Block or Switch

This is a simple card game which I devised recently. It is best played with two players. A single pack of cards is required plus 2 markers. Remove the court cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings) leaving 40 cards. Players sit opposite each other. Cut the pack, loser deals and winner goes first. A 6 x 6 grid of cards is dealt as shown in the picture below.




Now lets say the yellow marker plays first. They may move to any card in the same row or column and take that card. The highest scoring card possible is the 8H. But is this the best move? Like chess it pays to plan a few moves ahead. Now blue plays. He/she can move and take either the 10H or 10D for a 10 point score. Play continues in turn, but players may NOT jump over each other if in the same column or row. And so the opportunity to block your opponent arises.

2cardsAfter all cards are taken, the cards are added up. The highest total is the winner. It is interesting to observe how the students add their cards together. Have they developed the strategy of summing two or more cards to groups of 10? eg. 9+1, 8+2, 4+3+3, etc. Are they adding numerals or counting pips?

In my experience with this game so far, a skillful player who can plan ahead will beat a player who just choses the next highest card. Give this game a try. I will be interested to hear your impressions.


About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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