Sunday, October 25, 2009

Area Block

New game! Blokus meets Nim, this game works on area and strategy. Tested with fourth and fifth graders, but flexible upwards with sophistication in area computation techniques. Get it as a pdf here: AreaBlock.pdf

Materials: Game Board, 2 different color pens, pencils, crayons or markers.

How to play: Players take turns making a single shape on the board that has an area of 10 or less. The game is done when the board is filled, and the player with the most squares covered wins. The table is for recording how many squares you cover each turn.

The first player to go can only color up to 8 squares on their first shape. (Otherwise it would always be best to go first.) After that the limit is always 10.

The squares colored in to make your shape need to share a side, not just touch at a corner. (The shape you make has to be a polygon.) A player can even use slanted lines – as long as they can figure out the area for their shape! When you are making a new shape, it does not have to touch your old – you can put it anywhere there’s room.

After you make or shade in your shape, record the area of your block – you don’t want to miss any points. The next player then colors a polygon of up to 10 squares of area in a different color.

When the board is completely filled, the game is done. Total up your squares and see who won!

Notice you can check if all the squares are counted by adding both scores – you should get 100.

Whoever lost gets to choose the next time if they want to go first or second.

• The board can be changed to have holes or blocks or be a different shape. As long as there are 100 squares. After trying these boards, make your own.
• The game can be played with dice. Roll 2 dice, and you can fill in the total rolled.
• Advanced players could try where their score is not the area – but the perimeter. (You might want to try that with no slanted sides.)

Board 0:

Board 1:

Board 2:

Board 3:

Board 4:

It's pretty fun! I haven't been able to spot a degenerate strategy yet. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

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