math

NumRush – The Thrilling Math Racing Game from Vietnam has hit Kickstarter with the goal of making learning about math fun, and the additional goal of raising money.

The project has a goal of raising $29,000 to fully fund the project. As of Monday, November 13, 17 backers have pledge $560 with 23 days to go. The project ends December 7, 2017 at 6:17 AM MST. The basic pledge of the game is $29 with an expected ship date of April 2018.

The Game

The focus on the game design was in creating a fun experience first with an accessible math based mechanism. Using a custom designed R-U-S-H system to move along the board, players Roll, Unleash, Spell, and Hop their way through arithmetic calculations in an effort to be the first to move around a figure 8 track.

To balance skill levels, players who are falling behind can use a catch up mechanic with simple addition or subtraction.

What’s in the Box?

The basic pledge includes:

  • 1 game board (The Infinity Track)
  • 60 number cards
  • 6 tokens
  • 2 dice
  • 1 game board (The Infinity Track)
  • 1 puzzle storybook “The Journey of Larus”

Project Creators 

NumRush was created by co-founders Nhat Le and Tuan Ngo. Friends since grade 4, the pair has grown up taking specialized math classes together. The pair started a board game movement in Vietnam that now includes over 200,000 board gamers and creates packed board game spaces across the country. The duo also helped create the first national board game design contest in Vietnam.

 

Coming into this week I thought I wouldn’t have much to talk about, thankfully Kickstarter proved me wrong, lets look at this week’s highlights.

First up is a board game accessory, and that is the Hex Chest Remasters from Elder Wood.  These are essentially hand crafted dice carrying cases that allow you to carry 7 dice in a beautifully made wooden chest.  As per their previous projects, the craftsmanship of these are excellent, and they come in a variety of wood colors and an even larger variety of lid carvings to choose from.  Also available in an oblong octogon to hold 9 dice, and you can even opt for inlays over engraving to give it make it really stand out.  They are even offering a flat pack option where you build your hex chest yourself, saving some money and allowing you to customize it how you want.  So if you are looking for that next great dice accessory, check out this Kickstarter page.

Next is another board game accessory and that is MOJO, the digital score keeper device.  This device boats an inexpensive price tag of $10 and while it’s main focus is keeping track of life and other counts in Magic game, it can be used as a score keeper for various other games for up to 4 players.  It also has a nifty option to flip the screen on one side so you can be playing across from someone and both have your personally score easily readable.  Is this device necessary considering the board game scoring apps out there?  The designers think so as this device is the size of a standard card, and is stand alone so you don’t have to mess with your phone or drain it’s battery.  Check out the Kickstarter page if you think you might want one, but be quick, the campaign ends on July 30th.

After that is the first offering from Spiel Press in their new premium roll and write series of games.  In this campaign you will be able to pledge for the Star Maps book and the Blood Royals book. Star Maps plays like the typical roll and write games you have played, where dice are rolled and you pick a die to fill in on your chart.  As you fill things in you will unlock bonus points and try to score the highest.  The big change however is that after that game, on the next page you will have more options to do things, and eventually even a tech tree of special abilities.  This gives the game a legacy feel as you advance through the game taking differing paths as you go.  The same goes for the Blood Royals game where you are battling your opponent for influence on the map, but as time goes on the geography changes, and alliances shift making for a different feel each time you play.  Needless to say I backed this immediatly as the concept intrigues me, if it intrigues you are well than head over to the Kickstarter page.

Following is a new version of Catacombs simply called Catacombs Conquest.  Catacombs is a highly rated dexterity, dungeon crawl type game where you are heroes flicking yourselves to victory, while the dungeon master tries to take you out.  What Catacombs Conquest aims to do is shrink down and simplify the game so that newer players can jump right into the game without having to learn more complex rules.  In this two to four player game and on your turn you simply do three things, draw a card, play a card, and then flick an obstacle.  This simple system means you will be up and running quickly, trying to flick your opponent into oblivion on an ever changing landscape.  Plus, with a price of $24 Canadian, this game has a low cost of entry as opposed to the larger game.  So if you want in on this flicking game, check out their Kickstarter page.

Next we have a trio of games for young children called Numeracy Legends, all aimed at helping them learn different math and game concepts.  In the first game, Numeracy Legends and The Rainbow Unicorn, players are route building in order to collect ingredients to help the rainbow unicorn make their famous cupcakes.  This is to teach children graph theory by determining the best route to collect all their ingredients.  The next game, Numeracy Legends and the Zerda Fox, has kids learning about probabilities as they decide what paths they want to take, when to get more cupcakes or ice cream, and more.  And finally there is Numeracy Legends and the Gluttony Dragon, this is the final game and turns into a once versus many game with the adult as the dragon, and the kids as the heroes.  The players will be drafting equipment cards and secretly choosing battle types in order to face off against the dragon.  This teaches game theory as the kids will be working together to try and defeat a common enemy.  So if you want to get your hands on this trio of games, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Lastly we have the 2nd edition of the game Argent: the Consortium.  This is a highly confrontational worker placement game where you are all vying to be the next dean of the pretigous magic school.  To do that you need to get the most votes, but the tough part is, out of the 12 that will vote, you know how three are going to vote.  This means you will either have to use the shotgun approach and try to be good at everything, or spend time and energy learning their voting styles to tailor your strategy.  Either way you are going to be sending out your students to various tasks to get new spells, up various stats like wisdom and IQ, purchase new items, or make some money.  The confrontational part comes in with two aspects, first is that you only collect resources and such at the end of the round, not when you place your people.  Second, you can knock people out of their spots, meaning getting to a spot last may be better than getting to a spot first, and risking getting knocked out.  Either way, if you liked the first edition or are interested in this game now, check out the Kickstarter page.

Image From Slate.com

Image From Slate.com

MIT’s Education Arcade is filled with games and toys that inspire learning. The director, Eric Klopfer, and creative director, Scot Osterweil, advocate the freedom to learn through educational video games and toys.

But they despise “gamification,” where players win points by practicing a school subject.

If somebody comes to me and says, ‘I want to make math fun,’ I don’t want to work with that person,” said Osterweil, “because they don’t think math is already fun.”

In gamified math, equations are often wedged into high-energy video worlds with wacky characters, points and player rankings, and maybe some explosions. It’s a model used by many popular educational games, such as Math Blaster, which has sold millions of copies and been reissued several times since it was introduced in 1983.

In Math Blaster, players fly space ships while math problems appear on the ships’ consoles and numbered asteroids hurtle toward them. If a console reads “15 – 7 = ?” and the ship’s laser guns fire at asteroid 5, nothing happens, except a red cabin light flashes to indicate a mistake. When correctly aimed at asteroid 8, the guns blast it out of the sky. Osterweil and Klopfer call games like this “drill and practice,” or “shooting flashcards.”

“This game isn’t telling you why you got a problem right or wrong or asking you to think about what arithmetic is,” Osterweil said in a video in their new MOOC. “If you’re good at arithmetic, Math Blaster’s fun, because it reinforces that you’re good at math. If you’re not understanding arithmetic, you’re getting nowhere with this.”

Instead, Osterweil and Klopfer want to emphasize the fun of learning and problem solving through playing games. One of their games, The Radix Endeavor, is a multiplayer online game where players embark on quests to cure diseases or reinforce buildings (learning biology and math). Instead of making students solve math problems, the game helps the students figure out how to learn the math, similar to a child playing with building blocks.

Mark Knapp, a biology teacher, has been using Radix for his students. According to Knapp, the game gets students interested in how scientists think and solve problems. It isn’t a substitute for the classroom curriculum, but it teaches other skills that aren’t learned through lectures, like dealing with frustration.

Many people enjoy gamified games like Math Blaster, but the real fun of learning comes through the freedom to explore and experiment. Like The Radix Endeavor, many board games are great tools that emphasize the fun of learning without forcing people to do homework problems within the game. Games won’t replace education, but they can be a great tool for classrooms, and learning should always be fun.

To learn more about The Radix Endeavor and the Education Arcade, read the full article here.