How to Solve the 24 Game

By Dustin Thornton

The game of 24 is a very simple concept. Use multiplication, division, addition and subtraction to manipulate four numbers that appear on a card so that the outcome equals 24. However, if you have ever played, you know that it can be very difficult to figure out how to solve each card. Although there is no secret to solving a puzzle in 24, there are strategies you can implement to solve every puzzle in the game of 24.

Group numbers into two pairs to solve the puzzle. Instead of looking at all four numbers at once, separate the numbers into two pairs that work together. If the numbers on the card are 1, 2, 3 and 4, then try group the 1 and 2 into a pair and the 3 and 4 into a pair:

(1 x 2) + (3 x 4) = 24

Select one of the numbers and transform the other three into what you need. Working with the same 1, 2, 3 and 4 card, try turning the 1, 2 and 3 into a six and then multiplying them by the 4:

(1 x 2 x 3) x (4) = 24

Look for two numbers that are "almost" factors of 24. Make a 1 with the other two numbers and add the number to the number that is almost a factor of 24 to make it a factor. If the numbers on the card are 2, 2, 4 and 5, you know that 4 and 6 are factors of 24. Make a 1 with both 2's and then add that to the 5 to turn it into a 6:

(2 / 2) = 1 4 x (1+ 5) =24


Memorize all of the factors and multiples of 24 so that you can easily recognize the numbers when playing.

Practice solving cards using different strategies. Note that there are many ways to solve a single card.

About the Author

Dustin Thornton has been writing since 2003. He has served as a newspaper columnist for the "Troy Tropolitan" and a contributor to various websites. Thornton received a partial scholarship for an outstanding essay in 2003. He has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Troy University.