Dots and boxes is a great pen and paper game that kids can play instantly with just a pen and paper. My older son (age 10) loves to play it. Dots and boxes appeals to his highly developed sense of spacial awareness and interest in logic games. His 6 year old brother still needs guidance. He understands the rules, but his impulsiveness leads him to make non-strategic moves.
My 10 year old is actually better than I am! One reason is that I am not as patient when it comes to games that require a lot of planning ahead (this is the main reason I dislike chess). He is much more interested in figuring out strategies than I am. However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it! Dots and Boxes is a great game for both kids and grownups. (Note: affiliate links included below)
How to play Dots and Boxes:
Object of the Game: To close as many boxes as you can.
Set up: Lay out a grid of dots. We like a grid of 4 by 4, but it doesn't matter. You can play with as few or as many dots as you like. We recently bought a cool notepad of dot paper with the intention of playing a huge game!
Each player choses a different color pencil or pen.
The first player draws a straight line between two adjacent dots. You can not draw diagonal lines.
The second player draws a line between two dots.
Play continues in this manner until eventually a player can close a box. After closing a box, player puts his initial inside to "claim" it. He then gets another turn. If he is able to close an additional box, he gets yet another turn, until he can not close any more boxes. Play then continues with the other player.
If the instructions are difficult to understand watch my video below. It's actually quite simple, but easier to understand if you can see the game in action.
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