Multiplication & Division Games – Clobber

Multiplication Game & Division Game in One with a Good Dose of Logical Thinking

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Multiplication & Division Games Clobber

Multiplication & Division Games – Clobber

Multiplication Game & Division Game:

Clobber is a very new abstract strategy game, having only just been invented in 2001 by mathematicians. The original game is played on a blank board, but the GoTeachThis version requires the answering of algorithms allowing your students to receive a real mental workout while learning their basic facts. Since 2005 Clobber has been played as part of the Computer Olympiad, a worldwide annual competition that pits players against each other to determine who is the “world’s best player.”

Game in a Nutshell:

Players touch one of their counters on the top of their opponent’s counters. This is called a ‘clobber’. Once a player has clobbered their opponent’s piece they remove it from the board and solve the algorithm revealed. Then the strategic thinking begins 🙂

Teacher Tip:

Preview the algorithms with your students before you start playing initially in order to make sure they are developing efficient strategies to arrive at the answers to the algorithms. Knowing what to expect will help them to enjoy the game.

What You Need:

– 2 players
– 1 Clobber Game Board
– 15 white counters
– 15 black counters

Note: Counters don’t have to be black and white – any colored counters will do.

Multiplication & Division Games

Before the Game:

Review the rules with students, in particular the way that counters move and what kinds of math problems might be involved. Also review strategy for winning.

All moves must be orthogonal (right angles only along the horizontal and vertical). Review the definition of orthogonal with students.  DIAGONAL MOVES ARE NOT PERMITTED

Board Setup: Cover the board with counters as shown below.

GamePlay:

1. The person whose birthday is the next becomes Player One and plays white.
2. Player One picks up one of their counters and taps one of their opponent’s counters which is seated on a vertically or horizontally adjacent square. This move is called a ‘clobber’.
3. Player One removes the ‘clobbered’ counter, answers the algorithm which is revealed & then occupies the space with their counter.
4. Player Two then repeats Steps 2 & 3.
5. Play continues in this fashion until no legal move can be taken.

Clobber – Low Color Versions

Notes on GamePlay:

– Every move MUST be a capture.
– Players cannot slide their pieces onto an empty square.
– Orthogonal moves ONLY (right angles) no diagonals.
– Players cannot capture their own pieces.

During the Game:

– Consider having students stop and record each equation if they are ‘struggling’.
– Encourage students to get excited about “clobbering” their opponent! Sound effects are always welcome.
– Offer students strategy hints like:
• Try not to leave your pieces out on their own so they cannot move.
• Try to force your opponent to leave their pieces out on their own so they cannot move.

How to Win:

The winner is the LAST player able to make a legal move i.e. when a player can no longer ‘clobber’ any of their opponent’s pieces they lose.

Possible Reflection Questions:

– What strategies have you developed to give you a better chance of winning?
– Clobber is such new game players don’t yet know what is a good way to start. What do you think is the best way to open?

Possible Extension Activities:

– Invent a differently shaped game board.
– Use different dimensions for the board. How does the gameplay change?
– This is the general rule for making Clobber boards: n x (n+1) where n stands for a number.
Ask students what could n x (n+1) mean? Now try making a board with these dimensions.
– Computer Olympiads Clobber is played on 10×10-boards  – Give a 10×10 board a go!