Boxes is a deceptively hard pen and paper game for two to four players. Although the rules are simple, it involves a lot of strategy to win. Young children may find it hard to develop much strategy but they still enjoy playing the game.

Age: All ages

No. of players: 2-4

Equipment: One sheet of paper; One pen/pencil per player. (Different coloured pens/pencils make it easier, as does the use of grid paper. You can buy ready made grid paper or you can print one by clicking here.)

Time: 10 minutes+

Aim: To claim the most squares drawn on a sheet of grid paper.

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1. One player draws a grid by plotting ten equally spaced dots on a sheet of paper, and then repeating the pattern downwards until there are ten rows of ten dots. (Younger children may prefer a smaller grid of six rows of six dots.) If you prefer, you can click here to open a new window with two ten-by-ten grids ready for printing.

2. Players take it in turns to draw a straight line (horizontal or vertical, but not diagonal) between two adjacent boxes.

3. Each player attempts to complete a small square by drawing the fourth line around it. A player who completes a square is entitled to draw another line and so on, until they cannot complete a square. The player initials any squares they completed.

4. The aim is to have more squares completed than your opponent at the end of the game. Strategy is needed to draw lines that will prevent your opponents completing squares while enabling you to claim as many as possible.

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