Match 6Dominoes Number Match is the newest game from We Come to Learn. It's our first game to focus on number skills, and it's the first to offer four games in one.

The easiest of the four is called Easy Match, a game that gives early learners a chance to build number sense and practice rote counting using dominoes. After a child has mastered the skill of matching domino dots to numbers in Easy Match, the next step is to take on Match 3 and Match 6.

Match 3 and Match 6 are essentially the same type of game but with different requirements. In both, a "house" domino starts the game, and the player must add matches to build a line or "train" of dominoes. The only difference is that in Match 3 the player adds only three dominoes to successfully complete a round, and in Match 6, the player must add six. In both, the player earns a point each time he makes a correct match. In Match 3, it takes three points to reach the celebration and start a new game, and in Match 6 it takes, well, six. Makes sense, right?!

The object of Match 3 and Match 6 is to take the skill of matching like amounts and apply it to building a string of dominoes, setting up the child to learn to play a real game of dominoes against an opponent.

These games are more challenging than Easy Match for a couple of reasons. One is that the player now has to pay attention to both ends of the domino train.

A second difference is that in these games, the player's hand never empties, as each domino that is put into play is immediately replaced by a new one.

Another difference is that, while in Easy Match the player could always be sure that the three dominoes in his hand were the three needed to make correct matches, that guarantee has been removed here. In its place are two new buttons: the yellow HINT button and the green SHUFFLE button.

The yellow HINT button will show a player which of the dominoes in his current hand could be used to successfully match one end of the domino train. If no dominoes are highlighted by using the HINT button, then the SHUFFLE button will be highlighted instead. The SHUFFLE button can be used at any time to give the player a whole new hand of dominoes. Both the HINT button and the SHUFFLE button can be used as many times as the player needs them.

Careful use of the game's options means that parents and teachers can support learning at a variety of levels. For the beginner, you may wish to limit play to 0-3, moving on to 0-6 and 0-9 as skill levels grow. You may also wish to begin with either numerals-only or dots-only, and switch to mixed dots-and-numerals play later on.

And once your child is comfortable playing Match 3 and Match 6, he or she is ready to move on to the Full Game. Check back with the WCTL blog, and in the coming days I'll talk more about playing the Full Game… vs. the machine!