Addition Game – NIM 17

Addition Game: NIM 17 is an excellent mathematical strategy game. It is ideal for a lesson warm-up, math centers or to add to homework. 


Addition Game

NIM 17

nim 17


Addition Game – NIM 17 is a printable mathematical strategy game for two players. The game involves moving a single counter around the board and a running total is kept of the numbers landed on. The player who takes the running total to 17 (or over) loses the game. There is a lot of mathematical thinking involved in this game and plenty of mathematical investigations to be done. This is a great warm-up game before Math sessions. 

What you Need:

1 Game Board
2 players
1 counter 

How to Play:

1. The person with the highest total made from the last 3 digits of their phone number goes first.
2. Player One places a counter on any number on the game board. This is the score for the move.
3. Player Two then slides the counter to a different number along the red lines. This number is added to the first to give the running total.
4. Play continues in this fashion until one of the players is forced to make the total 17 or over. 

NIM 17

How to Win:

The person who takes the running total to 17 (or over) loses the game. 

Extra Rule:

After the first few games, experiment with a rule to stop people going back along the path that was just used.
– Does this rule make the game easier or harder? How?
– Does this rule enhance or hinder mathematical thinking? How?

NIM 17 2

Low color version


– The player who makes a total of 17 wins the game.
– Experiment with different Prime numbers as the target.
– Experiment with different Odd numbers as the target.
– Experiment with different Even numbers as the target.


– Does aiming to make your total an odd number help you win more games?
– Does aiming to make your total an even number help you win more games?
– Investigate if a winning strategy has something to do with ‘mirroring’ the moves of your opponent.
– Try to work out a strategy so the person who goes second ALWAYS wins?

Possible Journal Reflections:

– What strategy or strategies have you developed to help you win this game?
– Does going first have an effect on the outcome of the game? Yes? No? Explain your answer.
– Try to develop a mathematical law to ensure you win from the first move or second move?
– Is there a point in the game when you know you are going to win or lose? Tell me how you know.

Included in this Download:

1 full-color board
1 low color board
1 set of teaching notes
1 PowerPoint presentation with a game board that has a movable counter so you can demonstrate how to play the game on the IWB. Plus, all the Journal Questions and Investigations are on slides to make your life easier 🙂