Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Math Dice® Chase

Math Dice® Chase

Spring 2016 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: ThinkFun Inc.
Price: $6.99

Back in the day, my fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Coffman roamed the classroom pointing her yardstick at students and barking out math problems: "Donnie, what's 9x5?" or "Susie, 11x7?" It was multiplication-tables intimidation-not much fun, but it worked.

In Math Dice Chase, which the gaming geniuses at ThinkFun describe accurately as "one part hot potato, one part math," practicing mental multiplication is fun, simple-and it works.

Four to six players sit in a circle and two of them on opposite sides get the two different-colored pairs of oversized "math dice"- each with 12 numbered sides. The game starts when those two players roll their dice, multiply the showing numbers and yell out the answers (saying the full equations plus product…so, "five times three equals fifteen").

If the answers are correct, the dice immediately are passed to the left and the next players do the same. If an answer is wrong, that player can be challenged and must sit out until the round is over. When two pairs of dice catch up to one player, that player also sits out the round. And no heckling from the sit-outs allowed! The game goes on until only one player's remains.

ThinkFun is the innovative maker of such classic brainteasers as Rush Hour and River Crossing and of course, the original Math Dice Game. Like Math Dice Chase, none of these games is especially complex and none is especially easy - but they are all wonderful mental pushups. And, the bonus in Math Dice Chase is that the rules are flexible: These dice work fine for addition, subtraction, and division, even square roots, if you dare.

More math reflex than strategy (like in Yahtzee), this game goes way beyond flash cards and Mrs. Coffman's fourth grade classroom. It's easy-to-learn, addictive, portable (like in the car or airplane) and makes math learning an enjoyable sociable hoot.

Don Oldenburg   ©2016 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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ThinkFun Inc.

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