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Printable paper and pencil games for kids

Free game on paper

    Domineering Domineering is a game that a friend and I invented many years ago. It's a two-player abstract strategy game with a large luck element but still a lot of room for skill. It plays fairly quickly, and uses "existing components" from other common games. (Indeed, that was one of the criteria when we invented it; we had a bunch of other games on hand and wanted to design something new out of them.)
    We chose the name in part because the goal is to hem in your opponent, but mostly because the most distinctive component is a set of dominoes.
    Rules Set up the board as shown on the right. (Chess style rank and file notations are included for later reference.) The board is considered to "wrap around" at the edges. That is, a piece that moves off one edge re-enters immediately at the opposite edge. (For instance, if the piece at h1 moves to the right it moves to a1.) Thus the starting position is symmetric between White and Black. Mix the dominoes face down. (Be careful that the double-blank is face down!) Decide who will go first. Play alternates. A turn consists of drawing a domino from the remaining face down pool, moving one's pieces based on the numbers on the domino, and placing the domino on the board in place of the first piece moved. Details follow...

    Example Suppose Black goes first and draws 5-2. One possible move is d4-b4 (placing the domino at d4), then e5-e8 (moving down and wrapping around at the edge), giving the position shown on the left. (This is perhaps not a very good move, but it's useful as an example.)
    White now draws 3-0 and uses the blank as a 1 to move h1-h4, a8-b8, giving the position shown on the right. If Black now draws a domino both of whose numbers are 4 or larger, he loses, because his piece at b4 will be unable to move. But he draws 3-1 and moves e8-h8, b4-b5, giving the position below...

Free game

Variants One general sort of variant is to give the players more pieces, where a turn still consists of moving exactly two (but any two) of one's pieces. For instance, give Black the four center squares, and White the four corners. Or have Black start on c3/d4/e5/f6 and White on b7/a8/h1/g2. The main effect of this variant is that one can have a piece trapped and yet continue playing with the other pieces. One's moves will be more limited, but it may still be possible to engineer a victory. And in some cases the trapped piece will eventually work its way into play again. Another variation is to say that if a player draws a domino and cannot play it, the game is not over. The player does not move either piece, and keeps the domino, leaving it face up so both players can remember it is out of play. The players continue to alternate turns as before; each time an unplayable domino is drawn, it is kept face-up in front of the drawing player. After all the dominos have been drawn, whichever player drew fewer unplayable dominos wins. If there's a tie, the second player wins. (This makes up for the fact that, on the first player's last turn, it is possible to determine exactly which domino remains for the second player to draw.)
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Free game on paper