About this project
Primo will have a new name and (hopefully) continued life after the campaign. To see updates and learn how to get the game, go to Math for Love.
Thanks to all the backers who made our project a success!
What is Primo?
Primo is a new board game that uses arithmetic to open a beautiful world of possibility. Players race to be the first to get to the center of the board while avoiding getting knocked back to the start by other players. Highlighting the power of the prime numbers, Primo is mathematical, deep, creative, and fun.
Who is Primo For?
Primo is for 2-4 players ages 10 and up. We designed Primo to inspire kids to develop a deeper mathematical understanding while mastering arithmetic. As we worked on the game, we found to our great delight that adults loved it as much kids! The basic mechanics of Primo are simple enough that kids can play and enjoy the game, but the possible strategies are complex enough that even mathematically-trained adults need to stop and think about their best move. Kids love it, adults love it, teachers love it, parents and families love it, college and graduate students love it. Even professional mathematicians love it!
Why do we need your help?
Initial print runs of new board games are more expensive than you might expect. We've been able to make a few prototypes, but that's all. If we get your help making our first 1000 game minimum order, we'll launch this project and get Primo out into the world. The game has been designed and play-tested; our manufacturer in Michigan is standing by. We just need your support to get the game into production. In return for your pledge, you’ll get Primo —or one of our other rewards—heading your way as soon as the first print run is complete!
How does Primo work?
Primo is simple to learn! Each player controls two pawns that start at the 0 circle. Players take turns rolling two 10-sided dice and applying the values to their two pawns using any of the four basic arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The first to get both pawns into the 101 circle exactly wins the game! Be careful: if another player lands on you, you get sent back to the start. Along the way, players who land on the red circles collect Primo cards—some are helpful now, some are helpful later, and a few are trouble!
One of the great innovations of Primo is the coloring scheme. Each of the prime numbers less than 10 has its own color: 2 is orange, 3 is green, 5 is blue, and 7 is purple. After 10, each prime number is red.
Any number that is not a prime is a mix of colors that corresponds to its prime factors. For example, 14 = 2 x 7, so the 14 circle is half orange and half purple. To find 3 x 14, we just need to find the number that is made of three segments, one green, one orange, and one purple. And that's 42. (Hey, the prime factorization of 42 is 2 x 3 x 7. The colors describe the prime factors!)
The color coding allows players a way to quickly analyze the factors and multiples of the numbers on the board. This helps players check their multiplication and division, and even allows kids who haven't yet learned multiplication to play the game.
The prime numbers above 10 play a very important role in Primo. Every time you finish a turn by landing a pawn on a prime number, you draw from a deck of 24 Primo cards. The Primo cards have various functions, with cards like:
The deck also contains Keeper Cards, labeled with a digit between 1 and 9. As the name suggests, players retain Keeper cards until they decide to use them on a turn, for the purposes of adding and subtracting only. They are incredibly useful for getting pawns into the 101 circle at the end of the game, since pawns must land on 101 exactly. Primo takes roughly 10 minutes per player to play.
What do people think of the game?
Read the review from Engaged Family Gaming: "Primo is a fantastic family game for the mathematically inclined and for those who like fun."
Who are we?
We are Math For Love, a Seattle-based math education enterprise that seeks to connect real people with real mathematics. We run classes for kids, professional development for teachers, workshops for parents, support for schools, and festivals for all, with a goal of providing meaningful, rich, and beautiful mathematical experiences.
We have had enough experience in and out of the classroom to know that work needs be done in how we as a society teach and learn mathematics. We wanted to help students develop the mathematical fluency they need while giving them a chance to appreciate the beauty and power of deeper mathematics. That's why we created Primo!
We wanted to create a game that
- Taught math facts
- Highlighted the deeper mathematics behind the facts
- Was so fun, it would not feel like an educational game.
A lot of time in school is given to mastering multiplication and division facts, but much of that time is spent on frustrating, boring worksheets or flashcards without any deeper mathematical emphasis, and kids end up missing the beauty, the facts, and the pleasure. We created Primo to give kids a chance to develop computational mastery while embarking on a rich exploration of the underlying mathematics.
Wow, this game is beautiful. What's up with the game design?
We worked closely with our graphic designer, Shawn Kemna, to create an aesthetic that would be both beautiful and practical. A minimalist approach allows the mathematics to take center stage. Shawn emphasized the colors and numbers to create the final design, an elegant spiral that reinforces game play and looks great on your kitchen table.
What's in the box?
Your Primo game comes with the following components, manufactured to a high standard in the USA by Michigan-based DeLano Services:
- A quarter-fold game board of the Primo spiral
- Eight player pawns, in four distinct sets of two
- Two 10-sided dice
- A full set of Primo cards
- An instruction booklet
When we reach these backer levels, everyone benefits!
$25K: PDF of Multiplication Table and Hundreds Chart! We'll include these beautiful images for every backer level of five dollars or higher.
$35K: Variations! We will design and test five variations of Primo that you can play on the same board. These variants will allow for easier or more challenging play, plus possibilities for cooperative games or solitaire.
$75K: Reference Cards! Need to glance at a multiplication table during the game? We'll include multiplication table reference cards to make play that much easier.
What is there to learn by playing Primo?
We think teachers and parents will love playing Primo with kids. Without feeling "educational" the game does some heavy lifting in the classroom or around the dinner table. Here are some of the education tie-ins.
Math fact practice
Many kids develop a distaste for math around the time they start memorizing multiplication tables. Primo is an inspiring way to practice math facts embedded in a rich and motivated context.
The nature of numbers
Prime numbers make multiplication easy. (Why does no one learn this in school?) The color-coding makes the nature of multiplication and division intuitive.
You are in control
Is it better to add 8 and multiply by 3, or add 3 and multiply by 8? Analyzing an array of choices develops mathematical instincts that atrophy without the sense of ownership that comes with play.
Quick estimations are required to to decide how to narrow down the options presented in a single turn. If you had to check every option, you'd be there a long time!
With two pawns at two different values on the board, two dice rolls, and four operations, it takes a mix of cunning and perseverance to figure out the best move.
Math is creative
Kids learn in school that they'll do okay in math if they follow instructions. Primo gives them a chance to play and find surprises in the numbers.
Pledge $1 or more: THANKS!
We are thrilled to have you with us in spirit. You'll get updates on the project as we go, and we'll also tell you about our favorite prime number (and why it's not in the game).
Pledge $5 or more: MULTIPLICATION TABLE PDF!
You'll receive a PDF of the Primo multiplication table, a colorful way to understand multiplication up to 10.
Pledge $15 or more: PRINT AND PLAY!
This PDF contains the Primo board, cards, instructions, multiplication table and hundreds chart. Perfect for teachers who want an inexpensive way to get enough boards for their classroom, or international backers seeking to avoid the high cost of international shipping.
Pledge $35 or more: PRIMO!
Back us at this level and get your very own full copy of the game, including the board, pawns, dice, Primo cards, and instructions, all in a game box.
Pledge $50 or more: PRIMO and MULTIPLICATION TABLE POSTER!
Both the full Primo game and the Multiplication Table Poster will make their way to your door. (US only.)
Pledge $65 or more: PRIMO 2-PACK!
A double pack of Primo games, saving you $5! Perfect for gifting. Or hoarding.
Pledge $90 or more: PRIMO 3-PACK!
You'll receive 3 Primo games at a savings of $15. Even more gifting. Even more hoarding.
Pledge $250 or more: PRIMO 10-PACK!
Ten complete Primo games that you can donate to your student's school or classroom, at a whopping savings of $100. With ten games, 40 students can play Primo at the same time. This is a great option for international backers looking for a group buy option to reduce shipping costs!
Pledge $500 or more: MATH SALON! (Limit: 3)
We will host a 2-hour Math Salon for your community in your home or favorite neighborhood spot. We bring lots of games and our love of them and spend a few hours playing family-style. You'll also receive a copy of Primo to keep after the salon. Limited to Seattle area only and scheduled at our mutual convenience.
Pledge $1500 or more: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH MATH FOR LOVE IN SEATTLE! (Limit: 2)
Revolutionize your school's math classrooms with an all-day workshop on play, complexity, and how they can help students develop ownership of and love for mathematics. Led by Katherine & Dan, of Math for Love. We'll leave your school with 10 copies of Primo and a new vision for math. (Greater Seattle area only.)
Pledge $2500 or more: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH MATH FOR LOVE ANYWHERE IN THE US! (Limit: 1)
Revolutionize your school's math classrooms with an all-day workshop on play, complexity, and how they can help students develop ownership of and love for mathematics. Led by Katherine & Dan, of Math for Love. We'll leave your school with 10 copies of Primo and a new vision for math. (US only.)
Risks and challenges
This will be the first time we've ever made/manufactured/delivered a board game. We've looked at many past Kickstarter game projects to understand the risks and challenges we may encounter and are anticipating possible obstacles.
We are working with DeLano Service, a Michigan-based board game manufacturer that has extensive experience with Kickstarter projects and over a century of experience. (DeLano produced the highly successful Robot Turtles game, among others.) We've spoken with them directly about the project and the timeline and have their full support. The game is made entirely in the US, so we won't have problems with oversea shipping or customs. We don't anticipate any issues in manufacturing.
Because shipping is a complicated part of a board game campaign on Kickstarter, we've thoroughly researched a number of options. We decided the best option is to send the pallet of games to Amazon's Fulfillment Services. You donate to our campaign on Kickstarter, and we place the corresponding order with Amazon, who handles the picking, packing, and shipping of the game to you. This keeps costs down and makes good use of Amazon's experience with order fulfillment.
We've looked over the timeline and feel reasonably sure that we can meet our shipping deadline of October. All the parties involved in delivering you the game, from order to manufacture to shipping, have plenty of experience in their respective areas. We are excited to work with them to get Primo into your hands!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I wanted to order two games plus the poster, so I added $15 to the PRIMO 2-PACK ($65+$15). Is that okay?
Sure! You can always add $15 to any pledge and we'll send you a poster. Just email us so we can make sure we have a complete list of everyone who wants one.
Print and Play is now available at the $15 pledge level. You can also add the Print and Play to any other order of at least five dollars by adding $10 to your current pledge level.
We had not considered colorblindness when we designed the game, but several of you have inquired about it. We will plan to talk with our designer about a redesign before the game goes into final product. At the minimum, we hope to make a print and play version available.
Primo is an educational powerhouse, and aligns beautifully with many of the Common Core standards, as well as the Common Core Mathematical Practices. We'll assemble a link with a more complete breakdown as soon as we can.
We are not affiliated with the programmable robot toy that was on Kickstarter last November. (See http://kck.st/17T4gmN.) Their project, the Primo Play Set, is still around, though. You can check out primo.io to see what they are up to, and order your own Cubetto.
We designed Primo as a family game, and our primary interest is to get Primo into homes for where families can play it together. That said, it's a great game for school too. We happened to get some good footage of a play test in a classroom in our opening movie, but that doesn't mean that Primo belongs only in schools.
So to answer: we think your kids will want to play Primo at home.
The board is 18 by 18 inches. The circles are 1 inch in diameter.
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