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Prime Climb Review by Lori Hooten

Math for Love

Games are quite the equalizer for math, and it takes something that can be conceived as negative and puts a positive, fun spin on it. Prime Climb is a board game that does just that - puts a fun spin on prime numbers and all the different operations that can be used to manipulate whole numbers. Adding Prime Climb, created by Math for Love, to an evening game rotation can make math an enjoyable family activity.

Prime Climb is designed as a board game for players ages 10 and up. This is the lowest age for the average player because of the mathematical operations required for the game. Using prime numbers, multiplication and division, addition and subtraction, the goal is to get both of your playing pieces (pawns) to 101 at the center of the game board. The players roll the two 10-sided dice and then mustuse mental math to decide which ways are most beneficial to move forward, seeking to land on 101 exactly. 

Math games are always unique and that is one of the joys of Prime Climb. It is a unique approach to learning the prime numbers and mathematical operations. The box includes the Prime Climb game board, 8 pawns, two 10-sided dice, 24 prime cards + 4 blank cards (action cards), multiplication table and reference sheet, and instructions. There are helpful videos and additional information on the Math for Love website that will help you get moving and learn to play and use further strategies. 

There are plenty of nuances to the game and tons of tips for help. The game board is color-coded in significant and helpful ways that can allow the players to learn how different numbers are related. This is called the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, according to the video about the colors. An example is that all prime numbers are a fully red circle. Another example is that the 5 is blue and the 7 is purple. If you choose to multiply them together, there is only one other space on the board that has both blue and purple and nothing else, which is the product of those two numbers. This is true for all the numbers on the board game. It is a fascinating mathematical idea and it is a lot of fun to explore. Just having the student pick numbers and find the corresponding colors is an enjoyable exercise. 

Prime Climb is an excellent family game or a classroom game. It can be used in so many ways. The website is a resource that is packed with information to help both parents and teachers and to understand how to play the game in all its variations. This game will be finding its way to the table often in the coming months.

-Product review by Lori Hooten, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2020