Equations is a game of math skill. The game was invented by Prof Layman Allen in 1965. Prof Allen is also the creator of WFF ‘n Proof, OnSets and a slew of logic/math games. Equations is still played in competition amongst teams of school kids across the country.

The game itself is made up of a playing mat and 24 cubes. Each cube is made up of 4 digits and two binary operator signs (-, +, x, /, * or a radical).

The play mat has several important areas.

  • Resource - All cubes start here. Any cube in this area may be used in a solution
  • Required - Any cube in this area must be used in a solution
  • Permitted - Any cube in this area may be used in a solution
  • Forbidden - Any cube in this area can not be used in a solution
  • Goal - Where the Goal is set

    The cubes are rolled out near the play mat. From these cubes a Goal is moved onto the Goal area of the mat, the Goal being a number or an equation. The players than have to make a Solution form the cubes that equal the goal . So if the goal was 23 a solution might be (2*5)-(3x3), if those values were show in the cubes.

    On each turn the players can move a cube from the Resource area to one of the other areas. Thus each player changes the possible solution sets that can be made to meet the goal.

    Any time during the game a player may make a Now or Never challenge. A Now challenge means the player can make a Solution using the cubes in Required and Permitted areas and one or more cubes from Resource area. A Never challenge is called when a player thinks the person who just moved a cube cannot make a solution using the cubes in Required, Permitted, and Resource areas. After a challenge is made at least one player, either the challenger or the challenged should have shown a solution.

    Scores are given as follows

  • The player who wins the challenge gets 10 points.
  • The loser of the challenge gets 6 points.
  • In the case of more players, they must side with or against the Challenger. They get the same points as the side they choose, either 6 if they choose wrong or 10 if they choose right.

    The other outcome is a forceout. This comes about when all the cubes except one have been moved from the Resource area on the mat. At that time no player can make a Now challenge. The player whose turn it is moves the last cube to either Permitted of Required. All the players then have exactly 2 minuets to write a correct solution.

    In a forceout the scores are given as follows

  • Players who show a valid Solution gets 8 points.
  • Players who do not show a valid Solution gets 6 points.

    The only exceptions to the above procedure are that a player may make a Never challenge when one cube is left in Resource area; this challenge is against the last player who moved a cube on the mat.

    In team play the game goes on set number of rounds or a time limit. At the end of the rounds or time the player with the most points wins.

    Ther are variations and house rules that build on these rules. Over the decades there have been variations based on the players understanding of math to make the game fit the people playing. I have reworked it for my 6 year old; as she gets older we will add more operators, variants and house rules.

    The play mat looks something like this

    |------------------------------------------------|
    |                    Resources                   |
    |                                                |
    |                                                |
    |------------------------------------------------|
    |  FORBIDDEN   |   PERMITTED      |   REQUIRED   |
    |--------------|------------------|--------------|
    |              |                  |              |
    |              |                  |              |
    |              |                  |              |
    |              |                  |              |
    |              |                  |              |
    |              |                  |              |
    |              |                  |              |
    |              |                  |              |
    |------------------------------------------------|
    |                                                |
    |                                                |
    |                                         GOAL   |
    |------------------------------------------------|
    
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