The game consists of 2 decks of cards (a math deck and a science/riddles deck) and an instruction book. The book is 25 pages long and is spiral bound. It contains not only the basic rules of the game, but variations on the rules, some math information and history, a short explanation of the history of Brahmi numerals and information on the science/riddles deck of cards.
One deck of cards (what we call the math cards) are numbered one to nine but there are varying amounts of each number. The deck also includes two wild cards and one each multiplication, division and equals card. As you can see, each number card has the appropriate amount of purple dots on it.
The other deck of cards has a science question, a science fact, a math question or a riddle on it. The answers to the questions and riddles are upside down on the bottom of the card. These cards are the "reward" for winning as the winner gets to read one aloud at the end of the game.
At first, the rules of the game seemed quite complicated, but as we played, it all came clear. We were able to play fairly quickly and keep the game moving quite nicely. Since all four of my kids have been exposed to multiplication and division, we were all able to play. But this is a review sort of game and not a teaching game. It will help your child solidify their math facts but they should already understand the concept of multiplying and dividing.
There were a few rules that we disagreed with and tweaked as we went along. Especially the "how to win" rule. We decided that having to completely play all of your cards was too hard, and the game was taking too long, so we made a discard pile and discarded a card at the end of each turn. This also added an element of strategy to the game because deciding which cards to keep and which to get rid of can change everything.
We did, however, employ the suggestion that kids can play cooperatively and we helped each other when we got stuck. As we get stronger in our math facts, I'm certain the game will get more cut-throat.
It was Nate's idea to simultaneously make the game more difficult and more interesting by taking a couple of index cards and drawing plus and minus signs on them. He wanted to make math sentences like:
2 + 5 x 3 = 30.
This did make the game more fun!
I think the riddle cards were by far our favorite part of the game! The kids kept sneaking them out and reading them to each other.
The kids' say this about the game:
Kaytie: It looks like a short game, but it takes longer than you think it will. It was simple for me and helps with learning the facts. Overall it was pretty fun.
Nate: It was boring because it was math. The plus and minus signed made it more interesting even though it really just added more math. But it was more fun than I thought it would be for math.
Daniel: It was fun because it challenged me. It was frustrating at times but was mostly fun.
Abbie: It was actually pretty fun, although it was math.
So there you have it. Even in a family that is "allergic" to math, this is a great game to play.