Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
In this article for teachers, Liz Woodham describes the criteria she uses to choose mathematical games for the classroom and shares some examples from NRICH.
Basic strategy games are particularly suitable as starting points
for investigations. Players instinctively try to discover a winning
strategy, and usually the best way to do this is to analyse. . . .
This article supplies teachers with information that may be useful in better understanding the nature of games and their role in teaching and learning mathematics.
This article, the second in the series, looks at some different types of games and the sort of mathematical thinking they can develop.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
This second Sudoku article discusses "Corresponding Sudokus" which are pairs of Sudokus with terms that can be matched using a substitution rule.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
This sudoku requires you to have "double vision" - two Sudoku's for
the price of one
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
A game for 2 players. Take turns to place a counter so that it occupies one of the lowest possible positions in the grid. The first player to complete a line of 4 wins.
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?
A Sudoku that uses transformations as supporting clues.
A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red
counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the
other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
Given the products of diagonally opposite cells - can you complete this Sudoku?
A Sudoku with a twist.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
The computer starts with all the lights off, but then clicks 3, 4
or 5 times at random, leaving some lights on. Can you switch them
The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?
Everthing you have always wanted to do with dominoes! Some of these games are good for practising your mental calculation skills, and some are good for your reasoning skills.
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
A game for 2 people. Take turns to move the counters 1, 2 or 3
spaces. The player to remove the last counter off the board wins.
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
A game to make and play based on the number line.
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
Practise your diamond mining skills and your x,y coordination in this homage to Pacman.
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. . . .
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players
take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single
pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.
A train building game for 2 players.
A game for 2 or more people. Starting with 100, subratct a number from 1 to 9 from the total. You score for making an odd number, a number ending in 0 or a multiple of 6.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
A game for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
A simple game of patience which often comes out. Can you explain
This is a game for 2 players. Each player has 4 counters each, and
wins by blocking their opponent's counters. A good follow-on from
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.