Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Sporcle user Tr4pD00r, curator for Asia and Flags. He hops on the blog to offer some guidance on how to earn one of Sporcle’s toughest badges.
A Guide to the Vexing Vexillology Badge on Sporcle
The Vexing Vexillology badge requires Sporclers to get 100% on the Flags of the World quiz. As such, it is one of the more difficult quiz-specific badges to earn. Here are a few quick tips for those badge hunters that haven’t been able to earn it yet (and also those that have, but are a bit rusty on their flag-based knowledge).
First things first: Structurally speaking, the quiz is pretty much just the Countries of the World quiz, but with a forced order. As such, it’s vital that you can comfortably score 100% on the Countries of the World quiz first.
At the time of writing, 20 countries have been guessed 50% or less of the time on the Countries of the World quiz. Of those, only 5 have been guessed more than 50% of the time in the Flags of the World quiz. That’s a strong enough correlation to suspect that a reason some people aren’t getting 100% on the Flags of the World quiz is because there are country names they’ve forgotten.
It’s also important, but not strictly necessary, to know which continents each country belongs to. This is because countries with similar backgrounds tend to have flags with similar motifs. For example:
- Some African countries use a color scheme of red, green and either gold or black.
- Arab countries tend to use red, white, black, and green.
- Several Slavic countries use horizontal stripes of white, red and blue.
- All the countries that currently have a Union Jack in the corner are in Oceania.
- Two blue stripes are a common feature in most Central American countries.
- All of the Nordic countries use a similar cross design.
There are exceptions.
These aren’t strict rules, so it’s important to be wary of exceptions. For example, Bolivia, Lithuania and Myanmar all use red, gold and green stripes despite not being in Africa. Another example is the Netherlands, which definitely isn’t Slavic despite sharing flag similarities. For a more complete rundown of similar looking flags to look out for, regardless of region, I’ve found this quiz to be very thorough and definitely worth studying: Similar Flags.
Once you know which countries are located on which continents, it can be useful to try and learn which flags are on which continent (The playlist is here). When doing those quizzes, keep an eye out for which flags give you the most trouble. That way, when you’re stuck on a particular question in the World quiz, you could try to recall on which continent’s quiz you saw that flag in.
Outside of Sporcle, the best way of memorizing the flags of the world is to spend time somewhere that uses flags and let the information build up over time. There are forums out there that use flags as geolocator icons, and it’s always fun to keep an eye out for flags that you’ve never seen before to try and remember them next time. Personally, I’ve found interpals.net pretty useful, plus I’ve had the pleasure of talking to people from the places you don’t normally find internet users in.
There are also websites like flagvsflag.com where you’re given two random flags and you choose which flag looks better. Since the flags are random, it’s more likely for someone to bump into a flag they don’t know of.
If you still need more help, there are plenty of people in the Sporcle community who understand how you feel and are more than willing to help out. If there are specific things you’re getting stuck on, simply make a post in the Geography Talk group on Sporcle and people will come along ASAP.
Good luck! Now go out and earn that badge!