Summer Game #13: Zero Corners

It usually starts around April if you follow a traditional school year, an excitement that school is winding down and soon to come to an end. Then before you know it, another school year done. Whew!

It’s summertime!

Now, I do have my children do math through the summer but it’s not the same as a full blown schedule.

Summer is such a fun and relaxing time. People are taking vacations, visiting family, enjoying more outside activities, and probably staying up a bit later since the sun is out longer. I find it a great time to indulge in some of my hobbies. Hopefully, you’re indulging too!

However, as nice as summer is, at some point “it” hits.

What is this “it”?

This “it” … is looking forward to school starting back up. Lesson planning. Scheduling. Maybe trying out a new curriculum. A fresh start. A clean slate. The anticipation for a new year starts to build and I realize I am such a nerd. LOL!  And secretly, I think I am also a bit ready to get back to a schedule.

So the countdown to school starting begins. At least it’s starting to begin around here.

It’s fitting that this week’s game is Zero Corners, game S9 in the Math Card Games book. It’s played almost like Corners game, using the Corners™ cards, a set of 50 cards with four numbers on them, each in a different color.

In this game, rather than add your points to your total score, you will be subtracting your points.

FYI… before playing a subtraction game, you want to make sure your child thoroughly knows their addition facts. Less confusion results if addition is mastered before attempting subtraction. (This bit of advice comes straight out of the subtraction chapter in the Math Card Games book.)

The beginning score is dependent on how many people are playing this game:

  • Two players have a starting score of 300
  • Three players: 200
  • Four players: 150
  • Five players: 120
  • Six or more: 100

What is the goal of this game? To be the first person to reach zero. Exactly zero! If you go negative, you can’t win. Gotta be careful. A player may skip their turn if doing so would make his score negative.

How to play:

  • Start the game by dealing everyone four Corners™ cards.
  • The person with the lowest green number goes first. If there are two low green numbers, out of those two cards, the person with the lowest blue number goes first.

  • Match like-colored numbers so that the two numbers add up to 5, 10, 15, or 20. Red matches red, blue matches blue, black matches black, and green matches green.
  • Play off of the last card played or to any corner.

Remember that scoring is done mentally and you only write down the actual score.

So lets look at a game being played. Two people are playing: Nicholas and Chris. Starting score is 300.

Nicholas matches two numbers to equal 15. Mentally he subtracts like this: 300 – 10 = 290, then 290 – 5 = 285. He writes down 285 as his new score.

Chris matches two numbers to equal 10. He does the mental subtraction and writes his score as 290.

Nicholas’s turn again. He also matches two numbers to equal 10. Mentally he subtracts 285 – 10 = 275. Or he might subtract 285 – 5 = 280, 280 – 5 = 275. Doesn’t matter as long as he gets the correct answer and writes down 275.

And the count down to zero is underway! Happy playing!





  1. Great game!!! Thanks so much!

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