Equate Frequently Asked Questions
Can Equations Be Formed Diagonally?

No, all equations must be formed horizontally across from left to right or vertically from up to down.

What If a Player Cannot Make 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 re-shuffle. The player receives no score 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. Also, 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.

Can Equations Contain More Than One Equal Symbol?

No, in the game Equate, an equation cannot be extended to contain more than one equal symbol. For example, a player cannot extend the equation 5 x 6 = 30 to be 5 x 6 = 30 = 25 + 5.

Can a Player Alter an Existing Equation?

Yes, a player can play on one or both ends of an existing equation to form a new equation as long as the player does not move any of the previously played tiles. Each side of the new equation must have the same numerical value and the equation is allowed only one equal symbol. Here are some examples.

Original Equation New Equation
54 = 9 x 6 2 x 54 = 9 x 6 x 2
16 + 4 = 20 16 + 4 = 20 - 3 + 3
2 + 5 = 7 72 + 5 = 77
24 6 = 4 24 6 = 4 + 0 x 567

The player receives all of the individual symbol scores for the entire equation. The board position affects the score of only the player that originally places the tile on that position.

How Can a Blank Tile Be Used?

There are three blank tiles in the game. A blank can be used to represent any one of the 31 different operation or number symbols in the game Equate. Note that the blank cannot be used to represent the number 20 or the fraction 3/8 because these are not number symbols in the game. Once a player uses a blank to represent a particular symbol, it must remain that symbol for the remainder of the game.

What If All Nine Tiles Are Played in One Turn?

In case a player forms an equation using all nine tiles in one play, the player adds an extra 40 points to the score for that play. Of course all the tiles played must be within one horizontal equation or one vertical equation, and the equation is allowed only one equal symbol.

How Do the Board Positions Affect the Score?

The legend along the left side of the board specifies how the premium board positions affect the score. There are two types of board positions that affect the individual symbol score. these are labeled 2S and 3S, respectively. There are two more types of board positions that affect the entire equation score. These are labeled 2E and 3E, respectively. The individual symbol score awards are computed before the entire equation awards. Also, if a player places tiles on two 2E or 3E board positions in one turn then the calculation is applied twice.

Can Players Trade Tiles with Other Players?

No, a player cannot trade tiles with another player. However, a player may use a turn to trade in as many of the nine tiles as he/she wishes with the draw pile. The score for that turn is 0.

Are Numbers Containing More Than One Digit Allowed?

Yes, a player may form numbers with any number of digits by simply placing the single digits adjacent to one another. Here are some sample plays that utilize two-digit numbers.

6 4 - 8 = 5 6
3 =
6 5 = 1 3 x 5
4 x
3 7
Are Unnecessary Zero Digits Allowed?

No, in the game Equate a player is not allowed to represent a number, such as 5, as 05 or 005. Unnecessary zero digits are not allowed.

Are Negative Numbers Allowed?

No, negative numbers are not allowed in the game Equate. The symbol - in this game is a subtraction symbol, not a negative symbol. For example, the expression -5 that represents a negative number in mathematics is not allowed in this game. As a subtraction symbol, the symbol - is always placed between two numbers.

Because the subtraction result is not allowed to be a negative number, players must position numbers about the subtraction symbol in such a way that the result is a positive number or zero. Here are examples.

Valid Equations

15 - 12 = 3
7 - 7 = 2 x 3 - 6

Each side equals 3.
Each side equals 0.
Invalid Equations

3 - 5 = 2

The left side equals - 2, not 2.
Invalid for Equate, but True Equality Statements

- 5 = - 5

Negative numbers are not allowed.

4 - 6 + 7 = 5

Both sides equal 5, a positive number; however, when computing the left side one encounters the negative number -2.
Can an Addition Symbol Be Used as a Positive Symbol?

No, a player may not represent a number such as 32 as +32. The symbol + in the game Equate is an addition symbol and is always placed between two numbers.

What If a Play Is Incorrect?

If a player makes an invalid play and the other players convince the player that the play is invalid, the player simply removes the tiles played and tries again. In case there is a disagreement among the players, we suggest that a careful reading of the rules will settle the dispute. A scientific or graphic calculator may be used to help settle disputes; however, be aware that many basic calculators are not programmed to compute all strings of operations correctly and do not handle numbers in fractional form. If there is an unresolved question, players may contact Conceptual Math Media for assistance.

What If Two Equation Are Created in One Turn?

It is possible to create two equations in one turn. This can happen even though in a single turn the player must place all the tiles within one horizontal equation or one vertical equation and must use no more than one equal symbol.

In case a player does this, the player gets the full score for each of the equations formed. If the tile that is common to both equations is positioned on a premium board position then each of the equation scores is affected.

Is There a Time Limit for Each Play?

For social play, we suggest no time limit for each play. If you play until the draw pile is out of tiles and one player goes out or each player passes, the game can take from two to five hours. Serious players with both experience and mathematical maturity use more time. If continuous play is not feasible, then leave the game set up to be finished at a later time.

If you want the game to end at a specific time, you can declare the player with the highest score at that time to be the winner. Make certain that each player has had the same number of turns before ending. If the game is terminated in this way, you may want to put a time limit on each play so that the person who is ahead will not be able to monopolize the time left in the game. A reasonable time limit for each play, in this case, is from 5 to 10 minutes. do not rush a player too much. You want to reward the thinker who is checking out many possible plays carefully before deciding on a play. This game is not about speed; it's about thinking.

For tournament play there will need to be time limitations, but serious players should definitely not be rushed. A serious, experienced player that is advanced mathematically needs more time for he or she sees not only more possibilities but also more complex plays, and therefore has more to think about.

Using a time clock that keeps track of the total time for each player is a possibility. To encourage players not to waste time, there could be a loss of points for using more than a designated amount of total time and/or bonus points for the player who uses the least amount of total time.

Are Calculators Allowed?

Players are not allowed to use a calculator while making a play except to help settle disputes; however, players may use paper and pencil. Since many basic calculators do not handle numbers in fractional form and are not programmed to compute all strings of operations in the correct order, a basic calculator could cause confusion. For checking calculations players should use a scientific or graphics calculator that handles fractions and uses algebraic logic.


For questions or comments, please send e-mail to info@conceptualmathmedia.com or call (888) 433-2224 or (916) 435-2810. Equate and PrimePak are registered trademarks of Conceptual Math Media, Inc.
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