Recreational mathematics

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Recreational mathematics is an umbrella term, referring to mathematical puzzles and mathematical games.

Not all problems in this field require a knowledge of advanced mathematics, and thus, recreational mathematics often attracts the curiosity of non-mathematicians, and inspires their further study of mathematics.



This genre of mathematics includes logic puzzles and other puzzles that require deductive reasoning, the aesthetics of mathematics, and peculiar or amusing stories and coincidences about mathematics and mathematicians. Some of the more well-known topics in recreational mathematics are magic squares and fractals.

Mathematical games

Mathematical games are multiplayer games whose rules, strategies, and outcomes can be studied and explained by mathematics. The players of the game may not need to use mathematics in order to play mathematical games. For example, Mancala is a mathematical game, because mathematicians can study it using combinatorial game theory, even though no mathematics is necessary in order to play it.

Mathematical puzzles

Mathematical puzzles require mathematics in order to solve them. They have specific rules, as do multiplayer games, but mathematical puzzles don't usually involve competition between two or more players. Instead, in order to solve such a puzzle, the solver must find a solution that satisfies the given conditions.

Logic puzzles are a common type of mathematical puzzle. Conway's Game of Life and fractals are also considered mathematical puzzles, even though the solver only interacts with them by providing a set of initial conditions.

Sometimes, mathematical puzzles are referred to as mathematical games as well.


Other curiosities and pastimes of non-trivial mathematical interest:

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