If you’re looking for a moderately educational way to waste away a weekend, you could do a lot worse than playing a few games of GeoGuessr. For those uninitiated, the premise is very simple: you are presented with a Street View of somewhere in the world, and you have to guess on a map where this is in the world. There are five rounds in a game, and you receive more points the closer your guess is to the actual location.
As far as I can figure out, GeoGuessr has no official rules. These are mine.
- You can take as long as you feel like on each location.
- You can move around as much as you like.
- You must discern everything about where you are based on what you see via the Street View area. You cannot use any outside resources — no Google, no texting your Russian friend for a translation.
- If you’ve figured out what city or town you’re in or near, you may search that online to get a rough idea of where in the country you are. I find this helps speed up needless wandering through Poland or Northern Canada.
Those are the rules I play by. I find they keep the game challenging while remaining playable.
For a more difficult game, you can toss in these rules, too:
- Each round has a set time limit of one, five, or ten minutes.
- You cannot move around in the Street View. You may use the zoom control, but nothing else.
Finally, here are a few tips:
- Pay attention to your compass.
- Most of Northern Europe has similar looking highways.
- If it looks like sub-Saharan Africa, it’s probably Western Australia.
- If it looks vaguely Central or South American, it’s probably somewhere in Brazil.
- If it looks sparse but still treed, it’s probably the Yukon.
- If the signs are Cyrillic, it’s likely in the Westernmost third of Russia.
- Pay attention to the text on the sides of commercial vans and trucks.
- Pay attention to the scale of the map.
This game has been out for a year, but it’s still as much a challenging timesink as it ever has been.