Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Continent Race Game

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.

Our family always loves when we get to review materials that make learning fun. Our education style is a foundation of literature with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Since we are not big text-book-learners, I am pleased when we find a game that is a combination of fun and learning to incorporate into our days. In fact, once a month, we have game schooling, where we set aside all regular school work in lieu of playing games all day. There is so much you can learning through games! We've been doing this for years now with great success.

Naturally, I was excited to receive Continent Race from Byron's Games to add to our game collection.

The story behind Continent Race is really quite amazing. Six-year-old Byron had a month-long hospital stay after his appendix ruptured. During that time, he kept track of each country's medal count during the Summer Olympics and was challenged by one of the staff to create a game using flags. That simple objective sparked Byron to create something great. He immediately knew that he wanted a game for children in the hospital to play so they could have fun and learn while they recovered, and, in turn, was encouraged and healed himself. And Byron's Games was born.

Byron stayed true to his mission and has since donated 150 of his games to hospitals and another 25 copies to individual children who are currently undergoing cancer treatments. A portion of all sales benefits select children's charities. The family has also added other products to the company, like the Connection's Stationary Kit (reviewed by my crewmates), a travel pillow, beach blanket, and more in the works. Byron transformed a scary situation into an exciting opportunity.

Continent Race is dedicated to teaching geography. It comes with the following materials:

  • World Map Game Board -- heavy cardboard, each continent is a different color with each country within a varying shade of the color, bright and crisp picture
  • 5 Continent Cards -- 8 1/2" x 11" heavy cardboard, one side lists each country in alphabetical order, one side shows a zoomed in version of the continent from the world map
  • Playing Cards -- 205 cards each showing a country and its capital along with the flag, 3 Antarctica wild cards

The object of the game is to be the first player to collect the required number of country cards from each continent. The countries are grouped by the continent color that matches the game board. The 5 groups were made to represent the Olympic rings: Europe (blue), Asia (purple), Africa (yellow), the Americas (red), and Australia/Oceania (green). The advanced level of the game includes orange mystery cards which require the player to determine the continent it belongs to.

The rules are simple. The players draw and discard cards to collect countries from the continents. Once someone has the cards for 3 continents, he wins. There are other aspects such as announcing the names of the countries you play and discard along with the winner finding his played countries on the game board.

My kids (ranging from 5-14 years old) and I played the game the last two months during our game schooling day and they played again with their dad. The materials are beautiful! Very well-made on sturdy cardboard and bright and colorful pictures. Even my younger ones could easily match continents by looking at the color-coded cards.

As simple as the game may be though, it seems to be lacking something. There isn't strategy or much gameplay. The game board is lovely, but is practically nonessential. Having markers for each player to place on the countries they play would add another level as they'd have to find the countries on the map and add an additional aspect to the game. Each time we played the regular version, someone won in 3 turns. When we tried the advanced level, my son won in 5 turns. Unfortunately, this is not a game that my kids want to play. One of them even told me, "It needs something," and another one said, "It's too basic."

I truly love the concept of the game and the story behind it. The components make wonderful reference materials! The cards are great for memorizing countries and their flags and the continent cards would be perfect to hang on the wall in your school room.

There are other features on the site, too. There is a phonetic pronunciation for each country (though an audio clip would be appreciated) and coloring pages for the flags of each country (we did find that the Iceland flag actually brought up the Ireland flag though) and more.

I think this game has true potential! The materials are already high-quality and the owners have a heart for others. A couple little tweaks would bump Continent Race up the board game list.

I think Byron and his parents are going to accomplish great things.

You can connect with Byron's Games on the following social media sites:

You can see how other homeschool families used this game and even check out the Connection's Stationary Kit also from Byron's Games by reading the reviews on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Continent Race & Connections Stationery Kit {Byron's Games}
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