Play the Border Zap™ Level 3-4

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Play the Border Zap is an advanced game and is only used in combination with Level 3 and Level 4 games.

Cards Used: GeoPlunge cards.  Shuffle the cards before the game begins

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

Objective: This game is a series of state border battles.  For each border battle, whichever team wins the most “tricks” wins the battle. A “trick” consists of two cards, one from each team.  A team earns 2 points for winning a border battle and can also earn a bonus point (i.e., a third point) as described below. Continue playing state border battles, one at a time, until one team wins the game. A team needs 15 points to win.

Level 3:

Determining the Lead Team for the First Trick of the First State Border Battle: Before the first state border battle begins, each team picks one GeoPlunge card without looking at it in advance and whichever team’s card has a statehood ranking closer to 1 will be the lead team for the first trick in that first battle (after that is done, retrieve those cards and shuffle the GeoPlunge deck).  For all subsequent state border battles, alternate which team is the lead team for the first trick in that battle.

Step 1: Deal 3 GeoPlunge cards face-down to each team.  Each team may look at its cards.  At the same time, each team trades one of its GeoPlunge cards with the other team.  Teams may look at their 3 cards.

Step 2: Teams place their 3 cards on the table, face down, until Step 2 is completed.  Deal 3 more GeoPlunge cards face down to each team.  Teams may look at only these 3 cards. At the same time, each team trades one of its GeoPlunge cards that it was just dealt with the other team.

Step 3:  Each team may now look at all 6 GeoPlunge cards. Deal each team one more GeoPlunge card face-up. Each team then discards one GeoPlunge card face-down so that each team has a total of 6 GeoPlunge cards.

Step 4: The teams then play 6 tricks, one at a time.  Whichever team wins a trick becomes the lead team for the next trick.  For each trick, the lead team plays its card face-down and announces the name of the state it is playing on that trick.  The other team then plays its card face-up. After both teams play a card, the lead team turns face-up the card it played so that the teams can determine who wins the trick.   

  • For each trick, the lead team wins the trick unless the other team plays a card that “Zaps” the card played by the lead team.  The other team’s card “Zaps” the card played by the lead team only if the state of the other team’s card:
  • borders the state of the lead team’s card;
  • shares at least one common border with the lead team’s card; or
  • has the same number of border states as the lead team’s card

Determining Who Wins a Border Battle and Whether that Team Receives the Bonus Point: The first team to win 4 tricks wins a border battle and earns 2 points. The winning team receives a bonus point (i.e., 3 points total)  if it wins 5 tricks.  If one team wins the first 5 tricks, the battle ends early.  If both teams win 3 battles, the team winning the last trick wins the battle and earns 2 points.

Example of a trick:  Team 1 plays Utah face-down.  Team 2 plays Texas face-up.  Team 2’s card “Zaps” Team 1’s card because New Mexico is a common border of both states.  Therefore, Team 2 wins the trick.

Level 4:

The structure for Level 4 is the same as Level 3, with the following exception:

  • In Step 3, deal each team 2 additional cards face-up.  Both teams then discard two cards face down.  

Other variations to the game you may want to try:

  • Set a time limit for playing a card
  • Play for a different point total
  • 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
  • Only use cards of specific regions  (e.g., only states that are primarily in the eastern or central time zone.)
  • Instead of alternating for each state border battle which team plays the lead card for the first trick, for each state border battle after the first battle, whichever team won the prior battle is the team that plays the lead card for the first trick in the next battle.
  • See “Other Learning Activities with GeoPlunge” for additional ways to use the GeoPlunge cards

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