Paper games are a fantastic way to pass the time, engage your brain, and have fun with friends or alone.

They come in many different forms, from classic games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Dots and Boxes to more complex ones like Battleship and Word Ladders.

To get started, all you need are a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and a friend to play with.

One of the easiest games to play is Tic-Tac-Toe, which only requires drawing a 3×3 grid on the paper and taking turns to place Xs and Os in empty spaces.

The first player to get three symbols in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, wins.

Another popular option is Dots and Boxes.

Draw a grid of dots, and take turns to connect two adjacent dots with a line.

Whenever a player completes a square, they can write their initial inside and take another turn.

The game ends when all the squares have been created, and the player with the most squares wins.

For fans of word games, Word Ladders can be a great choice.

Each player writes a starting word and an ending word of the same length at the top and bottom of the paper.

Take turns adding one rung to the ladder by changing a single letter in the current word.

The goal is to transform the starting word into the ending word with the fewest possible changes.

If you want a more strategic challenge, try playing Battleship.

Draw two 10×10 grids, one for your ships and one for your opponent’s.

Arrange your ships in the grid and take turns guessing the coordinates of the other player’s ships.

Mark hits and misses on your second grid, and the first player to sink all the enemy ships wins.

Remember, you can always adapt these games to fit your preferences or even create your own paper games.

The only limit is your imagination.

So grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, find a friend, and have fun playing these enjoyable and engaging paper games.

Classic 2 Player Paper Games

tic tac toe game


Tic-Tac-Toe is one of the most well-known and straightforward paper games for two players.

To play, create a 3×3 grid by drawing two vertical lines intersecting with two horizontal lines.

Players take turns placing their mark, either an “X” or an “O”, in an empty square.

The goal is to get three of your marks in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

If all squares are filled without achieving a row of three, the game is a draw.

Dots and Boxes

In Dots and Boxes, players start with an empty grid of dots.

Each turn, you can draw one line to connect two adjacent dots, either horizontally or vertically.

The objective is to complete the fourth side of a box to claim it, marking your initial inside.

The game continues until no more lines can be drawn, and the player with the most boxes wins.


Battleship is a strategic guessing game played on two grids, one for your ships and one for your opponent’s.

Start by drawing two 10×10 grids and label the rows with numbers (1-10) and columns with letters (A-J).

Each player places their ships on their grid, and then players take turns calling out coordinates to attack.

If a coordinate hits a ship, mark it on your opponent’s grid.

The winner is the player who successfully sinks all their opponent’s ships first.


Hangman is a classic word-guessing game for two players.

One player chooses a word, and the other player has a limited number of incorrect letter guesses before the hangman is completed and the game is over.

To play, write a series of blank spaces representing each letter of the chosen word.

The guessing player then suggests letters, filling in the blanks if correct.

If they guess the word before the hangman is drawn, they win. If not, the other player wins.

Paper Soccer

Paper Soccer is a turn-based game played on a square grid.

To play, create a grid with an odd number of rows and columns, typically 9×9 or 11×11.

Mark a goal area on each side of the grid.

Start in the center, and players take turns drawing lines to adjacent points on the grid.

The objective is to get the ball into your opponent’s goal by connecting lines without retracing any paths.

If blocked, your turn ends, and the opponent continues. The first player to reach the other side’s goal wins.

Fun Paper Games for Any Number of Players


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Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Valid prices are those listed on

Pictionary is a classic drawing game where players take turns drawing a word or phrase, while the other players try to guess what it is.

You can easily play Pictionary with just a pen and paper.

If you don’t have a Pictionary set with pre-made cards, feel free to create your own list or find one online.

Simply take turns drawing and guessing, and let the fun unfold!


Sprout is an engaging pen and paper game that begins with two dots drawn on a piece of paper.

Each player takes turns drawing a line from one dot to another, and at the end of the line, they create a new dot.

However, this new dot cannot be placed where it would create a three-dot line.

The goal of the game is to keep adding new dots until no more moves are possible.

This game is excellent for promoting strategic thinking and can be easily adapted for more players.


Categories is a fun word game where players choose a category and take turns listing items that belong to that category.

You can use any category you’d like, such as animals, countries, or even ice cream flavors.

Each round, the players must write down an entry that begins with a specific letter.

For example, if the category is countries, the first player might write “Australia,” and the second player could write “Argentina.”

The game continues until no more letters are left or a player can’t think of a relevant entry.

You can keep score by tallying up the number of unique entries.

Bulls and Cows

Bulls and Cows is a code-breaking game where one player thinks of a secret number, and the other player tries to guess it based on clues given by the first player.

These clues are given in the form of “bulls” and “cows.”

A “bull” means the guessed digit is in the correct position, while a “cow” means the digit is in the secret number but not in the correct position.

To play, simply choose a secret number (usually 3 or 4 digits long) and start guessing.

This game is perfect for developing deductive reasoning skills.


SOS is a simple and entertaining pen and paper game that starts with a grid being drawn on a piece of paper.

The players take turns writing either an “S” or an “O” in the grid.

The goal is to form the word “SOS” either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Each time a player forms “SOS,” they get a point and can write another letter immediately.

The game continues until the grid is full, and the player with the most points wins.

Remember, these games can be enjoyed by any number of players, so gather your friends or family and start having fun with just pen and paper.

Single Player Paper Games


MASH is a classic pen and paper game that will keep you entertained for hours.

It stands for mansion, apartment, shack, and house.

The game is simple to play and allows you to predict your future in a fun and creative way.

To play, write down MASH at the top of the paper, followed by categories like spouse, number of kids, job, and car.

Fill in every category with options, and then choose a random number as the “magic number.”

Start crossing off options as you count, going clockwise, in each column.

Once you’ve completed a full round, you’ll have a glimpse into your predicted future.

Fortune Teller

Fortune Teller, also known as a chatterbox or cootie catcher, is a paper folding game that brings nostalgic childhood memories to mind.

Create a fortune teller by folding a square piece of paper into a movable, interactive game.

Write down various messages or fortunes on the insides flaps.

To play, hold the folded paper with your thumbs and index fingers and open and close it for different colors and numbers to reveal the written fortunes.

Guide the user by asking them to pick a color, number, and ultimately, a fortune prediction.

This game is perfect for testing your creativity and intuition. 2 2 is an online multiplayer version of the popular io game series.

Although it’s not exclusively pen and paper-based, its concept is inspired by traditional paper games.

In this game, you control a moving block and aim to conquer as much territory on the board as possible.

Move your block around the board to draw lines and close loops to create shapes, thereby, claiming territory.

You must be cautious, as other online players try to eliminate you by cutting off your lines. 2 is a great strategy game that combines territorial conquest with fast-paced online multiplayer action, which you can enjoy on CrazyGames.

Educational Paper Games

As an educator, you can use paper games to engage your students in a fun learning experience.

These games help improve vocabulary, develop critical thinking, and enhance the understanding of words and the alphabet.

Here are some educational paper games that you can play with just a pen and paper.

Hangman is a classic word-guessing game that can help your students expand their vocabulary and improve their spelling skills.

One person thinks of a word, while the other player tries to guess the word by suggesting letters.

For each incorrect guess, a part of the hangman is drawn.

You can introduce variations by choosing words related to a specific theme or subject.

Word Square is another excellent game for vocabulary building and reinforcing the alphabet.

To play, choose a grid size, such as a 5×5 or a 6×6 grid.

Take turns writing a letter in each square, with the objective of forming words either horizontally or vertically.

The player with the most words by the end of the game wins.

Crosswords offer a fun and engaging way to learn new words and their meanings.

You can create crossword grids with clues related to a specific topic or lesson.

Encourage your students to solve the crosswords together or compete to complete them quickly.

In Alphabet Antics, players take turns writing a word from a specific category, such as animals, foods, or places.

The catch is that each word must begin with the next letter in the alphabet.

This game reinforces alphabetical order and encourages creative thinking to come up with words in the chosen category.

Paper Game Variations and Modifications

Sometimes, a simple change can turn a familiar game into a fresh, exciting challenge.

In this section, we will explore some variations and modifications you can try to spice up your paper games with a friend.

One way to add a new twist to a game like Tic-Tac-Toe or Dots and Boxes is to introduce colors.

Use different colored pens or pencils for each player to create an eye-catching visual while playing.

Incorporate the colors in the gameplay – for instance, if your color is blue, you must create a blue triangle; your opponent might aim for a red square.

You can also increase the grid size for games like Dots and Boxes to extend playtime and make the game more complicated.

Instead of the standard 3×3 or 4×4 grid, try a 5×5 or 6×6 grid.

This change in scale will open up new territory to capture and provide more possibilities and strategies.

Keep your games child-friendly by including imagery and elements from their favorite cartoons, movies, or books.

For example, you can play a simple “Capture the Tail” game using beloved mouse characters.

One player takes on the role of the cat, while the other is the mouse.

The objective is to sneak around a grid and steal the other player’s tail.

Customize it by adding obstacles or power-ups that relate to the themes of a particular story.

For a more immersive element, try incorporating controls similar to those found in popular PC games or apps like Voodoo.

Instead of just drawing lines or making ticks, each player is given a set of specialized “tools” that mimic game controllers.

Using various commands, you guide your game pieces across the grid and towards your goal.

Games that involve capturing territory, like Sprouts or Battleship, can be modified by introducing a space theme.

Picture each grid cell as a planet, and place markers to represent starships navigating an interstellar battlefield.

Use your strategic skills to outmaneuver your opponent and conquer space one cell at a time.

Remember, these are just a few examples of how you can tweak traditional pen and paper games to make them more engaging, entertaining, or educational.

Feel free to get creative and come up with your unique variations that match your interests and preferences.

Playing Paper Games in Different Settings

Playing paper games is a great way to pass the time, get to know others, and create a fun and engaging atmosphere.

You don’t need much to get started — just a pen, some paper, and a friend to join in.

In this section, we’ll look at how you can enjoy paper games in different settings, whether that’s at home, on the go, or outdoors.

At home, it’s easy to find time to play paper games with your family or friends.

You can sit around the table, on the couch, or even in bed, making it a perfect activity for cold or rainy days.

Some classic pen and paper games for two players include Tic-Tac-Toe, Dots and Boxes, and Battleship.

These games are perfect for all ages and can create lasting memories among family members.

If you’re looking for entertainment while traveling, paper games can be a lifesaver.

Whether you’re on a long road trip, waiting at the airport, or sitting on a train, playing a game like Hangman or Sprouts can make the time fly by.

Don’t forget to pack a small notebook and pen in your travel bag for easy access to your favorite games.

Outdoor gatherings, such as picnics, barbecues, and camping trips, can also benefit from the inclusion of paper games.

For example, participate in a friendly competition by drawing pictures of animals in a game of Close Your Eyes Drawing.

Encourage players to guess what animal the other player is drawing, or introduce a timer for added excitement.

You can even adapt paper games to larger groups, in settings like parks or beaches, by using a large poster board and markers.

In conclusion, paper games are versatile, portable, and entertaining options for a wide variety of settings.

They’re great for bonding with others, as well as for individual downtime.

So give these classic games a try, and don’t be surprised if they become a staple in your arsenal of fun activities.

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