Friday, February 20, 2015

Chinese New Year math game

Who: J1 and J2
Where: dining room floor
When: after lunch

I've been asked to write about a new game designed by two of the J's.

Number of players: 2
Material required: stacks of banknotes with different denominations. We play with Thai notes, which come in 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 flavours.
Game play:
  • one player closes her eyes
  • the other player swaps several stacks of notes. when that player is ready, he slaps the ground to signal the non-looking player.
  • the non-looking player slaps a stack of banknotes. they get points equal to the denomination of the notes in the pile they slapped.
  • These points are added to a running total
Winning condition: unclear

Is it fun?
I think it depends on two factors: (a) did you invent the game and (b) how much do you like mixing, sorting, and counting stacks of money? If you answered "yes" to (a) or "very much" to (b), then you are in business.

Other ideas for Chinese New Year

Frankly, I was underwhelmed when I did a google search for math activities around Chinese New Year. Feel free to use these prompts to come up with your own:
  • 12 animals in the zodiac that serve as mascots for each year
  • properties of the lunar calendar
  • differences between the lunar and Gregorian calendars
  • puzzles involving envelopes with different amounts of money in them (or maybe empty!)
  • game theory analysis of how much to put in your envelopes for relatives, including whether to mark your (giver's) name on the envelope.
If you come up with anything you enjoyed, add it to the comments and we'll have something good for next year!

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