Wrecks Factor

Factorise simple and harder quadratics, including quadratics with common factors

S.O.S.! Ships navigating the treacherous Bermuda Rectangle are falling prey to bizarre disasters. Factorise quadratic expressions to answer the ships’ distress calls and save their stricken crews!

Quadratics, Factorising, Difference of two squares, Common factors


Game Goals

In this maths game you are the chief of rescue operations for the Bermuda Rectangle. Your task is to protect the ships crossing this notorious body of water, keeping watch for any vessels that fall prey to its strange and terrifying phenomena.

Stricken ships will transmit their search area coordinates encoded as a quadratic expression. You must decipher the code before the ship sinks, and dispatch a rescue chopper to locate life rafts and save the crew.

It’s a tough job but we know you can handle it, Chief!

How To Play

To start a game, click ‘Play’ and then click ‘OK’ to accept the default settings on the two menu screens that follow.

Ships will sail into view from either side of the screen. Randomly ships will fall victim to the terrors of the Bermuda Rectangle and start to sink. Your task is to intercept these ships and rescue their crews before they finally slip below the surface.

When a ship starts sinking it transmits its search area encoded as a quadratic expression. First, you decipher the signal by factorising the quadratic. Next, you ‘draw’ a search area around the ship using your mouse, making sure the lengths of the area’s sides correspond directly to the quadratic’s factors.

If you factorise the quadratic correctly and draw the search area accurately then a rescue chopper is dispatched to scour the search area for life rafts and rescue the survivors. Your rewards are...

If you factorise the quadratic incorrectly and/or draw the search area inaccurately then a warning sounds and the ship continues sinking. Your penalties are:

When the timer falls to zero your game ends, and you are shown a summary of the ships you saved and how many points you earned.

Game Controls

This game is controlled entirely with the mouse. As you move the mouse pointer over the grid, a red ‘x’ cursor tracks its movement.

To draw a search area:

When you draw a search area, the lengths of the two sides of the rectangle correspond directly to the number terms in the quadratic’s two factors.

Also, after locking the ‘x’ cursor, the direction in which you drag the mouse determines whether the number terms are positive, negative or a mix of both.

In Modes 3 & 4, the x coefficient in one of the factors may be greater than 1, e.g. (2x + 3). To allow this input, there are two rows of buttons along the top and to the side of the grid. When clicked, these buttons set the value of the x coefficient in the horizontal or vertical factor to the indicated value.

Note that only one of these buttons may be selected at any given time. If the horizontal factor is ‘2x’ or greater and you set the vertical factor to ‘2x’ or greater then the horizontal factor will reset automatically to ‘x’, and vice versa.

For example: If you click on the ‘2x’ button along the top row, when you draw a search area the horizontal factor will be (2x + ?) and the vertical factor with be (x + ?). If you now click on the ‘4x’ button in the side row, when you draw a search area the vertical factor will be (4x + ?) and the horizontal factor will be (x + ?).

In Mode 4, some quadratics may have common factors that need to be removed before you factorise them (as the game does not consider an input valid unless the quadratic is fully factorised). To remove factors, first click on the signal bubble. Four smaller bubbles will appear, each displaying a different factor value, e.g. ‘÷4’.

Click on the factor you want to remove. If the factor is valid, you will see it pulled out of the quadratic expression. If the factor is invalid, you lose a few second from the timer.

‘Select Mode’ Options

On this menu screen you choose which type of quadratic factorisation problems to face. Click on the Mode you want to play, then click ‘OK’ (by default, the game highlights the highest Mode available).

When you play for the first time, only the easiest Mode will be available. To unlock the next Mode, you must earn enough points for a Bronze Medal or better.

A score modifier is applied according to the Mode’s difficulty – tackle the toughest maths to earn the biggest points!

Mode Maths Content Score Modifier
1 Quadratic factorising like (x + 2)(x + 3) All points × 1
2 Quadratic factorising like (x – 3)(x + 2) All points × 2
3 Quadratic factorising like (2x + 1)(x – 3) All points × 3
4 Quadratic factorising like 2(3x – 1)(x + 2) All points × 4

‘Select Assist’ Options

On this menu screen you choose how much help with the maths that the game gives you. Click on the Assist you require, then click ‘OK’ (by default, the game highlights ‘Standard Assist’).

A score modifier is applied according to the Assist you choose. The less help you use, the more points you earn – try beating Mode 4 with Minimum Assist to really rack up a high score!

Assist Type Maths Help Provided Score Modifier
Maximum Display the factors, the search area size and the quadratic created. All points × ½
Standard Display the factors and the search area size. All points × 1
Minimum Display the factors only. All points × 2


The total number of points earned for each rescued ship is calculated as:

Total Score = Base Score × Mode Modifier × Assist Modifier × Multiplier × Link Bonus

There are five different types of ship sailing the Bermuda Rectangle. Each moves at a different speed and sinks at a different rate, and so is worth a different ‘base score’ if rescued:

Ship Type Frequency Sailing Speed Sinking Rate Base Score
Very Common Very Slow Very Slow 1,000 points
Common Slow Slow 2,000 points
Uncommon Medium Medium 3,000 points
Very Uncommon Fast Fast 5,000 points
Rare Very Fast Very Fast 8,000 points

The base score is ‘modified’ according to the Mode and Assists selected before the game (as outlined in previous sections), and is further boosted by the Multiplier bar’s value at the time of rescue. In addition, a special Link Bonus is applied if you manage to overlap (or ‘link’) two or more search areas before they fade away. The more search areas that are linked, the more points you win. You also earn a bigger time bonus and extra liferings, so you can grow your Multiplier far more quickly:
Search Areas ‘Linked’ Score Multiplier Time Bonus Liferings
1 ×1 +5 seconds +1
2 ×1.50 +7 seconds +2
3 ×2.25 +11 seconds +3
4 ×3.38 +16 seconds +4

Example 1:
I am playing Mode 3 (score modifier ×3) with Minimum Assists (score modifier ×2). My Multiplier bar has grown to ×3 when I rescue a Liner (base score = 5,000). I didn’t manage to overlap the search area with that of another ship, so there’s no Link Bonus. So my total score for rescuing the ship is:
Total Score = 5,000 × 3 × 2 × 3 × 1 = 90,000 points

Example 2:
I am playing Mode 2 (score modifier ×2) with Maximum Assists (score modifier ×½). My Multiplier bar has grown to ×2 when I rescue a Tanker (base score = 1,000). I overlap the search area with that of two other ships, so the Link Bonus is ×2.25. So my total score for rescuing the ship is:
Total Score = 1,000 × 2 × 0.5 × 2 × 2.25 = 4,500 points

Improve your score

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