Space Age Scavenger is a table-top, card-based, math strategy game designed to encourage playful exploration of the relationship between operators and operands.
Math instruction focused solely on skill development can be alienating for students, leading to the familiar refrain, “Why do I need this?”. Presenting math ideas not as a collection of skills, but as tools for solving real problems, can help improve both a students engagement and performance in the subject.
Middle School Students, grades 5 through 8
Space Age Scavenger is a card-based, tabletop math strategy game. The game was designed with the goal of creating a space where math is real. The result is an engaging, playful space where students are rewarded for exploring and experimenting with the relationship between operands (positive and negative integers) and operators (addition, division, etc).
The player piece and board piece are the
The player piece is built with clear acrylic and uses an Arduino Micro, LCD, Gyroscope/Accelerometer, and magnets. When the player piece is placed on the board piece, and rotated, the player piece displays its rotational position in degrees.
The board piece is built from painted plywood, and magnets. The board pieces are laser cut into interlocking octagon shapes. This design allows the players to design their own play area with infinite variations.
Cards are central to the game’s design. They are used to navigate the play area, defend against opponents, and collect valuable items. There are four main types of cards, operand, operator, interrupts.
Operand cards reflect one, two, and three digit positive and negative integers.
Operator cards reflect the four arithmetic operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Interrupt cards are using by a player during their opponents turn. These cards allow the player to swap card their opponent played with ones from their hand. There are two types of interrupt cards, Operand Swap and Operator Swap.
Bandit cards allow players to control the Bandit. The Bandit is a NPC (non-player character), if a player lands on the bandit or the bandit lands on a player, the player looses the last item they collected during play.
Then cards allow the player to break a formula into two parts, creating opportunities for more complex moves.
Space Age Scavenger is a two-player (or team) competitive strategy game. Using the board pieces the players design their own play area. Collectible coins valued at either one or two points are placed on the board. Players score points buy moving to the coins, collecting them, and successfully returning to their base (starting position). Once all the points have been collected and both players have returned home, the player with the most points points wins.
Players navigate the board through assembling mathematic equations using the operand and operator cards. Players must play a minimum of one operator and two operand cards creating a simple equation. The player then rotates its piece to the corresponding rotational position and then moves the piece one space in that direction.