Largest total / Largest difference

A game for 2 or more players

This is a game that can be played in a variety of ways to give practise of adding and/or subtracting numbers with 2 or more digits. It encourages estimation and reasoning skills.

You will need:

  • Two 10-sided dice (or roll one twice)
  • Pen and paper
  • How to play

    Decide whether you will find the highest total or difference. You may change this each round if you like. Decide how many points are needed to win – 5 is a reasonable target.

    Roll as many dice as the number of digits you want to work with and arrange these in any order to make a number. Each player does this twice then adds or subtracts the resultant numbers with an appropriate mental or written method.

    The largest answer wins a point. The winner is the first to an agreed number of points.


  • Instead of dice, use 2 sets of 0-9 number cards shuffled together. Reshuffle all cards after every turn.
  • Use the same numbers in an addition and subtraction calculation each round, with a point being scored by the player with the highest total and a point for the highest difference. This can encourage a lot of thought about where to place digits to win both points.
  • Calculate with decimals or large numbers, picking randomly from either lollipop sticks or cards with appropriate numbers written on. This can also provide support for correctly aligning numbers.