Monday, September 8, 2014

Pirates of the Parabolean: A Review Game

Happy Monday!

So my students played their first review game of the semester today, and it's one of my favorites. Last semester, we played several games of Grudgeball, and my students always wanted a theme to play. After playing a pirate version, I decided to tweak the rules a bit, and Pirates of the Parabolean was born.

My students got super excited when they saw this agenda!

Here's the basic gameplay:

  • Winner: team with the most ships
  • Each pirate team starts with 5 ships in their "fleet"
  • Teacher calls out a question, or displays a question on the board. 
  • First team to hold up a correct answer gets 2 cards off the top of the deck. 

Students working in teams to answer using sleeve protectors as dry erase boards.

Here are some of my pirates working super hard!

So where we we? Oh yes, the deck. Here's a sampling of the cards. The VAST majority of the cards in the deck are ships, but there are about 10-12 "special treasure" cards. 

So as soon as a team answers correctly, they get the top 2 cards in the deck. Then they choose another team to "attack." The 2 teams (attacker and attacked teams) answer another question, and the first of the two to answer correctly "steals" 3 ships from the other team's fleet. There's a bit of risk involved for the attacking team, so they usually try to pick on the team they think is easiest to beat.

And because they're in high school, grudges are held. Rules are broken. Revenge is taken. 
My kids are generally very competitive, so I thought a pirate themed rule reminder was a good idea. After my first class, you can see it needed a slight modification.  

This game is FUN. No prep besides finding good questions (I use old tests and quizzes), and the kids love the craziness of it all. 


  1. this idea is amazing! consider it stolen ;)

  2. Would you be willing to share your game file?

  3. I couldn't find how to email you :)


  4. I didn't design the clipart, so I can't ethically share the card files. But it's just a ship image printed 12 to a page (I had 3 pages worth in the deck), and then 12 "special cards" that I made up with random pirate clipart (4 each of the 3 shown in the pic from the post). 48 cards total.