The Dots Game (Strategy group game)

The Dots Game is probably one of those games that you played when you were younger. It is a surprisingly simple game, and it is good for almost all ages.

This is an abstract strategy game that will test your focus and ability to plan ahead your steps. It works as a great icebreaker between two people, as they can talk while they are playing.

Features of the Dots Game

 ★  Game Name Dots
 ★  Group size for 2 players
 ★  Age kids and teens
 ★  Type stationary
 ★  Skill memory / erudition
 ★  Place indoor
★  Time up to 5 – 30 min
 ★  Preparation no
 ★  Materials paper and pen

Aim of the Game

The aim of The Dot Game is to be the player that creates the most squares on a dotted sheet of paper.

Each player will take it in turns to draw a single line on the sheet. The person that completes a box can claim it as their own. Each completed box will award the player with one point.

Group Size and Ages

This isn’t really a game that you can play in a large group. This is a group game for 2-people, and those 2 will be competing against one another. While you probably could turn it into a larger group game, it won’t work as well. 

There is no real minimum age for the Dot Game. If somebody can understand the instructions and they can hold a pen, then they can play the Dot Game.

This is best for children above 8 years of age. Even adults will enjoy this too, however, it may be a little too boring for older players, though.

Preparation and Materials

Each pair of people playing the game will need to be provided with a sheet of paper with a grid on it. You can purchase graph paper for this, but it is probably going to be a lot cheaper to make the grid paper yourself.

On each sheet of paper, there will be a grid of dots. The Dots game should be at least 10×10, although you can make it a bit larger if you want. This will result in a longer game.

Each player should be provided with their own pen. These pens should be of a different color. It makes the game easier to play.

How to Play the Dots Game

This game is simple to play.

Step 1: Each player will take it in turns to draw a single line on the paper. A line can only extend between two adjacent dots in either a vertical, horizontal manner or diagonal lines (on an empty intersection of the grid). The player can draw the line wherever they want on the page, providing there is no current line there. It is not allowed to surround areas that do not have enemy dots inside.

If dots touch the border of the field, they cannot be captured, these dots are said to be grounded.

Step 2: Players take turns to place a dot of their own color.

Step 3: Once a square has been formed on the sheet of paper, the person that drew the final line for that square will shade it in their color. Or, if both players have the same color of pen, then they can write their initials in the box.

Surrounded enemy dots cannot be used anymore to create more connections.

The idea is that each player will want to be the first one to complete a square, while also preventing their opponents from completing squares.

The player will have to be quite tactical in their approach, and it is a decent thinking game. The player will always need to plan the position of the next line to ensure the greatest possible benefit.

Step 4: Once all possible boxes on the sheet of paper have been filled in, the number of dots in the boxes each player has will be added up and the winner declared.

Some Variations to Dots Games

  • Jumping Dots

In this version of the game, t is allowed to draw a line of length two orthogonally or diagonally over an unoccupied point. These rules encourage offensive play.

  • Team play

In this case, two or more players can play for one side. The moves alternate both between the sides and between the players of the same side. It is assumed that players playing on the same side cannot even talk to each other.