Sequence States & Capitals

“States,” you’re probably saying to yourself, and “Capitals? Ah, therefore, it’s an educational game, you know, for people who want to do things like that, learn States and capitals.”  You’d be part right. But only part. First of all, it’s Sequence – the Major Fun award-winning family game that’s as highly recommended for seniors as it is for families and kids. So the real reason, the best reason to play is the sheer fun of it all. Second, you don’t really have to know anything about what State has what capital, even though, after a few games, you probably will know all the capitals of all the States.

So here’s what you get: a well-made folding game board  showing each of the 50 States, twice, just the shapes, in different colors; a deck of 108 color-coded cards, each naming a capital, each showing the shape  and color of the State to which it belongs; and chips, 150 of them, 50 of each of 3 different colors, two-sided, embossed chips, one side with a white background; and game instructions, clearly-written, in English and Spanish.

You need at least 2 people to play. Each player gets one color of chips. If you have 3 people, then you use all three colors. If you have more (as many as 12), you play in teams, each team getting one color. Depending on how many players, each player gets from 8 to 3 cards. Your goal is to be the first player, or team, to get 5-in-a-row, twice.

The strategic part of the game is heightened by two features. First, since each State is on the board twice, you have to decide which occurrence of the State to cover with one of your chips – the one that opens the most possibilities for you, or the one that more effectively blocks one of your opponents. Second, there are two kinds of “special” cards – one that says “ADD” (letting you add a chip anywhere on the board), and another that says “REMOVE.” There are only four of each, so if you find one of those cards, you want to wait until the best possible moment to use it.

Other than that, the game is about luck, teamwork, and a lot of looking for the right State. The luck keeps the game fun and accessible to all. The teamwork greatly adds to the fun, and the looking around is what contributes so directly to the learning. The more you play, the more you begin to recognize the shapes of the States and their capitals. It’s as easy, and as fun as that.

It pays, strategically, to complete a 5-in-a-row as soon as you can. Once you do, none of those chips can be removed. Hence, just enough potential and pressure to keep you into the game until the very end. The colors are distinct enough, the chips large enough, the pace gentle enough for people of all ages. And if your goal is in deed educational, Sequence States & Capitals is probably one of the best models you’ll find for what an educational game should be – fun, engaging, and the learning, when it comes, comes gently and incidentally.

 

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