- Cards and deal
- Shuffle the 52 cards and place them face down in a stock. Deal four cards face up in a display and turn the top card of the stock face up. This is the target card.
- Counting Aces and face cards
Any one of these five cards can be the solution to an equation
involving the other four. Thus (with K=1): 8+5/10+3=1, (5x8/10)-1=3,
(10+8)/3-1=5,(10/5)+(1x3)=8, 8+5-3x1=10 as 1 each (I dislike games that dispense with face cards), and others at face value, the aim is to use all four display cards in an equation that equals the target card numeral. Only addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are allowed, and any division must be integral (leaving no remainder). Powers, roots, and other mathematical contortions are not allowed as they make the game too easy. Warning: do not attempt to divide by zero, or the world will come to an end.
- Whoever first makes a valid equation wins the target card, discards the display cards face down
to a wastepile, deals another four-card display from the stock, and turns the top card of the stock face up as a new
- You each score the number of cards you have won, or, if previously agreed, their total face value.
- Keep playing till you get tired of it.
- Variant 1
- Counting face cards as 1 each makes life too easy. For more of a challenge, count Jack 11, Queen 12, King 13. The trouble with this is that if they are all too high the task can get impossible. How, for example, do you make 12 from 18.104.22.168? One way is to omit one card and make an equation of the other three - thus 13-(13/13)=12. Another is to accept powers. This often enables you to generate 1, and since 1 raised to any power remains 1 you can have, for example, 13‑(13/13)^13)=12. Also useful is the fact that anything raised to the power of zero is equal to 1, thus allowing you the alternative 13-(13^(13-13))=12.
- Variant 2
- Perhaps a better approach is to count face cards at their suit value, for which purpose I favour spades 1, hearts 2, clubs 3, diamonds 4.
- Variant 3
- This substantially similar game is called Ascent. Take one card of each suit and arrange all four in a square.
The first player endeavours to form them into an equation equal to 1, counting numerals at face value from Ace=1 to Ten=10 and face
cards at their suit value of spades=1, hearts=2, clubs=3, diamonds=4.
- If you like equation games, see also Equator, One Up, and Prime Time