Thrift Treasure: Py Math Game

Thrift Treasure: Py Math Game

Unless you live in the same area as we do (Quad Cities IA/IL), you have probably never seen this game before. Your children may have been exposed to it if they are in California, as that is where the publisher is currently located and still demoing Py to local schools. CSAM Co, Py Division, appears to have had its start right here in Bettendorf, and by the number we see show up at our local thrift stores, must have sold quite a few.

The first thing I noticed was the wooden box. Yes, this game comes in a stained solid wood box, and all of the components are wood as well – right down to the dice. It has the feel of a locally-made, small batch product with misaligned holes and instructions printed via a laser printer on résumé stock.

But because the entire product is made from wood, it has remained in like-new condition for the past 10 years. Py is a simple game meant to help kids of all ages expand their math abilities by requiring them to figure out addition, subtraction, multiplication and division solutions to random dice rolls in an attempt to build a pyramid.

This week's Thrift Treasure is one you have probably never heard of unless you live in Iowa. The Py Math Game is an educational tool that helps all ages! -

There are a number of different rules included depending on the ability of the child, but I’ll highlight the most flexible version (and one that will challenge adults as well). Each player receives a bag filled with numbered markers and a tray to hold four active pieces. Dice are rolled and either added or multiplied together (you determine the rules at the beginning of the game). The first player to use 3 or 4 of his markers to create a mathematical formula that equals the die result gets to place those pieces onto the pyramid board.

This week's Thrift Treasure is one you have probably never heard of unless you live in Iowa. The Py Math Game is an educational tool that helps all ages! -

For instance, in the photo above a fifteen was rolled. Red played a 9/9/3/5, making a formula of 9 / 9 * 3 * 5. Once a successful equation is made, the markers are put on the board in any position.

The game continues until the pyramid of 55 markers is complete. The player who has the most pieces in the pyramid wins the game.

This week's Thrift Treasure is one you have probably never heard of unless you live in Iowa. The Py Math Game is an educational tool that helps all ages! -

As I mentioned, there are a number of other rule options that allow for addition only, addition and subtraction and even a solitaire version.

CSAM Co. now operates out of California and offers the full game on their website for $45, a fair price considering the quality of components. You might get lucky and find them available at thrift on the west coast, or quite often here in Iowa. We’ve seen four copies in the past 9 months, all in perfect condition for $2-$4/each! Copies also pop up every once in a while on eBay.

Do you know of any local-only games in your area?


About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as, and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

24 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Py Math Game»

  1. cami v says:

    I have never heard of this game. Would be great for my boys when they get older. I don’t know of any local games but makes me want to look into it.

  2. Jennifer Williams says:

    We have definitely not seen that one before. I love that it takes something educational and makes it fun – that is the best way to get kids to learn. My youngest is a bit too young for it but we will need it in a couple years.

  3. Ronnie says:

    My fave kind of board games are those that involve math. This looks like a challenging one!

  4. Interesting review Scott! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Terry says:

    You are so right! I never seen that game before. I am terrible at math while my Hubs is a Whiz!! Maybe I need to get this game, practice with it, then kick his butt.

  6. No, over here on the east coast, so haven’t seen it before- but I love that it’s so well-made, all out of wood! It does remind me of some of the math manipulatives and games we used to have when I was homeschooling my four kids. Math has never been my strong subject, so it helped to have aids like this to teach and reinforce math skills.

  7. Donna Ward says:

    Wow! I love this Scott – when I was little, my parent had me add, subtract and multiply, out loud, at their request in front of friends – so I became really great at math – so wish I had this game for my son!! He lacks that confidence that this game could have given him in math!

  8. Liz Mays says:

    It’s so nice to see a challenging game like this. I’m particularly fond of the wooden construction as well.

  9. Michele says:

    This sounds like a game I would like to play-especially since they say you can play solo! Everyone could use a brush up on mentally calculating instead of using their fingers or paper!

  10. I love that this game reinforces math skills. It is a great resource for parents and educators.

    1. Absolutely, you are right!

  11. So much new about this game – I really cannot compare ot to anything I know. Like the fact that it strengthens math skills

  12. Katherine says:

    I am horrible at math but this looks like it would be great for kids who need practice!

  13. My 14yr old who is the math genius in our house would really love this. I’ll have to show it to him.

  14. sounds like a very challenging game for me…lol!

  15. Rosey says:

    Wood does hold up well for game pieces, you’re right. We have a wood chess set that’s been around 20+ years, has been played a lot and still looks brand new.

    I like that this game here has a solitaire option!! I’d def. be trying it solo sometimes too.

  16. What a unique game. I have never heard of anything similiar. I think this looks like a great game for my kids. They love math.

  17. What a cool game! I know that there are loads of computer games and apps that teach math to the kids these days. But this is something that a parent can do with a child or can be used for mentoring or as a small classroom activity. Definitely a game that should be produced on a larger scale.

  18. I have never heard of this game. I think my kids would enjoy it!

  19. Christina W says:

    This is going to be a favorite game for my kids! My two oldest daughters absolutely love math, and my youngest could hopefully learn to love it through this game. $45 seems a little high but probably worth it since it’s made of wood and would last forever. I don’t know of any local-only games but will look around.

  20. Amy Lovell says:

    This sounds really neat.

  21. Julian Reyes says:

    This is something new and different!

  22. Maggie B says:

    Thanks for doing a review about this game.

  23. This is Sun Kim, con-inventor and educator of Py Math Game. Dr. Kim and Sun appreciate your recognition of Py Math Game as one of valuable education tool for Math eduction, not only for math education, but also reconnect with family and friends with human interaction and enjoy life while sharpening their brain. We were very active in Midwest region, especially Quad cities area and Des Moines IA and beyond. Now we moved to Southern California 4 years ago, we still receive positive comments from teachers and family and keep ordering Py Math game through our website.

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