## Wednesday, May 20, 2020

### Rolie Polie Operation Olie, a Math Game

This past semester I got to teach a senior project class. Four preservice elementary teachers working on understanding math games, game design and making their own. Grace was fascinated by several games, but especially Quixx, a dice game. All the games were tested with kids, and went through multiple revisions and I'm really proud of their work and the games they made.

GUEST POST by Grace Gay

Rolie Polie Operation-Olie is a quick-playing mathematics game played with dice! It is a spin-off of the family dice game Quixx, in which it is a simple game to play but each decision is crucial. There is no downtime in between your turns, so there is a lot of catch-up as you always have a chance to gain from each and every player’s roll.

If you have kids or students who are working with their basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, then this game is a fun way to test their computations! The object of the game is to score the most points by filling in as many boxes in the three columns as possible while avoiding penalty points. Each player takes a score sheet and something to write with. Before playing, there is one basic rule that is similar to Quixx, which is boxes must be filled out from top to bottom in each of the columns. If you choose to skip any boxes, they cannot be filled out afterward.

Take a quick look at this scoresheet. The score sheet has three columns. One “up” column, in which the values that you will fill in the box will be in increasing order; one “down” column, in which the values that you will fill in the box will be in decreasing order; and one “choice” column, in which you are able to choose whether you want an increasing or decreasing column. In the sixth row of the columns, there is a 12 that is filled in. In order to fill in any boxes past the 12, you must fill in the 12. Lastly, in the last row of the columns, there is a lock symbol. In order to lock a row, you must have filled in at least 6 boxes and rolled either the attached 36 or 0. The “Operation column” is a place for you to write the operation that you computed in order to derive the number in the box.

A how-to-play: the first player to roll a 6 takes on the role of the “active player.” The active player would then roll all four dice. They now have two play options:

• The active player announces the first two dice that were rolled. All players may then (but are not required to) use any operation in order to combine the two dice to find a value that they can fill out in one of their columns.
• The active player (but not the others) may then (but it is not required to) take one of the other dice together with one of the first rolled dice and combine them, using any operation in order to fill in a box with the number corresponding to this found value in one of their columns.

Similarly to Quixx, there are penalty boxes, which must be crossed out if, after the two actions, the active player doesn’t fill out a box of at least one number. Each penalty box is worth -5 points at the end of the game. The non-active players do not take a penalty if they choose not to cross out a number.

Once all players are ready, the player to the left becomes the new active player and re-rolls all four dice. Then the two actions described above are carried out again, one after the other.

Now, If you wish to cross out the number at the very bottom of a column (up 36, down 0, and choice either 0 or 36), you must have first filled in at least six numbers in that column above, including the 12. If you cross out the number on the bottom, then also cross off the lock symbol directly next to it. This indicates that the column is now locked for all players and numbers of this column cannot be crossed out in the future rounds.

If a column is locked during the first action, it is possible that other players may, at the same time, also cross out the number on the bottom of the column and lock the same column. These players must also have previously filled in at least six numbers in that column. Also, the cross on the lock counts toward the total number of crosses marked in that column when you are scoring.

The game ends immediately as soon as either someone has marked a cross in their fourth penalty box or as soon as someone has locked two columns. Beneath the three columns is a table indicating how many points are awarded for how many crosses within each column (including any locks marked with a cross). Each crossed out penalty is worth five minus points. Enter your points for the three columns and the minus points for any penalties in the appropriate fields at the bottom of the scoresheet. The player with the highest total score is the winner.

I hope you enjoy this fast-paced mathematics game!

Handouts: gdoc & pdf

John's Postscript: This game is pretty complex on first approach. But the strategy is subtle, and repeated playings
have a good variety. So don't give up with this one! I actually like Grace's over the original. More streamlined, and