National Geographic Rock & Mineral Game Set Review

National Geographic Rock & Mineral Game Set is a game designed and published by National Geographic and Blue Marble. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players have several different games that may play with the contents of the game. They’re able to play everthing from bingo to memory and tic-tac-toe.

This game provides several different games that players may play with the materials in the box. There is Rock Bingo, Mineral Memory and Gem-Tac-Toe, as well as being able to play any regular card games using a normal deck of playing cards. I won’t go into a ton of detail on how to setup most of these as this is pretty basic knowledge to anyone that’s ever played any of these games. I will give a brief setup for Rock Bingo though, as these materials provide 2 different ways to set up the game which should be explained.

To begin Rock Bingo, each player is given a Bingo game board. Either the deck of cards or the black bag of rock specimens is used. The smaller bag of pebbles is used to mark the player’s boards with. When using the deck of cards, the red and black suits are separated and the rock specimen card is removed. One of the suits is then used to call out the specimens with. The players take one of the colored decks and shuffles the cards together. One player is chosen to be the caller and play now begins.

The caller will now begin the game by drawing one of the cards from the deck and calling out the specimen on the card. If the players have a match on their bingo board, they will then mark it with one of the pebbles from the bag. This continues until one player matches 4 rocks in a row on their board. They will then yell out “BINGO” and that player wins the game.

In the bag or rock specimens method, the 25 rock specimens are placed in the bag and gently shaken together. The caller pulls out a rock and shows it to the group, calling out the name if they can identify it. If not, they may use the flash cards to help identify it with. The same process of placing a pebble on the player boards and matching 4 in a row to win applies to this version as well.

Mineral Memory is played with the deck of cards, shuffled and placed in rows face down. In this game one or more players flip over cards and try to match 2 of the same mineral type , placing the cards in front of themself in a pile. The winner is the player with the most matches.

Gem-Tac-Toe is played by 2 players with the back side of one of the bingo boards. Players choose pebbles of 2 different colors, one color for each player and play a 4×4 game of tic-tac-toe. The winner is the player that gets 4 of their color in either a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row. They can also win if they get 4 of their color in a square on the board.

The playing/flash cards can be used to play any number of regular card games with as they are a fully functional deck of 52 playing cards of clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds.

This game comes with some very interesting pieces. First off there are the bingo boards. These are good quality and feel like some very heavy card stock or something like that. They seem to be quite sturdy. On one side there is everything for a game of bingo, with a selection of 15 different minerals and a free space on them. The other side has a 4 by 4 tic-tac-toe board on it. The rock bingo side is very bright and colorful with the different mineral pictures on it. Unfortunately some of the pictures are a little difficult to match up with the mineral in my bag. Speaking of the mineral bag, it’s made of a canvas like material and contains 25 different mineral and rock specimens. These rocks and mineral are really interesting and fun to look at, but some of them are difficult to match up with the pictures. I think some of my rocks broke some pieces off as well, as there appeared to be some smaller pieces in the bag from some of the weaker looking rocks. The game also comes with a nice set of playing cards that not only function as a normal set of cards, but also contain pictures of the different rock and minerals, as well as a short description of each. These aren’t quite as good as a normal set of cards in terms of quality but they’re pretty good. I love the pictures and descriptions. They look really good and the finish is nice, however the cards are a bit thin compared to a normal deck. The final pieces in the box is the bag of pebbles. These are used to play tic-tac-toe and bingo with. To be honest, I like the pebbles a little more so then the big rocks in the black specimen bag. These appear to be a little better quality and the don’t seem to be breaking apart. These look a little more like the actual cards too. For the most part though, I like what the game provides. It’s got a lot of interesting and great looking pieces that are fully functioning game pieces. While some people may not be happy with the assortment that they get in their box, I was completely fine with mine. I have read a lot of negative reviews online on the components and what comes in the box but I think some people didn’t know what they were looking at to begin with. I will say that I do wish some of the pieces were a little easier to distinguish from the others, but that’s simply a minor complaint. Overall for an educational game, I thought that it looks good. The different pieces and cards can be used to help children learn more about geology and earth science.

7 out of 10

The rulebook for this set is a simply small sheet of double sided paper. There are no pictures or any examples of gameplay anywhere on it. Of course, the games that are laid out on the sheet, are pretty basic games that everyone should know the basics of, except for maybe the 4×4 tic-tac-toe game. As I mentioned earlier, there are rules for Rock Bingo, Mineral Memory and Gem-Tac-Toe. Normally I prefer my rulebooks to look more inviting and less like an instruction manual. However, there’s not a lot that needs to be understood and so being able to quickly read over the rules and put them away in a minute or two makes all the fluff and bling of a normal game rulebook seem unimportant in this case. The thing is that the rules are concise and easy to understand, which to me is the important thing here. There was nothing difficult and it was easy to read over. Overall, I’m not going to complain about anything here. It’s short and sweet and gets the job done.

7 out of 10

So this set includes several different games that can be played with the materials that are presented inside the box. You’ve got a truly unique bingo game that teaches children and adults alike a little bit about geology and the different minerals that are presented. There’s the 4×4 tic-tac-toe game that makes a normal game of tic-tac-toe seem extremely childish. This way makes you have to think a little more and really strategize out where you’re going to put your piece at. I didn’t think that tic-tac-toe could be fun again, but this made me want to play this childhood favorite again. The memory game is educational and fun. The different facts on each card can be read out to help children learn about the different types of minerals as they play. Finally there’s the card games which use those same cards. As I’m sitting there playing a game of Go Fish or even Solitaire, I find myself reading those same descriptions and I learn as much as my kids do. I like that. As a homeschooler, I found that the different pieces and cards can be used to help children learn more about geology and earth science in a fun way. While the games that are presented aren’t overly complex, they’re still fun especially when used in a homeschool curriculum or just as a way of presenting something a little different than Monopoly or Sorry. There’s plenty of things to learn here and the deck of cards gives you a whole other set of games that you can play. It might even help the adults learn a thing or two if they get a wild hair and choose to play a little game of poker, using the pebbles as betting chips. The possibilities are endless. This is one that a lot of die hard gamers will probably want to pass on, but for us homeschoolers, this is really good. There aren’t any complex games here, but what is here will entertain any child and educate them at the same time. Just be sure to keep the little ones away from the rocks and pebbles as they could easily be choking hazards. In any event, this is one that I would recommend for parents looking to introduce some geology into their children’s vocabulary. It’s especially great for homeschoolers. Needles to say, this is a fun and educational game for the whole family.

8 out of 10


National Geographic Rock & Mineral Game Set is a fun and eductional game that help players learn about geology. The box contains several different games that can be played with the components. Each game can be played in a very short amount of time. Most game sessions last anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on what you’re playing and how many players you have. The components are quite unique and I really like the rocks and minerals that come with the game. No two sets will have the exact same mixture of rocks and minerals so just be aware. The rulebook is short and to the point and can be read in a few minutes. The games themselves are a mixture of many basic games that most people should know the basics of how to play. The one exception would be the 4×4 tic-tac-toe, but that’s easy to learn. I think that this game is a great set for parents wanting to help their children learn a little more about geology and it’s especially good for homeschoolers. For this group of folks, I would recommend it. Hardcore gamers and the like may want to give this one a pass as it most likely will not scratch any itches for them. In any event, this is one that takes games we learned as kids and puts a nice way of playing some of these classic games. Overall I’d say it’s a fun kit.

7 out of 10

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Blue Marble at their site.

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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3 Responses to National Geographic Rock & Mineral Game Set Review

  1. Rebeca says:

    I agree with you, bought this for my elder son a few days ago. He learned a lot of fun games from the rock mineral game kit, which makes us happy.

  2. Amelia says:

    Glad our article could be helpful. I want to buy this Rock & Mineral Game Set, How Can I order it?

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