Unique Board Games For Families - Practicing math skills can be fun, and it doesn't always have to involve numbers or equations. Some board games sneak in counting, sequencing, and strategy while your child plays. Beyond classics like Hi Ho! Cherry-O, Connect Four and Yahtzee, these unique board games can help your child practice math skills.
The Woozle is a monster that loves silly snacks, but the candies in this game aren't like those in Candy Land. Kids can throw the barrel and end up handing out chocolate covered flies and furry pickles! In this cooperative game, preschoolers work with four other players (not against) to count the correct amounts and types of food. Or they work to match pairs of food cards. Feed the Woozle has three levels of play, so it can take a long time.
Unique Board Games For Families
Simple addition and subtraction keep the critters moving around this swamp. To advance on the board, players must roll two numbered dice and a third that has the "+" and "-" signs. Players use the dice to find out how many steps their frog, snail, dragonfly or alligator can move. Children can take as long as they want to solve the equation. Strong mental math skills are not required for this game, so players can use pencil, paper and other tools if needed.
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Qwirkle is a bit like dominoes, a lot like Sequence and Uno, and similar to Bounce-Off. Players try to score points by creating lines of tiles with matching colors or shapes. This requires strategies and pattern recognition – two key math skills. In Qwirkle, kids have to pay attention to different tile shapes, including circles, squares, shamrocks, and stars. Players can take turns counting the points or work together to add them up.
Like Battleship, Battle Sheep is a strategy game. But there are no ships on these mesas, only flocks of sheep moving to new pastures. To play, each player divides their stack of sheep tokens and takes turns trying to place the sheep in a row across the other player's land. This involves spatial planning and counting, and children with math anxiety may like that there are no numbers in this game.
School kids don't just get rich while playing this game. They also practice collecting, counting and exchanging money. Using plastic coins and paper dollar bills, players solve challenges like figuring out how to get 32 cents from the bank without using any quarters. The player who reaches the end first gets a bonus. (For similar games, see Game of Life and Bonus Game).
In this multiplayer RPG, players compete to travel by train to the most cities in North America in just seven days. Players collect cards that show which rail routes are connected to each other. The longer their routes, the more points they earn. No money changes hands in this game. But players use key math skills like strategy and reasoning. And just like with Settlers of Catan, many fans of Ticket to Ride can't stop playing once they understand the rules.
Math Board Games
Traditional bingo helps children practice recognizing one- and two-digit numbers. This augmented version goes much further. The game involves mathematical skills and flexible thinking. Here's how it works. The bingo "interlocutor" shows a card with a fraction, decimal or percentage. Players can mark any version of that amount. For example, if a card shows "1/3," players can mark ".33" or a six-piece chart with two pieces missing. (Quizmo and 20 Express are similar math bingo games.)
Lexi Walters Wright is the former community manager of . As a writer and editor, she helps parents make more informed decisions for themselves and their children.
Brendan R. Hodnett, MAT is a special education teacher in Middletown, New Jersey, and an adjunct professor at Hunter College. When you shop through our links, we may earn a commission. More information>
We've added Wavelength, a party game that plays with your friends' opinions, and The Quacks of Quedlinburg, a game to boost your luck with power.
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Thousands of new board games are published every year, more than our dedicated board game guides could ever accommodate. We've listed some of the Wirecutter staff's favorites here. Whether you're looking for something that offers high-level strategy or narrative co-op, or just something that looks cool, these are the games in heavy rotation during our game nights. If you don't see one of your favorites, please leave a comment so we can expand our collections.
Why we love it: Between reading and deciphering the dense rulebook and having to fix multiple bugs during each turn, our first game of Scythe ended up taking six hours. However, we were immediately captivated by this game's immense strategic depth and beautiful, steampunk, pastoral, idyllic world-building aesthetic (which Gregory Han nailed in our 2016 gift guide). Since then, our play times have fallen in line with the 90-115 minute estimate printed on the box. And Scythe held weekly game nights and inspired a dedicated group chat to discuss strategy, create and share memes, and plan impromptu sessions.
In less than two months, we've already purchased the seven-player expansion and are seriously considering purchasing an updated custom box to more elegantly store the many cards and pieces. You might be wondering what kind of people want to invest so much time in a game, coming back to play it again and again. But when you learn the mechanics, playing Scythe will be all you want to do.
How to play: In Scythe, players represent one of five factions trying to make a fortune and claim land in Eastern Europe after World War I. Players start with resources (including power, popularity, coins, and combat cards), a different starting location, and two (optional) hidden objectives. Scythe is an engine building game, so the goal is to set up systems that keep collecting resources as the game progresses. With each turn, each player chooses one of the four corresponding actions on the faction mat. All players have the same set of actions, but receive different rewards for them, and each character has a unique set of strengths. Other than Encounter cards (which players receive in some newly explored territories), there is little luck involved. The game ends after a player places their sixth hit (star) on the win track, and whoever has the most coins wins. Scythe is a game of capitalism in its pure form.
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Why we love it: Imagine a Risk game set in Middle-earth that didn't take as long to play as it did to review all the Lord of the Rings movies. It's almost the Small World experience, an area control game filled with elves, dwarves, halflings, and more. The game comes with several boards and enough small parts that it took about 40 minutes to install initially. But once Small World gets going, it's an easy concept to follow, and the different combinations of races and fantasy powers make every game a little different. Thanks to multiple game boards, Small World plays just as well with two people as it does with five. Right now there are a few versions that offer slightly different art and tone, such as Small World: Underground (which is a bit darker) and Small World of Warcraft (if you'd rather visit Azeroth than the Shire).
How to play: At the start of the game, each player must select a fantasy race to control from a shuffled pile. Each race is paired with a separately mixed stack of powers, which modify what that race's troops can do. For example, if you take Wizards with a flying power, you get gold bonuses for occupying magic spaces (the Wizards feature) and you can send your troops anywhere on the board (the Flying feature). Once a player chooses their characters, they get a set of tokens that represent their troops; during their turn they use the tokens to get the land on the board. As players expand their empires and come into conflict with each other, they run out of useful tokens, which they can return (the game calls this "going into decline"). The pieces remain on the board and can still accumulate points. (but they can no longer be used to acquire a new territory). And on their next turn, players choose a new race/power combination to use. This continues several times, depending on the number of players. Whoever collects the most gold (mainly obtained by acquiring land) throughout the game wins.
Upon installing the game, players will notice a set of tiles that start on the board, but do not act like the other playable races. These unfortunately named "Lost Tribe" are intended to act as a hindrance in some areas in the early game. But given the historical mistreatment of many societies of native peoples, this aspect can sometimes be uncomfortable for players (myself included). Instead, I used other tiles to indicate the natural barriers in those areas,
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