It's a 4 player game, though I'm sure you could always use a little toy (maybe a Lego?) as a place marker if you wanted to play with a 5th person. There are 3 dice: two green dice with numbers 1-6, and 1 white operations die. There are also 4 player pieces are a rubbery material, so they won't slip out of little fingers. They are all swamp critters: a red snail, an orange alligator/crocodile, a purple dragonfly, and a green frog.
The game play is simple: You roll all 3 dice, and perform the addition or subtraction they create. You always subtract the smaller number from the larger number.
|This turn shows a roll that would be 5 - 2, so the player would move 3 spaces|
If you land on a stone that has a number on it, you roll the white operations die. If it is a +, you move forward the number on that stone. If it is a -, you would move backwards that same number. If you land on a stone that says "odds" or "evens", you roll a green number die. If the number that turns up is matches the stone you are on (so an even number for a stone that says "evens"), you move forward the number rolled. If you rolled an odd number when you landed on an "evens" stone, you simply stay where you are and it's the next person's turn.
The "endless loop" near the right side of the board is the only thing we alter the rules on. Players are supposed to land on the "exit" stone before they may exit the circle on their next roll. We play that once the first person actually exits, then everyone else may leave as well. The reason for this change is because it is so close to the end of the board that the first person out will almost always win without anyone else getting out of the loop. It would be better placed in the center of the board for that reason.
Bobble already enjoyed math before this game, but he didn't quite understand subtraction. Thanks to this game, he has become a wiz at subtraction as well as addition.
When this game gets boring for him (when his skills far surpass this game), I plan on introducing him to negative numbers, and letting him subtract the numbers in the actual order they land (making him go backwards spaces if it ends up being a negative number). This will keep the game fun for much longer!
Reading is not required for this game (pretty sure any child would quickly recognize the difference of the word "even" and "odd" and memorize which is which, even if they cannot read). Recognition of the numbers 1 through 6 are needed. Though you need to recognize which numbers (1-6) are even or odd, this is a skill they can learn while playing and not needed before hand.
Sum Swamp can be purchased at select retailers for about $20.
Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.