Academic Games

Academic Games

Academic Games is a U.S. competition in which players win by out-thinking each other in mathematics, language arts, and social studies. Formal tournaments are organized by local leagues, and on a national level by the Academic Games Leagues of America (AGLOA). Member leagues in eight states hold a national tournament every year, in which players in five divisions compete in eight different logic-based games. Some turn-based games require a kit consisting of a board and playing cubes, while other games have a central reader announcing questions or clues and each player answering individually.


Before the existence of AGLOA, tournaments were held by the National Academic Games Project founded by the creator of many of the games. Many AGLOA leaders were involved with NAGP. The new league was created partially because of personal conflict with Robert W. Allen. Allen later sued the AGLOA for copyright, trademark, and tradename infringement [] .

Academic Games Leagues of America was founded in 1991 to encourage the use of Academic Games as an educational tool and as a scholar competition. Many of the games used in tournaments, however, were created as early as in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the games played at tournaments are available fromWff 'N Proof Learning Games. Brother Neal Golden of New Orleans is the current board president of AGLOA; Larry Liss of Palm Beach, Florida is the current Executive Director. Other board members represent Academic Games leagues in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.


Academic Games players compete with other players in their own age group. These are the five age divisions in the league.
#Minor - Grades 4 or below
#Elementary - Grades 6 or below
#Middle - Grades 7-8
#Junior - Grades 9-10
#Senior - Grades 11-12

However, there is no restriction against playing one of your players in a higher division. Several teams have won national championships in the senior division, even though half their players belonged, agewise, in the junior division.

Games become more challenging as a player progresses through the divisions. There are often two variations of the games: basic and adventurous. Basic games have no variations, or special demands players can make on game solutions. Adventurous gaves have a series of variation possibilities that may apply and increase in difficulty as players age.

Games Played

Six games are played in official AGLOA tournaments. Some local leagues also play other games; such as On-Words (a simplified version of LinguiSHTIK) and WFF 'N PROOF (the so-called "Game Of Modern Logic", which teaches symbolic logic and the use of well-formed formulas).

Math Games

Two math games, Equations and On-Sets are played at AGLOA tournaments.


Equations is a mathematics game created in 1965. The game uses a playing mat and 24 cubes, each labeled with numbers and mathematical operations. At the beginning of each "shake" one of two or three players uses up to six cubes to set a "goal." All players must use the remaining cubes to devise a solution that equals the goal.

Gameplay can become more complicated through the use of "variations" called on the game. Applicable variations differ by the player's age division. The game progresses with each player moving one cube on their turn, or alternatively challenging that they can create a solution with the cubes in play, that a solution was possible on the last turn and the player before had missed it, or challenging that it is impossible to create a solution with the cubes available. When a player calls a challenge, it is called against the player who most recently completed their move.

In a three player game, the indifferent player may choose who he sides with in the case of a challenge. A player who correctly challenges another player wins the game. The loser of a game gains two points, The winner six, and the sider (if he sided with the winner) gains four or two (if he sided with the loser). Equations games become interesting with the use of factorials, vulgar fractions, and even logarithms, in the Senior division.


On-Sets is a board and cube game that teaches basic logic and set theory. This game also uses a deck of 16 cards that is used to make the "Universe". Each card contains a different combination of colored dots. The cubes contain numbers, colors and logic operators.

Players learn logic concepts such as union and intersection, and learn to use restrictions such as subset. Variations can be also be used in On-Sets games. A player wins by using the cubes in resources to create a logical statement which equals the goal set using the numeral cubes. Challenges and multiplayer games work in a similar way to Equations.

Language Games


LinguiSHTIK is a technical game that teaches language arts and linguistics. The game has a playing mat and cubes which are imprinted with the 26 letters of the alphabet.

A player has to create a word using the letters available, and the word must be used in a sentence that matches the Demands called. A demand specifies something about the sentence or word, such as number of clauses, part of speech, number of letters, etc. Challenges in LinguiSHTIK work in the same way they do in the other cube games. Some concepts taught in LinguiSHTIK include sentence patterns, clauses, grammar, and verbs.

The game has elements similar to the popular word game Scrabble but adds a different element of play through grammatical demands.


In Propaganda, clues are read to all players by a central reader. Each player must decide, from a list, which persuasion technique that clue used. There are several different sections of Propaganda techniques, the reader also specifies which section the persuasion technique is listed in.

Different leagues have different scoring methods, but the official AGLOA scoring involves a "bold" and "cautious" rating method. If you rate your answer "bold", then you receive four points for a correct answer, or you lose two points for an incorrect answer. If you rate your answer "cautious," then you receive two points for a correct answer, however you lose nothing for an incorrect answer. A round consists of nine questions, so the highest score possible per round is 36 points, while the lowest is -18 points.

Most Propaganda clues involve statements that are likely to be heard in advertising or politics. There are six different Propaganda sections, but only four specific sections are used in each season. Sections B, C, D, and F are being used for the 2007-2008 season. Here are all the Propaganda techniques, listed by section.

Propaganda Techniques

#"Section A""Section B""Section C""Section D""Section E""Section F"
'Techniques of Self-Deception''Techniques of Language''Techniques of Irrelevance''Techniques of Exploitation''Techniques of Form''Techniques of Maneuver'
1PrejudiceEmotional TermsAppearanceAppeal To PityConcurrencyDiversion
2Academic DetachmentMetaphor/SimileMannerAppeal to FlatteryPost HocDisproving a Minor Point
3Drawing the LineEmphasisDegrees and TitlesAppeal to RidiculeSelected InstancesAd Hominem
4Not Drawing the LineQuotation out of ContextNumbersAppeal to PrestigeHasty GeneralizationAppeal to Ignorance
5Conservatism, Radicalism, ModeratismAbstract TermsStatusAppeal to PrejudiceFaulty AnalogyLeading Question
6RationalizationVaguenessRepetitionBargain AppealCompositionComplex Question
7Wishful ThinkingAmbiguitySolutionsFolksy AppealDivisionInconsequent Argument
8Tabloid ThinkingShift of MeaningTechnical JargonJoin the Bandwagon AppealNon-SequiturAttacking a Straw Man
9Causal Oversimplification---Sophistical FormulaAppeal to Practical Consequences---Victory By Definition
10Inconceivability------Passing from the Acceptable to the Dubious ---Begging the Question

ocial Studies Games


A central reader announces three clues about a particular U.S. President. Each player must individually write down which President the clue describes. Players who answer correctly on the earliest clue get more points than players that answer after more clues are given. The first clue is worth 6 points, the second is worth 4 points, and the third is worth 2 points. In Michigan and West Virginia, the point system is slightly different. The first clue is worth 3 points, the second is worth 2 points, and the third is worth 1 point.

In the Elementary and Middle divisions, only a portion of presidents are used per season. For those divisions, ranges switch between presidents 1-24 and 25-43 every other year. In Junior and Senior divisions, however, all the presidents are used every season. During a tournament, players are assisted by a gazetteer which has each presidents name, birthdate, birthplace, and other basic information.

World Events

This event consists of a "current events" round about events from the past year, both foreign and domestic, and a "theme round," which changes yearly. In the current events and lightning round players may wager two, four, or six points after being given a broad category (such as "international politics" or "arts and entertainment") and are given two a few seconds. In theme round, players can use a resource book to assist them in finding the answer. They have 2 minutes Players are allowed to exempt themselves from two response if they are uncertain of the correct answers and thus prevent losing points.

The theme round is divided into two portions: A "lightning round," in which no references are permitted and point values are fixed, with questions worth two, four, and six points, and a "reference round." As In current events, players may wager two, four, or six points and are given two minutes to answer a question (generally more difficult than those in the lightning round) with help from prepared sources, and may "abstain" themselves for up to two questions. Correct answers gain points, while incorrect answers lose points. Correct and verified page numbers from resources can gain 4 bonus points. Past themes have included the American Civil War, the 1970s, the history of NASA, the Mesoamerican civilizations (Aztecs, Incas, Mayas), and World War I.

This game was originally known as "World Card."

The Theme of the 07-08 is 20th Century United States Disasters. During the National Tournament, players vote on next year's theme.


A spectator at an Academic Games tournament will hear a lot of jargon being thrown around that he may not be familiar with. Here are some of the most common AG-related words and their meanings.

*Challenge Win or Now -- A player calls Challenge Win when he can create a solution using the cubes in play, and optionally one more cube from resources. It can also be called C-A-flub or A-flub in classic version.
*Challenge Impossible or Never -- Challenge Impossible is called when a player believes it is impossible to create a solution, because of a previous player's move. The player it was called against must try to create a solution, and show that there was a correct solution possible. In classic version, it is called a P-flub.
*Demand -- A LinguiSHTIK demand can be called by stating the name of the demand and placing a green or black cube in the "Demands" section of the playing mat. The word and sentence in a player's solution must meet all demands called in that shake.
*Force Out -- In the case that a game is not finished within the time limit, or that no possible moves can be made that would not create a "Now" or "Never" situation, the game goes into a force out. During a force out, players are given two minutes to create a solution. Players with a correct solutions earn a small amount of points, and the ones with an incorrect solution receive none, or the minimum possible for that round.
*Goal -- Equations and On-Sets require the first player to use cubes from resources to set a goal. This is what players try to achieve a solution to throughout the shake
*Resources -- Resources are the cubes that are rolled at the beginning of each shake.
*Shake -- One match of a cube game is called a shake. A shake can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on the cubes rolled and the players involved.
*Solution -- A player uses the cubes in resources to create a solution that equals the goal. A solution must be written on paper. After a solution is presented, other players check that solution.
*Stall -- As a courtesy, players say the word "stall" before flipping the one-minute timer during their opponents turn. Most actions in the games have a time limit, ranging from 15 seconds to three minutes. Surpassing the time limit usually carries a small penalty.
*Universe -- At the beginning of an On-Sets shake, one player randomly lays out between six and fourteen unique cards containing colored dots. This collection of cards is called the universe.
*Variation -- In Equations and On-Sets, players can call a total of three variations that affect that shake. Variations are intended to make the game more interesting and more challenging for experienced players. Some examples of variations are "wilds" where one cube can represent another cube, "upside down", where an upside down number is interpreted as the numbers opposite, etc.

National tournaments

*2009: Knoxville, Tennessee []
*2008: Kissimmee, Florida []
*2007: Wheeling, West Virginia []
*2006: Charlotte, North Carolina []
*2005: Baton Rouge, Louisiana []
*2004: Orlando, Florida []
*2003: Wheeling, West Virginia []

ee also

*Reach for the Top
*Academic Decathlon

External links

* [ Academic Games Leagues of America] :Has rules, variation sheets, quizzes, general info, tournament results
* [ WFF 'N PROOF Learning Games]
* [ Academic Games Alumini]

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