Target 20: A Math Game of Strategy and Computation

Free computation math game

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

You can never have too many math games, right? Slip in a little strategy to boost problem-solving and limit the materials to four dice and a recording sheet, and this computation math game is pure gold!

This game is called Target 20 and it’s designed to let students practice subtracting 2-digit numbers. Here are the rules. Each player needs a score sheet. On their turn, a player rolls 4 dice, makes two 2-digit numbers, and adds or subtracts them. The goal is to get as close to 20 as possible. The LOW score wins this game, so you have to think carefully about how you make your 2-digit numbers. The number can be over or under 20, and your score is the difference.  For example, a player would score 2 points for either 18 or 22.

computation math game

So if you rolled the numbers shown above, what would you have done on your turn? I was able to get a difference of 2. Can anybody beat that?

Here’s the recording sheet students will need. There is room to record five rounds. Players then add up the differences from each round, and the player with the overall lowest difference wins.

computation math game

Click here to grab the score sheet for this computation math game. Check out this post for a couple more computation dice games that involve strategy.


  1. Camille

    Donna,Thank you for sharing! I am going to think about how to change this game slightly for my firsties!
    An Open Door
    P.S. If you let me multiply, I can get a score of 1. (3X6) + 5-4 = 1

    • Donna Boucher

      Oh, so you want to bend the rules, huh? Ha ha. Check out Target 11 for a similar game that your firsties would like.

  2. stephf54

    Thanks for another activity for my GT second graders. This will keep them occupied for a while until they figure out a strategy to make it go quickly! I can barely stay a step ahead of them this year

    • Donna Boucher

      It’s good that they keep you on your toes! Ha ha. I’m glad this will help out. 🙂

  3. isla1661

    Do you know the game Mathador Flash? I’m afraid it’s a French game but the rules are simple with dice.
    Roll a two ten-faces dies, that makes your target number.
    Roll five dies (4 faces, 6 faces, 10 faces, 12 faces, 20 faces)
    Combine the five numbers with all four operations to reach the target.
    Each + or * is one point.
    Each – is two points.
    Each / is three points.
    If you use all five numbers to reach the target, you have a Mathador, scores 13.

    Make a google images research using the words Mathador flash.
    There’s an online app (in French)

    I hope it’s useful to you. Excuse my poor English. I’m not selling anything, basically, everyone can use their dice to play the game. I thought I’d share as I find this blog really good!
    Have a nice day!

  4. Kidpeople Classroom

    This is a great way for me to differentiate instruction for some of my little kindergarten math wizzes. This one and some of your others for three dice with smaller numbers are very useful. Thanks. Kathleen Kidpeople Classroom

    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure, Kathleen!


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