St. Michael's
A Resource for Orthodox Elementary Education
Santa Rosa, CA


Many years ago, we heard of a math game that was advertised to be suitable for ages 10 to Nuclear Physicist. Since that sounded like an interesting game, we checked it out. The game is called Muggins, and the description is correct.

Here is the description on the Rainbow Resources website:

This well thought-out math game really encourages players to use what they've learned - and quickly! Fast-paced and brain-stretching, it uses all basic arithmetic operations and requires the use of strategic thinking and mental math skills. The game is for 1-4 players and requires players to occupy as many number spaces as possible while blocking their opponents' attempts to do the same.

After rolling 3 dice (6-sided or 12-sided, depending on the level of play), players try to claim an unoccupied numbered space. To do this, they must form an equation (using any combination of basic arithmetic operations, i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) with those three numbers and produce an answer equal to the number shown on an unclaimed space. A few extra rules like "bumping" and "bluffing" provide additional complexity to the game and allow for more challenging play.

Initially, our students did not care for Muggins, probably because it was a different type of challenge. They had to look at the three numbers before them, and quickly perform one mental math operation after another, to see if there were any possible way to arrive at the number they wanted. If not, they had to search for other possibilities. One could almost see steam arising from their heads.

From the teachers’ perspective, this type of challenge was exactly what we wanted. We did not want our students to perceive math as a series of isolated “facts.” We wanted them to understand mathematical principles enough to be able to adjust their perspective, to see a situation from different angles and thus be more able to solve a problem. Muggins gave them an enjoyable opportunity to stretch their “math muscles,” which was exactly what we wanted for them. After playing the game a few times, they loved the challenge and often asked to play the game.

Muggins now comes with another game called Knock-out. We are unfamiliar with Knockout. But it is certainly of similar quality as Muggins.