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Games take Shape
This site is in two parts:
Games With Pentominoes
Just as the shape of a domino is made up of two squares, shapes made from five squares are called pentominoes.
The simplest pentomino is:
There are other pentominoes, for example:
Pentominoes are most fun if they can be picked up and moved around. Moving around includes turning over, so we make the rule that both of these count as the same shape:
Similarly, though these three look different they are actually all the same shape:
The first challenge is
for you to discover all the possible pentominoes.
How many can you find?
There are actually twelve pentominoes to be found:
Something to think about?
Game: Pentomino Chess
A set of pentominoes whose squares are the same size as a those on a chessboard offer an excellent game which is simple enough to be learned by Key Stage 1 pupils and demanding enough to challenge A level students.
The rules could hardly be easier.
It's a good idea to begin on a 5x5 board, even though whoever plays first has an easy win! Can you work out how?
how to do it...
make up your own rules:
a pocket money game laying tiles to form coloured paths. Other versions
(e.g. TRIANGULO CONTINUO) are also available.
another pocket money game, and simple enough to learn in 30 seconds.
Players pick up scoring counters from a pentagonal grid. It's a game
of skill rather than luck, but that doesn't stop me regularly losing
to Key Stage 1 children. The presentation is splendidly original - Tricky
comes in a bag that is also two different boards.
Tricky is produced by a local inventor: contact Mr Chris Cowsley, 64 Tannery Drift, Royston, SG8 5DE (phone 01763-241754).
The L-GAME was
invented by Edward de Bono with the aim of being the simplest possible
challenging strategic game.
Games) is a pocket money puzzle which has been available for many years.
Multipuzzle is a collection of hexomino puzzles.
players, Black and White, take turns to place counters on a square grid.
The first to make a line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) of five
wins. Go-Moku is a traditional game for Japanese children who play on
an 18x18 board, but beginners can use an ordinary chessboard.
a well-known simple version of Go-Moku.
similar to Go-Moku, but the aim is to place four counters not in a line,
but at the corners of a square. The sides of the square do not have to
be parallel to the edges of the board, and other counters may lie between
those making the square, so the game provides excellent practice in recognising
squares of different orientations and sizes.
THE POISONED CHOCOLATE BAR One square of a bar of chocolate is poisoned. Players take turns to shade in squares on the bar of chocolate; in your turn you may shade in any number of squares, but you must shade in a complete rectangle (e.g. 3x2, 4x1, 2x2, 1x1). The player who shades in the poisoned square loses the game.
The board may be of any size and
the poisoned square may be in any position. The game not only requires
strategic thinking, but also is as good a way as any of reminding children
that the set of rectangles includes squares as well as oblongs.
SIM is a pencil and paper game. Six points are marked out in a hexagon. The first player chooses any two of the points and joins them with a red line. The second player joins any two points with a blue line. Players continue until one player forms a triangle of their own colour; this player loses.
In this game, Blue (dotted lines)
has lost by completing the triangle CDF.
GO is one of the world's great strategy games. The rules are much simpler than chess, but Go is at least as deep. Players place counters on a square grid with the aim of surrounding territory. Go is the classic game of Japan; it originated as Wei-ch'i in China more than 3000 years ago.
The British Go Association produces materials for schools and offers speakers to introduce the game to pupils. Contact Simon Goss (01344-777963) for information.
GENERATORS and MATs (Mathematical
Activity Tiles) are rich resources for designing puzzles and games
and for performing other investigations. They are made from similar
material to beermats; 3-D as well as 2-dimensional shapes can be
made. Details may be obtained from the Association of Teachers of
Mathematics, 7 Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB (phone 01332-346599;
Do please feel free to contact me with enquiries about these or other games: