I was introduced to a math game kids can play with a regular deck of cards last year. To play the game all you need is a deck of cards and a basic knowledge of math. The game itself is called, “How Close Can You Get” and is a great game to challenge and build your math skills.
Getting Started – The Basics
First thing is first and that is we need to trim down our deck of cards as we do not need the 10’s and face cards. After those cards are removed, shuffle the remaining cards and keep them face down in a pile.
One of the nice parts of this game is that you can play this game with any number of players. You can all play as individuals, cooperatively, or as teams. This is a great benefit as you can really customize the game to fit your needs.
To play the game you deal out a total of 6 cards. The first two cards will represent your “goal number” and are read together. For example if you deal a 3 and a 7 your goal number would be 37. The next four cards are dealt out below the goal number and these will be your worker numbers.
In the example shown above here, our goal is to get as close as possible to 16 using as many of the worker numbers as possible. You can use the worker numbers in a variety of different ways in order to try and achieve the goal. You can add, subtract, multiply, and divide to try to get to your goal number. You can also combine cards to make bigger numbers such as combining the two 8’s to make 88. Here are some possible answers for this play:
- 7 – 6 = 1; 8 + 8 = 16; 16 * 1 = 16! An exact match using all 4 cards.
- 8 + 8 = 16! A match, but only uses two cards.
- 6 + 8 = 14; 8 – 7 = 1; 14 + 1 = 15! Short by one using all 4 cards.
- 88 / 7 = 14! Short by 2, using three cards.
The winner is determined first by the closest match to the goal number. The tie breaker is whomever used the most cards. The above answers here are listed in the order which they would have won.
Lets Try Another Example
Some examples of answers for this would be:
- 7 + 8 = 15; 15 * 2 = 30; 30 + 9 = 39! An exact match using all 4 cards!
- 98 / 2 = 49; 49 – 7 = 42! Over by 3 using all 4 cards.
- 8 * 9 = 72; 72 / 2 = 36; 36 +7 = 43! Over by 4 using all 4 cards.
This game not only challenges your math skills, it also works on your creativity with numbers as well. The game is also flexible that you could add in rules or victory conditions very easily. A quick 3 for example:
- Add in a Time Limit to come up with your answers.
- Allow for more complex math to be used, such as square roots.
- Add a point system in to keep score.
Now It Is Your Turn!
Here I am going to give two examples of plays and it is up to you to figure out the answers. Leave them in the comment section below and don’t forget to show your work!
Overall this is a fun and easy game to play, yet one that can still challenge any level of player. Add on top of that the tremendous flexibility that the game allows and we have a winner.
If you have any questions on how to play, please leave them in the comments below and I will make sure to promptly answer them. Also, I look forward to seeing your answers for the above two examples… How Close Can You Get?
James W D