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AltaMar, A Pirate Game To Work On The Decimal System

AltaMar, A Pirate Game To Work On The Decimal System

If you have taken a look at the blog, you will have seen that there are many other articles talking about board games and their benefits. But this one is very, very special, since in it I am going to present you AltaMar , our first self-created board game .

Yes, yes, you read it right: a game made by us.

Devised and created by the Aprendiendo Matemáticas team, with the participation of close people in both the illustration and the design and layout, and manufactured 100% by a Spanish company.

You may be wondering how we decided to embark on this adventure. Well, it was at the beginning of 2021, when we were thinking about how we could celebrate our tenth anniversary (on July 28, 2011 I published the first article on the website, and that was almost 11 years ago!).

Among many other proposals, the idea arose of making a board game that children could enjoy while learning mathematics. And we got to work on it.

I’m not going to lie to you, getting here has been something like an obstacle course, but finally… AltaMar is now a reality!

3 games in 1

AltaMar is a game about pirates who sail the seas in search of treasures.

What is the Pirate game in maths?

From the first moment we started thinking about the game, one of our main concerns was that boys and girls of all ages could play with it. 

I have to admit that it has not been an easy task (we even considered the possibility of making three different games), but finally I think we have achieved it. Inside the AltaMar box you will find the necessary elements to play 3 different games: 

  • The Shark , for boys and girls from 4 years old
  • The Pirates , with three versions of increasing difficulty:
    • the Grumete version , for children between 6 and 8 years old
    • Pirate and Captain versions , for children from 8 years old
  • AltaMar , for players from 10 years old

In El Tiburón , the goal of the little ones is to fill a bag with 10 coins. Coins can be won (added to the bag) or lost (removed from the bag) one at a time. In this way, boys and girls consolidate the notion of quantity and counting from 1 to 10 , and intuitively approach the concepts of addition and subtraction . It is a cooperative game, in which boys and girls play “against the shark.”

In Los Piratas and AltaMar , the player who gets the most loot, that is, the most money, wins. In this case, coins and bags can be gained or lost, and it is continually necessary to exchange coins for bags and bags for chests, or vice versa. In this way, players become familiar with the decimal system , consolidate the equivalences between units (coins), tens (sacks) and hundreds (chests) and work on numerical composition and decomposition and mental calculation .

Thanks to these different versions, AltaMar is a game:

  • family-friendly , since adults and older siblings can also have fun playing the versions for the little ones 
  • for the classroom , because the increasing difficulty of each of the versions allows it to be adapted to different ages and knowledge  
  • that you make the most of, because you can leave it on your games shelf and enjoy it for a lifetime 🙂

Without further ado, I’m going to show you what AltaMar is like inside.

Game components

The main components of the game are:

  • the tiles , which are placed on the table to configure a different board in each game mode and in each game
  • the pieces (ships), which indicate the tile on which each player is located
  • the dice : some to move through the tiles and others to determine the amount of money that is won or lost
  • money (coins, sacks and chests) and precious stones , which make up the players’ loot
  • action cards , tool cards, and island cards
  • the sack board and the round counter

In each game ( El Tiburón , Los Piratas and AltaMar) different elements are used.

How do you play place value pirates?

In addition, the game contains very detailed instructions , with a large number of examples and illustrations and a summary diagram for each version of the game. At the end, there is a section of didactic guidelines.

Now yes: I’ll tell you briefly what each of the games consists of. At the end of the post I will leave you a link with detailed instructions and tutorial videos.

The shark

From 4 years

The Shark is a cooperative game, in which all participants collaborate to achieve a common goal: fill the bag with gold coins before the shark appears.

Game preparation

Take all of the tiles in this version (indicated by a black dot on the back) and place them face down forming a 6 x 6 grid. Adjacent to any of the frame tiles, place a port tile, which will be the starting point, and a ship token is placed on it. 

The sack board and the ten large coins are left on the table, within reach of all players.

How does the pirate game work?

How to play

On their turn, each player picks up a tile, adjacent to the last tile lifted, places the ship token on it, and performs the corresponding action.

There are four types of tiles :

  • Of water : nothing happens
  • By boat : he wins a coin, which he places in the bag
  • From the island : he loses a coin, which he removes from the bag and returns to the reserve
  • Shark : remove the tile from the grid

End of the game

In the game there are four shark tiles that, together, form the image of this animal. The game ends when the bag is filled with gold coins (the players win) or when the four shark tiles are uncovered (the shark wins). 

What is the place value of a decimal?

The Pirates

From 6-8 years

In Los Piratas , players try to get as much money as possible. 

The game has three versions, in order of difficulty: Cabin Boy , Pirate and Captain. 

Game preparation

The tiles from this version are taken and arranged radially (one radius per player) starting from the Three Palm Islands tile, which is placed in the center. Each player places their ship token at the beginning of their journey and receives the money indicated depending on the version. 

The rest of the money is left on the table, within reach of all players. 

In the Pirate version , action cards and tool cards are placed on the table. In the Captain version , 3 action cards are dealt to each player and the tool cards are left on the table. 

What is 2.738 to 2 decimal places?

How to play

On their turn, each player advances or retreats as indicated by the dice and performs the action corresponding to the tile they are on. 

There are four types of tiles :

  • Of water : nothing happens
  • From Port :
    • can pay 1 coin to reroll ( Grumete version )
    • can acquire a tool card ( Pirate and Captain versions )
  • From island :
    • roll the dice and win money ( Grumete version )
    • You can bury money, allowing you to keep it safe and, in some cases, increase its value, or dig up another player’s money ( Pirate and Captain versions )
  • By boat : roll the dice and win or lose money

The amount of money that is won or lost on each occasion is determined by two 10-sided dice (only one in the Grumete version ), which correspond to units (from 0 to 9) and tens (from 00 to 90). . 

In the Pirate and Captain versions , it is played with action cards and tool cards. 

action cards

Action cards are associated with ship tiles. Some of them are played before throwing the dice and others after:

  • Cabin Boy and Mutiny : lose all the coins or all the sacks, respectively, and do not roll the dice
  • Pirate : choose another player, who will pay you (or whoever you pay) the money indicated on the dice
  • Ship : The dice result is applied to all players on a Ship tile.
  • Change the sign of the dice and Multiply by two : the effect of these cards is applied to the result of the dice

Tool cards

Tool cards can be acquired from the port tile ( Pirate and Captain versions ) and allow you to perform some special actions:

  • Sable : avoid loss of money 
  • Shovel : dig up money buried by another player
  • Key : open one of your chests and exchange it for ten bags

End of the game

When one of the players reaches the central tile, the game is over. The player who has collected the most loot wins. 

High seas

From 10 years

Game preparation

The tiles of this version are taken and arranged forming a 7 x 7 grid, in the center of which the Three Palm Islands tile is placed and in each of the corners a port tile. Each player places their ship token in the corresponding port and receives two chests and a gemstone.

The rest of the money and precious stones are left on the table, within reach of all players. 

How do decimals work?

The action cards and tool cards are mixed and 3 are dealt to each player. The rest are left on the table, face down. Each player is also dealt 8 island cards, which will be used to indicate the money buried in the island tiles.  

How to play

On their turn, each player performs the following actions:

  • move the tiles (optional) according to established rules
  • roll the dice and move forward 
  • perform the action indicated on the tile and play (optional) an action card or a tool card
  • change coins and bags

In addition to the tiles used in the Los Piratas game , AltaMar includes some special tiles :

  • Wave : rotates 90º clockwise or counterclockwise
  • Treasure : roll the dice and win money
  • Storm , kraken or ghost island : they have a negative effect when a player lands on it or on an adjacent tile  .

When a player lands on a port tile they get a precious stone (a different stone in each port).

A new tool card is also used, the helm , which allows you to bypass the negative effects of storm, kraken, or ghost island tiles.

End of the game

When one of the players, after having obtained the four precious stones, reaches the central tile, the game is over. The player with the most loot wins.

Mathematical aspects worked on in the game

As I said at the beginning, AltaMar is, above all, a pirate game. And, like any good game, it should fundamentally help children (and adults) have fun playing. 

What is the 100th place in a decimal?

But AltaMar is also a game with great mathematical content, in which children must solve situations that will allow them to reinforce or consolidate certain mathematical concepts and skills:

  • Notion of quantity and counting of numbers up to 10
  • Decimal system:
    • units, tens and hundreds
    • numerical composition and decomposition 
    • equivalences and changes
  • Concept of addition and subtraction
  • Addition and subtraction of quantities up to three figures
  • Multiplication of quantities of up to three figures by 2 and by 3
  • Mental calculation
  • Assessment of the possible benefit of an action versus the necessary investment, taking into account the probabilities of obtaining said benefit
  • Orientation and spatial structuring

How can you purchase the game

AltaMar is only available in our online store, because it is a self-created game, you will not find it in any other store 🙂

The first edition of the game sold out in 6 days! We are now preparing a second edition. If you don’t want to run out, buy it before Sunday, June 5 at 11:59 p.m. and receive it free of shipping costs as soon as it is ready.

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