Geography themed Board Games that have a World Map
How do you think your geographical knowledge stacks up when compared to the rest of the country?
What about when you compare it to the rest of the world?
Bored Panda recently published an article where Americans’ geography knowledge was put to the test.
They decided to test this with a survey in which participants had to write in countries’ names on a blank map of Europe. Unfortunately, they didn’t fare too well, but some of their responses are ridiculous (or hilariously misinformed).
However, don’t be quick to judge Americans geographic knowledge when a similar survey was testing Europeans knowledge of the United States; they also came up short with some shocking and hilarious answers.
So with everybody’s geographical knowledge needing a bit of work we have put together a list of games that include a world map for you and your family to get learning and bring that geography knowledge up to speed.
So here is our list of the top geography board games (that have a world map), you can have a ball while you enjoy learning about the world all around and become a geography pro before you know it.
Ticket to Ride Rails & Sails
Ticket to Ride rails and sails is one of the latest in the ticket to ride franchise and take the game to a global level as players create routes that cover a map of the entire world.
If this game doesn’t have you placing all the countries in the right place as you try to complete your complex tickets connecting capital cities we don’t know what else will.
Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails takes the familiar gameplay of Ticket to Ride and expands it across the globe — which means that you’ll be moving across water, of course, and that’s where the sails come in.
As in other Ticket to Ride games, in Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails players start with tickets in hand that show two cities, and over the course of the game they try to collect coloured cards, then claim routes on the game board with their coloured train and ship tokens, scoring points while doing so. When any player has six or fewer tokens in their supply, each player takes two more turns, then the game ends. At that point, if they’ve created a continuous path between the two cities on a ticket, then they score the points on that ticket; if not, then they lose points instead.
Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails puts a few twists on the TtR formula, starting with split card decks of trains and ships (with all of the wild cards going in the train deck). Three cards of each type are revealed at the start of the game, and when you draw cards, you replace them with a card from whichever deck you like. (Shuffle the card types separately to form new decks when needed.)
Similarly, players choose their own mix of train and ship tokens at the start of the game. To claim a train route (rectangular spaces), you must play train cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with train tokens, and to claim a shipping route (oval spaces), you must play ship cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with ship tokens. Ship cards depict one or two ships on them, and when you play a double-ship card, you can cover one or two ship spaces. You can take an action during play to swap train tokens for ships (or vice versa), and you lose one point for each token you swap.
Some tickets show tour routes with multiple cities instead of simply two cities. If you build a network that matches the tour exactly, you score more points than if you simply include all of those cities in your network.
Each player also starts the game with three harbours. If you have built a route to a port city, you can take an action during the game to place a harbour in that city (with a limit of one harbour per port). To place the harbour, you must discard two train cards and two ship cards of the same colour, all of which must bear the harbour symbol (an anchor). At the end of the game, you lose four points for each harbour not placed, and you gain 10-40 points for each placed harbour depending on how many of your completed tickets show that port city.
Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails includes a double-sided game board, with one side showing the world and the other side showing the Great Lakes of North America. Players start with a differing number of cards and tokens depending on which side they play, and each side has a few differences in gameplay.
Pandemic puts you and your friends into the role of disease-fighting specialists trying to save the whole world this cooperative game has you travelling across continents each turn hoping to stop the pandemic before time runs out.
This game is perfect for families as its cooperative nature has you working together as a team but be warned the game is hard so don’t expect to win every game.
In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.
The game board depicts several major population centres on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. A deck of cards provides the players with these abilities, but sprinkled throughout this deck are Epidemic! Cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases’ activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the “normal” spread of the infections.
Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists’ strengths in order to conquer the diseases. For example, the Operations Expert can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases and which allow for greater mobility between cities; the Scientist needs only four cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal five—but the diseases are spreading quickly and time is running out. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!
The 2013 edition of Pandemic includes two new characters—the Contingency Planner and the Quarantine Specialist—not available in earlier editions of the game.
Pandemic is the first game in the Pandemic series.
Explaining Risk Legacy outside of the description given by the designer may result in spoilers so I will refrain from providing personal commentary and post the description below
However, I can tell you it has a world map and is soo much better than classic risk!
This description is spoiler-free, containing nothing outside the initial rulebook for the game. Details on why this is important in the description.
Risk Legacy represents what is if not a new, at least a rare concept to board gaming: campaigning. At its core, the game, particularly at first, plays much like regular Risk with a few changes. Players control countries or regions on a map of the world, and through simple combat (with players rolling dice to determine who loses units in each battle) they try to eliminate all opponents from the game board or control a certain number of “red stars”, otherwise known as victory points (VPs).
What’s different is that Risk Legacy’ changes over time based on the outcome of each game and the various choices made by players. In each game, players choose one of five factions; each faction has uniquely shaped pieces, and more importantly, different rules. At the start of the first game, each of these factions gains the ability to break one minor rule, such as the ability to move troops at any time during your turn, as opposed to only at the end.
What makes this game unique is that when powers are chosen, players must choose one of their faction’s two powers, affix that power’s sticker to their faction card, then destroy the card that has the other rule on it – and by destroy, the rules mean what they say: “If a card is DESTROYED, it is removed from the game permanently. Rip it up. Throw it in the trash.” This key concept permeates through the game. Some things you do in a game will affect it temporarily, while others will affect it permanently. These changes may include boosting the resources of a country (for recruiting troops in lieu of the older “match three symbols” style of recruiting), adding bonuses or penalties to defending die rolls to countries, or adding permanent continent troop bonuses that may affect all players.
The rule book itself is also designed to change as the game continues, with blocks of blank space on the pages to allow for rules additions or changes. Entire sections of rules will not take effect until later in the game. The game box contains different sealed packages and compartments, each with a written condition for opening. The rule book indicates that these contain the rule additions, additional faction powers, and other things that should not be discussed here for spoiler protection.
The winner of each of the first 15 games receives a “major bonus,” such as founding a major city (which only he will be allowed to start on in future games), deleting a permanent modifier from the board, destroying a country card (preventing it from providing any resources towards purchasing troops in future games), changing a continent troop bonus, or naming a continent, which gives that player a troop bonus in future games. Players who did not win but were not eliminated are allowed to make minor changes to the world, such as founding a minor city or adding resources to a country.
It should be noted that although cards are ripped up over the course of the game, there are so many cards added via the sealed packages, the game does not suffer. Nor is this a “disposable” game, merely a customized one. The game can continue to change beyond the 15 game campaign, and even when it finally does stop changing, you still have a copy of Risk that is completely unique and plays better than any other version of Risk.
Initial games take approximately 30-90 minutes to play, which includes a brief rules explanation and setup.
Power Grid – Across Continents Variant
Power Grid as its name suggests has players trying to establish power across the world as you are working to collect resources and build these stations you will find yourself with the benefit of also knowing where countries are located on a world map.
The objective of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone’s network gains a predetermined size. In this new edition, players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities.
However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you’re potentially allowing others access to superior equipment.
Additionally, players must acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power said plants (except for the ‘renewable’ windfarm/ solar plants, which require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.
This Classic War game is less family-friendly and a whole lot of awesome as you dive into the history of the incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation so history buffs will love this game and you can’t get through a game without levelling up your geography skills.
Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card-driven classics We the People and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. As with GMT’s other card-driven games, decision-making is a challenge; how to best use one’s cards and units are given consistently limited resources?
Twilight Struggle’s Event cards add detail and flavour to the game. They cover a vast array of historical happenings, from the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967 to Vietnam and the U.S. peace movement to the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of game-ending nuclear war.
How good are your geography skills are you a pro or do you still believe stuff like Australia doesn’t exist let us know in the comments below.