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the country game

written on february 7th 2018

This is a game that was first introduced to me back in 2010 and I've managed to play it a good few times over the years. Last night I attempted to find an origin of the game online. After searching for a good while not only could I not find an origin, but I couldn't find a single mention of the game online. The closest I found was a mention of a similar game on a forum back in 2008. In case there really isn't any mention of this game anywhere on the internet I decided to write up my experiences with the game.

Like I mentioned earlier, I first learnt of the game back in 2010. I was in secondary school, and the only first year on a bus that went from my local town to the school everyday. The bus journeys were long (about an hour each way) and this was just before the point where phones got strong enough to connect to the internet where ever you were. The only technology we really had were iPods for listening to music. We quickly grew many ways of entertaining ourselves.Would you rathers, word games, logic puzzles, riddles, songs downloaded from the internet, stories, gory details from messed up movies we saw, anything interesting we'd learnt throughout the weekend.

One day an older student named Daryl told us we were going to play "the country game." He said that he'd played it the year previous with the two girls in the year above me who got the bus, but they had no recollection. Daryl explained simply;
"We all go around and name a country."
"That's it?"
"Yeah, that's it, and then I'll say if you were right or wrong."
So we played. Each of us naming a country one by one. As you can guess we were always wrong and Daryl was always somehow right. I quickly assumed the game was just that, Daryl telling us we were wrong and he was right, until suddenly one of the girls remembered the game.
"Oh, I think I remember. Uhhhh Germany?"
The two of us still out of the loop were shocked. We both also tried to guess "Germany" but both of us were told we were wrong, now by two voices. At this point I figured there had to be some sort of secret to the game, a secret the two of them knew and we didn't. I started paying attention to the letters, the capitals of the country, the name of the person guessing. None of it made any sense, sometimes Daryl would guess the same country a few times in a row and always be right, sometimes she'd guess continents or counties and he'd say they were right too. We would also sometimes get things right, seemingly accidentally, and when we did the two would excitedly ask us did we figure it out.

Finally after nearly the bus ride was almost over I listened really closley to a round and figured it out.
"Is it my go? Australia?"
"Emmmm Iceland?"
"Correct. My go. I'm going to go with uhhh.. with uhhh..New York! Correct."
"Me again. Uhh.. New York?"

Once I knew the secret, the game quickly become much more entertaining. I was no longer a victim of the game and could enjoy watching the remaining victim struggle to figure it out. I can't remember if she figured it out in the end or if she begged us to tell her as the bus finally got to our stops.

A school year went by and we all moved up a year. One boring bus ride home someone mentioned "The Country Game" and we realised we had new first years on the bus who didn't know the secret. The game started again, with the new first years. This quickly became a tradition every year, within the first few weeks of the school year the new first years would always be initiated into "the country game." Sometimes when we'd have friends over at the weekend, they'd take our bus home and we'd have new victims for the game.

I have no idea if that game still continues on that bus, I certainly hope so. Either way I've continued with the game later in my life, especially throughout my college class.

It's at this point in this story that I'm going to have to share the basic hidden rule of "The Country Game." If you don't know the secret by now, this is a bit of a spoiler but not sure how else to let you know without actually playing the game with you. I will tell you that the secret is clear from the rest of this page, maybe you can take another look at it and try to figure out the secret. In fact I'd really rather not spoil it on this exact page, so if you're ready to be spoilt or you've figured it out click here to read on.