Multiplication War game design
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You can create:

  • Your own rules and card deck for Multiplication War game

You can start this activity from the very plain (skeleton) rules you will develop into something uniquely yours. From a regular playing card deck, select number cards 2 through 9 and aces that stand for 1. Divide cards evenly between two players. Each player turns over two cards and multiplies them. The player with the largest product collects all four cards. If there is a tie, each player turns two more cards face up and multiplies them. The player with the largest product collects all the cards that are face up. The game continues until one player collects all the cards in the deck.

Rule design ideas:

  • The simplest modification: leave only cards with numbers you are currently practicing.
  • Figure out how to work with two-digit numbers. For example, deal three cards, choose which two of them will make a two-digit number, and multiply by the third. If you dealt 2, 7 and 1, 27*1 will be different from 71*2 - choose wisely.
  • Design a "buff card" deck out of blank index cards or pieces of paper. A buff card has an operation you can choose to perform on one of your numbers to make it better. For example, your buff card may say "add one." If you dealt 2 and 7, which one will you buff? 3*7 is different from 2*8 - choose wisely! Of course, coming up with clever buff cards is a lot of fun.
  • Design "debuff cards" that make matters worse (e.g. subtract from your numbers, or half the product) and mix them up with buff cards. Make up rules for using them. For example, you can make it mandatory to use buff and debuff cards once you choose to draw one.
  • If you play any card games (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and so on), you can use card designs for inspiration. Here is an online card maker from Yu-Gi-Oh used to make the picture above.

Because this activity uses fun game mechanics involving multiplication number crunching for memory reinforcement. As you design rules, you analyze the underlying mechanisms and the number sense involved. For example, is the card "average one of your card numbers with five" a buff or a debuff?

As you go

  • You can use times tables for reference
  • Take notes of game design reasoning; it tells you a lot about psychology of people involved

Higher and deeper

  • An obvious connection is to study game mechanics and principles of game design.
  • The analysis of what buff and debuff cards do, exactly, and generalizing best uses of them through play (e.g. "always apply the "plus one" buff to the smaller of your numbers") is a direct bridge into algebraic reasoning, since it deals with general patterns.
Created: December 6, 2008, 5:42 pm, by MariaD
Last edit: December 6, 2008, 5:42 pm, by MariaD ( Edit, History )
Co-author: MariaD