Primo: the beautiful, colorful, mathematical board game
What is Primo?
Primo is a new board game that uses arithmetic to open a beautiful world of possibility. Players race to be the first to get to the center of the board while avoiding getting knocked back to the start by other players. Highlighting the power of the prime numbers, Primo is mathematical, deep, creative, and fun.
Who is Primo For?
Primo is for 2-4 players ages 10 and up. We designed Primo to inspire kids to develop a deeper mathematical understanding while mastering arithmetic. As we worked on the game, we found to our great delight that adults loved it as much kids! The basic mechanics of Primo are simple enough that kids can play and enjoy the game, but the possible strategies are complex enough that even mathematically-trained adults need to stop and think about their best move. Kids love it, adults love it, teachers love it, parents and families love it, college and graduate students love it. Even professional mathematicians love it!
What is there to learn by playing Primo?
We think teachers and parents will love playing Primo with kids. Without feeling “educational” the game does some heavy lifting in the classroom or around the dinner table. Here are some of the education tie-ins.
Math fact practice
Many kids develop a distaste for math around the time they start memorizing multiplication tables. Primo is an inspiring way to practice math facts embedded in a rich and motivated context.
The nature of numbers
Prime numbers make multiplication easy. (Why does no one learn this in school?) The color-coding makes the nature of multiplication and division intuitive.
You are in control
Is it better to add 8 and multiply by 3, or add 3 and multiply by 8? Analyzing an array of choices develops mathematical instincts that atrophy without the sense of ownership that comes with play.
Quick estimations are required to to decide how to narrow down the options presented in a single turn. If you had to check every option, you’d be there a long time!
With two pawns at two different values on the board, two dice rolls, and four operations, it takes a mix of cunning and perseverance to figure out the best move.
Math is creative
Kids learn in school that they’ll do okay in math if they follow instructions. Primo gives them a chance to play and find surprises in the numbers.
In the box?
Your Primo game comes with the following components, manufactured to a high standard in the USA by Michigan-based DeLano Services:
A quarter-fold game board of the Primo spiral
Eight player pawns, in four distinct sets of two
Two 10-sided dice
A full set of Primo cards
An instruction booklet
How does Primo work?
Primo is simple to learn! Each player controls two pawns that start at the 0 circle. Players take turns rolling two 10-sided dice and applying the values to their two pawns using any of the four basic arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The first to get both pawns into the 101 circle exactly wins the game! Be careful: if another player lands on you, you get sent back to the start. Along the way, players who land on the red circles collect Primo cards—some are helpful now, some are helpful later, and a few are trouble!
One of the great innovations of Primo is the coloring scheme. Each of the prime numbers less than 10 has its own color: 2 is orange, 3 is green, 5 is blue, and 7 is purple. After 10, each prime number is red.
Any number that is not a prime is a mix of colors that corresponds to its prime factors. For example, 14 = 2 x 7, so the 14 circle is half orange and half purple. To find 3 x 14, we just need to find the number that is made of three segments, one green, one orange, and one purple. And that’s 42. (Hey, the prime factorization of 42 is 2 x 3 x 7. The colors describe the prime factors!)
The color coding allows players a way to quickly analyze the factors and multiples of the numbers on the board. This helps players check their multiplication and division, and even allows kids who haven’t yet learned multiplication to play the game.
The prime numbers above 10 play a very important role in Primo. Every time you finish a turn by landing a pawn on a prime number, you draw from a deck of 24 Primo cards. The Primo cards have various functions, with cards like:
The deck also contains Keeper Cards, labeled with a digit between 1 and 9. As the name suggests, players retain Keeper cards until they decide to use them on a turn, for the purposes of adding and subtracting only. They are incredibly useful for getting pawns into the 101 circle at the end of the game, since pawns must land on 101 exactly. Primo takes roughly 10 minutes per player to play.