Sunday, September 16, 2007


Subject: Math
Category: Arithmetic
Ages: 6 and up
# of players: 2 to 4
Time to play: 60 minutes
Mechanics/Game Type: Tile placement

Ratings (1 to 5)

Educational Value: 5
Gaming value: 3
Aesthetic value: 3
Price value: 3
Ease of play: 5
Younger adaptability: 1 (already adapted)

My comments: This is Scrabble, only you're building equations instead of words. In the game you are allowed unlimited equal signs and parenthesis (great for teaching math order) while randomly choosing from a mix of tiles with numbers from 1 to 12 and +, -, x, or ÷ signs. Remove the multiplication and division tiles for younger players. The board has squares for increasing the values of tiles and equations, just like Scrabble.

While not as colorful or novel as Totally Tut, it seems to play easier to me because you are not necessarily constrained by already having an answer for which you must make the equations. The edition I have, in a somewhat flimsy square box, has a basic board and plastic tiles. I have read about a much more expensive game called Equate based on the same concept. So I think of Smath as Scrabble, and Equate as Scrabble Deluxe.

Unlike Totally Tut, it is limited by having tiles only up to 12, even for answers, and using only the 4 basic arithmetic functions. (If you're really imaginative, you could modify it by letting people place two "2" tiles for 22, for example, and putting in things like squares and square roots.) Still, If you're family is a fan of Scrabble and you like building math equations, then you will get many years of play from this game. link to this game:

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hey, That's My Fish!

Subject: General
Category: n/a
Ages: 8 and up
# of players: 2 to 4
Time to play: 20 minutes
Mechanics/Game Type: Abstract strategy

Ratings (1 to 5)

Educational Value: 3
Gaming value: 4
Aesthetic value: 4
Price value: 4
Ease of play: 5
Younger adaptability: 5

My comments: My kids and I really like this quick strategy game. The game consists of 60 tiles with either 1, 2, or 3 fishes on them that set out to create the board. Each player then has 2 to 4 penguins (depending on the number of players) to place on the board. Each turn consists of moving one penguin in a straight line to another tile of you choice and picking up the tile the penguin started on. The winner is the person with the most number of fishes on his or her collected tiles.

This is a great introduction to abstract strategy games, and abstract strategy leads to better Eurogaming in general. It's quick to set up and play, younger kids can play (my 4 year old loves this), and the tiles/pieces are fun and appealing. link to this game: