Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing by Sunya Publishing ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

I am always looking for new ways to supplement math. It's not my kid's favorite subject so we love to incorporate games to help us learn and remember what we've learned. We have recently had the opportunity to review a card game from a brand new vendor. Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing by Sunya Publishing has been quite the topic of conversation around here. It is not like any kind of card game I've ever played before.

Let's talk about what we received for this review first.

Sunya is recommended for ages 9 to Adult and is for 1 to 5 players. You have the option of the Addition/Subtraction version, or like what we were using, the Multiplication/Division version.

The set includes:
  • School and Homeschool Teacher/Parent Guidebook
  • 60 Sunya Playing Cards
  • 30 Math and Science fun fact and riddle cards
  • Number Line
Sunya, pronounced "soon-ya" is a word from Sanskrit, the ancient and classical language of the Hindus. As a philosophical thought in India, Sunya  means "solitude, stillness, and a place of aloneness." If you are talking about Sunya relating to math, it means "empty or void of nothing." In relation to the game, the player is trying to empty their hand of cards.

When the package arrived, I was super excited because I know how much my kids love games. I opened it up and took one look at the Teacher Guidebook and immediately felt overwhelmed. I had read on the website that the rules were explained in great detail and that I shouldn't feel this way. It was an easy card game, and I'm what I would call a smart adult, so I should have no problem figuring this out. My brain is just overworked is all. As you probably know, we were in the middle of a move when I received this, so honestly I thought it was just the fact that my plate was already so full. I decided to put it aside for a few days and come back to it.

A slow day came around and I thought that it would be a good day to get this game back out and look it over a second time. I am a good reader, but sometimes instructions to things, especially games are hard for me. I am a very visual learner, and these instructions were like reading an instruction manual in a different language. All I could see were words and words and more words. I had pretty much given up on it, and honestly dreaded trying to play this. It didn't even look fun to me after all of this. My husband on the other hand is VERY good at understanding games. He gets things that I don't, and he is good at explaining them to me, so I handed him the manual. This is where things finally started to come together.

So, first of all the directions need to be simplified. He said that he felt things were too repetitive and the extensive instructions were causing more confusion than clarification. Also he feels that the instructions need to be all in color. This would be beneficial in highlighting things that could make them a little more clear. He feels that the instructions could have been easier to understand had they been simplified, especially for the basic game. After that set of instructions, we didn't even try to venture off into an alternative version.

Now let's talk about actually playing the game. You can choose to play either multiplication or division. We chose to start with multiplication. The way we deciphered it is that the object of the game is to make number sentences and try to run out of cards. Whoever runs out first wins. The dealer makes an original number sentence. It can be whatever he/she wants to do.

The dealer then deals each player 4 cards. The first person to go will draw a card and then try and make a new number sentence on top of what is already there. But, there are rules to that. A player can't just lay down any card. First of all, you can't put the same number over an existing card. For example looking at the picture above, we could not play a 4 or a 5 in the number sentence. On top of that you can't play a 1, 0, or a wild in the number sentence. Those can only be played in the product or the quotient of the problem.

 Also a rule that I am very apprehensive of even talking about is that you can flip the ones place and the tens place if you need one of those numbers in the answer. The instructions actually say that this takes precedence over placing a card out of your hand on top of the existing numbers. It's really not that hard, but a bit confusing for the kids. 

So if we look at the picture below, we can see the original number sentence and the first players cards. This is after they have drawn a card and why they now have 5 cards rather than 4.  He/she will now try and add cards to the original number sentence from their hand.  IF the player can not play any of the cards in their hand, then they will continue to draw until they are able to play. This, plus remembering the rules that you can't use any of the original numbers or a 1.0, or a wild to make the new number sentence. 

Our player decided to turn the original number sentence of 4 x 5 = 20 into 4 x 7 = 28 using a wild card in the answer. Their turn is now over.

The next player will now try to make a new number sentence using the same rules. The play will continue until someone runs out of cards. The winner of the game will get to read one of the riddles for fun. From what we understand these aren't part of the actual game, but are more of an incentive for the winner.

This is my very basic understanding of the game via my husband. I hope I remembered all or at least most of the rules while trying to explain it.

Now, on to what we thought. I think I conveyed that at the beginning upon receiving this product for review, I wasn't a fan. I think that the instructions are wordy, repetitive, and confusing. I know for sure that a child, well at least most children, could not pick this game up and try to play on their own. After I started trying to explain the instructions to my kids, they were zoned out and also felt overwhelmed. After my husband and I gave them a visual to understand, they turned their opinion around and were really enjoying it, and having fun.

I would LOVE to see an instructional video on the website. I think this might help with some of us that are visual learners understand a little faster. I would suggest colored instructions and definitely simplifying them as well. It is a turn off for many people when they feel that they need a manual for the manual. On a positive note, I think this is an educational game, and I think that we will definitely be playing it again. I hope to see some changes that make it more user friendly. Other than that, they are on the right path with this.

Sunya Publishing was very generous in letting 100 of us on the crew review their product. If you would like to read other reviews just click the banner below!

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
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