Did you know that many games utilize Quantitative Reasoning during play?
The Quantitative Center has a variety of these games for students to play that will help them exercise their quantitative skills in a fun way. They rely on skills such as logical reasoning, critical thinking, pattern recognition, probability, and mathematics. It is commonly believed that playing games such as these on a regular basis improves cognitive skills and performance in mathematical and quantitative reasoning skills. At the Q Center, we currently have:
And we are always taking suggestions for new games; Set (see below) is our most recent addition.
Chess is a game of complex strategy and problem solving. It develops critical thinking skills that many people believe assist with learning math; the variety of pieces and arrangements can keep anyone thinking intensely the whole game. It is also popularly used as the foundation for a variety of chess logic puzzles. From the beginner to the expert, chess boards are available in the Q Center for you. We even have “Chess Teacher” game boards! Only practice will develop your skill from one level to the next. Hint: playing with someone with a little more skill than you makes you a better player.
Checkers is a simpler game of strategy, but its simplicity doesn’t stop it from being challenging and interesting. Did you know that there are 5 x 1020 (500 billion, billion) possible moves that can occur in a game of checkers? Take a quick break from your studies while you keep your brain active and challenge a friend to a game of checkers.
Mancala is a game of quantitative strategy. Players’ moves are all based around the numbers of counters in various pits. This uses visualization of redistributed quantities as a key component of strategy and gameplay. Gem collectors love playing with the red jasper game pieces!
Set is a strategy and pattern recognition game that is very popular with math enthusiasts. It is also known for inspiring mathematical questioning. One such question was recently solved after over 40 years of stumping mathematicians and is currently leading to other advances in mathematical understanding. Experience a card game like no other! It will become one of your favorites as you seek patterned sets of three.
Dominoes are simple building blocks that can be assembled in innumerable ways to create a large variety of games, ranging from the simple to the complex, from games in which the gameplay is almost mechanical, to games that require great skill and strategy. This popular table game, for two to four players, has many variations. The simplest, known as “block dominoes,” serves as a basis for most of the others, and remains the most popular. Dominoes can also be used to solve logic puzzles as well as probability and statistics exercises. Interesting fact: dominoes evolved from dice (see our Dice and Playing Card games below). In fact, the numbers in a standard double-six domino set represent all the rolls of two six-sided dice.
Backgammon is one of the oldest known board games; its history traces back nearly 5,000 years to archeological discoveries in the Middle East. The game relies on strategic quantitative reasoning as well as probability. An understanding of probability and the ability to do mental calculations are key to building a good strategy. World class players recommend strategies for the game that require the player to be able to do at least some calculations. A pair of students playing in the Q Center were asked about this and one said, “I have so much fun playing, I never realized I was doing ‘required’ calculations. I guess I am, but I am just trying to win.”
Rubik’s Cubes are a puzzle that has become popular for the impressiveness of its speed-solving competitions. We encourage students to look at how and why solution strategies work to improve their special reasoning. The Rubik’s Cube involves implicit use of group theory. A “solutions” page is kept on the game shelf to help, but many still find it not so simple. A consistent reaction from all students – rotating the planes help reduce stress!
Shut the Box, also known as Canoga, can be played by up to four players. It uses knowledge of probability as the main factor for forming a strategy, but mostly relies on luck. It also requires quick basic calculations as well as endgame score calculation. Being a traditional pub game without any national governing body, variations of equipment and rules abound. Therefore collaboration and agreement are important to determine the rules that should apply during play.
Jump All But One is a famous and popular logic game. There are two variations in the Q Center. The game may appear simple, but puzzling out a solution is tricky. A quick break from homework or studying for a test that you can play alone or challenge a friend. Who can remove the most pegs on their first try?
Other games and exercises are available in the Q Center to be played with your friends or by yourself. Dice and playing cards, like dominoes, are some of the generic gaming devices. Books and game sheets, such as Sudoku, are also available. There are many variations and possibilities in the Quantitative Center that can be used for a variety of probability-based games and exercises. Come down and browse the shelves!
Tournaments are held periodically during the year in the Quantitative Center. Watch for a chess tournament, a mancala tournament, or create your own. Join to win special prizes. Special events such as game nights are held each semester with food and drink.