How to play Dots & Boxes

Whether you’re travelling over the summer holidays and need something to keep the kids busy on the road, or looking for a boredom buster back at home, you can’t go wrong with a quick and easy pen and paper game. Dots & Boxes is simple yet fun, you might even remember playing it at school during break times (or in class!)

To set up the game, all you need is a grid of dots and a couple of pens in different colours. You can just sketch out a grid on a piece of paper, or download one of our pre-prepared grids. You can play with grids of different sizes - a 4x4 grid is good for beginners and to get the hang of the game, a bigger grid will take longer and is more challenging.

How to play

This game works best with two players. The aim of the game is to capture as many boxes as you can.

Each player choses a different colour of pen. Players then take turns to connect two adjacent dots with a line, either vertically or horizontally (NOT diagonally).

If a player draws the fourth side of a box, they 'capture' that box and write their initials inside. If a player captures a box, they get another turn.

The game ends when all boxes are captured. The person who has captured the most boxes wins.

• How many lines can you draw without capturing a single box?
• How can you get more than one box on a single turn?

Maths skills involved: spatial reasoning, logical deduction

Have you had a go at playing Dots & Boxes? How did you get on? Let us know by sharing your experiences with us on Twitter or Facebook, and use the hashtag #MathsWeekScot.

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