National Geographic Challenge

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
National Geographic Challenge Game Poster Image
Game show/board game is a blast -- but questions are tough!

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn facts about world history and geography while playing a game show. This game is more fun when played with others, allowing families to compete together. The game tests your knowledge by asking timed questions, but it also instructs by showing the correct answer when you guess incorrectly. The game uses lots of different media, including stunning videos, and a wide variety of question formats. Players can choose their level of difficulty. Learning social studies facts is wild fun with this competitive game show.

Positive Messages

The overall takeaway from the game is that learning about (and knowing about) the world is not only fun and interesting, but useful.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's a quiz game, so there are no real characters, but you may consider the game itself to be a good role model, as it puts a premium on intelligence and curiosity about the world.

Ease of Play

The actual gameplay is quite simple and can be handled by just about anyone, but the caliber of the trivia questions is a different story.  There are two levels of difficulty and the "Hard" questions are tough ones that can cover just about any minute detail of world history or geography. Even adults are bound to be stumped by a lot of them, but learning as you play is part of the draw. (The game always provides you with the correct answer when you are wrong.)

Violence
Sex

The occasional question may make reference to a part of history with mature themes, such as the ride of Lady Godiva.

Language
Consumerism

The game carries the name and logo of National Geographic.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The occasional question may make reference to an alcoholic beverage by putting it in a historical or geographical context (i.e., vodka is a liquor of Russian origin).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that National Geographic Challenge is a fun, well-made quiz game/board game mash-up that features thousands of tough, challenging questions covering just about any topic that fits under the broad umbrella of world history and geography. There's not much to be concerned about, content-wise, but be aware that these questions can be real stumpers. Even the "easy" level should pose a challenge to most players. Also, be aware that there is simulated betting in certain rounds of the game, as players need to wager points on whether they'll answer a question right or not.

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What's it about?

National Geographic Challenge offers multiple game modes for world trivia buffs. One is a game-show-like quiz format, while another works like a board game that sort of plays like Risk, but with trivia battles instead of armies. Players move around a global map, winning territories by answering questions correctly. There's also a slew of visual photo puzzles that can be played individually, outside of the quiz and board game modes.

Is it any good?

The standard quiz show mode of National Geographic Challenge is pretty great unto itself. But the "Explorer Mode," which plays like a world-conquering board game, is a fresh and exciting addition that is especially fun with four players. All modes make good use of photo and video clues, and it's nice to have access to those picture puzzles even when you're not looking for a full-on trivia challenge. The questions are real doozies, though, so be prepared to hear plenty of "wrong!" buzzers. Unless you feel completely confident on your knowledge of, say, the reigns of Soviet premiers or the populations of South Pacific islands.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the historical events brought up in the game's questions. Parents can use the game as a conversation starter, expanding upon some of the subjects that appear.

  • Does your family prefer playing family games on a console or around the kitchen table? Why or why not?

Game details

For kids who love playing with others

Our editors recommend

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