Board games are not merely time fillers. They are incredible educational resources, even when they do not look like it.
It is possible that, as a kid, you thought math was boring or even difficult. Matter of fact, you probably still do.
This notion, most times, has adverse effects on us even after high school. Most students struggle with math in college and can do absolutely nothing about it. They feel as though they never can grasp it. Maybe, this is not someone else. Maybe, it is you. Not to worry. There is a way out.
Nowadays, there are a lot of fun math board games that will help both kids and adults sharpen their math skills.
Some of these board games involve simple arithmetic, mathematical reasoning, and even memorization. Others go further to get kids familiar with computer programming, algorithms, multi-step problem solving, and deductive reasoning. These are all elements of what Graduate School math is about.
Imagine school students learning all these serious stuff through something as fun and interesting as math board games. For one, the lessons will be easy to grasp and they will stick for life.
Today, we will take a look at some of these board games that are based on graduate school math.
One more thing, you do not have to get into any of these math board games for the sole purpose of learning math. That might frustrate you as much as your math textbook.
Just learn the game with its rules, get to play it, and before long, you will see it work its magic and your math skills will greatly improve.
Board Games Based On Graduate School Math Comparison Table
|Math Board Games||Number Of Players||Minimum Age||Playing Time||Math Connections|
|Robot Turtles||2 to 4 players||4 years and above||10 minutes||Rotation. Computational thinking. Multi-step problem solving.|
|Qwirkle||2 to 4 players||5 years and above||15 minutes||Counting and addition. Shape identification. Spatial reasoning.|
|Achi||2 players||6 years and above||5 minutes||Logic Deductive reasoning|
|Ticket to Ride||2 to 4 players||8 years and above||60 minutes||Resource management. Multi-step problem solving.|
|Dara||2 players||8 years and above||20 minutes||Multi-step problem solving. Deductive reasoning.|
|Laser Khet 2.0||2 players||9 years and above||10 to 30 minutes||Multi-step problem solving. Angles. Rotation. Physics (refraction/reflection).|
|Love Letter||2 to 4 players||10 years and above||20 minutes||Memory. Logic and deduction.|
|Stone Age||2 to 4 players||10 years and above||60 to 90 minutes||Arithmetic. Set collection. Resource management.|
|Splendor||2 to 4 players||12 years and above||40 to 60 minutes||Multi-step problem solving. Resource management.|
|Sagrada||1 to 4 players||14 years and above||30 to 45 minutes||Multi-step thinking. Pattern recognition. Logic and deduction. StatisticsProbability.|
Board Games Based On Graduate School Math
1. Robot Turtles
If you want to get kids to learn computer programming, then this board game is a must-have.
The board game was invented by a Seattle software entrepreneur named Dan Shapiro who wanted his four-year-old twins to gain a mastery of computer programming.
Robot Turtles teaches the fundamentals of computer programming in a fun and easy way. The teaching is done through the use of instruction cards that move each player’s turtles around the board.
As players move through a maze and capture jewels, they are taught basic coding fundamentals, like gaining an understanding of the order of operations and expressing complex ideas by the use of limited syntax.
When players make mistakes in the course of the game, they learn to debug as they become able to undo instructions.
The entire game, which lasts for about ten minutes, teaches the two to four players involved essential coding skills.
Although this game starts simple, as it progresses, you can introduce some more elements to make it a little more challenging. Players ages four years and above can play this math board game.
It comes with one board, four robot turtle tiles, four jewel tiles, thirty-six obstacle tiles, four bug tiles, and four code card decks of forty-four cards each.
Designed by Susan McKinley Ross and published in 2006 by MindWare, Qwirkle is a board game without a game board.
It is a sequence game that enhances spatial reasoning. To score points, players must play a sequence of tiles that match in color or shape. This board game is built on the strategy and fun of Scrabble. But while Scrabble deals with letters, Qwirkle deals with colors and shapes.
This math game starts with two to four players of ages five years and up drawing six tiles of six shapes and colors. Then they take turns to place matching tiles on an empty table that serves as the board.
After the first player has had his turn, the others that follow have to build on his work by either expanding his set of tiles or by moving off in a different direction. Just like in Scrabble.
Players learn categorization as they try to place one tile that can get them more points. Through the scoring system, they learn to practice counting and addition. A lot of strategy and logic goes into the placement of tiles to attract the maximum points.
The game ends when there are no tiles to be drawn. The first player to exhaust their tiles gains an extra 6 points and the player with the highest points emerges as the winner.
Qwirkle comes with 108 wooden tiles that are painted in one of six colors and with one of six shapes. In addition to the tiles are a rule book and a bag to store the tiles.
Achi is an old abstract strategy board game whose origin can be traced to the Asante people of Ghana. It is similar to Tic-tac-toe and Dara.
The board game is not just fun but educational, too. It is used to teach Number facts, Addition facts, and Number strategy to kids.
Achi is a two-player alignment board game. The goal of the game is to be the first player to create a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row of three game pieces.
Just like Dara, Achi focuses on deductive reasoning and multi-step problem-solving. The game board is a 3×3 board, where 3 horizontal lines form each 3 rows, and 3 vertical lines form 3 columns.
Unlike Dara, though, you can also create diagonal rows. The 2 opposite corners of the game board are connected by two diagonal lines.
At the beginning of the game, the board is empty. Then, the players take turns to place their counters on any of the points where the lines join on the board.
After the eight counters of both players have been placed, each player takes turns to slide one of their counters along a line to an adjacent vacant space. The game continues this way until one player gets three counters in a row to win the game.
Achi tests players on logic and deductive reasoning and allows them to test their geometry skills for about five minutes. It is suitable for players ages six years and above. The game consists of 1 board, 4 counters of one color, and 4 counters of another color.
4. Ticket To Ride
Ticket to Ride was designed by Alan R. Moon and published by Days of Wonder in 2004. It is a train-themed, cross-country board game set in North America.
The goal of the game is to build train lines that connect the major cities of North America. Players make use of mathematical processes like reasoning, problem-solving, selecting tools, and computational strategies.
At the start of the game, players are dealt four playing cards, which are train car cards and three Destination Ticket cards. It is the playing cards that are used to travel across North America and claim railroad routes.
The Destination Ticket cards become the goals as they each show a pair of cities on a map that the player must attempt to connect.
A successful connection of the cities earns each player twenty-one points at the end of the game. You can force competitors to take longer routes by cutting them off.
The game comes to an end when one player has only two of their forty-three trains left and then the other players get one more turn. The player with the highest points after the value of uncompleted routes — if any — is subtracted from the total, emerges as the winner.
Ticket to Ride is a high strategy game with rather complex rules that you need to grasp well to thrive in the game.
Points can be earned in three ways. Players can earn points when they build an addition to their train line, when they complete a destination, and when at the end of the game, they happened to have created the longest line.
There are a lot of tradeoffs in the course of the game. You will need to be very analytical as you calculate the odds of a role, the ratio of a trade, or your expectations.
Even with the high amount of analysis and strategy, the game does not lose its fun appeal. For the sixty minutes you will play this game, you will not be bored.
The game consists of 1 map of the United States, 240 trains in any of 5 colors, 30 Destination Ticket cards, 96 trains in any of 8 colors, 14 locomotive wild cards, 5 wooden scoring markers in any of 5 colors, 1 Longest Route bonus card, 2 Days of Wonder Advertisement cards, 1 Scoring Summary card, and 1 Rules booklet.
Dara is an old game whose origin dates back to before the nineteenth century and can be traced to the Dakarkari people of present-day Sokoto state in Nigeria.
Although it is played in several countries of West Africa, it is famous among the Zarma people of Niger and the people of Burkina Faso.
History reports that the wrestling played a major role in the education of Dakarkari youth.
Dara served as a form of mental wrestling where the youth were taught to outmatch their opponents through problem-solving and the use of math skills.
Dara is a two-player abstract strategy game that is somewhat similar to Tic-tac-toe, only much more complex. Just like chess, it focuses on multi-step problem solving and deductive reasoning.
The goal of Dara is to form rows of three or three-in-a-row and at the same time eliminate many of your opponent’s pieces so that they can no longer form rows of three.
At the beginning of the game, the board is empty. Then begins Phase 1 or Drop Phase.
In Phase 1, each player takes turns to place their pieces on the empty squares on the board. This placement must be done in such a way that one row cannot contain more than three pieces of the same color, whether vertically or horizontally.
Before Phase 2 commences, all 24 playing pieces must have been placed on the board. Then players take turns moving one of their pieces to an empty square either vertically or horizontally. Playing pieces can never be moved diagonally.
Once a player forms a row of three, he is entitled to getting one of the opponent’s pieces off the board.
This is a strategy game, so it is possible to create multiple rows of three with one single move of your game piece. However, you can capture only one of your opponent’s pieces per move.
The game consists of a 5 by 6 square board and 24 playing pieces in one of two colors.
6. Laser Khet 2.0
Imagine playing chess using lasers. Yes, real-life lasers! That is what Laser Khet 2.0 is all about.
The board game was designed as a class project at Tulane University by Professor Michael Larson, Del Segura and Luke Hooper. It was first published in 2005 as Deflexion, and then the following year as Khet.
The word “khet” in Egyptian mythology means “fire” or “flame”. With such a name, it is no surprise that the board game is an Egyptian-themed game.
The aim is to strike down your opponent’s Pharaoh. So, players rotate and move mirror pieces and blocking pieces so that, while protecting their Pharaoh, their laser beam can hit the opponent’s Pharaoh down.
This board game is a whole lot like the high strategy game of chess. It is just that the eye-safe lasers are your primary weapon for capturing the opponent’s pieces. Players take turns to move their pieces and, thus, guide their laser to defeating the opponent.
Each player has five different types of pieces that have different functions. The Sphinx has the laser embedded in it, so, it fires your laser. It can neither be taken by the opponent nor moved from its starting position by you. You can only rotate it 90 degrees.
The Pyramids deflect the laser by 90 degrees. The Anubis is resistant to laser hits from the front, so, it must be used tactically.
The Scarabs can swap positions with other playing pieces and still deflect the laser by 90 degrees. And finally, the Pharaoh. This piece is your King and must be protected at all costs even as you chase down that of your opponent.
In this two-player abstract game, players are exposed to the world of science, as they will employ their knowledge of angles, rotation, physics, as per reflection and refraction of light, and multi-step problem-solving.
This game is suitable for players ages nine years and above. You have nothing to worry about with regards to the safety of the lasers as the game uses eye-safe lasers. As long as you blink and do not stare into the beam, you will be fine.
Two coin-batteries used to power the lasers are included in the game. The game includes 1 board and 28 playing pieces. This is a strategy game with so much safe firing power available.
7. Love Letter
Love Letter is a card game that was designed by Seiji Kanai and published in the United States of America in 2012 by Z-Man Games.
The goal of the game is to get to the princess with a love letter. But in addition to the collaborators whose assistance you need in reaching the princess, the deck of cards is also stacked with traitors who will hinder you.
This game is an amazing means of improving memory and deduction, which graduate school math requires. Besides, the rules come built with a great deal of logic and reasoning. This is a good game to get middle school and high school kids thinking logically fast.
When it is your turn, draw a card and play a card. The discarded card could be the one you just drew or any of the ones that were with you. Each player has a card in their hand that represents the person currently with their love letter.
The game is designed for fast-paced gameplay. The winner is either the last player standing or the player with the highest card at the end of a round.
You will need to rely on your deductive skills to be able to correctly narrow down the cards still in play. And because a card is almost always removed from the deck, you will need to exercise your memory well to keep from making an incorrect guess.
Different cards have different effects that must be considered before you continue with your turn. For instance, Baron has a strength of 3, and anyone who plays it will choose another player and compare hands privately.
The one with the lower-strength hand gets eliminated from the round. If a player plays the King, that has a strength of 6, he or she can trade hands with another player. And if, for any reason, somebody plays the Princess, that has a strength of 8, that person will be eliminated from the round.
There are various themed versions of this card game available, including, but not restricted to Batman, Hobbit, Star Wars, Lovecraft, and Letters to Santa. So, pick whatever works for you.
Since the game and its rules are easy to learn — and it is also fast-paced — Love Letter is a great travel game.
People can be easily introduced to the game and go some rounds depending on how many tokens of affection they receive, how long they have to wait for their flight, or how much coffee they can afford to keep buying.
8. Stone Age
With this math board game, you will find that, even in primitive times, there was a lot of planning going on.
Things might not have looked like what we have now, but the people that lived in those times were highly resourceful. Players get to control a small group of villagers who lived in the Stone Age. This control has to be to the villagers’ benefit.
Players need to ensure that their villagers are kept well fed and sheltered. In addition to resource management, players will need to plan their population growth and development path.
You can decide to spend some rounds swarming the board with babies as you seek to grow your population. However, you need to remember that you will have to feed the population. You can also consider improving the agricultural level to reduce the level of gathering and hunting.
In Stone Age, your arithmetic prowess will be beneficial as you move about obtaining resources for your people. You will roll a die that represents a meeple to obtain these resources.
The number of resources that you receive will be determined by the total number of rolling the die divided by the resource value. As you track and manage those resources obtained, your math skills will save your village. This is another perfect game for high schoolers.
Sagrada was designed by Daryl Andrews and Adrian Adamescu, and published by Floodgate Games.
It is a strategy game where players use different colored dice to create a stained-glass window mosaic. This may sound easy, but some rules need to be adhered to before your masterpiece can be formed.
For instance, in addition to the rules guiding your building plans, the color and number of each adjacent die must be different from the dice surrounding it.
At the start of the game, each of the players receives a board with a pattern on it. The players will then draft dice and strive to complete the patterns on their boards that are worth the most points.
Apart from just placing the most eye-catching dice into a pattern, in the game, dice can only be placed in particular locations.
Only a specific number of pips and particular colors can be placed in any given spot. Your decision on where to place your dice will either improve or stifle your progress.
As you placed each die on the board, your initial moves are made easier at first, but become somewhat harder as you continue playing.
Whenever we see math board games that involve the use of dice, we are sure that it will end up being one full of statistics and probability. And so, there is no wisdom in depending on a combination of dice and color whose probability of showing up is low.
So, you will need to keep a track of how many dice you have left at any given time and in what colors they are. Cards also have some bonus points, so you must consider how to make your moves to earn more points.
It is important to plan your building because it will determine the outcome of the game. A poor strategy can deliver many roadblocks to you. The game has important lessons to provide, including how to learn from mistakes.
After a wrong move has been made, players will realize that they could have done better and learn to avoid repetition of that error later.
In addition to the math skills identified in the comparison table, this game also helps build the players in productive struggle and competition.
With each game, they can decide to beat their previous personal score. This game is perfect for older kids in high school. Sagrada has a high replay value that keeps everyone craving for more after each round of the game.
Splendor is a card-based board game that was designed by Marc André and first published in 2014 by Space Cowboys.
The game is set in the Renaissance era where the players are gem merchants. It is a game of trading, engine-building, and resource management.
Players must work hard to become the most influential gem merchant of the Renaissance. This is a great game for kids in high school.
The game involves the use of 35 gem tokens of emerald, ruby, sapphire, diamond, and onyx, 5 gold tokens, 90 development cards, and 10 Noble tiles.
Each development card is worth one of the gems and is useful for the future purchase of development cards.
Also, on each development card is the difficulty level for obtaining the gem with which to purchase the card. The difficulty level is indicated by the black dot on the card, which can be one, two, or three in number.
The general idea of the game is that, taking the role of a wealthy Renaissance merchant, you are to obtain gem mines and caravans, continue to hire craftsmen and entice the nobility.
To become the most influential gem merchant, you will create the most impressive jewelry. To get development cards, you need to acquire the precious gems which you will trade for them. Then, you will use the development cards to get more gemstones, which, when combined to gold, will create the most fantastic jewelry that will impress the nobility.
Relying on your influence with the nobility, you will gain the prestige you need to win the game.
The game ends when one player can gain 15 prestige points and the others have completed their turn for that round. The player with the most prestige points emerges the winner. However, if there happens to be a tie, the player who bought the fewest development cards wins.
All the listed math board games here can be played among school students in the class. This will surely improve their learning experience.
Due to the effectiveness of board games with regards to learning, decision-making, logical reasoning, and problem-solving, more people of all ages are beginning to get back to the boards to get their minds sharpened even as they have fun.
Schools are also beginning to add more of these board games to the academic curricula.
Fewer kids are walking campuses clueless because they are already walking the correct career paths with their eyes open for endless opportunities. Board games can mean more to you, too.