WBG Score: 7
Player Count: 1-6
You’ll like this if you like: Geography Class
Published by: Rounded Kids
Designed by: Christian Morgan
Borders: Europe is from independent publisher Rounder Kids. They aim to make games that are educational, fun, and encourage exploration. Their first release, Borders: Europe, certainly does that. Let's get it to the table and see how it plays.
There are many ways you can play with these cards, and the rules encourage you to create your own versions too. But I will focus on the main game here. "Make The Map." You can see details of the other variations below
Shuffle the deck and deal five cards to each player. They split the deck in half and place two draw piles face down. You are now ready to play.
How to Play
Each player will now check their cards and see which card in their hand has the most named border connections. These are shown on the outside edges of the cards. The cards are either border cards, or country cards. The border cards will be bodies of water and will have just one border each. The country cards will have a number of borders. The player with the card with the most connections will now play this into the centre of the board, and the game will start. You are looking to get rid of your cards, the first to do so, wins.
On your turn you can do one of three things. First, you can discard one card and draw two, one from each pile. Second, you can draw one card and then play cards, if you can. Third, you can play as many cards as possible from your hand. Playing cards is simple: you just have to match a card in your hand to a border on the table. For example, if Luxembourg is on the table, you can play Belgium, Germany, or France next to it, as shown on the card below. This will then open up more options for subsequent turns. Keep going until one player runs out of cards. How big will your map grow? For a video description of this game and its other variations, check here.
Is It Fun?
I like game for three main reasons. 1. I feel like I am learning something every time I play this. That is rare! 2. I feel like I am being a responsible and helpful father when I play this with my children. 3. I enjoy the feeling I get when I play games that have cascading options. That sensation of doing something that then opens a window to more opportunities. You know, when you do a specific action, and now we all have access to this new thing, we can all now do this new action. I love that feeling, and this game is essentially just that. It's great. It feels like as a team, we are getting closer to the finished puzzle which each card we play. As such, we quickly just started playing this game cooperatively, without even a scoring system. We just enjoyed making the map and seeing how big we could make it.
As such, this feels like more of a hobby or pastime than a game for me. But that is only for me. There is a game here, a number of them in fact. It's just that as we played, we developed it into that after a few games as that felt more fun to us. But I think that is what these cards are about—developing them and using them for your own purposes. Making new games up. Developing the existing ones to suit you. Learning about Europe and enjoying time with your family.
Flag Runner: This is a simple game where players simply take it in turns to try and guess which flag represents which country, using the reverse of the country cards. Remove the border cards from the game for this variation. If you are correct, you keep the card to score one point with the end of the game. If you are wrong, it goes into a separate pile to be used when the first deck of cards is done. Players will now draw from this, scoring two points per correct guess.
Travel Trumps: This plays just like normal Top Trumps. Remove the water cards, shuffle the rest of the deck and deal them equally to all players. One player will then name one statistic on their card, all players will then state their number for that statistic on their top card. The player will the highest number wins all the cards. The winning player then chooses the next statistic to compare. keep playing until one player has all the cards.
Higher/Lower: Remove the water cards. Shuffle the deck and place it face down on the table. Choose one statistic from the cards to play with, then flip the top card. Then try to guess if the next card will be higher or lower than the first card. Remember, you will have the country flag visible on the card to help you.
LatLong: Remove the borders cards and shuffle the deck. Deal 3/4 cards to each player. Flip the top card from the deck. The first player then must choose one card from their hand to place either above, below or to the right or left of this card, based on if they think their card is north, south, east, or west of the first card on the map. If you are right, your card will stay on the table and the next player will have a turn. If you are wrong, the card you play goes next to the next and you will draw a new card from the deck. As the cards on the table build, you can place cards from your hand next to any card even in-between cards if you think that could be correct. But the furthest north, south, east, or west card. You are always forming a cross shape with the cards. The first to play all their cards wins. You can also play this version cooperatively, seeing how many cards you can play as a group.
I would recommend this game to anyone with children aged between four and 12. The cards are a great tool to have some fun, whilst learning about Europe and the countries within them. I myself found the experience to be very enjoyable, especially as I got better with my knowledge about the countries locations, and the flags that represented them. I cannot wait for the next geography round in my local pub quiz!