- Dr Pierpaolo Dondio, Technological University Dublin
- Ms Mariana Rocha, Technological University Dublin
Maths Duel is a card game (both digital and non-digital) stimulating numerical, strategical and problem-solving skills, including basic maths operations, tables, multiplies, inequalities, ordering, measures, rounding, currencies, algebra, conversions and fractions.
It is an educational game designed for pupils aged 7 -13, and it is aligned with the Maths curriculum of 2nd to 6th class primary school and 1st year secondary school. Besides its educational purpose, Maths Duel has been proved to be a highly enjoyable game that can be played by a broader audience of young and adults. Currently, the game has been tested by 20 beta users that played about 800 games.
The core idea of the game is that players have a deck of cards containing number cards and spell cards, which are special cards modifying the value and abilities of number cards. Aim of the game is to capture the other player’s number cards using their maths abilities and be the first to reach a target amount of points. The basic rule of the game is that a number captures a number with the same value. Some number cards have special abilities that allow them to capture a group of numbers in one move, or capture numbers with a value different from their own. Spell cards can also modify the value of number cards, and also capture, create or give extra abilities to them. There are more than 100 spells for millions of different combinations, tricks and strategies! Each card is mapped to a maths concept. For instance, the card “capture all numbers in the table of” helps the player applying the notion of multiples. By introducing different number and spell cards in the deck, it is possible to map different maths curriculum components. For instance, to practice fractions, number cards representing fractions or decimal numbers can be used. A player could use a card “1.5” to capture the fraction card “1 ½”. Units of measurement can be added to cards to teach conversions, length, capacity or currencies. For instance, a player can multiply by two its “50 cents” card to obtain “100 cents” and capture an opponent’s “1 euro” card.
The above card-based mechanism represents an advantage of Maths Duel over current games since it makes the game flexible and able to cover a large set of curriculum content. This flexibility makes the game a valuable tool for classroom learning as well, as the teacher can adapt it to the content required. Players have also the possibility to build their own deck of cards and implement their personal strategies.
Maths Duel addresses some of the limitations of today’s educational games, namely the lack of proper pedagogical design, limited lifespan and difficulty in implementing it in the classroom. Maths Duel has been designed to stimulate strategic thinking, collaboration and creativity rather than repetition. It is fast to be deployed for classroom usage, it can cover much more curriculum content than other games due to its flexible game mechanic. The electronic version of the game logs every move players are doing, data that could be used to support, monitor, adapt and personalize the game experience. A match of Maths Duel is about 5 to 10 minutes long, depending on the game mode and rules, and it can be played versus a computer player or another human player. In the tournament mode, a single tournament can accommodate up to 128 players.