Introduction: The World Puzzle - How to Learn Your Countries the Fun Way. (laser Cut) by Samuel Bernier
Have you ever seen one of these videos where a journalist interviews students and adults, asking them to point Iran out on a map? The result is often funny, and so is this game. Over a hundred countries, some of them you never heard about, in a puzzle race. Here is how to make one of the best geography games of all time!
The objective of this game is to teach geography to children and adults. The players won't only learn the location of countries, they will also learn the neighboring seas and oceans. The players can compare the size of countries and overlay the pieces to learn things such as : US is 18 times bigger than France or Japan fits 25 times in Canada or that ... Switzerland really is a small country. (the ones that were too small to grab were merged with their neighbors)
123D link : http://www.123dapp.com/AssetManager/Publisher?stgAction=getProduct&intProductId=597789
Step 1: Material
Many types of materials can be used : wood, cardboard, polypropylene, metal... But I used colored acrylic 0.172 inch thick. The size of the board was 2 x 3 feet (24 x 36 inches), but could be bigger since you can easily scale or edit the .EPS file.
Don't forget to remove the protection layer before doing anything with it.
Step 2: Laser Engrave and Cut
First, you will need to clip (or tape) the board in your laser cutter. (I used an Epilog Legend 36 EXT)
If you don't know your settings perfectly, I suggest you make some tests before sending the real thing to cut.
You will engrave first and then cut. The opposite would result in poor word definition. On the EPS file, everything in black is to engrave and everything in red is to cut using the 'hairline' thickness. When everything is etched and cut, don't TOUCH ANYTHING until step 3.
If you don't have a laser cutter and live in San Francisco, Menlo Park, Raleigh, San Jose or Detroit, GET A MEMBERSHIP AT TechShop
Step 3: Move the Parts
You will now need to move the puzzle pieces onto cardboard. If you do it straight, some small pieces will fall inside the laser cutter, so I suggest this :
Use some wide masking tape to cover all countries. Once that's done, quickly put the cardboard underneath.
Put in a safe place, far from dogs and babies.
Step 4: Repeat
Repeat steps 1,2 and 3 with a board of another color. Even if it looks cool, I don't suggest mixing board materials because of the variations of tolerances.
Step 5: Remove Tape
Gently remove the masking tape from the board and put the countries aside.
Step 6: Empty Board
The empty board should look like this.
Step 7: Surface
To make sure not to lose any pieces put the board on 2x3' cardboard and keep the countries in a small box aside (one for each player). Remember that the seas should be the same color as the board and the countries an opposite color. Be careful because some parts are pointy or fragile.
Step 8: Play
Sit one in front of each other with your board in front of you. The first one who fills the map wins.
This is, I think, the best way to learn geography.
Some tricks on how to play :
Put some Scotch tape or Blu Tac on the tip of a pencil or your finger to grab the puzzle pieces.
Step 9: Modify
I had to re-design the map several times to make the parts stronger and to merge the smallest countries. I suggest you do the same if you want to change the map's size or just repair broken pieces.
Step 10: File
Here are an .EPS file and a .DWG file that can be used in Autocad, Illustrator or Corel to customise your game. ENJOY!