Learning early elementary math concepts just got a lot more fun with Arctic Riders, SimplyFun's new Math & STEM game that helps kids learn fundamental skills like addition, subtraction, solving equations, and decision-making. The adorable animals of the Arctic are ready to help reinforce these math concepts to kids ages 7 and up!
Meet the Animals of the Arctic Circle
After a long winter, the animals in the Arctic Circle are excited for Spring! They know that their friends, the narwhals, will be swimming the long journey toward the coast through narrow channels called "leads" created when the ice floes break apart. The many animals of the Arctic welcome the narwhals back by offering tasty treats along the edge of the ice floes as they pass by. The more treats they nibble and eat, the more points earned!
The Arctic is home to over 21,000 different species of animals, all of whom have adapted to the cold (the average temperature during the warmest month - July- is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit!) Many have very warm fur and smaller ears, tails, and legs to keep them from losing body heat. Some animals even change color between seasons, which helps them stay hidden. In Arctic Riders, 24 different Arctic animal species are featured on the playing cards, such as a polar bear, walrus, Arctic fox, snow goose, reindeer, Arctic butterfly, sea otter, puffin, snowy owl, Arctic bumblebee, wooly bear caterpillar, and many more!
Let's go on a thrilling math journey to the Arctic in Arctic Riders!
Setting Up Arctic Riders
1. Assemble the game board by connecting the three board pieces together and place the two narwhal pawns on the board. Note: the green narwhal goes on the 0 space and the blue narwhal on the 99 space.
2. Create two piles of vehicle cards by dividing them into plus (+) and minus (-) decks.
3. Shuffle each deck and place them face up next to the board.
4. Next, shuffle the Arctic animal cards and give each player an even number of cards based on whether there are 2, 3, or 4 players participating in the game. Note: the game instructions specify how many cards each player will receive based on how many players.
5. Players turn their first two animal cards face up in front of themselves, leaving the rest of the cards face down next to them. Note: each player also receives a set of scoring rings and matching treat tokens.
Now we're ready to play!
How to Play Arctic Riders
The object of Arctic Riders is to solve equations by adding or subtracting the numbers on the animal cards with numbers on the vehicle cards, then placing treats on the correct answers on the board, hoping to feed a narwhal. The goal of each turn is to place your treat tokens where a narwhal is most likely to stop or pass during your turn, or on future turns, to score points.
1. Choose Cards and Check the Answer
- On your turn, look at the top card on each of the vehicle decks as well as your two animal cards. Determine which combination (one animal card and one vehicle card) you'd like to solve for and place a treat token on the space that equals that sum. After choosing your cards, share your answer out loud and then check your math by placing the two cards back-to-back to see if you were correct.
- Fun fact: Kids can self-check their math! When one animal card and one vehicle card are placed back-to-back, the answer to the equation will appear in the circle opening on the front side of the animal card. If there is a blue space with no number showing through, the answer is less than zero. If there is a green space with no number showing through, the answer is greater than 100.
2. Place Your Treat Tokens
- Was your answer correct? Great! Place TWO of your treat tokens on that corresponding number space on the board. If the space is already occupied by another player's treat token, you may still add your treats to the stack.
- Was your answer incorrect? If the answer you said out loud does not match the number that appears in the circle space, you gave it a good try. Place ONE of your treat tokens on the correct number space.
- If a number does not appear in the circle, that means the answer is not between 0 and 100. You still get to place one treat token for trying.
- If the area in the circle is blue, place one token on the 0 space.
- If the area in the circle is green, place one token on the 100 space.
3. Move the Narwhal Pawns
- Roll the dice to move the narwhals forward. The green narwhal will travel up the lead from 0 to 100, while the blue narwhal travels down the lead from 100 to 0.
- Each die moves one of the narwhals; you may choose which rolled number moves which narwhal (you may not use both dice on the same narwhal).
- Keep in mind the location of your treat tokens and the treat tokens of other players when deciding to move the narwhals!
4. Score Treat Tokens
- If a narwhal stops on your treat token(s), congratulations! You have successfully seen and fed a narwhal. Pick up your token(s) and place them in your 4-point scoring ring.
- If a narwhal stops on another player's treat during your turn, that player gets to pick up their token(s) and place them in their 4-point scoring ring.
- If a narwhal swims past your treat token(s), great job! You have seen a narwhal as it swam past nibbling your treat(s). Pick up your token(s) and place them in your 2-point scoring ring.
If a narwhal swims past another player’s treat during your turn, that
player gets to pick up their token(s) and place in them their 2-point scoring
- If a narwhal does not stop on or swim past any treats, then no tokens are scored during that turn by any player.
When you are finished with your turn, draw one new animal card from your deck and place it face up so that you have two animal cards to choose from on your next turn. It's now the next player's turn!
The game ends once all the animal cards have been played. Players may still have treat tokens left over that were not placed on the board or in the scoring rings. These do not count toward final scores.
Count the points in your scoring rings. Tokens are worth either 2 or 4 points each, then include 1 point for each token left on the board. The player with the most points wins!
Skills Learned in Arctic Riders
Arctic Riders is in the Math & STEM game category of SimplyFun games and is intended for 2-4 players aged 7 and up. Players will practice their addition and subtraction skills in this game by choosing from several card options to create equations. They are trying to get answers that equal a number between 0 and 100.
Decision-making skills are also practiced in Arctic Riders. Players roll dice and determine how many spaces to move each narwhal pawn based on the location of both their and other players' treat tokens.
Even More Arctic Fun
After you've played the game, get ready to learn even more in the 'Fun Facts' booklet that is included in every game box. This booklet shares interesting tidbits about the Arctic Circle including the location and hemisphere, seasons and temperatures, notes on over 35 different animal species found in the Arctic, details about what plant life grows there, and more.
Special thanks to Dr. Jesper Bruun Mosbacher, Ph.D., an Arctic ecologist at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø, Norway. Dr. Mosbacher consulted on the facts and particulars of the Arctic animals highlighted in Arctic Riders. To learn more about his work and the pristine wilderness of the Arctic, check out the blog, Explore the Animals of the Arctic Circle in Arctic Riders.