Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Life's a Game 9. Mapominos

This year we're sharing with you our game of the month. These are all favourites from our collection, or ones we play with our friends.

September's game is Mapominos 

This is one we've only discovered in the last couple of years, but has provided us with great enjoyment. It comes in five variants; Europe, Asia and Australasia, Africa, Americas and UK Counties. In each box you'll find a card for each country (or county) in the region, complete with a few stats about the country and - most crucially - which countries it borders.

The aim is to put down all your cards first and is played very much like classic dominoes. You place each country next to one that it borders, creating a grid-like map that can often be rather askew! What could be more natural than North Korea sitting next to Georgia - they both border Russia after all. Play is also limited by the surface you use. If the card won't balance of its own accord then it can't go there - sorry but that's the rules!

The whole world laid out on the floor.

It can get better though, because its possible to combine packs to make the game bigger. With some friends we joined up all four countries versions to make the world which we decided to play on the floor - but having done so once I think we'd be up for the challenge of limiting it to the size of a table. It did provide some interesting card combination's:

Things getting busy in the Caribbean. 

Spain, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Trinidad and Tobago.
Not natural neighbours but united around a border to the Atlantic Ocean

Mexico, USA and Canada sitting - surprisingly - next to each other before jumping the
Atlantic to the UK and Cape Verde.
Each set is as different as the part of the world it represents which affects the game play quite a lot. We've found the Americas set to be rather slow play. It consists of only 35 cards and most of them being islands meaning that everyone ends up playing lots of sea (transit cards) just to get their cards connected. It would probably be improved by making the 50 US states individual cards to boost the number of connections.

At the other end of the scale there's UK counties. With over 150 cards it apparently makes for a long and intricate game, though we've not played ourselves. We'd definitely recommend going for Europe to most new players (though obviously if you're more familiar with Asia or Africa that might make a better choice). All told, we've had lots of fun playing all the different versions of this game though - so do give it a go.


  1. This looks like a really good game for Geography buffs! I love the links that you've made. How long does a game take?

    1. It depends of the size of the pack, a game of Europe takes an hour I guess. It is a good game for geography lovers, but since all the info you need is on the cards you don't need any prior knowledge to make it work.

  2. What a fascinating little game!xxx

    1. Thanks, it sounds simple but always seems to provoke laughs - particularly if you announce each country with a "eurovision" voice as you play it...

  3. That sounds fun! Not come across that one before.


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