The game of 24

February 24, 2016 Liu Z

Great mental calculation exercise for all age and it will be fun.

This is a simple game my mother taught me while I was little. I love this one even to this day.

It is kinda similar to count down. The game is very easy to setup (2 player or more, one person is not very interesting) Get a deck of poker card and split to 2, each player take half of the deck face down.

Each round, each player take 2 cards from the top of their deck and place them face up.

The aim of the game is to use all 4 cards, each once and only once, with basic arithmetic (+, -, x, /) to calculator 24.

Say “6”, “6” , “3”, “7”

Answer: (6/6+7)*3=8x3=24

(There could be more than one way to find 24)

Another example, “Q”, “Q”, “4”, “4” (face cards are: 11, 12, 13)

Answer: (4/4)x(12+12)=1x24=24


Answer: (12/4)x(12-4)=8x3=24

The person we find an answer first wins the round and the loser takes in all 4 cards.

If neither can find an answer, then leave the 4 cards a side and loser of next round takes in all 8 cards.

Whoever get rid all his/her cards, he/she win.

Note: there is calculator or even pen and paper allowed. This is a game of pure mental calculation.

Since this game only uses the basic arithmetic operations, anyone knows the times table can start playing it, there is not upwards age limit. That’s how I get really good with mine.

This is a game I use to check my students’ ability or as warm up for the lesson. (See The Addiction of Calculator) Though I would advice everybody to give a try, the competitive edge will make it a bit more fun. It is one favour example learning through playing.


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