Dirty numbers

Game: Hundred Chart Nim

Photo by Håkan Dahlström via flickr.

Math concepts: addition and subtraction within 100, logical strategy
Number of players: 2 or 3
Equipment: printed hundred chart (also called a hundred board) and beans, pennies, or other tokens with which to mark numbers — or use this online hundred chart

Set Up

Place the hundred chart and a small pile of tokens where both players can reach them.

How to Play

Allow the youngest player choice of moving first or second; in future games, allow the loser of the last game to choose. The first player chooses any number from 1 to 15 and places a token on that square of the hundred chart.

On each succeeding turn, the player adds either 5, 10, or 15 to the most recently marked number and places a new token on his sum. Play alternates until no more tokens can be placed.


The player who places the last legal token (on one of the squares from 96-100) wins the game.


1 — Allow players to add any number from 1 to 20 on each turn. The player who reaches 100 wins the game.

2 — Count Down: Start at 100 and subtract 5, 10, or 15 per turn. The player who reaches zero wins the game.

3 — Mental Math: Try the game (or either variation above) without a hundred chart, keeping track of the numbers in your head.


Nim is a traditional folk game of uncertain origin (similar games are played in many places around the world), and it has always been a favorite at our Math Club meetings. This version of Nim gives young children a chance to build fluency with double-digit arithmetic, an important foundation for their future study of mathematics.

This is post #2 in my Hundred Board Series.

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10 comments on “Game: Hundred Chart Nim

  1. Thanks! I’d never have thought of playing Nim on a hundred chart. There are lots of potential variants.

    I’ve made one up to play with my six year old (she already does two-digit subtractions in her head, so this will just be a bit of fun for her). I’ll toss it in our big box of games.


  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving wishes, carnivals, and sneaking in a little Math on turkey day » Fun Math Blog

  3. Hi, thanks for this, it looks fun. Have you thought of adding an image to this post – a hundred square maybe – to make it easy to pin on Pinterest? (I tried but nothing to grab!)


  4. Thanks for the suggestion, Lula. This is an old post, before I learned much about images and blog formatting. I really should go back and add images to several “golden oldies”, I suppose — anyway, I fixed this one.


  5. Yes it did occur to me that this particular golden oldie is 5 years old! I barely knew what blogging was back then! It’s great that you’ve got so many wonderful resources going back so long :-)


  6. Five years seems like “forever” in internet time. I’m glad people are still finding my posts useful!

    I started blogging in 2006, I think (at least, my archives go back that far), and moved to WordPress.com at the end of that year. I transfered posts related to my family with dates intact, but I revised and reposted most of my mathy games and articles over the next year or so. Then, as I learned more about blogging, I went back and added headings and other formatting to make things easier to read. Today I’m adding images to the To-Do list, but it will probably take ages to finish that.

    If you find any other posts you’d like to see an image on, just let me know!


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