Prime ClimbSpring 2015 Toys
Prime Climb is a surprisingly fun math game. It doesn't teach math, rather it allows players to use math to reach a goal. The game consists of a colorful game board with numbered spaces that are arranged in a two-dimensional spiral with 0 (Start) on the outside, and 101 (Finish) in the center. Players roll the two 10-sided dice and add, subtract, multiply, and/or divide their way along the numbered path to the center. Landing on a space occupied by another player sends them back to Start, and ending a turn on a prime number allows a player to draw a Prime card. These cards give advantages like sending others back to start, limiting opposing player moves to division and subtraction, or rolling again. Other cards reverse the digits on your pawn's position, switch positions of pawns on the board, or make a player go back spaces.
An intriguing gameboard feature is the use of color; the colors represent factors. Any space with orange is divisible by 2, green is divisible by 3, blue is 5, and 7 is purple. For example, the space numbered "10" is blue and orange so it is divisible by 2 and 5. This factorization makes multiplication and division easy during play and teaches math sense. Players can use the colors to do the math or to check their moves…very clever!
Game play can be fast. It is possible to get within a few spaces of 101 in just a few turns, but landing exactly on 101 is necessary to win. Since a players' moves are based on the roll of the dice, this often means having to move farther from the goal by subtracting. This can be a little frustrating, but it also introduces more strategic thinking. Similarly, the strategic value/use of Prime cards becomes more apparent with game experience.