Integer Target
Playing 'Integer Target' is a fun way to learn about adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers! You can play it on your own or with a friend. To start, just press. . .
How many will be playing?
See the math.
ROUND 0 of 10

How to Play Integer Target


In Integer Target, your goal is to get the lowest possible score by getting your cards to add up to a number as close as possible to a target number that you have chosen at the beginning of the game. The catch is that your cards may have either positive or negative numbers on them, so you have to be very careful when you devise your strategies! Things may not work the way you expect at first!

Selecting a Target Number

Before you begin to play Integer Target, you will asked to select a 'target number' between -20 and 20. Target numbers that are close to 0 are easier to "hit", but you will get more credit for hitting target numbers that are farther from 0!

Once you choose your target number and press "PLAY!", you will be dealt two cards and will be ready to begin!

Choosing an Action

At the beginning of each turn, you choose to draw or discard a card from your hand. To draw, just click the "DRAW" button and your new card will appear on the deck below the buttons. To discard, click the "DISCARD" button and then select the card you would like to get rid of. Once you click on the card, it will be removed from your hand and placed on the deck.

Remember: Your goal is to draw or discard a card that will make the new total of your cards closer to your target number (if possible!).

Entering an Equation

This might be the most challenging part of Integer Target at first. But it's really not bad once you get used to the basic format! The keypad on the right is now ready to accept an equation from you. This equation will show what happened during your turn.

Look just above the "ENTER" button to see the format of the equation:

old sum +/- change = new sum

Use the keypad to enter your equation. If you do it correctly using this format, it will always create a true mathematical equation. Be careful, though! The symbols for subtraction and negative may look a lot the same, but they're different things! Use the minus button (between the plus and the equals signs) for subtraction, but use the neg key near the top for negative numbers.

Once you've finished your equation, press "ENTER". Take a moment to see if you were correct (if not, the correct equation will be shown) and to look at your score, then press "NEXT TURN" to continue playing.


You may notice that the players usually begin with different scores! This is because the player who chose a more difficult target to hit is given a little 'head start'. The starting score is calculated by taking 20 points minus the distance of the target number from 0. For example, if you choose a target of -8 or 8, you will begin with 12 points (20 - 8).

At the end of each turn, your distance from your target number is added to your score. (Remember - you want to keep your score as low as possible! This means you want to stay as close to your target number as you can, even if you are not able to hit it exactly.) Then, if you entered the equation correctly, your score will be lowered by 3 points. That may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a whole game, it can really "add up"!

There is an opportunity for a bonus. Whenever you hit your target number, twice the distance of the target from 0 is subtracted from your score, For example, if your target number is -13 and you hit it, your score will be reduced by 26 points!

The End of the Game

Integer Target ends when 10 rounds have been played. The player with the lower score wins. (If you are playing by yourself, you may set your own goals!) If both players have the same score, the person whose target number is farther from 0 is the winner.

A Few More Things

There's just one more rule to keep in mind. You will not be allowed to discard a card that you just drew on the previous turn. If you have another card of the same value, that's fine, but it can't be the very same card. You will need to wait for the next turn to get rid of it.

A strategy tip - occasionally, it may be helpful to hold on to cards that are keeping you farther away from your target than you'd like. For example, you might notice a combination of cards that could produce your exact target number once you make just the right discards! Also, '0' cards, which can sometimes be annoying since they leave you right where you are, can be great if you do hit your target - because when you discard them your total will be the same, meaning that you can hit your target again on the next turn!

When you play Integer Target, you learn to pay special attention to what causes the "old sum" to increase or decrease.

This connects with a rule that is usually taught in math class - subtracting a number gives the same answer as adding its opposite. If you play Integer Target for a while, these ideas become more than just rules to memorize. You will really begin to see why they happen!

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