These first two legs of our trip have involved a lot of driving: over 2,000 km so far as we Orbited Ottawa for about four weeks, and now as we sojourn in Southern Ontario. This has given us plenty of time to take in the scenery, play Minecraft and catch up on our Vinyl Cafe stories.
But when that gets a bit repetitive and/or the battery tanks, we usually resort to car games like:
- 20 Questions: Hint, if it is Isaac's turn, always ask, "Is it a soccer player?"
- I'm Thinking of an Animal -- an inversion of 20 questions in which you trickle out clues about the identity of secret animal and the players have to guess each round (e.g. has four legs, is a mammal, is not a soccer player....)
- I Spy With My Little Eye...something that is or sounds like....
- Name 5 Soccer Players: in which we each take turns naming five soccer players until Isaac wins.
Recently, one of our favourite ways to pass the miles is to play a no-holds-barred, smack-down game of "Cows, Flags and Graveyards". The objective of the game is to tally up a total of 100 points by being the first one to spot and call out either:
- Cows, either solo or in herds, for 2 points;
- Flags of any type -- national, provincial, municipal, used car lot -- for 1 point;
- Graveyards, which means that you add everyone else's points to your score.
Sometimes we play in teams, but it is usually best to break up Zoe and Trish because they are both extremely competitive and they cream the rest of us.
As we've played this game on different roadtrips, we've developed our own expansion set by adding in:
- Horses -- 3 points per individual or group;
- Train tracks: we add up everyone's points and share them equally;
- Renewable energy sources -- either windmills or solar panels for 5 points each;
- Regional variations that reflect what might be more common in that area (e.g. a casse croute stand in Quebec, espresso stands in Washington State, gunshops in New York...) for 2 points.
- Something unusual: you have to call out something that would be widely considered "unusual" in that location, (e.g. a giant fish statue, a parrot looking out of the back of a pick up truck); however, everyone in the car needs to agree that this is in fact "unusual", which often precipitates an impassioned argument and a vote on whether we grant the proponent an additional 5 points.
Our most recent mod, however, has literally been a game changer: if you spot and call out a convertible automobile, everyone in the car has to flip the two digits of their score around. So for example, if you have 19, your score changes to 91; or if you had 72, you'd then have 27.
This innovation has added a surprisingly fun element of cunning and skulduggery, guaranteeing that we'll probably never run out of miles before we get to 100. We are also looking forward to how we will adapt this game in the various countries we'll be visiting soon.
What are your favourite road trip games? Please tell us the rules below. We'd love to play them.