I’m going to be 100% brutally honest here. When I first got my copy of IDEAL’s Our America board game… well, it pretty much looked like the most boring thing ever. We’re talking Snooze City.
I mean, it’s a trivia game about history. There’s no bells or whistles. The board consists of state flags and there are category cards with historical items and people on it. Like artwork of Alexander Graham Bell.
So forgive me if I judged a book, er, a game by its cover.
The good news, however, is that I was 100% wrong! Our America may not be flashy and it may not require any batteries at all, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s a heckuva lot of fun. Even my kids loved it and requested to play it a number of times already!
It’s tough to find things that truly are fun and educational these days, but IDEAL certainly did. The basic gist of the game is that every player gets their own mini board with a start and finish. Each space is a different state flag, listed in the order they joined the United States. So right off the bat, you’re learning without even realizing it!
You roll a colored die and then have to answer a trivia question from one of the six categories, based on the color you rolled: Presidents & Politicians, People, Places & Things, Inventors, Authors & Stars, Government & History, Only in America, and Cities & States.
If you’re already rolling your eyes or ready to give up, don’t. What makes this game so great is that each question has four multiple choice answers! So even if you know only like 20% of the answers (I should be so lucky), you still have at least a 25% chance of getting a question right! As you answer questions, you move ahead a set number of spaces, depending on how hard the question was. The winner is the first one to make it to the finish line while having successfully answered at least 1 question from each of the six categories.
Some questions are tough, while others were fairly easy. I was impressed at what Jason was able to remember or take an educated guess at. I even learned some pretty cool facts like George Washington was a millionaire, Eleanor Roosevelt was the first First Lady to vote in a Presidential election, and Grover Cleveland was the only President to get married in the White House.
There’s also plenty of pop-culture and sports questions mixed in too. All in all, it’s easier than Trivial Pursuit (thanks to the multiple choice questions) and for the most part, you’re learning some neat historical facts. Heck, you’ll even feel smarter after playing. How many games can say that?
I really only have two complaints about the game and they’re fairly minor.
The first is just a color issue. The “yellowish” color for the Inventors, Authors & Stars category needs some help. The category card is more of a lime green color, while the trivia card color looks more like a bronze. So when you roll a bright yellow on the die, you’re a bit confused at first.
The second issue is the overall length of the game. Players need to collect one of each of the six category cards and then make it to the finish line. That’s 50 spaces. We played as a family for close to an hour and only made it to maybe the 15th or so spot. The best solution is to make each question worth a lot more spaces. Most have you move just 1, 2 or 3 spaces. They should toss in some 5 or 10 space questions too to really help move things along.
Other than those issues, I really did enjoy this game. On the day after a Presidential election, it’s nice to look back at over 200 years of history and learn some really intriguing facts about our forefathers.
Suggested for 2-4 players, ages 8 and older, Our America is Made in the U.S.A. and is currently available at toy stores or online.
Win Our America trivia game!
Giveaway ends on November 21, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on this site. Giveaway is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (including District of Columbia) who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. The Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.