by Artie Pajak
Artie works as a Graduate Assistant in the Instructional Media
Lab. When he grows up, he wants to be an educational software
designer. Until then, he'll continue to spend his late nights working
on projects and watching SportsCenter.
Instructional Objective The learners will be able to name
and identify the countries of the world and the continents in which
they are located.
Learners/Context The learners include anyone with an interest
in world geography. It is intended for four or more players, ages 10
and up. The game can be used in elementary, middle, or high school
social studies classes to teach facts about the countries of the
Rationale World geography isn't exactly the most exciting
subject when it's taught in today's schools. It seems that many times
it's hardly taught at all. Since U.S. citizens are perennially among
the world's worst students of world geography, this game provides a
fun, competitive atmosphere to help them learn an increasingly
important subject as we approach the "Global Village" concept.
Rules This game is based on the card game "Set!"
In this game, a set consists of 3 cards whose countries all lie on
the same continent OR all lie on different continents.
- Choose a dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck of cards and
places 12 cards in the middle of all players with Side 1 face up.
The dealer should arrange the cards into four rows of three cards
each. The dealer then places the remaining cards aside.
- The first player that believes he/she can name 3 countries
that lie on the same continent OR 3 countries that lie on 3
different continents yells "Set!"
- That player must then identify the set of 3 cards, name the
countries shown on the cards, and tell which continent each
country lies on. The player may then check his/her responses by
flipping the cards over.
- If the player is correct, he/she claims the set by picking up
the set of 3 cards and placing them before him/her. The dealer
then draws 3 cards from the top of the remaining deck and places
them into the vacant spots. The next round begins with Step
- If the player is incorrect, the cards remain in their
positions (Side 1 face up) and play continues with Step 2. The
player who answered incorrectly may NOT participate for the
remainder of the round. (A round is considered complete when any
player correctly identifies a set or when no player correctly
identifies a set.)
- In the case where no player correctly identifies a set, one of
the players should flip over each of the 12 cards and state the
country name and continent aloud to all players. The dealer then
picks up the 12 cards, mixes them back into the remaining deck and
deals 12 more cards with Side 1 face up. The next round begins
with Step 2.
- Play continues until all cards in the deck have been
- The player with the most cards at the end of the game
Variations Three variations of Country Set are:
1. In addition to naming countries and continents, have players
name capital cities, currencies, religions, languages, neighboring
countries, or major products before claiming a set.
2. For classroom use, or when there is a very large group of
players, have the players form smaller groups and divide the cards
into 6 decks by continent -- North America, South America, Europe,
Asia, Africa, and Oceania. (Combine Australia, Antarctica, and the
Pacific island nations to form Oceania.) Give each group of players
one deck. Have players name countries and capital cities and/or
currencies, religions, languages, neighboring countries, or major
products before claiming a set.
3. Institute a "Challenge" rule, where any player can challenge
the first player who yelled "Set!" if he/she believes the first
player is incorrect. If the first player is correct, he/she claims
the set and the challenger must sit out the next round. If the first
player is incorrect, the challenger must try to claim the set. If the
challenger is correct, he/she claims the set. If the challenger is
incorrect, he/she must sit out the next 2 rounds.
Deck Design The deck includes one card for each country in the
world (approximately 200 at press time). The deck is not color coded
so learners cannot make identifications based on color.
Design Process In my first design, side 2 was blank and side 1
had a country outline and a number. The number could be looked up on
a reference card that would list all the countries along with the
information on side 2 of the final design. I decided against that
design for two reasons:
1. If the reference card were lost, the players would have a more
difficult time verifying the information.
2. It's easier to flip over a card and check the information than
to look it up in a chart.
I added side 2 to the design because more information about the
countries fits on individual cards as opposed to having all the
information about all countries on 1 or 2 reference cards. Side 2
also has a map of the continent so that learners can see where each
country lies in relation to other countries on the continent. The map
also makes side 2 more visually interesting.
I also considered making the "Challenge" rule a part of the
original game, but I wanted to leave the original game as basic as
possible so learners could think without the pressure of a
"Challenge." I decided to allow the players to decide if they wanted
to add that level of complexity to their games.
Finally, with the current design, learners can:
- use the cards as flash cards and check their answers almost
- read the cards for pleasure when they aren't playing, much
like reading Trivial Pursuit cards.