# 7 Most Popular Paper and Pencil Games

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Here is a list of 7 most popular Paper and Pencil Games.

**Tic Tac Toe**

Also known as noughts and crosses or ‘X and O’, Tic Tac Toe is a very popular paper and pencil game. A 3×3 grid with spaces made are used by players to fill with X or O. The player who succeeds in placing three respective assigned marks (X or O) in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row wins the game. Players soon discover that best play from both parties leads to a draw (often referred to as cat or cat’s game). An early variant of Tic-tac-toe, ‘Terni Lapilli’ was played in Roman empire. The game’s grid markings have been found chalked all over Rome. Some believe that the game originated in ancient Egypt. Tic Tac Toe involves looking ahead and trying to figure out what the person playing against you might do next. Tic Tac Toe is a simple game which, if played optimally by both players, will always result in a tie. Many variants of Tic-Tac-Toe are available in board games and computer games.

**Sprouts**

Invented by mathematicians John Horton Conway and Michael S. Paterson at Cambridge University in 1967, Sprouts is a paper and pencil game with interesting mathematical properties. The game is played by two players, starting with a few spots drawn on a sheet of paper. Players take turns, where each turn consists of drawing a line between two spots (or from a spot to itself) and adding a new spot somewhere along the line. The player who makes the last move wins. 3 basic rules to be followed are: 1. The curves do not intersect (other curves or themselves), 2. No more than three edges emanate from any one spot, 3. A curve may connect a spot to itself. Since Sprouts is a finite game where no draw is possible, a perfect strategy exists either for the first or the second player, depending on the number of initial spots. A variant of the game, called Brussels Sprouts, starts with a number of crosses, i.e. spots with four free ends.

**Dots and Boxes**

Dots and Boxes is also known as Boxes, Squares, Paddocks, Square-it, Dots and Dashes, Dots, Smart Dots, Dot Boxing and the Dot Game. The two player paper and pencil game was first published in 1889 by Francois Edouard Anatole Lucas, who was a French mathematician. Starting with an empty grid of dots, players take turns, adding a single horizontal or vertical line between two unjoined adjacent dots. A player who completes the fourth side of a 1×1 box earns one point and takes another turn. (The points are typically recorded by placing in the box an identifying mark of the player, such as an initial). The game ends when no more lines can be placed. The winner of the game is the player with the most points. The board may be of any size. 2×2 boxes (created by a square of 9 dots) is good for beginners, and 5×5 is good for experts.

**Join Five**

Also known as Morpion solitaire, Cross ‘n’ Lines or Line Game, Join Five is a paper and pencil game for one or two players, played on a plus-shaped grid of dots. The origins of the game are probably in northern Europe. References to the game first appeared in French publications in the 1970s. An initial grid of dots are drawn; a square of 4×4 dots, with a rectangle of 4×3 added to each side. During each turn, a player has to place a dot to form a straight line that is exactly five “dots” long. If more than one line can be drawn, a player can choose which line to use for this turn. The game ends when no more dots can be placed on the grid to make a line. Player gets one point for each line drawn. In the two player version, the last player to draw a line segment is the winner. In the single player version, scoring is accomplished by counting the number of segments drawn, or by calculating the total area of the grid at the end of play.

**Battleship**

Also known as Sea Battle, Battleship is a paper and pencil guessing game for two players. It was published by Milton Bradley Company in 1931 as “Broadsides, the Game of Naval Strategy”. The game is played on four grids, two for each player. The grids are typically square and the individual squares in the grid are identified by letter and number. On each two grids the players arrange their ships and record the shots by their opponent. Before play begins, each player secretly arranges their ships on their primary grid. Each ship occupies a number of consecutive squares on the grid (horizontally or vertically). The types and numbers of ships allowed are the same for each player.

After positioning is done, the game proceeds in a series of rounds. In each round, each player’s turn consists of announcing a target square in the opponent’s grid which is to be shot at. If a ship occupies the square, then it takes a hit. The player’s opponent announces whether or not the shot has hit one of the opponent’s ships; the opponent then fires a shot at the first player’s ships. When all of the squares of a ship have been hit, the ship is sunk. After all of one player’s ships have been sunk, the game ends and the other player wins.

**Paper Soccer**

Also known as Paper hockey, Paper Soccer is paper and pencil game for two players. The game starts on an empty field of (usually) 8×10 boxes, with goals of two boxes wide marked in the centers of the two shorter sides. In the beginning, a ball is drawn in the center of the field, on the crossing of the paper lines. Players take turns to “move” the ball into one of the eight paper line crossings around it (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) and a segment from the original position to the new one is drawn to mark the move. The ball may move neither on the game field border nor on the segments marking the previous moves – instead, it “bounces” from them, and a player who moves the ball into a position where there is already an end of a segment or a game field border gets another turn. The first player to place the ball in the opponent’s goal wins the game. The game may also end when a player does not have a valid move, in which case that player loses.

**Hangman**

Hangman is a paper and pencil guessing game for two or more players. One player thinks of a word, phrase or sentence and the other tries to guess it by suggesting letters. The word to guess is represented by a row of dashes, giving the number of letters and category of the word. If the guessing player suggests a letter which occurs in the word, the other player writes it in all its correct positions. If the suggested letter does not occur in the word, the other player draws one element of the hangman diagram as a tally mark. The game is over when the guessing player completes the word, or guesses the whole word correctly or the other player completes the diagram of Hanging man. The game show Wheel of Fortune is based on Hangman, but with the addition of a roulette-styled wheel.

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