I don't remember in which catalog I came across this game, but I knew it would be a great birthday gift for Lucas - and it has been.
Equate: The Equation Thinking Game is like scrabble but with math problems. It is for ages 8+ but provides a challenge for adults as well! (I also bought the Junior Tile set.)
Lucas and I played this the other day and on his very first move he used all of his tiles (bonus of 40 points for being able to do that) and he came up with this equation. He's heard me say enough times that "anything times 0 is always 0."
I was impressed with his thinking skills of not just a simple multiplication equation, but how to use all of his tiles in the equation. Then Joe came along and mentioned the 'order of operations' ...
...and pointed out that the answer to that equation isn't actually 0, it's 8.
I wasn't even thinking of that when Lucas played his tile pieces. For this game I didn't think it would matter - that you could just do an equation and read it from left to right (especially because it's for ages 8+ and they haven't learned the order of operations and "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" yet!)
I pulled out the rule book and Joe was right - you do still have to follow the order of operations; which Lucas didn't appreciate (read: like!) but he got a quick crash course on it.
We explained to him that you multiply first so 6x84=504 and that times 0 = 0 and then you subtract 8-0 to get 8 (not 0).
He desperately wanted to make an equation that would use all his tiles (and he would be the first one of us to do so) so after looking at the problem again I moved 2 of his tiles around and came up with this equation: 8-64x0x0=8.
He scored 90 points off that and I started the game deep in the hole.
He continued to pile on the points with his next equation of 9+3-8-1=3.
You can also have two equations on each side of the equal sign as long (of course) as the equations equal each other. Example: 7+3=6+4
So Lucas took his first equation an added on a +1-1 so now it looked like this: 8-64x0x0=8+1-1.
There are also fraction tiles and you can use 2 fractions next to each other in place of a whole number. So you could have 2+1/2 1/2=3.
Again Lucas added on to that first equation by adding these tiles to the end: division symbol 1/2 1/2 to make the equation read: 8-64x0x0=8+1-1(divided by)1/2 1/2
Needless to say he kicked my butt in that game with a final score of 213-132. I just couldn't recover after his initial 90 points!
I'm so impressed that he attempts to come up with more complex math equations to use more tiles ... and I realize I need to step up my game and show no mercy to this 8 year old! Ha!
Highly recommend this for a fun, challenging game to have on hand for 'family game nights'!