Race Around the World is a new board game that has only been around since 2009, when four Year 6 students in Tasmania came up with the concept while participating in the Exercise your Mind challenge competition, run by The Dr Wood Challenge Centre and toy retailer Inquisitive. Mind Challenge Ltd licensed the product and now we can all enjoy it.
Don't be fooled by the board game's name - you aren't competing against other people. Instead, it's a one-player game that asks you to race against the clock to find a route through all the arrows on the board between the marked countries or cities. You can only visit each once, and in most cases you must create a closed loop.
The maps have various levels of difficulty and there are twenty-four in total. Included in these are some 'special' ones, but these aren't all that much different to the others, except that a story has been provided for the journey.
For example, in Challenge Map 5 you are a prisoner escaping from Alcatraz and must reach the dinghy. Challenge Map 18 asks you to pick up survival packs as you journey around a crater, while Challenge Map 20 requires you to travel through a number of fishing spots as you sail from Iceland to the USA.
The game seems pretty simple, but I found it to be quite challenging, even when attempting the 'Easy' maps. For me, finding the route is an achievement - I haven't even worried about doing it in any kind of time limit. So far I have only managed to complete two races, and that required persistence.
Completed Challenge Map 4
The game comes with a clipboard and a transparent play mat which you put over the Challenge Maps and wipe clean between each one. My strategy has been to mark every single route possible between locations and then figuring out which combination works, and wiping away all the other lines.
Attempting Challenge Map 1
On the blurb on the back on the box, one of the girls who came up with the initial concept admits their original idea was 'the easiest thing in the world to complete' and the group worked hard to turn it into a real brainteaser. I think they succeeded. What looks like a colourful kid's game actually requires quite a lot of patience and time, like a challenging Sudoku or crossword.