Make a pile of ten items. Pens and pencils would be suitable.
Each player takes it in turn to remove one, two or three items.
The player to remove the last item is the winner.
Play the game four or five times then write down any strategies you may have found.
Are you good enough to challenge the computer at this game?
Open in full window: 10 pencils  11 pencils  12 pencils  13 pencils
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Topics: Starter  Games  Number  Problem Solving
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Teacher, do your students have
access to computers? 

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.
Here is the URL which will take them to Multipile Nim which is a different game but based on similar principles.
Students might also like to try Calculator Nim