Albert's Insomnia

By Richard John Buchner III
RJB3 Games
www.rjb3games.com

3732 Galdway Drive
Snellville, GA 30039
678-787-4524

Here's a fun math card game for ages 8 and up. If your child is younger and knows his math facts, he can join in the fun. Albert's Insomnia is a deck of 48 cards with green, yellow, and blue backs. The cards are numbered from one to twelve, and there are four cards of each number. It's as quick to learn as it is to play. Deal out four cards in a row, face up. Two cards need to be yellow-backed. Players take turns thinking of an equation for each of the consecutive counting numbers/positive integers (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), using any combination of the four basic operations and at least two of the cards and no cards more than once per turn. Parentheses may be used in the equation to control the order of operation.

Thus, if cards with a 2, 5, 11, and 10 are dealt, the first player could say, "11 - 10 = 1," the second player could say "10/5 = 2," and so on until the next person cannot think of an equation. When this happens, the last player that came up with an equation gets to take the cards, another hand is dealt out, and play begins again. The winner is the player with the most cards at the end of the game.

Incidentally, the four color backs indicate the different numbers on the face of the cards: yellow is for numbers 1 through 4, blue is for numbers 5 through 8, and green is for numbers 9 through 12. You can see why it is important to have two yellow cards dealt out for each hand. The instruction sheet enumerates several variations of play depending on the number of players (solitaire and team play) and the level of difficulty with the use of a timer.

My girls, ages 10 and 12, love this game! They say it makes them think. By writing down their equations instead of saying them out loud, they were able to play quietly at their brother's piano lesson. You can play by yourself, it is portable, and it is good-for-you-fun. Highly recommended!

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine , LLC, June 2011