AGazine, February 2015

The Online Magazine of the Academic Games Leagues of America

News & Notes Schedule Analysis Setting the Goal Down Memory Lane Past AGazines


News and Notes

Upcoming Events

17 Indian River County (FL) Social Studies Tournament (World Events Theme Round, Current Events)
Beaver County (PA) AG League Presidents Tournament – all divisions
18 Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV (PA) Equations Tournament Elem., Slippery Rock U.
21 New Orleans Academic Games League Inter-school On-Sets Practice
24 NOAGL On-Sets Jr/Sr Round 1
25 NOAGL On-Sets El/Mid Round 1
Western Pennsylvania Academic Games League (WPAGL) World Events Tournament @ Seneca Valley Middle School (snow date 2/26)
27 National Tournament Registration Form due with Deposit

Jefferson Parish (LA) Mid/Jr/Sr On-Sets Tournament

28 Jefferson Parish Elementary LinguiSHTIK Tournament and Propaganda Section E
2 Deadline for completing Equations, On-Sets, and LinguiSHTIK Judges Tests
Beaver County (PA) AG League LinguiSHTIK Tournament – all divisions
3 NOAGL On-Sets Jr/Sr Rounds 2 & 3
4 NOAGL On-Sets El/Mid Rounds 2 & 3
4-6 Michigan League of Academic Games (MLAG) Super Tournament, Elementary and Minor @ Grand Rapids Crowne Plaza Hotel
10 NOAGL On-Sets Jr/Sr Round 4
11 NOAGL On-Sets El/Mid Round 4
11-13 MLAG Super Tournament, Middle and High School @ Grand Rapids Crowne Plaza Hotel
15 Deadline for returning Equations and On-Sets Judges tests

To see all of our of upcoming events, visit our Calendar page. If your league’s events are not listed, please send us your schedule.


Schedule Analysis

Here is a summary of the various leagues, the games they play locally, and the order in which they play the games throughout the year.
X = games all played at one tournament

League Equations On-Sets Propaganda LinguiSHTIK Presidents World Events
Beaver County (PA) 1   2 5 4 3
Indian River (FL) 1     2 3 3
IU-4 (PA) 6 1 2 3 4 5
IU-6 (PA) 1     3 2  
Jefferson Parish El (LA) 2 1 1.5 3   4
Jefferson Parish MJS (LA) 4 5 1 2 3  
Logan County (WV) X   X X X X
Martin County (FL) 2     1 3 3
Mecklenburg (NC) X   X   X X
Michigan X X X X X X
New Orleans (LA) 2 4 1   3  
Palm Beach (FL) 1   2 3 4 4
St. Bernard Parish (LA) 4 2 1   3  
Western PA 1 2 3 4   5

Some conclusions from the above table:

  • The game most commonly played first is Equations (five leagues). Propaganda is next (three leagues).
  • There is no pattern for which game is played last. Each game is last on the schedule of at least two leagues.
  • On-Sets is played the least (seven leagues), followed by World Events (nine leagues). This follows the pattern of Nationals, where these two games annually draw the fewest participants.
  • Seven leagues play Equations but not On-Sets. Three leagues play LinguiSHTIK but not Propaganda. Three play Propaganda but not LinguiSHTIK. Three play Presidents but not World Events. Two play World Events but not Presidents.


Setting the Goal

I’ve been teaching Equations recently to a dozen students (Grades 4-10) at a small academy for home-schooled students. The situation is not the usual one where students at a school volunteer (or are recommended by their teachers) to play Academic Games. Equations has been part of the daily curriculum for all these students for several weeks. So I’ve had to break down certain tasks like setting the Goal to help players who blindly set a two-digit number without considering whether they have the Resources to make a Solution for that Goal.

Here are the ideas I came up with after analyzing my own thought processes. I will develop these into a new Equations Worksheet but wanted to get some feedback first. Remember that this lesson is for beginners.

  • Basic principle: Never set a Goal you don’t already have a Solution for. You have two minutes to set the Goal (more if opponents are not timing you). Use the allotted time!
  • When you roll the cubes, first notice the operation signs you have to work with. These shape any Solution more than the digits. So keep the signs in your mind when you set a Goal.

Let’s look at an example.

  • Suppose the roll produces these Resources. (Even though it wastes some time, beginning players should organize the cubes at least into digit and operation groups in order to help them create a Goal and Solution.)

0 0 0 1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 + + + x x x – – ^

  • Notice: No ÷ signs but plenty of + and x signs.
  • So think about multiplying two numbers in the Solution.
    Try 7 x 7. But that won’t work because there’s no 9 to make 49 as the Goal.
    Try 7 x 6. That gives 42. There is a 2 and a 4. That will work, but, if you still have time, keep this Goal as a backup and try to come up with something better.
  • Try to work in an additional operation in your Solution. How about (7 x 6) + 3. That gives 45, and there is a 4 and a 5.
  • Time’s running out. So set 45 as your Goal, and write (7 x 6) + 3 = 45 on your paper as your starting Equation.

How many additional Solutions and Goals from the Resources above can you make?


Down Memory Lane

A brochure from the Michigan League of Academic Games for the 1976-77 school year included the following.


The Michigan League of Academic Games had its beginnings in the Ann Arbor area in the Spring of 1968. On a request from the Ann Arbor Public Schools, Layman Allen and Joan Ross directed a highly successful seminar with participants including teachers and students from local junior high schools. By 1971 regular tournaments were being held twice monthly. In May 1975, MLAG established the tradition of sponsoring a statewide Super Tournament. Eighty-seven students representing schools from the Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing areas participated in this first event at Oakland University. The 1976 Super Tournament found 141 contestants coming together at Eastern Michigan University for a weekend of playing games, of learning, of sharing, and of having fun. Because of this favorable response, immediate plans to expand Super Tournament III to become an all-day Friday-Saturday event were begun. Tournament games have been continually reviewed so that they now include the following:

Beginners’ Equations
4-Plus Scoring & Snuffing
Adventurous Equations
Beginners’ On-Sets
Advanced On-Sets
Adventurous On-Sets
A Man Called Mr. Pres.
Queries ‘N Theories
Wff ‘N Proof
Strange Bedfellows

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