## Push your luck!

By David Shaw, 28 January 2014

We’ve got a game for you to try. Grab a couple of dice, pens, paper and a friend: let’s go!

### You will need

You will need these items.

- Two dice
- A pen and two pieces of paper
- Someone to play against

### What to do

- Label the two pieces of paper. One piece will keep your scores; the other is scrap for counting during a turn.
- Choose who gets to go first.
- On your turn, roll two dice. If the two dice are showing different numbers add up the dots on the dice and write the total on the scrap paper. Then decide whether you want to roll the dice again.
- If you roll again, check if the dice are different numbers, then add the dots to the number you wrote previously. You can keep rolling and adding the dots as many times as you want, as long as the dice keep showing different numbers.
Write the total of the two dice on the scrap paper.

- If you decide to stop rolling, copy the total from the scrap sheet to the score sheet. This is how many points you scored this turn.
- If the numbers on both dice are the same, then you lose all the points you made this turn, and your turn is over. Put a zero as your score for this turn.
- Once one person’s turn is over, it is the next person’s turn.
- After both players have had a turn, each player adds up all their points on the score sheet. If one player has made 100 points or more, they win. If both players have over 100 points, the person with the highest score wins!

### What’s happening?

This game has a lot of chance. If you keep rolling doubles, you are bound to lose. But a good player will win more than their fair share of games. Here are a few tips to help you play well.

If both dice show the same number, you score zero for this turn.

Every time you roll, you have a 1 in 6 chance of getting doubles and scoring zero. That means you have a 5 in 6 chance of getting more points. If your first roll was 3, then you have a low chance of losing 3 points and a high chance of gaining more, so it’s probably a good idea to roll again.

If you’ve rolled ten times this turn and have 70 points on the scrap paper, you could gain up to 12 more points if you roll again, but you could also lose 70 points. It might be a good idea to end your turn.

You should also pay attention to your opponent’s score. If they have lots of points – say 80 or 90 – you might roll more times so you get to 100 first. If they have a small score, you can be more careful and roll the dice fewer times on your turn.

When your score reaches 100, you win!

*If you’re after more maths activities for kids, subscribe to Double Helix magazine!*

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