Wednesday, 11 April 2012

AngleJack and other games with a Deck of Angles

Ok so bear with me here, I might rant. I got a bit excited about this one.

I found a piece of paper on which I had scribbled the idea of a game of making shapes out of angle cards, to practise angle sums of triangle and quadrilaterals (there is a post still to come about another game on this topic I made earlier). I made a test deck and started to play with the idea.

Basically the deck is angles in increments of 10 up to 170 degrees. There are more of the ones from 10 to 90 to provide more balance in the games. My first version of the deck only had the numbers, except for right angles which had a diagram only, but I'll add diagrams to them all (Firstlyl to remind them that they are combining angles, not just numbers, and secondly in the hope of subconsciously familiarising them with size of angles to help them visualise and estimate in future). The games focus on combining angles into right angles, straight lines, revolutions, complementary and supplementary pairs, triangles, and quadrilaterals.

Here are some ideas:
  • Go fish with complementary or supplementary pairs. Seemed quite successful in the playtest with year 10 at the end of term. The kids these days seem to really like go fish. Low on strategy, but easy to explain and get going.
  • Snap with complements and supplements. Never as good because a difference in skill swings the game a lot but always popular with some groups.
  • AngleJack (or Revolution). I was inspired to create Blackjack-style games by this one for negative numbers and also the fact that some students seem to know this game idea quite well. Instead of 21, the aim is to get as close to a revolution as possible (optional - without going over). Can be adapted to getting as close to a straight line as possible but you need to be allowed to go over (or remove the cards above 90), otherwise you can go bust as soon as you start. This was our favourite at home (I have the best, most tolerant boyfriend!)
  • Texas Hold 'em Angles - still some fine details to work out, including rankings and the tricky "betting" thing. But basically two cards in hand, five face up, from which the players have to make the best "hand" they can by combing the cards. So far the ranking of combinations is quadrilateral, triangle, revolution, straight line, supplementary, complementary. (Even though a supplementary pair should be less common than a straight line made of any number of angles, there is more thinking involved in the latter, so I ranked it higher). I think to split within the levels, the largest unique angle wins. I did contemplate introducing suits or colours of some kind but I think it's unneccessary. Not sure what the suits would have been but I do like the idea of someone anouncing "quadrilateral of abacuses" or something.
  • My original one was a Numero-ish game where each player has a hand of 5 and the table has 5 cards face up. On your turn, you combine cards from your hand with one from the table to make a triangle or quadrilateral to put into your pile. Replenish hand and table. Most cards in pile at the end wins (therefore quadrilaterals are worth more, which is fair, they require more thought). Could also be allowed to make supplementary and complementary pairs to keep the game going.
  • At a lower level, the cards could also be all spread out and players take turns to make and take a quadrilateral or triangle (or whatever else mentioned above).
  • We also pondered the idea of a Scrabble-like board where you play your triangle or quadrilateral onto one already on the board, using one of their angles. This will take some more thinking about! (And probably the kids would think we had gone insane)
Heaps of thanks to Michael and Bennie for developing these ideas with me.

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