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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 right-hand 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.

Sample Play

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 re-shuffle. 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 re-shuffle. 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.
Beginners Play

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.
 Copyright 1996-2004 Conceptual Math Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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