Reviewed by Tricia Shaw
Numbalee is a fast-paced number game that the whole family can enjoy and helps improve maths and numeracy skills. Aesthetically pleasing and suitably sized, presented in a bright fabric zipped bag (15 x 15 x 4cm) with a helpful carry handle, this game is perfect to play at home and away.
The set comprises of more than 100 colourful tiles (each showing a number between 0 and 9), five symbols counters, two 12 sided dice and a symbols dice. It is very well made and appears to be extremely durable. The instruction booklet is clear and for each game there are detailed written instructions with examples shown pictorially. Nonetheless it took a little while to get to grips with the game initially. At the back of the book it also has a helpful multiplication grid and a table of prime numbers.
For the basic game each player takes a number of tiles and uses them to create sums which are placed in a grid on the table. In the accompanying rule book there are 13 different games to play with further games available online. Some of these focus just on addition or subtraction and others employ more than one operator. Once the basic skills have been mastered you can even extend play to one of the suggested games which focuses on prime numbers. For each game it tells you which key skills are used. Some games have an element of chance with the use of the dice whilst others are based more on your mathematical ability and logical reasoning. Each time you play, the games will be different due to the nature of the use of tiles rather than a board. Some of the games can be played solo others are competitive games which can be played with up to 8 people. One of our favourites is Numbalee block where you have to spot sums using the numbers in the grid with the aim of using as many tiles as possible (up to a maximum of 7).
Numbalee is aimed at players aged 6+ but it is most definitely suitable for the whole family. It can be adapted for those that struggle with maths as a means to practise key skills but can also be a challenging game for those that enjoy mathematical conundrums. Players of different abilities can happily play together; we played with our two children (a 9-year-old who struggles with maths and a 13-year-old who finds maths easy) and their grandpa. Everyone enjoyed the games and it was very close at the finish. Despite the rules saying you can use a calculator we decided not to allow them to encourage the children to practise their mental arithmetic skills. We have yet to play all the games suggested but look forward to doing so in the near future.
Numbalee is a very adaptable, fun and educational game for the whole family to play together.
For more information or to buy visit numbalee.com.