12 Ways to Play Board Slam



{I say with the utmost affection,} You might be a math geek if you play board slam at home at night with your husband. You might be a competitive math geek if you happen to forget to tell your husband he can use cubes and squares to get the answers he needs. Ha! But, either way, here are some ideas for keeping the game interesting whether it’s your student playing in Essentials or you at home with your husband:

1. Evens/Odds – Only get the evens or odds on the board. You could even make boards of only even or odd numbers. Or use the standard board and split into teams – one team going for evens, one for odds.

2. Four corners – Try to be the first one to get the numbers in just the four corners.

3. Blackout – Get every number on the board crossed out.

4. Connect Four/Six – Get four (or six) numbers in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line.

5. Tic Tac Toe – Played like tic tac toe, but you can only mark the squares you want with your x or o, if you’ve first gotten the number through equation.

6. Battleship – Select ships of varying sizes (2, 3, and 4 man boats) while your opponent does the same. Try to be the first to sink their ships. Our tutor introduced this to our class and it’s been lots of fun.

7. Half Board teams  – Work with a partner with each of you working to complete your half of the board. Could be played with two teams of two or the class split into two groups.

8. High Sum – Winner is the player with the highest sum when all numbers are added together.

9. Low Total – Kind of like a golf score, lowest total wins.

10. Most numbers – Winner is the one with the highest amount of numbers crossed out – sum doesn’t matter.

11. Row elimination – First player to get all of the numbers in a designated row wins.

12. Shapes – Make a dot in each number square as you get it. Be the first to connect the dots to make a shape (square, rectangle, triangle) or letter and you win.

Is this getting silly now? Well, you get the idea. And I’m sure there are lots more ideas you know or have thought of just reading through this. Mixing up the way the game is played keeps it fresh, fun, and interesting. Different versions can also give chances for lots of different students to win, making it a lower pressure situation. Any of these games can be played individually or in teams.

Before I forget, here are the directions for playing Board Slam:

Roll three die. Use those three numbers in each equation. Use them only once in each equation. Equations can be any mix of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You can use squares or cubes and parentheses. The total of each equation is the number you mark off the board. Typically the board only goes from 1-36, but with some versions I listed above the numbers could be higher. You can find a standard board to print here (bottom of post).


  1. Karla Y Kim says

    Would you mind sharing your printable in the top picture–the one that says “Targets I’ve hit” and “my Ships”
    I can’t find that printable elsewhere on the web.

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