We found out about the Game of 49 from some fellow runner/board game aficionados. After playing a few rounds with our friends, I immediately wanted to buy it for my students to play in class. It has elements of poker and bingo–you draw from a pile of number cards (1 – 48) plus wild cards (rings of numbers and 49), and bid for the cards. The highest bidder puts one of their tokens on the board. To win the game, you must get four in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). I also envisioned using the game for a probability unit after
Because the game wasn’t available to purchase at the time, I printed out five copies, laminated the boards and cards, bought bingo tokens from Amazon, and brought those to class. We played before Thanksgiving break, when many students were excused from class for running the annual Advisory Student Council potluck (two seatings for 9/10/11 and 8/12). The students got really into the game, and it was nice to see students who aren’t typically “good at math” excelling at it. We also played before Christmas break (when the probability unit had started). The kids who had played before were excited to teach their classmates how to play.
After they played, I asked the kids about their strategies. A lot tried to get on the board right away so that they’d get a lot of money when the payouts came. Some were concerned with wasting their money and therefore reluctant to make bids. Others drove up the prices in order to bankrupt their opponents and then be able to pick up number cards for $1.
I recently lent the Game of 49 sets to my coworker for her math enrichment class. It went over well, and they even sorted the game sets into Ziploc bags for me!