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Math Games From Around The World

For years, people from all over the world have been fascinated with numbers, probability, mathematics, and the way that all of these concepts interact with one another. Different cultures have come up with their own theories and practical uses for mathematics throughout history. Evidence shows that prehistoric women may have even used simple mathematics to keep track of their menstrual flow. Being that there has always been such a fascination with the idea of math and numbers for human beings, it seems only fitting that math games are popular all around the world.

Mancala from Africa

Mancala is a math game played in Africa. It is a board game. Different areas may have their own rules, so players who are new to one another may have to adapt to one another’s Mancala styles. Regardless, Mancala has been enchanting people for generations. It is very easy to play.

The board has twelve “bowls” or holes. Six bowls belong to each player as well as a Mancala (larger bowl) on the end. Place four Mancala in each of the twelve bowls on the playing board. The first player should scoop all of the stones from one of their bowls, dropping one into the next bowl on the right. This should be done with each bowl continuing clockwise around the playing board until there are no more stones. If they manage to reach their own Mancala, they drop a stone into it. The next player takes his turn. The game ends when every stone is in one of the two Mancalas. The player at the end of the game with most stones in their Mancala is the winner.

Jan Ken Po

Jan Ken Po is a popular game from Hawaii and Japan. Most people have played this game without even realizing it. In the United States, Jan Ken Po is known as Rock Paper Scissors.

Going to Boston

Going to Boston is the name of an American dice game. It is also referred to as Yankee Grab, Newmarket, and Multiplication. Although the rules may vary slightly due to personal preference, the basic essence of the game is the same. In Going to Boston, each player has an opportunity to throw dice three times. The highest number is set aside on the first throw. If two or three dice are showing, the highest number is kept. The remaining two are thrown until the highest is found. The last one is rolled and the total is the score of the player. The player with the highest score is the winner. If more than one round is played as usual, the player at the end with the most points wins the game.

Math plays a role in just about every culture, and that can show through with the games that are popular all around the world. It just goes to show that mathematics and probability don’t always have to be a headache. Sometimes math can be a great deal of fun!