Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review of SPEED! - game for multiplication and skip counting.

We were given a game of SPEED! by its creator, Julie Norkoli. She wanted to know what our family thought of her newly created card game. 

What is SPEED! ?

According to Julie Norkoli creator of SPEED!:
"Speed" is a math card game designed to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster. Once familiar with the numbers in a game, multiplication becomes simple.

The game consists of eight decks of cards (2's-9's) in which children learn skip counting. Two people play against each other to see who can get rid of all their cards first."

Here is a video where Julie and her daughter play a game of SPEED!:

I was concerned when we first received the game and read the directions. 

Now you have to remember that I make almost all of the educational games that we use. Because I make them, they cost very little. I also know the types of games the children enjoy. I truly believe in the benefit of games, so I contacted Julie to discuss my initial opinions.

My concerns:

1. The cost ($17.75) plus shipping ($5.10) was more than I like to pay for one game.

 Julie responds: There are EIGHT decks of cards. The cards are of a nice quality. They come in individual boxes and then in a box that holds all of the decks for easy storage. The cards have a unique center image that aids the player in the course of the game. 

Julie called me from Germany to discuss my concerns after I had emailed her. She is a sweet homeschooling mother who has developed her first game. She did an awesome job taking her game all the way through production and making it available for sale. Way to go, Julie!

My new thinking: She is right! If I were to make these cards myself, it would take a lot of my time. It would also cost me the price of the paper, printer ink, and laminating or clear Contact paper.

I would have realized all this had I attempted to make the cards myself. But at the beginning, I didn't see enough value to the game to make the time. Also, it would have been very difficult/time consuming for me to try to replicate the information in the center of these decks. This information gives the player help in deciding the next lower or higher number in the skip counting sequence. He can see the entire sequence and exactly where the current card fits in.

2. So, now, I had to face my second concern - the play. My question was if the cards would actually teach multiplication tables or aid a child by increasing his mastery of the facts. For me, this is the larger of the two concerns. Like most teacher/parents, or in my case grandmother, I am willing to spend my money on something that really helps the children.

In a simple answer, yes. The cards work. It took a little while for me to come to an appreciation of the cards. 

We began wrong. Since Douglas, age 8, knows his multiplication tables, I was hoping he would increase his speed. However, every game we played we used a different deck. He wanted to play them all. I had not thought this through. Because he was not focusing on a particular multiplication table for any length of time, he was not making much, if any, progress. 

Charles, 6, on the other hand, was just beginning to learn about multiplication so we were only using the 2 Deck and the 5 Deck. I began to see the learning that he was gaining.

So I made a change with Douglas - we started concentrating on only one deck (table) at a time. We also came up with some variations of ways to play with the decks. (NOTE: I will share these variations in another post.) Finally, Douglas beat me twice on the 7 Deck even though I was playing my hardest. It is NOT that I am slow or giving him any is just that he has gotten this good.

3. My last concern, another big one, is: Would the children enjoy the game? I knew that any game is a winner as we begin, mostly because it is different and it is time with an adult. My concern was more: Would the excitement last?

The answer is a definite YES! The boys love the play, both for the original rules and with the variations of play. 

So...would I recommend this game?

The answer is YES! 

The price is good for the quality of the cards and number of decks. 

The children do enjoy playing the game. The original game rules are fun. 

Learning happens! This is what it is all about. We all want our children to master this important math skill. SPEED! definitely is a great option for providing some of the necessary drill for mastery.

SPEED! can be purchased from Amazon.


  1. I love mathematics and have trouble understanding why aptitudes rise and fall in developed nations over a few years. It leads me to question the survey methods, of course. :)

    Multiplication games

  2. This is so helpful! I know it's older now, but thanks for the review.