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The University of Auckland Maths Club – maths and strategic games! 


Message from the President – Tristan Pang, 2017 S2 – 2018 S2

Welcome to the University of Auckland Maths Club (also known as Polygon)!

The University of Auckland Maths Club is not just about maths – it is a combination of maths and strategic board and card games. Not only do we hold separate maths and strategic games events for our fellow members and the wider community, but also other events that aim to merge the two, promoting maths to the strategic games community, and strategic games to mathematicians.

Our club also participates in and runs its own outreach events, pushing the message of the importance of maths and strategic games to the wider pre-academic and non-academic communities.

It is obvious from the name that strategic games encompass some kind of strategy, but what might not be clear at first glance is that they stimulate the brain through problem-solving, routing skills, bargaining skills, and more.

Austin Ibarra (UoA Maths PhD candidate), our life member and president of the club in 2014 and 2015, has once said to me,

One of the things that I think tie Maths and Board Games together is the “problem solving” factor. Whether or not you continue in the field, one of the most valuable skills you can learn and develop through mathematics is problem solving.  Definitions, theorems, algorithms, etc… they’re all tools in your toolbox. Think about the toolbox you have – can you solve problems in front of you? And can you do so in the most efficient and effective way?

I find a similar thing at work in board games (particularly more of the strategy-driven ones), but in a lighter, more fun, and more social setting.

Spot on!

For me, maths and strategic games are inseparable for as long as I can remember. While people study for their maths exams the night before, I play strategic games (this is the secret to good grades!), as brain games can help us both relax and stimulate our minds for the next day.

I was drawn to this club since I first came to the university four years ago. I am honoured to be able to see this club into its 10th year.

Our club began as a social offshoot of the maths department with an emphasis on strategic German-style board/card games, an emphasis we still maintain today. 2018 marks 10 years for our club, and I want to acknowledge all those people who, through their individual contributions over the years, have got us to this point.

I also want to acknowledge our current hard-working team who have been diligently giving up their time to make this club possible. I would also like to extend thanks to all our sponsors, supporters, and life members for their generosity and support.

Big changes are coming for the club in 2018. Besides this new website and streamlining the administration system, we are redefining the club and connecting not only with our club members, department, and faculty but also reaching out to our wider community.

I know we’re in for an exciting and stimulating year and I look forward to meeting you all.

2017 S2 – 2018 S2 President