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Traffic Lights

The game uses a 3x3 square board. 2 players take turns to play, either placing a red on an empty square, or changing a red to orange, or orange to green. The player who forms 3 of 1 colour in a line wins.

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This game for two players comes from Ghana. However, stones that were marked for this game in the third century AD have been found near Hadrian's Wall in Northern England.

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Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.

Board Block for Two

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Here's a game to play with a grown-up!

You can play this game on the interactive pegboard, or on a real circular pegboard if you have one.

How do you play?
Firstly, choose the number of pegs on your board. Take it in turns with the grown-up to add a band to the board. Bands must fit round three pegs, in other words, each must make a triangle.
A band can share a peg with other bands, but the triangles must not overlap (except along the edges and pegs).
A player loses when they cannot make a triangle on their turn.

What are the winning strategies?
Once you've mastered this game, why not play to lose? How is the game affected?
Notes for grown-ups

Harder versions: try allowing more complex shapes (e.g. triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons...). Try increasing the number of pegs on the board.

Repeat the game, aiming to find a winning strategy, then talk together about how it was found.