The Scrambled States Review
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Players: 2-5
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Ages: 6 and up

The Scrambled States is a fast-paced matching card game that provides a lot of fun for kids while teaching them a little bit about geography.

The premise couldn’t be simpler. Each of the 50 cards in the deck represents one state in the U.S.A., and includes colorful, easy-to-recognize information on the state’s region, population, size, etc. Each category is also represented on one side of the single die included in the game. At the beginning of the game, 15 state cards are placed face-up on the playing surface, and the rest of the cards are shuffled and placed face-down in a draw pile.

One player flips the top card, and one player rolls the die. The die determines the category, and then players must figure out which (if any) of the 15 face-up cards match the card from the draw pile in that category only. So, for example, let’s say that the die comes up with the “region” category, and the flipped card is Maryland (which is marked as a Mid-Atlantic state by having a green border). The players must then look for another Mid-Atlantic (green-bordered) state among the 15 face-up cards. The first player to slap the matching card and shout out the name of the state (“Pennsylvania!”) gets to keep the card.

If none of the face-up cards match the flipped card in the category on the die, then the first player to shout “No match!” gets to keep the flipped card. Whichever player collects ten cards wins first wins the game.

The Scrambled States is easy to learn and easy to play. It’s fast, too—once you learn all the categories, a game shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes. It’s geared towards kids, so adults might grow tired of it after a couple of rounds. Kids, however, will love the loud, slap-happy aspect of the game, and they’ll learn something about American geography in the process. It’s a great game to take on vacation—it packs easily, and it’ll keep the cobwebs out of the kids’ brains until they go back to school in September.

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