The Chaos of Operations – 2014

The Chaos of Operations was a physical game I made for part of my Master’s program.  It is a math game about manipulating the order of operations to make your number as large as possible, while ensuring that your opponent’s number is less than yours.  Whoever’s equation evaluates to the highest number at the end of the game wins.

A friend of mine was so impressed with it, that we had a game jam and ported a simplified version of this game to be playable in a web browser.  You can play that version now.

Images below are of the physical copy of the game, as well as a couple screenshots of the web version.


This is what Chaos of Operations looks like set up and playing. Player 1’s hand is on the bottom left, Player 2’s is on the bottom right. Each player’s equation is above their hands, with spare parenthesis in an easy-to-reach pile above them. Players take turns taking one operator and one number from their hand, and inserting it in either their or their opponent’s equation, with the goal of ending the game with a bigger number than their opponent. Player 2 tried to give themselves an early lead by adding 20^10 to theirs, but Player 1 was crafty and added a minus sign before it, turning it from a huge boost to a huge liability. This is still early in the game, and Player 2 can easily come back.


This is a screenshot from the digital version of the game.  You can see that the layout is very similar to the image above, with some affordances made for input methods and display limitations of it being digital.  Player 1 tried to start strong by adding 19^19×18 to their equation, but Player 2 turned it into a massive negative number that put Player 2 way ahead.  Like the example above, Player 1 can still make a comeback as the game has just started.

What follows below are more pictures of the physical copy of Chaos of Operations.