SNAP Review – Math Rush
Oh snap! It’s another SNAP review from The Family Gamers.
[Andrew] Speed arithmetic is something I used to do in school for fun. I know it’s probably weird, but simple arithmetic problems at volume was just exciting, invigorating, and rewarding. I didn’t have to crunch on one problem for a long time and say “yay, I spent half an hour and I have one answer”. People like to see progress, and that’s what I got when I did speed arithmetic. We never had a name for it, but if we did have a name for it, we might call it Math Rush.
And that’s the kind of game Genius Games made! This is a SNAP Review for Math Rush.
[Anitra] Math Rush is a cooperative card game for 1-5 players and it takes about 15 minutes to play. John Coveyou and Steve Schlepphorst designed Math Rush and, like we said, it’s published by Genius Games. This is Volume 1, addition and subtraction – it’s for ages 8 and up.
[Andrew] So Anitra, let’s talk about the art in Math Rush.
So, there’s not a lot of actual art here, because it’s just addition and subtraction facts, plus some goal cards.
But the graphic design is great. The numbers are big, the symbols are big. Everything that you really need to read is … super big.
[Andrew] And the colors matter too! Addition is blue, subtraction is pink, those goal cards are yellow, and Help cards are green!
[Anitra] So let’s talk about the mechanics of Math Rush.
[Andrew] Yeah, so how do we play? We know about the “Math” part, that’s kind of obvious, but what makes this game “rushed”?
[Anitra] Start by dealing out a hand of cards to each player: five cards each for a 1-2 player game, down to three cards if you have four or more players.
Then set out three Goal cards, face up, with room to make a row of cards to the right of each one.
[Andrew] When everyone has had a chance to look at the Goals and their own hand of cards, start a three minute timer.
[Anitra] While the timer is going, players try to fulfill the Goal cards with sets that match the requirements.
Each Goal card shows a direction (increasing or decreasing values), how many cards are needed to complete the set, and a victory point value. Many Goals will also give an additional restriction, like “odds only” or “subtraction only”.
[Andrew] There are no turns in this game; any player can play a card from their hand at any time, either in order (ascending or descending), OR on top of a card with an equal value. After they’ve played a card, they can draw a new one from the deck.
[Anitra] When a Goal card is complete – meaning it has the required quantity of number cards in its set – you flip it face down, and then add another new Goal card to the table.
[Andrew] When the time is up, check all the completed Goals – did all the cards played meet the restriction? You can quickly check the ordering by flipping the number cards over – each one has a letter of the alphabet on it, so you can check the row for alphabetical order. ([Anitra] Very cool.)
[Anitra] If all the requirements of a Goal are met, the players get points according to the stars on the card. Keep track on paper or with counters. Then reshuffle all the Goals and all the numbers for the next round. After three rounds, count up your score, and add some points for any unused Help cards.
[Andrew] Help cards don’t get reset between rounds – you only have three of them to use over the course of the game. During a round, you can flip a Help card over to either remove any quantity of number cards from a single set or all players can discard any number of cards from their hands and redraw.
So, how will your team fare? Are you Arithmetic Aces or Geometry Geniuses?
So Anitra, what did we expect from this one?
[Anitra] Genius Games is known for games that break that usual “educational game” paradigm. They’re actually fun! While staying accurate to their source material.
But how do you make math facts fun? I’ve seen a lot of other games try this and fail. They usually try to reward correct calculation, which is fine, but gets boring really quickly. Math flashcards just aren’t that interesting. Unless you’re Andrew, I guess.
[Andrew] You mention math flash cards. You can totally use these cards as math flash cards if you want to. But remember that speed arithmetic thing I talked about? Seeing cards pile up, as everybody’s playing into all these piles (rows), it makes me feel the same way.
[Anitra] But that leads us into what surprised us here. This is a math game where getting to the answer really matters – not about showing off or being the best at the math, but being able to contribute to the larger problem of sequencing numbers in order.
[Andrew] First, I didn’t really expect this to be cooperative game; that was one of my big surprises. Our brains are wired to see the problem on the card as the problem to solve. And that’s true, but the real genius of what Genius Games did here is that they realized the little problems could be a springboard to a bigger, more collective problem. For me, that’s where this game shines, because they created a new problem to solve as a team, while acknowledging that you can’t collaborate on 1+1=2.
[Anitra] One more thing that surprised me is that there were higher numbers in these equation cards than I expected. They went about as high as 25; this one says 28 because it’s (part of) a subtraction equation. But this is really good, because it means the game scales a little bit. And stays challenging beyond age 8 or 9.
[Andrew] We genuinely had a lot of fun playing this together.
If playing with younger players who are still mastering addition and subtraction, you can modify difficulty in a lot of different ways in this game. You can remove some of the more advanced cards, maybe with some of those bigger nubmers. You can use Help cards as many times as you want to. You could only work on one Goal at a time, or maybe you even just remove the timer all together. There’s lots of options!
By the way, if you want more than simple addition and subtraction, remember, this is Version 1 (Editor’s note: Volume 1). There are actually three! Version 2 is multiplication and exponents, and Version 3 is Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages. (ooh!)
So speaking of fractions and decimals, Anitra, what are we going to rate Math Rush from Genius Games?
Well, they’ve got a great system here and I’m excited, and maybe a little scared, to see the problems in volumes 2 and 3…. But we’re going to rate Math Rush 4 out of 5 math problems.
And that’s Math Rush, in a SNAP!
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SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Math Rush: Volume 1 (Addition and Subtraction)
Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 1-5 (possibly more)
Playtime: 15 minutes or less