I bought this game for Sam last year because he loves math so much. Little did I know how incredibly difficult the game is. Wow! It really works my poor little brain.
We pulled it out again yesterday and then again today. We're actually getting somewhere, just not all that quickly. The photo was taken a few turns before we quit...after probably an hour of play.
We use an eclectic mix of the rules. We use 1) the easy rules for pulling tiles,2) allow for unattached equations, 3) don't bother keeping score, and 4) use the advanced tiles.
1) That means we separate the tiles into two piles: signs and numbers. This allows you to draw either or both as needed. If you need five new tiles, you can pick five numbers and no signs, five signs and no numbers, or any mixture of both. This ensures you have a balanced set of tiles to work with. We moved to this rule after Sam drew something like five minus signs, another sign, and only three numbers or something equally dreadful. It's in the rule book as an option.
2) We allow for unattached equations. The goal is to attach them, but it isn't necessary. This, too, is in the rule book. When you do this, your equation nets you no points.
3) Rule concession two isn't a big deal when you don't bother to keep score anyway. Coming up with valid equations is tough enough.
4) We use the advanced tiles that include more fractions, negative numbers, and exponents (including negative exponents). Personally, I find the advanced tiles easier to work with than the original set, if you know negative numbers and exponents, that is.
Regardless of how easy we attempt to make the game, we find it quite challenging anyway. Definitely makes you use your math skills.