Win at Math!

As the end of the semester draws near, I find myself looking for quick ways to procrastinate.  And playing a little game won’t take up that much time, right?  Like, say, we could play a friendly game of Tic-Tac-Toe…

(Courtesy of xkcd)

Well, if that isn’t your idea of time well-spent, you can “Test you Intuition” at Gil Kalai‘s  (Combinatorics and More) post concerning drawing colored balls from an urn  or determining stable marriage pairings.  Similarly, you can participate in Vince Knight’s (Un peu de math) google app poll and discussion for “Guess 2/3 of the average”.

Have an idea for a short educational math game? If so, you’re in luck because Dan Meyers (dy/dan) and Jason Dyer (Number Warrior)  are searching for “Tiny Math Games”.  Herein also lies an interesting discussion of the difference between math games (variations on Nim) and game-ified drill (Factor a polynomial correctly and win a “point”).  The comments are full of fun ideas as well.

Want to show some of your pre-service teachers the area model with fractions in the context of a game?  Check out John Golden‘s  “Find it!” at Math Hombre.  The “Games” tab of his blog is chock full of his own educational math games for K-12 sorted into categories.

Mathematicians on the go should turn their attention to a post by Christian Perfect in UK’s The Aperiodical entitled “Games to Entertain a Commutative Mathematician”.  Here, Perfect’s use of “commutative” refers to the act of using public transportation, but even if you are “non-commutative”, you will want to find an excuse to play at least some of these math-inspired games on your phone:


Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection

HyperRogue III (which states in its description that you are “a lone outsider in a strange non-Euclidean world”)


Jeff Week’s games  involving geometry — like pool on the surface of a torus!

We all know that games can be rich with mathematical structure, as is discussed in this 2011 post from Math Overflow .   Many a mathematical paper has emerged from the study of games.  In fact, in the comments section of Perfect’s post, Dana Ernst, mentions that the game Spinpossible provided an avenue of research for several undergraduates under his supervision.  So don’t feel guilty as you play.  After all, what helps us prove theorems is that despite “losing” so many times, we are spurred on by the anticipation of that elusive “win”!

By the way, today’s featured blogs posts originated in Jerusalem, Cardiff (UK), California, Arizona, Michigan, and Newcastle (UK)!

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2 Responses to Win at Math!

  1. Avatar Justin Lanier says:

    I’d offer the Math Munch Games page ( as a further source of diversion. I’m a particular fan of Bloxorz, Impasse, and Folds.

    Thanks for sharing these great resources for mathematical procrastination!

  2. Avatar evelynjlamb says:

    For some more intense math, there’s a pretty brainy posts about Set on Complex Projective 4-space:
    He also writes some ciphers that might be fun if you’re into that kind of thing. I’m not patient enough for ciphers.

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