City of Zombies is a team survival board game that gives your brain a “stealth” maths workout
Creating educational games and software that enable players to learn through play is something I’m incredibly passionate about, it’s so close to my heart (and mind) that I have spent the last few years designing board games that are fun to play while helping the players hone their maths skills, so it was interesting to see Ekaterina Zahkarova video interview on the Teaching English Website, where Ekaterina talks about using board games in teaching young learners.
Making a maths game cool
“I never understand why anyone wants to do maths, having been exposed to it before the age of 10; the drudgery they are exposed to. It’s difficult.”
Michael Green, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University
The Telegraph: Children bored by ‘tedious’ maths lessons
1) Its not perceived as a “maths” or “educational” game.
2) Choose a theme that players can engage with.
3) Make it fun for anyone of any level to play, with family, friends and classmates
4) Works with players of a mixed maths ability.
5) Let people play together as a team rather than against each other.
6) Keep it simple, fast and fun.
Designing a cool (maths) game that’s not just for kids
When it came to designing a board game to help kids with their maths, these were some of my key objectives:
- A really good, fun family board game that also works in a classroom/school environment.
- Although solving maths problems and playing with numbers is the educational aim, this should be gracefully integrated as part of the gameplay.
- Playable by all skill levels, not just people who can do maths!
- Co-operative play, results in players working together as a team, with those that have more maths aptitude encouraging, supporting and educating their fellow players.
- Solo or team play
- Easy to learn (5 mins)
- Adaptable (addition/subtractions, multiplication/division, square roots and cube roots, etc.)
- Standard games lasts from 30-40 minutes, with 10-15 minute quick game option.
With the above in mind I developed the mathematical combat system over the last three years, refining, simplifying and testing across a number of games and combat mechanics to end up with the current combat system.
We found that players fully engaged with the mathematics aspect of the game because of the simplicity of the rules and maths teachers and tutors loved the fight mechanics in calculating “hits” which allowed players to naturally “tailor” the gameplay to suit players maths ability, for example if the players know only addition and subtraction then the fight mechanics work effortlessly at this skill level, if the players know multiplication and division too, the fight mechanics work with this skill too, in fact any combination of legitimate mathematical equations will work.
Taking around 5 minutes to learn and from 10 to 40 minutes to play the first game skin is a Zombie Defence board game aptly called “City of Zombies”
“It’s like The Walking Dead meets Roald Dahl”
Having playtested City of Zombies with a number of maths teachers and tutors to great response (Typically “when can I have this?”), we’d like to be able to bring the game to market and, if stretch funding targets are achieved, give copies of the game to primary and secondary schools across the country.
“Making Maths relevant encourages students to learn for themselves”
Better Maths: How do we give maths teachers the confidence to take risks and innovate in a results focused world?
To this end we’re looking for backers to fund us on Kickstarter a crowd funding website.
Help us make City of Zombies a reality by playing your part… become a backer on Kickstarter
City of Zombies is a fun family board game that offers offers great Zombie action with a capitol “Z” while helping players hone their maths and number skills regardless of ability.
“Parents said they were afraid of helping their children with maths homework because they fear teaching methods have changed”
Laura Clark, Education Correspondent: Daily Mail Online
Daily Mail: Maths Hard for parents
City of Zombies is suitable for ages 6 and upwards for 1 or more players
City of Zombies is a table top board game where players take on the role of survivors in a zombie infested city, destroying waves of attacking zombies until rescue arrives at dawn.