Math Games with Bad Drawings

We review the fourth of this year’s nominees for the Book of the Year


Ben Orlin is a maths enthusiast from Minnesota who runs Math with Bad Drawings. Math Games with Bad Drawings (Amazon UK, Waterstones) is a book containing 75¼ mathematical games, with accompanying illustrations.


Math Games with Bad Drawings contains instructions for how to play a large selection of mathematical games, accompanied by drawings in the style of Math with Bad Drawings. It’s a very pretty book. It’s also a very big book, measuring 29cm×19cm×3cm.


The book presents the rules to each game, before discussing some of the maths behind each game and where it came from. It is both an excellent reference book, and a source of hours of entertaining fun. To see what some of the games in the book are like, you can watch this segment of last year’s 24 Hours Maths Game Show in which Ben challenged some guests to play some of the games from the book.


This book is really unique in the range of different games it includes, and the way that it covers the maths and strategy related to these games.


I would very strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys any sort of game: there will be many games in this book for you to discover and love.


You can vote for your favourite book on the Book of the Year shortlist below. The winning book will be crowned the Chalkdust Readers’ Choice. Voting closes at 1pm (BST) on Saturday 31 March.

What is your favourite book on the 2022 Book of the Year shortlist?

  • An Introduction to the Math of Voting Methods by Brendan W Sullivan (44%, 101 Votes)
  • Peculiar Deaths of Famous Mathematicians by Ionna Georgiou and Asuka Young (19%, 44 Votes)
  • Congruent Triangles by X and Y (15%, 35 Votes)
  • Escape from Model Land by Erica Thompson (8%, 18 Votes)
  • Math Games with Bad Drawings by Ben Orlin (7%, 16 Votes)
  • A Ring of Cats and Dogs (and Other Curious Puzzles) by Daniel Griller (7%, 15 Votes)
  • The Irrational Diary of Clara Valentine by Coralie Colmez (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Beyond Measure by James Vincent (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 230

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