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American Trivia: Junior Edition Board Game Review by Kate Kessler

Outset Media Games
Cobble Hill Puzzle Company
106-4226 Commerce Circle
Victoria, BC, V8Z 6N6

American Trivia: Junior Edition comes with a sturdy thick 20" square playing board, 360 question cards, 8 playing pieces, and 45 "Flag Cards." The game is easy to learn and enjoyable to play. You will choose which type of game you wish to play  regular play, quick play, or long play. This is decided by how many times you want the pieces to round the board. Once this is decided upon, you will choose your playing piece. Player one will move forward one square (players move forward one space at the beginning of every turn). Player one is now asked a question from the category written on the square. The categories are: History, Geography, General, or Flag.

Examples of History:

  • "During what war did hundreds of soldiers spend the winter in Valley Forge?"
  • "What was discovered at Sutter's Mill in California in 1848?"
  • "During the 1960's, which state surpassed New York to become the most populated state in America?"
  • "In the year 1900, what was the largest city in California: Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco?"
  • "The image of Uncle Sam was first used during what war: War of 1812, Civil War, or World War One?"
  • "What did the suffragettes fight for?"

Examples of Geography:

  • "The city of Baton Rouge is located on the shore of what river?"
  • "What is the capital of Massachusetts: Boston, Cambridge, or Springfield?"
  • "As of the year 2006, only two countries had more people than the United States. Name them."
  • "What is the largest city in Maryland?"
  • "What mountain chain runs from Maine to Alabama?"
  • "What is the largest lake found completely within the United States?"

Examples of General:

  • "Whose album, The Emancipation of Mimi, was the top-selling album of 2005?"
  • "What is the largest member of the deer family living in the United States?"
  • "The Guggenheim Museum is located in what city?"
  • "What 1977 movie brought us the saying, 'May the Force be with you?'"
  • "What homerun hitter was nicknamed the 'Sultan of Swat?'"
  • "Hollywood actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger became the governor of which state in 2003?"

Examples of Flag Cards:

  • "After a snowstorm, you shovel a driveway for some seniors. Move forward two spaces."
  • "You spend one morning every month volunteering in your local community. Move forward two spaces."
  • "You copy your homework from a friend. Miss your turn and move back one space."
  • "Your basement floods during a rainstorm. Miss your turn and move back one space."

I did not personally care for many of the General questions. I felt they lacked substance and were not aligned well with the other topics of the game  history and geography. The first example is something that, in my opinion, does not belong in a game geared mostly for educational fun. I realize that The Emancipation of Mimi author and the "Sultan of Swat" are "trivia" questions, but I would have preferred to see more general science questions like the deer example above.

I liked the examples given in the Flag cards that would allow a player to move forward. It was nice to see the positive ideas given. I also really liked the History and Geography cards. There were many cards in there that I didn't know (sheepish grin) and many that were challenging to the children. The idea behind learning while enjoying yourself is a good one and we all did this.

The game is designed for two to eight players, ages 9 and up, and I think this is accurate. I had my eight year-old, ten year-old, and twelve year-old playing with me and we all did just fine. Overall the game is worth the $29.99 retail price (also available on sale via an online search). We learned many things while playing and it was very enjoyable to see the children respond to the knowledge they learned as well as excited at what they already knew. The educational value is high (despite some of the General questions) and the quality family time was excellent. Outset Media has done it again.

-Product Review by Kate Kessler, Product Reviews Manager, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2007