Topics
Some of the more well-known topics in recreational mathematics are
magic squares,
fractals,
logic puzzles and
mathematical chess problems, but this area of mathematics includes the
aesthetics and
culture of mathematics, peculiar or amusing stories and
coincidences about mathematics, and the personal lives of
mathematicians.
Mathematical games
Mathematical games are
multiplayer games whose rules, strategies, and outcomes can be studied and explained using
mathematics. The players of the game may not need to use explicit mathematics in order to play mathematical games. For example,
Mancala is a mathematical game because mathematicians can study it using
combinatorial game theory, but no mathematics is necessary in order to play it.
Mathematical puzzles
Mathematical puzzles require mathematics in order to solve them. They have specific rules, as do
multiplayer games, but mathematical puzzles don't usually involve competition between two or more players. Instead, in order to solve such a
puzzle, the solver must find a solution that satisfies the given conditions.
Logic puzzles and
classical ciphers are common examples of mathematical puzzles.
Cellular automata and
fractals are also considered mathematical puzzles, even though the solver only interacts with them by providing a set of initial conditions.
As they often include or require game-like features or thinking, mathematical puzzles are sometimes also called mathematical games.
Other activities
Other curiosities and pastimes of non-trivial mathematical interest include: