Zombies are generally not known for their maths prowess. Perhaps this is the reason for their perpetual search for brains. But with City of Zombies, a maths board game from Matthew Tidbury, your class will have more than enough mathematical grey matter to go around.
The game is based on cards helping to practise the basic skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division plus some basic square numbers and roots. The artwork is wonderful and the colourful characters are a child-friendly mix of cute and gruesome. The ‘story’ of the game is that your player must escape the maths zombie apocalypse demanding that players must use their maths skills and strategy to outwit the undead.
Below is one teacher’s experience of using the game in her class:
The game was on my table as my class of Yr 4 children trooped in first thing in the morning. The box acted like a magnet, and there was soon an excited group of boys around it asking if we were going to play it that day. The children were delighted to hear that some of them would.
When we arrived back from a fairly protracted assembly, I chose one child (a child with high functioning Asperger’s who is very good at maths, but hates it) and asked him to choose a friend. We carried on until we had six players. I then sent them out into the library with an LSA to have a go at the game.
The instructions were very complicated and took a while to figure out and to set up. Teachers playing the game for the first time will need to build in set preparation time. There were three versions of the game; normal, short and super short and game pieces needed to be placed on different parts of the board depending on which version you were playing.
They decided to play the short version. Once the game was under way the children rapidly became very engaged. The game involves throwing three dice and then combining the resultant three numbers in any way they can to reach a target number which then destroys a zombie. They loved playing it and they loved the maths involved. There was a complete range of maths ability (2A to 4B) in the 6 children and they were all playing together and helping each other to try and reach their target number. When break time arrived, 5 out of the 6 elected to give up their break and continue playing.
Comments from the children:-
- “It’s a fun way to learn maths.”
- “At the start when you’re looking at the instructions it’s quite complicated, but then it gets easier.”
- “It would be better if there were simpler instructions, but when you get used to it you get the idea of the game. I give it 5 stars!”
- “It’s a great game, but it needs better and simpler instructions.”
The comments from the LSA were that it was a fantastic game, but that you and the children would need to play it quite a few times before the rules would be really secure. It is certainly not a game that you could give to a group of 9 year olds and expect them to be able to go away and play it on their own for the first time.
For me – I just loved seeing some very reluctant maths students having a great time solving problems in maths without realising it.
City of Zombies is priced at £29.99* plus P&P and schools can order a demonstration copy at cityofzombies.com
*Correct at the time of writing.