21st September 2001 at 01:00
Maths to Win: Games of Strategy CD-Rom. 4Mation Educational Resources. pound;35 + pound;2.50 Pamp;P + VAT Network Licence pound;70 + VAT Available from: 4Mation Educational Resources, 14, Castle Park Road, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 8PA. E-mail:

The games on this CD-Rom are all quite familiar, the sources are acknowledged by the authors, and many have appeared elsewhere in either the same or slightly different formats. Nevertheless, it is useful to have them presented in one coherent and structured package.

Most of the 15 games are presented at three levels and hints are provided at each level. The teacher can "turn off" the hints so that the pupil can work unaided at the strategy required to win the game.

Winning is achieved through working out the strategy and applying it in increasingly difficult situations or levels. I found several of them to be very much alike, almost variations on a theme.

This suggests that their use should be for a limited period of time and with specific aims in mind, otherwise the class will become bored and the logical search for the strategy will change to a search for the answer via the quickest route.

Presenting such games via computer does have its advantages, but I would rather play these games with matchsticks, counters and the like. I still find a real opponent and real pieces more satisfying!

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