Math Games with Bad Drawings

It is no secret that I am working on a third book. It will be thing of ink and splendor, with drawings so bad that stick figures everywhere will say, “Oh c’mon, nobody thinks we look like that, do they?”

It is a book, I am pleased to say, about games. Mathematical games. Strategy games. Easy-to-learn, fun-to-play, hard-to-master games.

Some will be timeless classics.

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Others will be fresh-faced originals.

game post 1

And others will be glowing gems mined from the sooty depths of the gaming world.

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But here’s the thing: Games need play-testers. And here’s the second thing: play-testers are hard to come by during a global pandemic. And here’s the third thing, which unlike the first two, is a question.

How would you like to help me play-test these games?

I’ll be sending out an illustrated rule set every Sunday, along with a Google Form for offering feedback. I ask only for: (a) Your email address; (b) Your unblinking honesty; and (c) Your not sharing the documents (other than as needed for play-testing).

Sign up for the email list here. I’d love to have you join me; you’ll both get a sneak preview of the book, and help it come to fruition.

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While I’m at it, here are some frequently asked questions:

I’m a teacher. Can I play these games with my students?

Yes!

I’m a parent. Can I play these games with my kids?

Yes!

I’m a soldier stationed in a nuclear silo, guarding a warhead, alongside only one other human being (with whom I am falling helplessly in love). Can I play these games with them?

No. Go back to warhead-guarding.

Really?

Aww, who am I kidding? Play away. And good luck with the romance!

What if I don’t have anyone at home to play with?

The games should mostly work over Zoom/Skype/Hangouts/shouting to your neighbor across the street.

If you need a partner, reply to the first email to let me know you’d like to be matched, or leave a comment below.

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What makes these “math” games?

I have defined “math game” as follows: A game whose players are wont to remark, “Hmm, this game feels mathy.”

For the record, this won’t be a book on combinatorial game theory. That book already exists: it was written by three eminent mathematicians over the course of a decade, and is called Winning Ways for Your Mathematical Plays. I give it five stars!

Hey, I have a game you should consider!

I’m delighted to hear it! Email it to me; I’m just the name of the blog at gmail.

Note that I’m looking for games which are easy to play with stuff at home. That means paper and pencil. Maybe dice. Perhaps a checker set, if you’re feeling fancy.

What are you hoping to get from your play-testers?

In no particular order:

  • A sense of where the rules need clarifying and/or tweaking.
  • A sense of camaraderie.
  • A sense of which games are the most worthy of inclusion in the book.
  • A sense of joie de vivre.
  • A sense of how each game might look to a math-averse person.
  • A sense of how each game might look to a mathematical expert.
  • A sense of what “joie de vivre” actually means.
  • A sense of this book being born not from a monologue (as my last two books were) but as part of a big, loopy, intellectually playful dialogue.

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What mathematical background should I have?

I’m aiming for “a minute to learn, a lifetime to master” sorts of games. So, if I’m doing my job right, the games will be learnable by a 10-year-old, and still serve as a decent intellectual chew-toy for a 10th-year PhD student.

Also, let’s be honest: if you’re a 10th-year PhD student, then you must be both (a) easily distracted and (b) weirdly persistent. So this play-testing gig is perfect for you.

Long story short, I prize all feedback!

I’m still on the fence.

Sign up, my dude! Here’s the link again, for those too lazy to scroll up.

(No shame. I feel you, my lazy friends. I feel you.)

6 thoughts on “Math Games with Bad Drawings

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