# Pen and Paper games

# Dots and Boxes

Also known as: La Pipopipette

Players take turns in drawing lines between dots on a grid. The player who completes the most boxes wins.

# Description

The game is played starting with a rectangular array of dots.

The two players take turns to join two adjacent dots with a horizontal or vertical line. If a player completes the fourth side of a box they initial that box and must draw another line.

When all the boxes have been completed the winner is the player who has initialled the most boxes.

The game is more complex than it initially appears, and even on a 4x4 grid there is plenty of opportunity for skilful play.

# TwixT

The players try to link their dots to form a continuous chain from one side of the board to the other.

# The board

The game is played on a large grid of dots, at least 12 x 12, excluding the four corner dots. One player uses a blue pen and the other uses a red pen.

The top and bottom rows belong to blue, and the leftmost and rightmost columns belong to red:

# Description

Blue plays first, and the players take turns in marking a dot anywhere on the grid, apart from on their opponent’s border.

Linking dots

After placing a dot a player can optionally link a pair of their own dots that are a knight’s move apart; in other words, one dot apart in one direction and two dots apart in the other direction.

A player’s link can cross one of their own links but not one of their opponent’s. Links that cross aren’t considered connected.

The first player to create a continuous chain of linked pegs connecting their border rows wins the game.

# Chomp

The players take turns in chomping squares out of a bar of chocolate. The player who eats the last square loses.

# Description

The game is played on a rectangular grid representing a bar of chocolate - a good size is 5 x 4. The top left square is marked in some way to represent a poison pill:

The players take turns to mark an empty square, and then shade any unshaded squares below and to the right of it to represent taking a bite of the chocolate:

# Obstruction

Players take turns in marking squares on a grid. The first player unable to move loses.

# Description

The game is played on a grid; 6 x 6 is a good size. One player is ‘O’ and the other is ‘X’.

The players take turns in writing their symbol in an empty cell. Placing a symbol blocks all of the neighbouring cells from both players, and you can optionally indicate this by shading them:

The first player unable to move loses.

# Sprouts

The players take turns in joining dots according to simple rules, until one player cannot make a move.

# Description

Start by drawing two or more spots on a piece of paper.

Players then take turns to make a move, according to the following rules:

Draw a line joining two spots, or a single spot to itself. The line must not cross another line or pass through another spot. Draw a spot on the new line. No more than three lines can emerge from any spot. The last player to be able to move wins.

The game is remarkably complicated, and even starting with two spots leads to an interesting game.

# Cram

Also known as: Plugg

The players take turns linking pairs of dots on a grid. The first player unable to move loses.

# Description

The game is played on a matrix of dots.

The players take turns in linking a pair of adjacent dots with a horizontal or vertical link. No dot can be linked more than once.

In the normal game the first player unable to move loses.

Alternatively, in the MisÃ¨re version, the first player unable to move wins.

# Domineering

Also known as: Crosscram, Stop-Gate

The players take turns linking pairs of dots on a grid. The first player unable to move loses.

# Description

The game is played on a matrix of dots.

The players take turns in linking a pair of adjacent dots. The first player, Blue, always makes a vertical link, and the other player, Red, always makes a horizontal link. No dot can be linked more than once.

The first player unable to move loses.

# Sim

Players alternately join dots on a hexagon; the first player who competes a triangle in their own colour loses.

# Description

First draw a board consisting of six dots arranged in a hexagon, with each dot connected to every other dot by a line:

The players take turns colouring an uncoloured line.

The first player forced to complete a triangle in their own colour loses the game.

The game cannot be a draw because there is no way to colour all the lines without creating at least one triangle.

# Gale

Also known as: Bridgit

Players take turns in linking dots on overlapping grids. The first player to draw a continuous chain linking their ends of the board wins.

# Description

To create the board first draw a rectangular array of 4 x 5 blue dots. Then draw an overlapping array of 5 x 4 red dots.

The players take turns in linking two adjacent dots of their own colour. No two links may cross. The first player to form a chain of links across the board, from top to bottom (blue) or left to right (red), wins.

The game can be played with larger overlapping arrays of n x n+1 dots. The game cannot be a draw because, to block their opponent, a player must themselves form a continuous chain.

# Snakes

Players take turns in drawing segments of a snake. The last player able to move wins.

# Description

The game is played on a matrix of 5 x 5 (or more) dots.

The first player, Blue, starts in the second row and column, and the other player, Red, starts in the last but one row and column, as shown by the blue and red squares:

The players take turns in growing a snake, extending it a segment at a time by drawing a horizontal or vertical line from the previous dot to an adjacent dot:

The first player unable to move loses.

# Dots

Also known as: Tochki, Kropki

Each player tries to capture their opponent’s dots by surrounding them with a continuous chain of their own dots.

# Description

The game is played on a grid of squared paper, and each player has a pen of a different colour (or use a different line patern). The players take turns in drawing a dot of their own colour on an empty intersection.

Enclosures

Each player aims to make ‘enclosures’, surrounding their opponent’s dots by a continuous chain of their own dots. To form a chain, the player’s dots must be adjacent to each other vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and the enclosure must contain at least one of the opponent’s dots.

Once a player makes an enclosure they draw a line through the chain, and optionally shade over the area it encloses. No further plays can be made inside the enclosure, and at the end of the game they will score a point for each of the opponent’s dots it encloses.

Ending

A player says “Pass” if they have no useful moves to make. When both players have passed the game ends, and the winner is the one who has captured the most dots of their opponent.

# Additional rules

# Houses

If a player makes a continuous chain that doesn’t enclose any of their opponent’s dots it doesn’t become an enclosure, but is called a “house”.

However, if the opponent subsequently plays a dot inside the house, and that dot doesn’t itself immediately create an enclosure, then the house becomes an enclosure and the owner can draw in the chain around it.

# Enclosing enclosures

If a player makes a chain that surrounds one of their opponent’s enclosures, their pieces in the inner enclosure are liberated and will not count towards the final score.

# Battleships

Also known as: Broadsides

Players take turns in trying to guess the locations of the other player’s ships on a grid.

# Description

Each player draws two 10 x 10 grids, labelled along the sides with letters and numbers. On the left-hand grid the player secretly draws rectangles representing their fleet of ships:

# Description

The fleet Each player’s fleet consists of the following ships:

1 x Aircraft carrier - 5 squares 1 x Battleship - 4 squares 1 x Cruiser - 3 squares 2 x Destroyers - 2 squares each 2 x Submarines - 1 square each Each ship occupies a number of adjacent squares on the grid, horizontally or vertically.

# Play

During play the players take turns is making a shot at the opponent, by calling out the coordinates of a square (eg D5). The opponent responds with “hit” if it hits a ship or “miss” if it misses. If the player has hit the last remaining square of a ship the opponent must announce the name of the ship; eg “You sank my battleship”.

During play each player should record their opponent’s shots on the left-hand grid, and their shots on the right-hand grid as “X” for a hit and “O” for a miss:

# Order and Chaos

One player tries to get a line of five symbols and the other player tries to stop them.

# Description

The game is played on a 6 x 6 grid. The players play alternately, and on each turn a player can write either an ‘X’ or an ‘O’ in an empty square.

The first player takes the role of Order, and tries to complete a line of five ‘X’s or five ‘O’s in any direction. The other player, Chaos, tries to prevent this.

Order wins as soon as a line of five is completed. If the game reaches a point where no line of five is possible, Chaos wins.

Note that a row of six of the same symbol doesn’t count as a win for Order.

# Noughts and Crosses

Also known as: Tic-tac-toe

Players take turns in marking squares on a 3 x 3 grid. The first player to get three squares in a row wins.

# Description

This is probably the best known pencil and paper game.

The game is played on a 3 x 3 grid, typically created by drawing two horizontal lines and two vertical lines on a piece of paper:

One player is ‘O’ and the other is ‘X’. The players take turns in drawing their symbol in one of the cells. The first player to make a line of three of their symbol horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins.

If both players play perfectly the outcome is always a draw, but with inexperienced players the game is just complex enough to make the game interesting.

# Connect Four

Also known as: Four in a Row, Four in a Line

Players take turns in marking squares on a grid subject to gravity. The first player to get four squares in a row wins.

# Description

The game is played on a grid with six rows and seven columns:

One player is ‘O’ and the other is ‘X’. The players take turns in marking a square with their symbol, but the pieces behave as if subject to gravity. In other words, you can only put a piece in the lowest space in a column.

The first player to get four squares in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, wins.

# Go-Moku

Also known as: Five in a row, Go Bang, Pegit, Gomoku

Players take turns in marking squares on a grid. The first player to get five squares in a row wins.

# Description

The game is played on a large piece of squared paper, at least 15 x 15. The players take turns in marking a square with their symbol (eg ‘O’ and ‘X’). The first player to get five squares in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, wins.