Grid Games

Grids are really important structures in maths, our society in general and so it should be no surprise to find them being a major feature in games. In some cases the grids have rows and columns that are significant to the game (like in chess where we set up in rows and pieces attack often down columns and diagonals) or they might not matter (like in Go or amazons).

Some grids are often about organising information but because we are so familiar with them, we can navigate around them quite easily. The most common moves are what can be called orthogonal moves but are also known as vertical and horizontal. These are the moves that a rook makes on a chess board. There are also diagonal moves, like bishops move. We have put a couple of mazes that you solve by finding the right combination of these directions to get you to the centre.

Most of the games featured this week use counters and strategic moves with those counters. One example of this is Bobail, An African strategy game.


This is a quick game but no less strategic because of that. The pieces move like queens in chess and the goal is to get the bobail or yellow counter to your side. To get used to the moves you could try this puzzle.

How did the players move from the beginning to get to this position?

One of the players cannot access one of the unoccupied board spaces on this move. Which player and which square?

Try playing the game with friends a few times too.

Some related topics:

  • Coordinates
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Position and direction
  • Instruction sets and algorithms

To try this activity:

  1. Download the resource file with templates and challenges
  2. Print out the file
  3. Get a counters.
  4. Watch the video introductions to each of the activiites (playlist here)

Download or share all of these challenges with this pdf and let us know how you got on with it by tweeting using #momentofmaths and start to see Every moment is a #momentofmaths. Please add any photos or videos to our gallery. Here’s the link: View and upload moments. Remember you can explore the challenges that we post here in our online maths clubs where you get an online version that you can play with directly on your computer. To find out more about our online clubs go to

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