How to Play the License Plate Game in the Car

Alleviate That Road Trip Boredom With This Challenge

Who doesn't remember long road trips as a kid, riding along in the backseat of the family car, being bored out of your mind when you're not fighting with your brother and/or sister? If you remember this, you also undoubtedly recall the way your parents alleviated that boredom -- with that old standby, the license plate game. It can be played either competitively or cooperatively with one or more players.

That's right, you can even fly solo on this one.

 

What You Need

A piece of paper and a pen or pencil for each player or team. If you're playing the license plate game in the United States, you might want to print a list of the 50 states (such as the one at the end of these rules) as a starting point. Players can then simply cross off each state as they see the appropriate license plate.

Goal

To score points by seeing license plates from as many states and countries as possible.

Play

First, decide how long the game will last. It could be for one part of a road trip, an entire round trip, or even a set period of time, such as a week, a month, the entire summer or even a full year.

As you ride in a car, take note of the license plates you see on other cars. Mark down each state and country.

Scoring

The game can be a competitive or cooperative game. For a competitive game, choose one of the following two ways of scoring: 

  • License plates from any state or country are worth 1 point each; 
  • License plates from the state or country you are in and any adjacent state or country are worth 1 point each, and plates from any non-adjacent state or country are worth 2 points each.

The second system, obviously, requires some knowledge of geography.

For example, when using the second scoring system in the United States, a license plate from Canada would be worth 2 points unless you are in a state that borders Canada when you see the license plate. (If the players know Canadian geography, you might consider adjusting scoring so that adjacent provinces are relevant instead of the entire country.)

Some people prefer to award points only to the first player to see a particular license plate. Be warned: This makes the game much more competitive.

For a cooperative game, everyone works together to collect as many different license plates as possible.

Winning

In a competitive game, the player who has scored the most points when the game over is the winner. In a cooperative game, keep track of the total number of points you score so that you can try to improve your score in a future game. If you are playing alone, compare your score to previous ones.

The 50 States and the District of Columbia

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming