
How to Play
Equate

Players draw from a draw pile to maintain a hand of nine tiles that
includes a combination of numbers and operations. An equal symbol is available whenever
needed. Beginning at the center of the board, players form horizon or vertical equality
statements, called equations, by placing tiles on the board. Each successive
play must
connect with a previous play. Players strive for a high score
by trying to take advantage of the individual symbol scores as well as the premium board
positions. The score for each symbol is located in the lower righthand corner of the
tile.
There are four premium board positions. Two of them, label
2S and 3S, double and triple the
individual symbol score. The other two, labeled 2E and 3E, affect the entire equation
score.


Getting Started

Separate the equal symbols from the other tiles. Turn the number
and operation tiles face down near the side of the board or keep them in a nontransparent
bag, and shuffle. Draw to determine who plays first. The player drawing the largest number
plays first. Any number tile drawn wins over drawing an operation tile. Since a blank may
be used to represent any symbol in the game, it can be used as the number 9 in the draw
that determines who goes first. If two or more players tie for the highest number, they
draw again until the tie is broken. Put the exposed tiles back into the draw pile, and
reshuffle. Each player then draws nine number or operation tiles and places all nine
tiles face up behind his or her fence to hide them from the other players. Decide on one
player to be the score keeper. An equal symbol is always available when needed.

Scoring
Five Sample Plays

To understand clearly how to score, players are encouraged to
actually place the tiles on the board in the designated positions as the following five
plays are discussed,

Using All Nine Tiles in One Turn

If a player uses all nine of the tiles in his or her hand, then the
player receives an additional 40 points for that play. All the tiles played must be within
one horizontal equation or one vertical equation, and the equation is allowed only one
equal symbol.

Alternatives to Making an Equation 
A player has three alternatives to creating an equation.
 One option is to use a turn to trade in as many of his/her nine tiles
as he/she wishes for new ones. After the player draws the new tiles, put the returned
tiles in the draw pile and reshuffle. No score is earned for this turn.
 A second option is to use a turn to form a number or a numerical
expression horizontally or vertically on the board. This play will not earn the player any
points but it might be used to set up a possible future play, to get rid of tiles without
putting them back into the draw, or to help the player go out at the end of the game when
the draw pile has no more tiles. The value of the expression must not be negative. Strings
of adjacent tiles on the board may not form incomplete numerical expressions, such as 6 +,
or incomplete equations, such as 8  2 =.
 A third option is simply pass. This play may be necessary at the end
of the game if the player can neither make an equation nor a numerical expression and the
draw pile is out of tiles.

Ending the Game

The game ends when there are no more tiles in the draw pile of
numbers and operations and one player uses the last of his/her tiles. The player that goes
out adds to his/her score the total of all the individual scores that the other players
are left holding. Also, each player left with tiles must subtract from his/her score the
total of the tile scores he/she is left holding.After there
are no more tiles in the draw pile, it can be impossible for any player to go out. In this
case the game ends when each player passes once, successively. Each player subtracts from
his/ her score the total of the individual scores he/she is left holding.
If time is a factor, the game can end at a specified time but be
sure that all players have had the same number of turns. The player with the highest score
at that time wins.

How Beginners Play Equate

Beginners start by forming only horizontal equations without connecting them. For this
level, take out the fraction and division tiles and some multiplication tiles if desired.
Separate the draw pile into two piles: one containing numbers, the other operations. This
ensures that players have a balanced hand.

