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Subject: A Review of Got It! rss

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Jesse Hickle
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This review originally appeared on my blog, Boards and Bees. A review copy was kindly provided by Tom Jolly.


Got It! is a math game originally published in 2010 by Quality Time Resources. Jolly Games successfully Kickstarted a second edition back in 2012. It’s a small $10 game that is playable by two or more people, and takes around 20 minutes to play. The game consists of 70 cards – 18 numbers, 18 operators (+, -, and X), and 34 goals. To play the game, you lay out a 6×6 grid of number and operator cards in a checkerboard pattern – in other words, numbers and operators alternate so no numbers are next to each other, and no operators are next to each other.

To play the game, you’ll flip over one of the goal cards, and all players will try to find a three number/two operator formula that will result in that number. For example, if the goal is 10, you might use 3+9-2. You can use parentheses as you see fit to help you get the required number. 8-2×3 could be (8-2)x3 = 6×3 = 18, or 8-(2×3) = 8-6 = 2. When you find the right formula, you say “GOT IT!” You then need to prove your formula. If you’re incorrect, you’re out for the rest of the round. If you’re correct, you claim the goal card. Once all goal cards have been taken, the game is over and the player who has collected the most wins.

COMPONENTS: Got It! consists of 71 cards, and that’s it. The cards are about 2.5 inches square, and are of good quality. The number and operator cards are orange with black backs, while the goal cards are blue with white backs. There’s no art to speak of – there’s a logo on the box and the backs of the cards, but the front is just numbers and symbols. My only real complaint about the components is that the number and operators cards have the exact same back. Since they are of the same color scheme on the front, it makes it really easy to get them mixed up when cleaning up the game, and you may miss some when sorting them. A different back might help with this. Overall, though, they’re good for what they are.

THEME: This game has no theme. Other than math.

MECHANICS: The only mechanism in this game is pattern recognition. Everyone is looking at the same board, and trying to be the quickest to find a solution to a common goal. It’s like solving a puzzle with others, and just trying to arrive at the solution first. It works pretty well, but there are going to be the inevitable screw-ups. For these, the rules say that player is out of the round, but also say you can let them keep playing to make the game a little more forgiving.

There is the potential that there is no solution on the board. In that case, if players agree, you can just skip the goal card. I’d suggest that you could also use a timer – if someone hasn’t found a solution in 2 minutes, say, then it’s time to move on.

The game ends when all the goal cards are gone, and to me, this makes the game seem like it goes a little too long. I’d suggest setting a goal – the first player to get to 7 goals wins. When I played, we set it at 7, and when that was achieved, we agreed to keep playing to 10. The game moves pretty quickly, but 34 goals is a lot to get through, particularly when all you’re doing is staring at the board.

STRATEGY LEVEL: There’s no strategy here. At the same time, there’s really not any luck either. Sure, the board is going to be different every time, and the goals will come out at different times from game to game, but neither of these affect the game at all. They just keep the game from becoming stale and solvable. It’s a mental dexterity game at its core – not only do you need to be good at math, you also need to be able to think around corners and trying to see patterns backwards and sideways. It’s not easy – one person I played with said the title needs to be changed to “DANG IT!”

ACCESSIBILITY: Got It! is an extremely easy game to learn – all you need to know is that you have to find a three-number/two-operator formula before others. The barrier to entry here, though, is the math. It can be daunting, particularly if you’re not that good at math or spatial reasoning. A basic knowledge of addition, subtraction, and multiplication is required to be successful (thankfully, there’s no division – dealing with decimals does NOT sound like fun).

Despite the difficulty of the game itself, this is one that you can explain the game and be playing in only a couple of minutes. You can make it easier for younger players by removing the multiplication signs and double-digit numbers.

REPLAYABILITY: Because of the variable nature of the board, this game is very replayable. It’s going to be very rare that the same formula is going to be repeated from game to game, which will keep people from “solving” it. We even played a variant where, at a certain point in the game, you reset the board and finish with a new layout.

SCALABILITY: This is definitely one of the strengths of the game. It is listed for 2+ players – there’s no upper limit. This means that you can play it with an entire classroom with no change in the rules (though I might suggest that you make the winner of one round sit out the next to combat the Hermione Grangers of the world). It uses the principles of gamification to make learning more enjoyable for people, and that’s a good thing. You can also set this up and run through it solo – I can see this being written out and sent home as homework with kids.

FOOTPRINT: This game comes in a single tuckbox. The 6×6 grid of cards takes up no more than 18″ of square space (and that’s with spaces between the cards). It’s highly portable, and can be set up anywhere. Because no one has moving pieces, everyone can gather around the same small area to play (though people on one side may be at a disadvantage if they can’t read upside down).

LEGACY: I don’t really know any other math games out there, so I have no basis of comparison. However, I will say that I think this is probably better than flash cards for learning math operators. When searching for a goal, you’ll have to run through a bunch of formulas to find the right one, and that gives you lots of practice on working through formulas.

IS IT BUZZWORTHY? For what it is, yes. It is a light filler type game with some thinkiness to it. If you are averse to math, or really want a strategic experience, this is not for you. However, as an educational tool, I think this game is top-notch, and I would recommend it for teachers, parents, and students working on these types of math. It succeeds in making math fun, and I think that’s the point.
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