This post is written in partnership with DISTRIX™ Games. I received free product to facilitate my post. Opinions are 100% my own.
Politics. Puzzles. Math. Real world issue meets recreational challenge. Sound intriguing? Meet the DISTRIX™ Puzzle Book.
The DISTRIX™ Puzzle Book turns the serious (and often heated) topic of gerrymandering and turns it into a challenging (but fun!) learning opportunity and recreational activity.
The DISTRIX™ Puzzle Book is a phenomenal way to introduce the topic of redistricting- a process that happens every 10 years, based on the results of the latest US Census. Redistricting moves the boundaries of election districts to in theory, equalize populations so that each elected official from that state serves roughly the same number of constituents. It’s complicated, controversial, and unfortunately often leads to gerrymandering.
Gerrymandering: the dividing of a state, county, etc. into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible
Hang with me.
Here’s what I love. Many people get “fired up” about politics. And for most, political passion leads to social media rants. Matt Petering, the creator of the DISTRIX™ Puzzle Book (and the DISTRIX™ Strategy Game) took his passion for a complex issue and did something about it. Motivated by the knowledge that creating fair districts is possible in the real world, he created the DISTRIX™ products. The puzzle book is fun and challenging yes – but it also raises awareness and proves that as Petering puts it, “a middle ground between the extremes exist.”
Not a fan of politics? Did the last election cause you a bit of political burnout? No problem! Even if you’re not into politics or are the most “purple” person in the world, The DISTRIX™ Puzzle Book can be played as simply a challenging mathematical puzzle. Think of it as an alternative to Sudoku – something to keep your puzzling fresh and interesting. (And let me tell you – this puzzle book will definitely give your brain a workout!) If you know a math buff – they’d probably love this book.
The book is a collection of 90 different puzzles. The puzzles are divided into 30 “states.” For each puzzle, users are shown a 6×6 grid, with each of the 36 squares representing a community of voters that favor either Party A or Party B. You are tasked with the job of dividing the grid into 9 districts of equal size to either rig the election for Party A, Party B, or to make the election fair. (What a concept.) 😉 You play each grid/”state” three times – with the option to also play an Advanced mode for each goal.
The puzzle book is certain to keep you busy, and would be a great item to bring along on your next road trip or something to keep in the car/your purse in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to sit and wait. This is a great exercise to teach perseverance, logic, and trial and error in addition to the political issue at hand.
I highly encourage you to check out the DISTRIX™ Games website: https://www.distrixgames.com to learn more, see puzzle solutions, and purchase The DISTRIX™ Puzzle Book. (It’s only $10!) Go check them out! Happy puzzling everyone.