Math Agent originated in a special education inclusion classroom. This meant a range of student abilities from high performing "I-Love-Math" types--to students for whom memorizing their time-tables was a struggle in a and of itself.
While I had used simple math games to great success, I noticed something--If you were a high performing kid, you loved games where you could demonstrate you were "smart." If you were on the other end of the spectrum, those games caused you anxiety. You dreaded them.
That lead me to thinking deeply about how the criteria for winning or losing a game; factors such as skill and luck; and other considerations such as cooperative or competitive roles influenced how students students responded to an activity.
I've characterized this design process as "Accountable Game Design"
Math Agent was explicitly designed to allow students of different abilities to play against one another. It doesn't matter if you're not as fast or "smart" as your buddy or know times tables as well as your dad, if you happen to draw the right card you could get lucky and win! On the flip-side, even if you are that supremely gifted learner, you'll get a kick out of cultivating deeper levels of skill and strategy.
If you're interested in learning more, I've attached some original published research that originated from Math Agent. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you want to discuss!