What??!! You are picking a MATH game to play on family game night? Yes, I am. And you know what? The game is FUN, and quick, with game play running between 15-30 minutes depending upon how many players you have (the game allows from 2-4 players).
What is this magical game I speak of? Secret Code 13 + 4. The name of the game is probably the most complex thing about it. Here is the premise. You are one of (up to) four secret agents whose mission is to break into the museum that holds the priceless mask of “Amun Re.” You use 6 dice to add, subtract, multiply and / or divide your way to cracking the number codes that de-activate the laser security beam system. The only things blocking you from the precious mask are the number codes (think board game version of the Catherine Zeta-Jones/ Sean Connery movie Entrapment).
Here are the game play details:
The game has number tiles with laser beam grids on them. Place them along the board and decide which numbers will go where. Some numbers will be easier to solve for than others, depending upon the luck of your dice roll. Once you have the game board set up and you’ve chosen your players, you can begin game play!
To decide which player begins, each player recites the 7 times table up to 7 x 12. The player who can say the times table fastest wins the honor of going first.
The first player rolls all 6 dice at once. Have a look at the numbers from your dice roll to the number of the code for the first laser beam security barrier on the number tile. Does the code number appear on any of the die faces?
If yes, you spared yourself some math, and you have automatically deactivated the laser beam barrier, your turn continues, minus the die that had the matching code number. Your next roll of the dice will use only 5 dice.
If your code number did not appear on any of the dice, then it is arithmetic time. You have to calculate the code number. Using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, you can combine any number of the dice to reach the sum number dictated by the code tile on the board. Did you succeed to reach the sum?
If yes, then your turn continues, only your next roll can only use the dice you did NOT use to calculate your code breaking sum. Roll the remaining dice, and try to crack the next security barrier. You can go on doing this until no dice remain in play or a code cannot be cracked. Then it becomes the next player’s turn.
If your dice numbers could not mathematically create the needed sum to match the code, Your turn ends, the barrier remains active, and you pass all 6 dice to the next player.
Whoever is first to crack the last laser beam barrier with the code “20,” takes the mask of Amun Re and wins the game as the best math agent.
Uh-oh. You have some sore losers in the family that kick up drama when games don’t unfold in their favor. No worries. You can frame this game as a cooperative game. The first agent that cracks the code “20” grabs the mask for the team, and the rest of the team gets to play out their turns and crack code “20.” Everybody wins and you get to momentarily spare your ears from some undue whining.
As you can imagine, this game is extremely popular at our house. Game on! For ages 8+