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Fourmation

Fourmation

2-4 players • 20-30 min • 8 & up

Regular price $38.00
Regular price Sale price $38.00
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Use number cards to determine placement of your color markers to take control or block others from getting four in a row. A great math–based strategy game that tests players at all levels.

Skills Focus: Addition, Planning, Strategy

Game Includes

  • 4 Quadrant Boards
  • 80 Markers (20 purple; 20 red; 20 yellow; 20 green)
  • 55 Number Cards
  • 1 Rules Booklet

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How to Play

Play number cards to position your markers in zones on the gameboard. Challenge other players for control over those zones by placing the most markers, and be the first to control four zones in a row to win!

Educational Standards

Core Standard*: Math

Math
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. Grade Levels 2nd
Add and subtract within 20. Grade Levels 2nd
Generate and analyze patterns. Grade Levels 4th
Number and Operations in Base Ten
Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract. Grade Levels 2nd
Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic. Grade Levels 3rd, 4th
Standards for Mathematical Practice
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Grade Levels 3rd, 4th
Use Look for and make use of structure. Grade Levels 3rd, 4th

Skills

Explore

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Players explore the game board, looking at patterns, openings and options for placing their Markers either offensively or defensively.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
Encourage children to look closely at where other players Markers are located and who is stacking Markers. This is important for the child to be able to judge whether to make an offensive or defensive move on their turn.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
Playing Fourmation helps children develop spatial reasoning skills, planning and perspective changing. Encourage children to look closely at where other players Markers are located and who is stacking Markers. This is important for the child to be able to judge whether to make an offensive or defensive move on their turn.

Determine

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Players will determine which zones they want to place a Marker and whether they have the cards necessary to add up to the number in the zones.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
Encourage children to move cards around in their hand in order to see different possible addition opportunities. Also, encourage them to see if they can use one, two, three or all four cards. This gives them different options to consider prior to making a determination, and can help them be more patient and persistent.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
In addition to determining where to place a Marker on a turn, children need to determine what type of strategic approach, offensive or defensive, to use during the game. Educators can encourage children to discuss their options and to declare whether they want to make an offensive (try to control a zone) or defensive (try to prevent opponent from controlling zone or to block opponent's effort to make a Fourmation) move prior to placing a piece on the board.Encourage children to move cards around in their hand in order to see different possible addition opportunities. Also, encourage them to see if they can use one, two, three or all four cards. This gives them different options to consider prior to making a determination, and can help them be more patient and persistent.

>Compare

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Players need compare the sum of any addition with number options on the game board in order to make a match, and therefore, place a Marker. Players also must compare possible locations for their Marker with regard to other players' Markers.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
When children are learning the game, parents may want to help children to verbally describe their options prior to comparing and deciding which to select. As the game proceeds, there are numerous comparisons to make and verbalizing is a good way to examine the different consequences of different potential moves.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
Fourmation involves a high level of spatial reasoning and strategic thinking. Educators can help children develop these skills by carefully examining a range of comparison issues such as height of all Marker stacks, relative position of all Markers, who is controlling Zones and is any opponent getting close to making a Fourmation. The educator can help children learn by observing and commenting on why certain moves were good choices. Avoid commenting on bad choices, so as not to embarrass players.

Remember

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Children must remember addition facts.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
If children are having difficulty with the addition, parents can help them by looking at their cards and showing the sums that result from different card combinations.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
If children are having difficulty with the addition, educators can help them by looking at their cards and showing the sums that result from different card combinations. Children can also use a number line or other manipulatives if needed.

Predict

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Players will try to predict where opponents will place their Markers.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
Children can increase their ability to predict if they concentrate, compare options and look at opponents' Marker stacks rather than play a Marker impulsively. Help children by asking them to "Wait. Look. Think." Using such cues can give children a model for future play.In particular, draw children's attention to where other players are starting to create Fourmations (four in a row) and where they are stacking Markers. This will help them predict where other players will try to place their Markers on future turns.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
Children can increase their ability to predict if they concentrate, compare options and look at opponents' Marker stacks rather than play a Marker impulsively. Help children by asking them to "Wait. Look. Think." Using such cues can give children a model for future play.In particular, draw children's attention to where other players are starting to create Fourmations (four in a row) and where they are stacking Markers. This will help them predict where other players will try to place their Markers on future turns.

Plan

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Planning is a key skill used and developed in this game. Players on constantly examining the board and the moves of opponents in order to decide on their next move and subsequent moves.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
To be successful in this game requires thinking about consequences beyond a player's immediate move. Parents can remind children to think about what could happen next so children will plan accordingly. This type of long-term, sequential thinking is important well beyond game play.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
Educators can encourage children to look at options for reaching a goal. Ask questions like "Where are you trying to build your Fourmation?" or "Where do you think your opponent is trying to Lock a Zone?" Also, Fourmation is a good game for helping children develop organizational skills as they plan moves, and adaptive skills as they creatively respond to moves of opponents. Organizing is essential to effective planning and is an important executive functioning skill.To be successful in this game requires thinking about consequences beyond a player's immediate move. Educators can remind children to think about what could happen next so children will plan accordingly. This type of long-term, sequential thinking is important well beyond game play.

Experiment

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
As the game progresses, players will likely change approaches throughout the game from offensive (attempting to make a Fourmation) and defensive (preventing others from making a Fourmation). Ultimately, the player that finds the right balance will win the game by making four-in-a-row, i.e. a Fourmation.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
This game involves solving two problems at once. First is how to make a Fourmation. Second is how to prevent other's from making a Fourmation. Thus, there are different approaches and strategies. Discuss different strategies prior to starting the game. Play a practice game and discuss. Then, play again with the child trying different approaches and strategies (ex: try to Lock zones). Discuss again and compare the advantages and disadvantages. Once children understand different strategies, they can shift and adapt strategies within a game.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
This game involves solving two problems at once. First is how to make a Fourmation. Second is how to prevent other's from making a Fourmation. Thus, there are different approaches and strategies. Discuss different strategies prior to starting the game. Play the game and discuss. Then, play again with the child trying different approaches and strategies (ex: try to Lock zones). Discuss again and compare the advantages and disadvantages. Once children understand different strategies, they can shift and adapt strategies within a game.Further, educators can help children with their strategic thinking by encouraging them to change perspectives, i.e. imagine what an opponent might do. This will help them anticipate which is essential to planning and prediction.

Practice

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Each turn is practice for learning strategy.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
Parents can engage children in conversation about their choices in order to help children understand different risks and benefits in their strategy.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
Educators can engage children in conversation about their choices in order to help children understand different risks and benefits in their strategy.

Solve

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
As the game progresses, players will learn new information and adapt their strategies to the moves of opponents. The winning player will solve the game by making a Fourmation (four-in-a-row).

How Parents Can Assist Learning
This game involves uses of visual spatial problem solving, directionality and if/then problem solving. After children have mastered the rules and functions of the pieces, they learn new information constantly during game play. This information directly effects how children strategize an approach for placing and stacking Markers, and ultimately solve the game. The ability to shift strategies based on new information can help children cope with the stresses of change in other areas of their life.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
This game involves uses of visual spatial problem solving, directionality and if/then problem solving. After children have mastered the rules and functions of the pieces, they learn new information constantly during game play. This information directly effects how children strategize an approach for placing and stacking Markers, and ultimately solve the game. The ability to shift strategies based on new information can help children cope with the stresses of change in other areas of their life.

Review

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Children may review if encouraged. See How Parents Can Assist Learning.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
This game involves uses of visual spatial problem solving, directionality and if/then problem solving. As the game is being learned, children may place Markers in non-strategic ways. If parents see this, ask the child to explain his or her thinking and discuss what they might do differently next time. It is also important for parents to model their thinking, as this can help children learn a new strategy.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
This game involves uses of visual spatial problem solving, directionality and if/then problem solving. As the game is being learned, children may place Markers in non-strategic ways. If edicators see this, ask the child to explain their thinking and discuss what s/he might do differently next time.

Demonstrate

What Does Child Do To Use Skill In The Game?
Children may demonstrate if encouraged. See How Parents Can Assist Learning.

How Parents Can Assist Learning
This game involves uses of visual spatial problem solving, directionality and if/then problem solving. When children win the game, encourage them to share their thinking and which moves were especially helpful in winning. Discussing thinking strategies can help players analyze their helpful and not helpful approaches.

Learning Implications and Educator Support
This game involves uses of visual spatial problem solving, directionality and if/then problem solving. When children win the game, encourage them to share their thinking and which moves were especially helpful in winning. Discussing thinking strategies can help players analyze their helpful and not helpful approaches.


*Data compiled from CCSSI ELA Standards, WA Science Standards, and Washington Social Studies Standards

Special Needs

Cognitive

Suggestions for How to Modify Play Experience
For children who are not yet able to add up to 36, start by playing Fourmation without the cards or any addition. The goal of the game is the same: to get four-in-a-row. Play the game according to the rules of placing, controlling and locking a zone. Players take turns placing their Markers until someone is able to make a winning Fourmation.
For children who can add but have difficulty with complex strategy, play the game without the Controlling a Zone rules. In this variation, all Markers in a zone are "live". In other words, if two or more Markers of different colors are in a zone, the zone is not Controlled. This also means that stacking Markers is not required in this variation.

Communication

Suggestions for How to Modify Play Experience
Children with language comprehension issues may find the directions difficult to understand. Clarify the rules by demonstrating several versions of how to make a Fourmation, including Controlling and Locking a Zone. A visual explanation in addition to verbal will make the rules easier to understand. Encourage the child to demonstrate an example as well. This will enable the adult to see if the rules are understood.
Have children work in pairs. If possible, have a more advanced player teamed with a less advanced player. Working as a team will require children to discuss their strategy and add numbers together.

Sensorimotor

Suggestions for How to Modify Play Experience
If children have difficulty holding and manipulating several cards, make a simple card holder from construction paper. Fold a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 construction paper length wise to make a tent. Fold a 1/2 inch lip outward on one side of the tent. This is the ledge to support the cards.
For children who have difficulty manipulating and placing small objects, an adult or other player will need to assist by placing Markers as directed by the child. Team play may be helpful for these children.

Social Emotional/Behavioral

Suggestions for How to Modify Play Experience
Team play is recommended for children with low frustration tolerance and/or attention issues. In a team format, children will be able to help each other think through the options regarding their strategy, where they can place a Marker and which cards to play. Encourage players to discuss the justification for their ideas at each turn. This process builds negotiation skills.
If children seem to be placing Markers impulsively, the adult should ask the child to explain his or her rationale. Asking the child to justify a decision makes the child pause to think. If there is no logical reason for the placement, take the Marker and show the child two other spots the Marker could be placed. Ask the child which would be better. Giving choices helps the child narrow down the options, but also retain control.
If novice players are playing against more advanced opponents, allow the novice players to win if they get three-in-a-row before the advanced player(s) make a Fourmation. This will help level the game, therefore, novice players are more likely to win. Winning can support intrinsic motivation to keep playing and improving their skills.

Vision

Suggestions for How to Modify Play Experience
The game is not recommended for children with low vision.

Hearing

Suggestions for How to Modify Play Experience
No special modifications required.

*Data compiled from CCSSI ELA Standards, WA Science Standards, and Washington Social Studies Standards

Autism

Children who are good at adding two-digit numbers and have an ability to see patterns will like this game. Players try to place their markers in zones that line up vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Players need to analyze the board for possible moves that all players may take and plan potential future moves. Learning the rules for capturing a zone as a blocking strategy may be challenging for children with autism. For this reason, playing with a partner until the child understands all the strategies is recommended.

Autism Strengths & Interests

Short Summary of Strengths & Interests

  • Is good at addition
  • Good ability to analyze space and see relationships among parts.
  • Understands cause-and-effect of different moves such as in checkers or chess.

Is good at matching visual items

This game is not appropriate

Has a good memory for sensory details, including visual, touch, taste and smell

This game is not appropriate

Has a good memory for words, phrases and dialouge

This game is not appropriate

Has a good memory for pictures, numbers and patterns

Is This Game Appropriate? Yes

Description
Like checkers or traditional chess, the more you play Fourmation the more easily you can see the play options for creating four-in-a-row, as well as anticipating the moves of other players. Children who are good at patterning games and spatial reasoning will be able to use and sharpen that ability playing Fourmation.

Likes to put things in order or a sequence

Is This Game Appropriate? Yes

Description
Players try to place their markers in zones that line up four-in-a-row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. They need to analyze the board for possible moves that all players may take and plan potential future moves. Thus, children who like and are good at finding ways to sequence objects in a game or activity, such as dominoes or mancala, can build on that strength playing Fourmation.

Learns through visualizing or "replaying" actions in their mind

This game is not appropriate

Likes activities with rules, such as math and phonics

Is This Game Appropriate? Yes

Description
Many children with autism like the predictability of activities with clear rules such as math. Fourmation could be a good match for these children since addition is essential to playing the game. Also, there are strategic rules for capturing zones which may appeal to these children.

Is very concrete and literal

This game is not appropriate

Learns in small "chunks" (for example, phone numbers are 3 chunks of number xxx-xxx-xxxx that are combined together)

This game is not appropriate

Is good at nonverbal reasoning and logic

Is This Game Appropriate? Yes

Description
Some children are good at logic and reasoning, but do not like to discuss or verbalize their thinking. Fourmation is a good match for these children, since players demonstrate their reasoning through action. Namely, they place their markers based on accurate adding as well as strategic choices as they try to create four-in-a-row sequences.

Likes spatial problem solving

Is This Game Appropriate? Yes

Description
Like checkers or traditional chess, the more you play Fourmation the more easily you can see the play options for creating four-in-a-row, as well as anticipating the moves of other players. Children who are good at patterning games and spatial reasoning will be able to use and sharpen that ability playing Fourmation.

Can read well with good vocabulary, though may not fully comprehend content

This game is not appropriate

Likes to use and has good fine motor skill

Is This Game Appropriate? Yes

Description
Children who like to play with small objects like blocks can use that skill in Fourmation. All players have a set of plastic markers that they play on the game board, including stacking them in order to lock a zone.

Likes established routines or set ways of doing things

This game is not appropriate

Likes manipulating, constructing or building things

Is This Game Appropriate? Yes

Description

Likes to use and has good musical abilities

This game is not appropriate

Likes to use and has good drawing skills

This game is not appropriate


Autism Special Considerations

Appears to ignore other's communication and/or has difficulty giving eye contact to a communication partner

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? Yes

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Look at the game instead of each other.

Has difficulty understanding complex verbal directions

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? No

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Break down directions into small steps. Don't go through all the directions at once.

Combine short verbal instructions with visual and physical examples of each step.

Use photos to illustrate what needs to be done. These can be taken ahead of time. The combination of pictures and actions reinforces learning the steps. Also, take pictures during the game for use in later discussions about the game and what happened.

Check for comprehension by asking the child to show you options of what they can do in a turn.

Let children read the directions as they are explained. Visualizing the words is often a stronger learning method for children with autism.

Uses vocabulary inaccurately or demonstrates echolalia (repeating another's speech)

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? Yes

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
No discussion is needed to play.

Respond to immediate echolalia (repeating what was just said) by rephrasing the child's response into a correct format, so the child can hear and repeat that phrase. For example, assume you are playing with a child named Andy and you say, "Your turn," and Andy repeats, "Your turn." You can say, "It's Andy's turn. You say, my turn." This allows the child to hear and repeat the correct response. Eventually, the child will pick up the pattern of response.

Delayed echolalia (repetition of previously heard comments) may have a hidden meaning or association. Look for connection in the phrase used to the current situation. For example, the child says, "After these messages we'll be right back!" Think what the repeated phrase is associated with for the child. Try to interpret what is meant and rephrase it for the child. For example, you might respond by saying, "It sounds like you want a break for a few minutes. Is that what you mean? You can tell me, 'I need a break.'"

Gets stuck repeating a verbal topic or physical actions and/or has difficulty attending to others' actions or topic.

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? Yes

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Incorporate a preferred topic into the game to increase motivation. For example, if the child is fixated on a particular character, like a favorite super hero, ask what the character would do if they were playing?

Practice phrases for commenting on others' play actions. For example, you say to Joe (who is playing with you), "Right on! You locked him out" Then ask the child, "What did Joe do? "

Remind children about listening and watching others' before making their own comment or action.

Practice turn-taking in conversation. Use a cue, such as a touch on the shoulder, if needed.

Reinforce attention and actions by commenting on what was done correctly. For example, "You added a second marker. Good thinking!"

Has difficulty producing speech/communication

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? Yes

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Use augmentative communication, such as picture cards. For example, a picture of person pointing to another person means "your turn."

Use gestures and sign language to illustrate actions or concepts. For example, use the sign for 'finished' (two hands facing up, then down, then spread out from the middle of the body), point to the next player and say, "I'm done. It's your turn." The signs and gestures add a visual component to support understanding.

Extend the child's sounds into words or words into phrases to provide a model. For example, if the child says, "one," you say, "One in number 33. That's right." Or, if the child says, "on," say, "Yes, you put the marker on top of the other marker."

Provide at least 10 seconds wait time for the child to process or produce responses. It may take longer to formulate a thought or response for children with special needs.

Has difficulty sequencing multi-step actions and/or doing complex abstract tasks

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? No

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification?

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
The child needs to think about multiple variable and also think about what another player might be thinking or planning. This game is not recommended for children who have difficulty with these issues.

Demonstrates difficulty initiating and maintaining social interactions

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? Yes

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Develop a social story to be read at the start of a game. A social story is a short booklet that illustrates how a child can use positive social skills. It includes two to five descriptive statements and a directive statement. For example: "When I watch others, I will know when it is my turn. Others like me when I take turns. I will watch what others do with their pieces and listen to what they say. Others like it when I talk about the game." Add photos or drawings of the child doing the actions described in the story.

Role play social situations and reinforce appropriate words and actions. For example, role play commenting on another player's turn. For instance, "Oh, too bad. They added another marker."

Use video feedback of positive social behaviors. Video of actual play enables children to see what they or others did. Appropriate actions and interactions can then be discussed.

Acts out or demonstrates avoidance behaviors when frustrated, overwhelmed, or needs more sensory input.

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? No

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Reduce extraneous noise or allow the child to wear head phones or ear plugs if loud sounds cause anxiety.

A weighted vest worn during the game may provide additional pressure input and thus reduce fidgeting due to sensory needs. Pressure can be calming when used for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Practice a phrase to ask for help and role play situations in the game where it is needed.

Provide techniques for self-calming, such as holding a special toy.

Allow time for movement. For example, a child who needs to move frequently can be given an opportunity to 'celebrate' their turn by running around the table or jumping up and down 10 times.

Has short attention span for non-preferred activities

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? No

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification?

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Unless visual spatial games are a preference, this game is not recommended. The child needs to attend carefully to multiple aspects at one time.

Needs sameness or consistent routines and/or has difficulty with transitions from one activity to another

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? Yes

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification? No

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
Play games at the same time every day, so the child anticipates the game routine.

Change the location of the game, so the child may play in different rooms, at the table, or on the floor. This will build tolerance for variation.

Prepare the child ahead time for the introduction of a new game. Talk about aspects that will be motivating for the child, and let them explore the parts of the game before setting out the whole game.

Provide a structure for placement of game pieces that can be the same each time the game is played. For example, have a specific location for where the board goes, the pieces, etc.

Provide choices for how the child can be involved in set up or clean up. For example, you might ask, " Do you want to deal the cards or give players their markers?" Involve the child verbally and with actions for the transition to the game table or at the end of game play. For example, you might say, "Let's look at the pictures on the game box and guess what it is about."

Has difficulty understanding others' feelings, intentions, and the reasons for others' actions.

Is This Game Appropriate for Child with Characteristic? No

Can Child with Characteristic Play Game w/o Modification?

Strategies for Developing Compensatory Skills:
The child needs to think about multiple variable and also think about what another player might be thinking or planning. This game is not recommended for children who have difficulty with these issues.

*Data compiled from CCSSI ELA Standards, WA Science Standards, and Washington Social Studies Standards

Extended Play

Extra Ways to Play the Game
To simplify the game, try a variation where all Markers in a zone are "live". In other words, if two or more Markers of different colors are in a zone, the zone is not Controlled. This also means that stacking Markers is not required in this variation. All other rules remain the same.

Materials Needed
No additional materials required.

Developmental Benefits
This variation allows younger and novice players to learn the basic strategy for making Fourmations prior to adding the rules regarding Controlling and Locking a Zone.

Extra Ways to Play the Game
Allow players to subtract numbers.

Materials Needed
No additional materials required.

Developmental Benefits
Allowing subtraction, along with addition, introduces more complex math and strategic thinking.

Extra Ways to Play the Game
In this variation, each player may opt to not play any cards but rather rotate one of the Game Boards 90 or 180 degrees. Each player may do this only once in a game. Once a Game Board has been rotated, it may not be rotated again.

Materials Needed
No additional materials required.

Developmental Benefits
This variation adds an element of surprise and unpredictability. The movement of the board also changes the players' strategies as players look for opportunities to change the board to make Fourmations for themselves, or prevent Fourmations for opponents.

Extra Ways to Play the Game
Play in a team format where children will be able to help each other think through the options regarding their strategy, where they can place a Marker and which cards to play. Encourage players to discuss the justification for their ideas at each turn.

Materials Needed
No additional materials required.

Developmental Benefits
Team play is great for all children to learn cooperation, negotiation and collaboration skills.

*Data compiled from CCSSI ELA Standards, WA Science Standards, and Washington Social Studies Standards