Calculation Nation is excited to announce the arrival of its newest math game, neXtu. In neXtu players strategically place geometric pieces with point values on the game board to collect more shapes and points than their opponent.
Not only can you play this fun, fast-paced game but you can also host it on your own website or blog or even your school's website or blog. You can find more information and the coding at Calculation Nation. (http://calculationnation.nctm.org/neXtu.aspx)
Feel free to share a link to your website or blog below!
Jackie, the values of the tiles will change if you place one of your pieces next to another one of your pieces that's already on the board. For instance, if you place a blue 8 next to a blue 5, the blue 5 will increase to become a blue 6. That's part of the design... if you place one of your pieces next to an opponent's piece of lesser value, you capture it; and if you place one of your pieces next to another one of your pieces, you "reinforce" it.
Full description is available at http://calculationnation.nctm.org/Games/AboutGames.aspx. (You may have to log in first.) Then, click on the link for "Learn More" under neXtu.
And as much as I hate to ask it -- please let me know if you think the pieces are changing in values in a way that is inconsistent with the rules. If so, it means we have a bug. (I hope not! We didn't find any in all our testing, but that's not to say that we couldn't have missed something.)
I like this game because there are a couple of different factors at play. The basic strategy seems to be to assess where to put my game pieces based on where you'll "convert" the highest number of points (and it's important to add in the extra point you get from placing a piece next to another one of your own game pieces).
I'm finding that the scoring is correct (no bugs) but there is some luck involved in the order of values that are randomly dealt to your pieces. For example, if you get a square 15 early in the game, you have less chance of "trumping" high game pieces that your opponent puts down later in the game.
"Upping" the value of your own pieces is an interesting aspect of this game; if I put a 1 next to a 14, it becomes 15, and my opponent can't "trump" that so I'll never lose that piece.
And last — this might be my favorite part — sometimes it pays to play defensively. I keep half an eye on my opponents next possible moves, and if it looks like I have the options of gaining 5 points on my move, or preventing myself from losing 20 points by blocking an opponent's next move, I go with the latter.
Hope I didn't give away too much, Patrick!
Who am I to stop you from saying whatever you want?
I'm glad you mentioned playing defensively. We had long and heated debates about whether you should be able to see your opponent's next possible moves, and after much discussion, we decided that you should. I think this was the right call... and your note confirms it. Credit my staff for making the correct choice!
After being "introduced" to this game at the NCTM in San Diego....I found myself quite addicted....had to give it up. I'm hoping I'll learn more about the strategies in this discussion board. I'm sure the students would come up with strategies to share, which would be a great lesson! Hope you are well!
I had not tried neXtu until I saw someone playing it at the WNET Conference in NYC this past weekend. I must admit after seeing the game, I had to create a login to Calculation Nation and play the game when I returned home. I am hooked. Thanks to Christine's comments, I have developed a basic strategy. However, so far, it seems my opponent gets better numbers than mine. I realize it's random so hopefully my luck will soon change and I can win at least one game.
I was never a great math student, but I love games. These games do challenge my math skills and make great lessons to use in teaching higher-order thinking skills.
Good job, Illuminations!
Lynne -- Your opponent should never get better numbers than you. Both players receive pieces with the exact same values... for instance, if you get hexagons with values of 3, 7, and 13, then your opponent will also get pieces with values of 3, 7, and 13. The ony difference is the order in which they may be revealed to you.
All games at Calculation Nation have info for parents and teachers under the "For Parents & Educators" tab.
The educational benefits of neXtu can be found here:
That said, I'll give some of the highlights:
- The game board consists of hexagons, squares, and triangles. It forms a tessellation, and it highlights ideas of horizontal, vertical, and rotational symmetry. It also helps to reinforce geometric differences -- the number of sides impacts how many adjacent shapes will be touched.
- For young kids, the game allows them to compare numbers to determine which is larger ("I capture your piece because 8 > 5"). It also allows them to see the very basic addition fact "plus 1" in action, since placing a piece next to another one of your pieces causes it to be reinforced and its value is increased by 1 point.
- The primary benefit, however, is logical thinking. Students need to be systematic in their use of pieces, since it may be strategic to hold a piece for later play, when it will yield bigger dividends. Conversely, it is sometimes wise to "dump" a bad piece early in the game, just to allow some of your stronger pieces to be played.
Note that systematic thinking is a component that we attempted to put into all games at Calculation Nation. If you always "play for the moment" without thinking about long-term impacts, you may not win very often. Al, could this be the reason you've had so much trouble beating the computer? :-)