Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
My family loves playing games! We often incorporate board games into our homeschool routine, and always enjoy trying out new ones. So, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to try out Continent Race from Byron’s Games.
What Is Continent Race?
I love the story behind this game. On the cover of the box, it reads, “Created by a Kid for Kids!” This game was designed by a young child, named Byron. When Byron was six-years-old, he was in the hospital for an unexpected illness. While there, he was inspired to help kids have fun ways to learn from the hospital. Through a Kickstarter campaign, this game has been donated to over 130 children’s hospitals around the United States.
This game focuses on geography, and helping children become more familiar with countries on each of the continents. It takes less than 30 minutes to play, and is perfect for kids age seven and up, though my six-year-old played with just a bit of help.
Here’s a picture of what the game contains:
The board is high quality, and features a map of the world. The game also contains:
- 5 Continent Lists with Maps
- 205 Country Cards
- 3 Antarctica Wild Cards
The continent cards are neat, as they feature a list of all countries in a continent on one side, and a blown-up map of the continent on the other. You can see the country lists in the image above, so here’s what the backsides look like:
How Do You Play?
This game is simple to play, and easy for kids to learn. Your goal is to collect enough country cards from each continent to complete a set. The requirements for winning are different based on if you select to play the easy level or advanced level.
To help younger kids, who may struggle to read some of the country names, the cards are color coded. The blue cards all go with Europe, for example. This makes it easy to match by color, not necessarily name, which allows early readers to play alongside their older siblings or parents.
How Did We Use This Game?
The day the game arrived, my kids couldn’t wait to play. We opened it up right away and got set up. The directions were a bit confusing, so we turned to a YouTube video for some help. Once we had a feel for it, we separated the cards for the advanced level out and started to play.
Here is my current hand for one round. I’m holding two yellow country cards (Africa), three orange ones (The Americas), and two blue (Europe). Down on the table in front of me, I have completed sets for the pink cards (4 from Asia) and blue (4 from Europe.) Since Australia/Oceania only has a few countries, you only need two of those cards for a set. They are green.
This means I don’t need the blue cards in my hand. Since you have to discard a card on each turn, those will be the first ones I get rid of.
You may notice the Wild Antarctica card on my blue set on the table. These special cards can be used in two different ways.
First, you can play it down by itself and have it count for any continent group that you want. This is pretty handy!
But, if you do that, you don’t really get to replenish your hand and draw more cards for your next turn. (You always draw back up to seven.) So, you can also choose to play Antarctica to complete a continent set. Let’s say you were one card away from a full set. You could use Antarctica as a wild for any country on that continent. Then when you played your whole set down, you could draw more new cards and hopefully get the ones you’d need for another set.
After our initial round of playing, we tried it again. My kids continued playing for quite a while. We typically used the beginner level, but we tried a round or two of the advanced. Only my fourth and fifth graders were ready for this, it was too hard for my younger crew.
At the end of the game, you’re supposed to have the winner find each country on the map. I only did this for my older kids, and they had a lot of fun with this step. They also learned a lot about geography.
The Advanced Level
This level introduced a whole lot more cards. These were all orange, which were a bit confusing, since we’d just learned to associate orange cards with the Americas. But these cards were different. They didn’t have the color coding. So, you’d have to use the maps or lists of countries to help you know which set it went with.
There are also challenge cards. See the C on my Ireland card above? When you play a challenge card, you can challenge another player. You each get 15 seconds to look over the corresponding country list. Then you take turns naming countries, one at a time. Whoever wins (by saying the most) gets to draw three more cards. Then they can discard any three cards from their hand to get back to seven.
What Did We Think of This Game?
There were parts of this game we really enjoyed, and we will be playing it over and over again in our homechool. It was a fun way to help the kids (and myself) become more familiar with world geography.
The pieces are all high-quality and held up well to lots of use. The box is thick and everything fits inside easily.
But, there were a few confusing things. The rules weren’t well explained, we were confused a bit after reading them. Watching the video really helped, but we try to avoid that when possible since our internet is so bad here on the farm. I feel like they could use some rewriting for clarity, or that they could use more images to show a sample round.
I was also confused at first why there were only five continents instead of seven. In the game, North and South America are lumped together, and Antarctica is only represented by the Wild cards. But, it makes sense that Antarctica wouldn’t be included. There aren’t a whole lot of countries down there in the icy regions. Nor are there enough in North America to provide enough cards for everyone. By combining the two, it made it possible for multiple players to gather enough cards to complete the set.
So after thinking about it, it made sense. It just took me by surprise at first to see only five.
All in all, we appreciated the chance to try out a new game. It’s definitely one we will play again, and keep learning from.
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