most advantageous crates to pick up. Strategy is important, yet the best logician is not automatically the winner thanks to the game’s spinner mechanic.

Players spin to see how many spaces they move, and to determine the price of goods when buying and selling. The value may be between $20 and $120, and players are given the choice after the first spin to spin again while accepting whatever outcome, even if it is less. This teaches risk-management, as young players will need to determine whether taking anything above $60 is a statistical advantage or if they should chance it all to catch up to a player in the lead.

In addition to effective process skills, Game of the States is rich in learning geography. Each state is represented on a card from the deck, which has details like the state nickname, emblems, products, and more. As players draw cards to determine the destinations for the goods they have picked up, they read the info aloud, including a special STEM fact, such as that the New York City subway system has 722 miles of track or that Stone Mountain in Georgia is a single mass of exposed granite. The facts are so rich through the game that Winning Moves offers additional online rules for a trivia game version of Game of the States in which players quiz each other from the cards.

Game of the States is a board game for two to four players aged eight and up. Alternate rules in the “Junior Version” simplify gameplay to bring in kids as young as six. In that version the buying portion of the game is shelved; instead, players focus on spinning to make sales while racing to be the first to reach four state destinations drawn from the card deck. All through the game, again, players study their state cards to learn more about the nation.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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