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Card games are very common at both math competitions and math/AI summer camps. I have discovered that other math and AI students are also huge enthusiasts for card games, board games, and brain teasers. Some games require cooperation, while others are individual; some require flexibility while others require efficiency. Name any obscure game and someone in a group of advanced STEM students will have played it. If you also love of card games, this can be a fun way to relax at STEM camps, events and competitions, and it is also a great ice breaker.

Some of your parents may think playing card games isn't the most productive way to spend time, but I think the opposite. There is extensive academic research linking the role of playing games to the development of core cognitive skills such as logical and strategic thinking, as well as problem solving. Playing a new card game is a chance to explore a new logical construct, and to take risks in exploring what winning strategies might be. I have played the card game SET for over a decade yet recently learned an entirely new and collaborative way to play while attending "Game Night" at Math Prize for Girls at MIT.

 

Here some of my favorite games (very loosely) grouped by age.

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Sleeping Queens

A strategy game with characters little girls would like!
 

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Fraction Tower

Easy way to visualize how fractions work  

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Uno

Iconic classic game which develops skills for optimization 

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Spot it!

Develops focus, visual perception skills and speech-language skills

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Rush Hour Jr.

A logic game to help develop problem solving skills

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Yahtzee

A dice rolling game that teacher math (probability) skills

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Monkey Multiplier

A fun way to learn multiplication tables for 1 -10

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24-game

A math card to develop number sense and improve speed

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Connect 4

A classic game to develop spatial reasoning skills

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Perplexus

Teaches problem solving skills, hand eye co-ordination and the value of perseverance

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Five Crowns

Award winning card game that combines analytical/planning skill with luck  

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Sequence

A strategy game which combines foresight and contingency planning  

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Blokus

A classic strategy game which teaches spatial relations and problem solving skills

Swish

A card game which helps with logical reasoning and visual perception

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Quirkle

A board game that teaches strategical planning and forward thinking

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Othello

A strategy game which teaches advance planning and thinking skills

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Clue

A murder mystery which helps with deductible reasoning and observation skills

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Snap Circuits

A building game that experiment with electronic components

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SET

An award winning card game of visual perception, played with speed

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Settlers of Catan

Award winning strategy game about optimizing resources to earn maximum points

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Quarto

Abstract strategy game on deductive reasoning, the advanced version of connect 4

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Monopoly Deal

Add challenging new twist to the classic property-trading game

Acquire

A mergers and acquisitions themed board game to acquire the greatest wealth

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Backgammon

A 5,000 years old abstract strategy game aim to optimize moves and balance between defense and offense

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Mastermind

A strategy game of code breaking using logic and deductive reasoning

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Rummikub

A game that is great for focus and encourages math skills as well as strategic planning

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Mahjong

An ancient Chinese game which tests skill, strategy and calculation. No two games are ever the same