Trying to make math fun? It’s a formidable task, but the cause is worthwhile. If you want to transform mathematics into an activity that raises a smile rather than a groan, you should ditch wearisome worksheets and irksome activity books, and give one of the best math board games a whirl instead.
Whether you’re looking for an educational kids board game, a family board game everyone can join in with, or a game to mould your own grey matter into a more numerate form, these are the best math board games to try. It can be hard to get kids to engage with games that are explicitly educational, so we’ve also included a few of the best board games which don’t set out with that goal, but manage to achieve it anyway.
The best math board games in 2023 are:
- Prime Climb – the best prime numbers board game
- Sushi Go Party – the best probability board game
- Head Full of Numbers – the best equations board game
- Shut the Box – the best addition board game
- Blokus – the best tessellation board game
The best prime numbers board game
One of the best ways a math board game can make numeracy less nasty is by tapping into kids’ built-in desire for competition. Prime Climb takes the evil random luck of Ludo, where you can send an opponent’s piece all the way back to the start by landing on them, and then gives you the tools to target your opponent.
Movement in this game can be forward or backward, and is determined by adding (or subtracting, multiplying, or dividing) your roll with the space you’re currently standing on. You also gain bonus cards for landing on prime numbers. Prime Climb can boost math skills and it’s also undeniably fun.
Sushi Go Party
The best probability board game
Bet you didn’t realise this fun family board game was actually teaching you math the entire time! While it’s not billed as an educational board game, and its colourful, friendly sushi characters don’t look like they’re trying to teach you much, Sushi Go Party has teaching power nonetheless.
Head Full of Numbers
The best equations board game
Math board game Head Full of Numbers is a bit like mathematical Boggle. Dice are rolled out on a tray and players must then form as many different, correct equations as possible.
This one will have you thinking about how numbers fit together, while having fun racing against the clock. It’s also a good teaching tool, since less experienced players can learn from the high scorers’ equations.
Shut the Box
The best addition board game
Dice are the math-iest thing most board games have going for them, so it’s unsurprising that many dice games can moonlight as educational tools. Shut the Box is a game where you’re trying to lower as many numbered tiles as possible.
You do this by throwing two dice, and then lowering tiles that add up to that score. That’s right, most board games deal with editions – this one is about addition. We’re sorry, we couldn’t help it.
The best tessellation board game
If the area of math you’re interested in concerns shapes rather than numbers, then Blokus is the math board game for you. This tile-laying title, in which players place irregular blocky shapes in a grid, is a fun and mind-bending puzzle game.
Players are eliminated when they can no longer place a piece, so the aim is to dominate the board and trap your opponents in small spaces. While you won’t learn math facts like the sum of angles in a triangle or the number of sides on a hexagon in this tile game, Blokus can be great for getting to grips with space and shape.