Aug 082007

have you ever played the country game with a well-travelled group of friends? Pick people with full passports, or it can turn ugly. The principle of the game is to see who has visited the most countries, but most of the fun comes from getting agreement on the rules.
Here are a few basic rules to start you off:

  1. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales count as one country.
  2. Republic of Ireland is a separate country.
  3. Macau is not a country.
  4. Neither is Bali.
  5. Nor is Tasmania (though they are different).
  6. Hong Kong only counts separate from China if you visited before 1997.
  7. The Vatican does not count as a country if you have also been to Italy.
  8. You have to have left the airport for the country to count. Note that being stuck overnight in an airport hotel does not count (there goes Denmark).
  9. Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya count as two countries regardless of the local opinion.
  10. Gibraltar, however, only counts as one because it’s too small to bother with.
  11. The West Bank only counts if you passionately believe in the Palestine Free State.
  12. The former Yugoslavia counts as one, two, several or none, depending on the year of your visit.
  13. Slovakia and the Czech Republic only count as two if you visited after the Velvet Revolution.
  14. Former Soviet Socialist Republics all count as separate countries, regardless of when you went, because of difficulty credits.
  15. Out of respect for the Chagossians, so does Diego Garcia.
  16. Antarctica gets triple points, but isn’t really a country.
  17. You get bonus points for supersets, e.g. Benelux, all 7 continents, all members of NATO, all members of ASEAN, all former French colonies, etc.

My current count is around 20, but I’m not quite sure about Taiwan. Happy travelling!

 Posted by at 11:48 am

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