When we visited the Manchester Mini Maker Faire back in August we got our first sight of a new family board game called PLYT which (according to its press release) aims to make multiplication fun and exciting whilst improving every players’ numeracy levels. A bold claim, and one which immediately grabbed my attention as I like to think of myself as a bit of an expert at maths (or at least, as someone who somehow managed to scrape her way through University level maths and come out with a degree in the stuff!). We had a very quick play at the Maker Faire and it looked like a good game, so when we were offered the chance to try the game out I was very keen to see how it really played.
The game is easy to understand, as it’s a varient of the “roll the dice, move that many spaces” genre of board games. But the genius of this game is that way that is implemented. The game is supplied with a number of 12-sided dice – one black, and all the others red. At the start of the game each player decides how many dice they will roll, and then when it’s their turn they roll their chosen number of dice, one of which must be the black one, and they must multiply the numbers shown on all dice together (there’s a timer for added pressure). If they get the answer right then they can move their counter forward by the number shown on the black dice only. The genius of this is that family members of all mathematical abilities can play together on an even footing, because it doesn’t matter how many dice you multiply, you only ever move the value of one of them. And it’s really easy to adapt the game as well – for example the geekson, at 3, is below the recommended age range for the game (which is 4 to adult). But we were able to let him play as well by just getting him to roll the black dice and read the number showing. And at 6 the geekdaughter isn’t able to multiply numbers together very well yet so we had her roll two dice and add the numbers together. The geekdaddy and I started off rolling two dice each, but we were finding that too easy, so we changed to three dice, which was far more challenging!
As you work your way around the board there are several “PLYT” spaces, and if you land on one of those you get to pick up a chance card from the pile. These cards give you additional instructions to move either your counter or one of your opponents counters, adding a little more “spice” to the game.
The game moves at a good pace (its creators say it will take between 15 minutes and 1 hour), which means the younger players don’t lose interest in it before it’s over. To show how well it works at allowing players of all ages to play together our first game was won by the youngest player – the geekson! Since that first game both kids have asked to play several more times, so it definitely appeals to them as well as to me.
We thoroughly enjoyed playing PLYT together as a family, and given the way you can change the rules to suit the players I think this is the kind of game that will be a family favourite for years and years.
Disclosure: We were loaned a copy of PLYT for review purposes. All opinions are my own. The Amazon link in this review contains my affiliate ID – if you purchase after clicking I will receive a few pence as commission.