Stack the Countries

So I wanted to quickly mention this app game – Stack the Countries – because it is cool and awesome and actually educational, but every time I try to write about it, it sounds like a weird sponsored post, like I’m all standing there with an iPhone next to my face, doing a Vanna White smile, tapping it with my perfectly manicured hands, while nodding wisely.

(Speaking of Vanna, I happened to catch the tail end of an episode of Wheel of Fortune the other night, and man, is she ever looking good for what, 56 years old? Damn. Pat Sajak, by the way, looks as dead-eyed and life-hating as ever. That guy should have quit at least 20 years ago and gone to build schools in Guatemala or something.)

Anyway, just to be clear, NOT A SPONSORED POST.

I heard about Stack the Countries from my friends Mary Lynn and Julie on Facebook, who mentioned it in passing, and so I thought we’d try it out. And yes, AWESOME.

Here’s what you do:
* answer a multiple-choice trivia question about geography (which country has this flag, which country is in Africa, which country has French as its official language, etc)
* if you’re right, you get the right-answer country as a little puzzle piece
* rotate and move the country piece until it’s just the way you want it, then drop it onto a tower you’re building
* when the tower is big enough, you’ll be awarded a country on your world map, and you can then go there and read about it (basic facts only – my one complaint is that I wish there was more info, or maybe a link to wikipedia for each country so we could find out more).

So we are all playing this game now (up to 6 different player profiles are allowed, so we can each work towards building our own world map) and it is SO fun, and building the towers is so exciting. Someone around here is always yelling something like,

“No, United Kingdom, no no no no!”
“Hang in there, Belize, YOU CAN DO IT.”
“What the HELL, Uganda, WHAT THE HELL?”
“Hey, has anyone else noticed how much Israel looks like a carrot?”

And so on. Everyone now knows all kinds of stuff about where world countries are, and what they look like, and what borders what, and my favourite part, all about world flags. And it’s amazing just how many countries there are in the world – close to 200 – and so many are tiny little things, and that has led to plenty of googling so we can figure out just how these countries came into existence (like, why does South Africa have a whole other nation, Lesotho, right in the middle of it?) and how they survive (like, how does Nauru, being just one tiny island nation, have any income?) and why there are some blanks on the map (like, why isn’t there any country between Suriname and Brazil, when clearly there is land there?).

And, we are constantly debating as to who has the best/most interesting/weirdest flag, which has led to much mocking of Libya for having a pure green rectangle as their flag, and then we found out on a game show (The Chase, if you must know, another of my new obsessions) that Libya got a new flag about a year ago, and that was GIANT HOUSE NEWS, like, we almost woke up the children to tell them.

So although I never considered us to be geography nerds, or the kind of family who makes their kids play educational games, or even the kind of family who might one day have a lively debate on where in the world you’d most like to explore…we are now.

Stack the Countries – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

8 thoughts on “Stack the Countries

  1. smothermother

    SO MUCH FUN!! our obsession has waned a bit. but we also have made the same comment on isreal. 🙂

  2. This post made me LOL, seriously. (“Hey, has anyone else noticed how much Israel looks like a carrot?” Hilarious. And no, I hadn’t noticed, but actually it does look like a carrot, maybe with an odd slanted slice off the top.)

    This sounds like a great game. Mason went through a period of obsession with political (and to a lesser extent natural) geography a couple of years ago and collected a truly impressive array of facts like this. It actually all started by chance one night when the boys were getting too rowdy and I suggested we play something called the “State Game”, where everyone had to guess the U.S. state that someone was thinking of starting with the given letter. (It is still called the state game even though it quickly evolved to include countries of the world, Canadian provinces and world capitals). At one point he even memorized all the counties of California and their county seats!

    Anyhow, I have a feeling the boys would really have fun with this game, definitely going to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

    (Oh, and Pat Sajak dead-eyed and life-hating? I actually always thought his deadpan delivery was pretty funny, and was disappointed when his talk show failed, although maybe the deadpan delivery was all he had going for him, in which case maybe it’s no surprise. I haven’t watched it in a long time though, probably since KenJen was on Jeopardy and WoF came on right after (and kids weren’t taking up so much of our time, and we still had cable and only watched things when they were actually broadcast, etc etc).)

    1. I also used to think Pat was sassy and loved his deadpan humour. But somewhere after the talk-show thing he seemed to really lose all passion for his game show gig. I find watching him now to be painful, but possibly I am just projecting. Not that *I* would consider “game show host” to be a runner-up career, but you know, not everyone dreams of some day being employed by the Game Show Channel.

      1. Hmmm, yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if the WoF fire is gone for Pat. I guess Vanna also tried to break out and failed, and from the sounds of it she’s handled it much better.

  3. This sounds much better than Touring England – http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/30456/touring-england – , which I bought on a whim because it also includes cities in Wales, and because it was $19.99 at Tiggywinkles (and when do you get a board game for $20 anymore?), and because we like weird geographical quizzes / games in my family.

    To say Touring England is SLOW is to be generous. Also, although I mostly bought it for my husband, he’s offended because it’s not called “Touring England and Wales” (the Welsh are largely, and fairly consistently, ignored / overlooked by the English).

    However, once we modified the rules somewhat, we did have fun, with our kids being subjected to our stories about the hijinks we had in Leeds, or Chester, or Aberystwyth before they were born.

    We got Risk for Christmas which caused immense over-the-top competitiveness and temper tantrums, so perhaps Stack the Countries is a better choice for us!

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