The Different Ways That Games Get You Thinking About Numbers

Playing games is fun; that’s why most of us do it. No matter if you’re shooting zombies, racing spaceships, or simply moving pieces of fruit around a screen, games are entertaining and exciting. That’s why more than a third of the world’s population and more than two-thirds of people in developed economies enjoy video games regularly, with many more also playing card and board games.

In addition to be entertaining, games can also be educational. That doesn’t mean they have to be explicitly educational like the 1992 title Mario Teaches Typing. They can simply exercise your grey matter through their fun mechanics and strategic challenges, like we see in Pokémon.  


We use probabilities in all walks of life. At home, you’ll try to work out the chance of rain while deciding whether to hang the washing outside. At work, you might have to calculate the risk of cyber security to come up with a proportionate response.

Many games are based on the mathematical principle of probability. Masters of these games understand what these probabilities are, how they are calculated, and which choices will offer them the best possible outcomes.

In chess, the best players will think many steps ahead, calculating which move they can make right now to set up their victory later down the line. They’ll make their choices based on the probability of success that each move offers, settling on the one that is most favorable.

This isn’t exclusive to chess. Probability is used extensively in casino games, with players required to make choices on how and when to bet, as well as whether to hit or stand in games like blackjack.


Online casinos also have other ways to get you thinking about percentages. This is because many run promotions that offer players a percentage of either their deposit or losses.

For example, big brands like DraftKings Casino offer a 100% bonus according to the size of your first deposit (up to a limit). This one is pretty simple to understand, as it simply means you have twice as much to play with. However, other casinos may offer slightly more or slightly less than 100%, testing your grey matter to work out 88% or 120% of your deposit amount.

Other promotions may return a percentage of your losses. There is much more variation in the sizes of these bonuses. Therefore, you’re likely to have your mathematical skills stretched far more with these.


Geometry may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s an important aspect of mathematics. Learning about the different angles in triangles and how they always have a sum of 180 degrees may seem irrelevant in the abstract, but if you need this knowledge to help you in a game, things get much easier and more interesting.


Your choice of games for this is vast. Practically every ball sport requires an understanding of angles, though the very best players have an instant instinct to know exactly which way they should be hitting the ball.

Angles are as necessary to understand in football as they are in golf or tennis, but one of the games where this kind of math is most important is billiards. Whether it’s snooker or pool, players must think long and hard about the angle and force they use to hit the cue ball, factoring rebounds from the cushions and other balls into their considerations.


Video games use angles too. Games like Angry Birds and digital recreations of ball sports are some of the most prominent examples. Some will actually display a visual representation of the angle, though others will not, creating a bigger challenge as you instead have to visualize the angle and trajectory.

Addition And Multiplication

Basic arithmetic are required in everyday life, but it can be a challenge for some. Playing some games can really help you with this without it feeling like a chore.

Two great examples are darts and Scrabble. Both require you to calculate your scores using both addition and multiplication, often at the same time. In both games, players can score double or triple points for achieving certain feats. Therefore, they must multiply their base score by either two or three and then add it to the previous total.