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Tobago, an island whose history speaks of treasure... and the curses that haunt them. In Tobago, players are treasure hunters with partial clues to the possible locations of riches scattered across the island. Together, players can piece their clues together with the clues of others to find the treasures and share in the riches. But players need to be careful of the island's curse or the treasure they held in their hands could slowly disappear.
Tobago is played on a modular board made up of hexagonal spaces which feature different terrain types. In addition to the various types of terrain that make up the island, there are a number of huts, trees and ancient statues spread across the board as well. These geographical and man made landmarks serve as navigation points for the students as they begin to define the exact locations of the treasures that are hidden on the board. It is the defining of a treasure's location that holds both the challenge and mathematics of the game.
At any time, there are up to four treasures hidden on the island. When they first appear, there is no information about their location but as players play clue cards from their hands, the locations begin to take shape. Each clue is made up of a piece of information about the treasure and how it relates to the landmarks surrounding it. So, it may be in the jungle or not next to a hut. Players can play a clue for any of the four treasures hidden on the board as long as it narrows the number of possible locations the treasure could be on the board and does not contradict any of the previous clues played for that treasure. When any of the treasures can only be in one location on the island, the players can race to the spot to dig it up. The treasure is split amongst all of the players who contributed clues. The players who contributed clues later, when there were more limitations on what cards could be played, claim treasures first. This is important because mixed in with the treasures are curses that, when they come up, spoil any of the remaining treasure that has yet to be claimed.
Tobago is a wonderful exercise in applied logic as students construct the location of any given treasure. But the game makes these mathematical exercises fun and engaging by incorporating risks, in the form of the cursed treasure, which encourage students to think more strategically during play. The mixture of exciting game play, as students race to claim treasure, combined with the strategic construction of more complex logic statements gives Tobago a high return on investment and makes it a worth addition to the math curriculum.
Because the game comes in a little longer than a normal forty-five minute class period, a decision is needed whether the game will be used for a single day or over two. Normally the end of the game is triggered when the treasure cards run out, but the game can easily end after a set amount of time as well. Besides playing the game, Tobago can also be used as a problem solving prompt for students where the board is set up with the exact locations of several treasures by placing one cube from each treasure on different hex spaces. The students could then use the clue cards to construct the logic statements that hold true for the different treasures on the board.