Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

GeoGuessr House Rules and Hints

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.

  1. You can take as long as you feel like on each location.
  2. You can move around as much as you like.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. Each round has a set time limit of one, five, or ten minutes.
  2. 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.