WHEN Matt Tidbury first started developing a board game to teach his children maths, he just wanted them to enjoy learning.

Now, seven years later, his three children have left school, but his zombie invasion board game has just won three gold awards at the UK Games Expo.

City of Zombies took the top prize for best numeracy game, best family game and players’ choice at the Birmingham Hilton show from May 30 to June 1.

Mr Tidbury, 51, of Lydalls Road, Didcot, said: “This is such a huge deal, and completely unexpected.

“I took the game along for people to try out, and it was played continuously.”

The Best Numeracy Game category, for “games that count”, was judged by a panel of teachers and parents with experience using games to teach maths.

The Best Family Game title was awarded by staff from Imagination Gaming, a company specialising in educational gaming and the Players’ Choice award was voted for by expo visitors who spent their weekend playing games.

Mr Tidbury, who lives with wife Amanda, said: “All I ever wanted was to help kids enjoy maths and not be scared by it.

“The expo is a huge thing in the gaming world, just to be nominated for the awards was fantastic in itself.”

As testament to its popularity, Sonning Common Primary School has now bought 12 copies of the game for its pupils.

Mr Tidbury, a full-time design consultant, said: “They originally bought six copies, and I said ‘that’s fantastic’.

“I delivered the copies, and stayed to play it with the kids and teach them.

“I must have played with 120 children that first afternoon.”

The school has now ordered another six games.

In City of Zombies, up to six players work together and roll dice to try to eliminate ranks of flesh-eating zombies as they march up the board.

The game, recommended for ages eight and up, lasts roughly half an hour.

Mr Tidbury had 1,000 copies printed and delivered to his home on December 14.

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