Today, you'll learn an interesting new mathematical game in which the object is to obtain 3 numbers that total 15.
Well, it's not exactly new. As a matter of fact, it's something with which you are probably very familiar!
Let's jump right into the game. Watch the 274th episode of Scam School (YouTube link) below, and once they've played the game and the ad starts, stop the video and ask yourself if you can come up with any simple way to play and win the game. Once you've either figured it out or given up, go ahead and watch the remainder of the video.
Were you surprised? Yes, it's your old friend Tic-Tac-Toe (or Naughts and Crosses)! This is just one of numerous ways that have been developed to disguise the true nature this classic game. It's almost embarrassing how effective such a simple disguise can be.
Last August, I delved into strategy for the game of 15, with Part 1 teaching you the basics and how to win when you go first, and Part 2 teaching you how to win, or at least avoid losing, when you go second.
I created those posts so you can ideally play the game without ever referring to a Tic-Tac-Toe board. There's still one hitch with the game, however, and you can see it in the above video. When the game is introduced, it's explained as a mathematical game, and people immediately get apprehensive. The game is already unfamiliar, and the mathematical aspect often just adds stress.
Since you generally want to put people at ease, perhaps it's best to make the game seem more familiar. Instead of using 15 as the magic total, use 21! How would you do this? Simply increase the numbers in each part of the magic square by 2. Instead of the top row being 8, 1, and 6, you change it to 10, 3, and 8. The whole square should look like this:
10 3 8 5 7 9 6 11 4Now, you can propose a game of face-up 21/blackjack, and people immediately get the idea the goal is a total of 21. It's recognizable, not some weird math game. You explain that the cards 3 through 9, a 10-value card (10, J, Q, or K) and an Ace will be laid out on the table face-up, and you and the other person will alternate taking cards, with the goal of getting exactly 3 cards that total 21.
You can even say that the Ace can be a 1 or an 11. Without the Ace, there are no combinations of 2 cards that add up to 20, so in practice it will always function as an 11 and never as a 1.
If you've learned the strategy for 15 as I teach it in my two posts linked above, there's some simple adjustments to make. Instead of 5, the center square is 7. The even numbers still represent the corners, and the odd numbers still represent the same remaining squares. The simple strategy taught by Brian in the video is also easily adaptable to the game of 21.
Try this game out, explore, and have fun with it!