# Fun? You Can Count On It!

A lot of the STEM-related toys and games we review here focus on science and engineering (building). This week we take a look at five entertaining games that emphasize math. They’re all from Jax, Ltd., and you can find out more at jaxgames.com/

### The Game of Chips

Players take turn rolling the dice and removing any combination of chips (numbered 1-10) that match what they rolled. For example, if you roll an 8, you can take out the 8, 7+1, 6+2, 5+3, 5+2+1. 4+3+1. This part of the game is a great way for young players to use and master basic addition facts. But wait—there’s a small element of strategy involved too. If it’s your turn and there aren’t enough chips left on the table to match your dice, you score the total on those chips. Low score wins. For two or more players, ages 7+. Under \$8.

### Match ‘Em

Each player gets five cards and the first player lays one down. The next in line plays as many cards as possible to match the value of the first player’s card (similar to the matching combinations in The Game of Chips). If you can’t come up with a match, you draw two from the deck and either make a match or establish a new target. The goal, of course, is to be the first to use all your cards. To win, you’ll need a combination of luck, strategy (to make your opponents draw more cards), and a sense of humor. For 2-4 players, ages 7+. About \$4.

### Over and Out

It all starts with a “Tip Top” card. Players draw cards from the deck and play cards from their own hand, keeping track of the total, and hoping not to be the one who goes over the Tip Top limit. It’s not all about addition, though. Special cards require players to subtract, or even change the Tip Top number. A fun, fast-paced way to use basic math facts and, of course, to spend time together. For 2-8 players, ages 7+. About \$7.

### Polygon

The rules of this game are sometimes a challenge to follow, but the game itself is well worth learning. Each of the six-sided pieces has three numbers and three colors and your goal is to lay down your tiles in patterns and combinations that get you the most points. Sounds simple, but this game requires a lot of thinking and strategizing. It’s also a fun way to practice basic addition and multiplication facts. For 2-4 players, ages 7+ (although it’s also a fun game to play by yourself). About \$16.

### Sequence Numbers

If you like the Sequence games, you already have a pretty good idea of how to play Sequence Numbers. But this one’s a little different. In the other Sequence games, you match pictures on cards with pictures on the game board. In Numbers, each card has an addition or subtraction equation and the answers are on the board. Solve the equation and put down your chip. As with other Sequence games, the goal is to get five chips in a row, up, down, or diagonally. To make it a little easier to find your answer on the board—and to help younger players double-check their math—the equations and their correct answer are printed in the same color. This is a really fun game that’ll get you and the kids thinking and laughing together as you brush up on your basic math facts. Ages 7+, 2-6 players. Around \$16.50.

# Games for Two

Here at Parents@Play, we focus on toys and games that parents and kids can do together. But a number of readers have asked for some recommendations for those times when it’s just mom or dad and only one child. Here are a few of our “you-can-play-with-more-but-plenty-of-fun-for-two” games.

Doodle Dice (Jax Ltd.)
This game is part Yahtzee and part art project. Each side of each of the six dice has a dot, a line, a squiggle, or a face. And each card in the deck has a drawing (called a “doodle”) made up of anywhere from 1-6 of those elements. Cards are color coded—all the ones with one-die doodles are orange, all the ones with two-dice doddles are red, etc. Players take turns drawing a card and rolling the dice, trying to match the doodle. If you don’t get it on the first try, keep the ones you like and roll the rest again. The object is to make one doodle from each colored card. But you can change the rules any way you want. For example, if you’re playing with a young child, use only the red and orange cards. The older the child, the more complex the doodles. You get the point. Ages 6 and up. 2-6 players. As low as \$10.17. http://jaxgames.com/

Hit the Habitat Trail! (Jax Ltd.)
A game that truly makes education fun. The goal is to collect two cards from each of the earth’s habitats: arctic, desert, forest, grasslands, jungle, mountains, ocean, and wetlands. You get those cards by answering multiple-choice questions—about either a habitat or an animal that lives there—from cards that you pull as you follow a spiral trail around the world. For example, are an animal’s stripes like rings on a tree—telling how old the animal is? (Nope).  Great for playing at home or, if you’re an educator, in the classroom. Ages 8 and up. 2-6 players. As low as \$22. http://jaxgames.com/