MathDice Jr. is from ThinkFun, a game company already known for great educational games. The original MathDice uses “higher” mathmatics whereas this “Junior” version uses addition or subtraction only.
The Look: The oversize die are big and colorful; easy for younger players to handle or recognize. The gameboard requires tokens that are not included in the game. There are downloaded versions available but would it have been so hard to include a small cardboard token or two?
The Play: Roll the d12 to get the target number. Roll the five d6 and players then have to call out equations that equal the target number. As players call out equations the used die are subtracted from the pool until no more equations are possible. Repeat. The number of die you use is the number of spaces you advance.
The Win: First one to complete the track wins. There is a shorter start point that can be used so that younger players start halfway down the track forcing older players/parents to catch up and try to pass the younger player.
The Verdict: The youngest RockyMountainNavy sailor is in first grade and this is a wonderful tool to use to help him recognize math facts. The competitive format adds pressure but in a manner that helps learning. This game will be useful for a year or so but it will not be long before he advances to the full MathDice that has a longer useful life.