Border-Up™ Level 1-2

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Cards Used: GeoPlunge cards. Shuffle the cards before the game begins and after each race.

Players: Two teams with 1, 2, or 3 players per team

Objective: This game is a series of races! During each race, each team tries to find winning groups of cards as fast as it can. The border states of each state determine the winning groups, as described below. A team receives 2 points for winning a race, and in Level 2 it also has the opportunity to earn a bonus point (i.e., a third point) as described in those rules. Teams receive 1 point each for a tie. Play a race at a time until one team wins the game. For Level 1, a team needs 10 points to win the game, and for Level 2, a team needs 15 points to win.

Level 1:


For each race:

Step 1: Deal each team 18 GeoPlunge cards face-down. Teams do NOT turn over or look at their cards until everyone at the same time says, “Ready, Set, GeoPlunge!”

Step 2: The teams then turn over their cards and the race begins. Each team tries to create 2 winning groups from the cards it was dealt. A winning group of cards consists of 3 cards where one state in the group borders both of the other states in the group. For example, the states Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina are one group because Virginia borders both Maryland and North Carolina. A team cannot use the same card in more than one group.

Step 3: A team shouts “GeoPlunge” as soon as it finds 2 winning groups.

Determining Who Wins the Race: If the first team to shout GeoPlunge shows its two winning groups of cards, it wins the race and earns 2 points. Otherwise, the other team wins the race and receives 2 points. If both teams shout at the same time, the race is a tie and each team wins 1 point, unless only one team shows its two winning groups. If that happens, that team wins the race and earns 2 points and the other team does not get any points for that race.

Level 2:


Level 2 is the same as Level 1, with the following exceptions: Each team tries to create 2 winning groups OR 3 winning groups if it wants to earn one bonus point. A team shouts “GeoPlunge” as soon as it finds 2 winning groups, or “ThreeOPlunge” as soon as it finds 3 winning groups if it is trying to earn a bonus point. If the first shouting team shouts ThreeOPlunge and shows its 3 winning groups, it wins the race and receives a total of 3 points for that race. If the first shouting team does not correctly show its 2 or 3 winning groups, the other team wins the race and receives 2 points.

Other variations to the game you may want to try:

  • Each winning group is made up of 2 cards with two states that border each other rather than 3 cards per winning group
  • Play for a different point total (e.g, play to 15 points in Level 1 for a longer game)
  • Play for a period of time rather than for a point total, and whoever is winning at the end of that period of time wins
  • Have a U.S. map available for players when first learning
  • Only use cards of specific regions (e.g., only states that are primarily in the eastern or central time zone)
  • See “Other Learning Activities Using GeoPlunge” for additional ideas about how to use your GeoPlunge cards

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