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User Rating Comment Status
David Molnar
United States
Ridgewood
New Jersey
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9
Feb 2009*
There's just a lot to learn here, and since I play games to learn, I'll play Dots and Boxes pretty much any time. (On paper, of course. The way I figure it, when I mark a game as owned, I'm saying if you come over my place, we might play this. So while the same pencil might be used, Boxes is owned, but Tic-Tac-Toe isn't.)

What makes Dots and Boxes attractive is that is has both strategy and tactics. The "chain rule" tells you how many chains you want to make in order to have control at the end, but it doesn't tell you how to make them, so there's still some tension. And since chain-counting is based on parity, you might change your goal midstream, going for say two chains instead of four.

Of course, since chain-counting is based on parity, the game has little clarity, which is its greatest drawback, and why it is often described as dry and boring. Nobody's going to peek over your shoulder while you're playing and note thoughtfully that it looks like there's going to be an odd number of chains. But so what. It's still a very interesting game.

I found two quotes in David Parlett's The Oxford History of Board Games, in relation to the game of Go, that describe what I like so much about Dots and Boxes:
David Parlett wrote:
To the non-player, the opening moves of a game between experts appears baffling in its inconsequentiality, each in turn placing a stone on the board apparently at random and with no discernable pattern or logic. Gradually out of the mists of formlessness, there begin to crystallize suggestions of small chains or groups...
(Unfortunately, most players of Dots and Boxes are "non-players" in this sense. And the crystallization process happens much quicker in Dots and Boxes, especially on the 5x5 grid that I'm used to from online play, but being less subtle than Go can hardly be considered an indictment.)

Later,
Quote:
The skill of the game, to experts, and its mystery, to non-players, lies in recognizing which areas are safe and which unsafe, and concentrating on the latter.
Possibly this is even greater an issue in Dots and Boxes, since at that stage of the game, the snippets of territory into which the board is divided do net yet belong to one player or the other. Sacrifice is incredibly important in Dots and Boxes, but this takes 50-100 plays to figure out.

I suspect that most variants, such as having different boxes carry different point values, are going to boil down to the same thing mathematically. I suppose once you've mastered a lot of openings, a little Hey-That's-My-Fish-style randomness in the setup could keep things fresh. Nowhere near there.
2009-12-06
Owned
Ralf Gering
Germany
Germany
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8.5
Apr 2007*
Dots & Boxes is called Käsekästchen ("Little Cheese Boxes") in German. The game was invented by the famous French mathematician Edouard Lucas in 1889. The game is much deeper thank you think if you rate it just 5 or even below.
2007-04-28*
Owned
origami freak
United States
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8
Dec 2007*
I "own" this in the public domain sense - I have pencils and paper. :-)

Never fails to keep kids entertained quietly for at least an hour, and works well with the elderly, too. This is the last thing I ever played with my father when he was 95, and we enjoyed it.

You can print out grids if you go to this website: http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/squaredots

For a fun variation, try triangular patterns: http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/triangledots
2007-12-15*
Owned
Maurizio De Leo
United States
Minden
Nevada
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7.5
Mar 2015
Played a lot in my childhood with paper and pencil and a diamond-shaped starting setup. If you play with the correct rules (not being forced to complete all the boxes) it is very deep in strategy and there is even a book on it (which I own).
However, I usually don't feel the desire to play this, while there are many more deep and abstract games that I love.
2006-02-27*
Owned
Àlex Sierra
Andorra
Barcelona
Catalonia
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7.5
Mar 2007*
Owned
ronaldinho @boardspace.net
Taiwan
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7
Nov 2008*
Very good game to get children thinking.

Many games of Nim interacting in a two dimensional grid at the same time.
2008-04-21*
Owned
C. C.
Netherlands
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7
Mar 2012
Owned
koen verstraete
Belgium
ruddervoorde
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6
Sep 2006*
as a child I liked this game, so it's a bit of nostalgia.
2006-09-07*
Owned
Dario Delfino
Italy
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6
Jan 2010*
Paper and pencil used very well. Probably, if I played more, rated more
2010-04-11
Owned
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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6
May 2015
Nice public domain area majority abstract strategy game.
2012-04-15
Owned
Jeff Hardcastle
United Kingdom
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6
Nov 2012
on nintendo ds
2012-11-21
Owned
nathan king
United States
Unspecified
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5
Aug 2005*
Have played this since being a little kid. While not the best game, it works great at boring meetings or other places where you find yourself with nothing else to do.
2005-08-28*
Owned
Glenn Laurent
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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5
Apr 2007*
Paper & Pencil
2007-04-26*
Owned
Andrew Butler
Australia
Hawker
ACT
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5
Sep 2007*
Owned
Todd Sweet
United States
Geneva
Illinois
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5
Jun 2007*
Great game to play as a filler while waiting for dinner at a restaurant. Especially when it's on the children's menu already!

2007-06-13*
Owned
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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5
Aug 2009*
This game is just too difficult, no kidding. If I were a better player or if I at least knew how to become one, I would rate it higher.
2008-10-06*
Owned
Steve Ramsden
United Kingdom
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
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5
Feb 2009*
Owned
Carsten Opitz
Germany
Rostock
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
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5
Feb 2014
Owned
Ryan Hackel
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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5
Sep 2014
One of the better popular pencil and paper games for kids, where they can still earn at least a few points against an adult.
2014-09-08
Owned
Robert Ashmore
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5
Mar 2015
Owned
Vincent Everaert
France
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5
May 2015
Owned
JD Andrews
United States
Georgia
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4.56
Jun 2015
Owned
Daniel Sarasio Meyer
United States
Forest City
Iowa
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No Really. Do. or Do not. There is no Try.
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Nothing here there is. Look elsewhere you must.
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4.5
Jun 2007*
Owned
Badger
England
London
Enfield
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4
Nov 2007*
I own it in as much as I have paper and pencil.
2007-11-06*
Owned
David Kahnt
United States
Laurinburg
North Carolina
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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You know, they say there was a man who jumped from the forty-FIFTH floor? But that's another story...
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4
Dec 2007*
Better than tic-tac-toe... if you have the space.
2007-12-22*
Owned
Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
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4
Jul 2009*
Public domain.

Just play it with paper and pencil.

I played it as a kid and then it was fun, but when you see it as a kind of Nim, you can break it.
2012-01-02
Owned
Sadawys Sadawys
Germany
Kaiserslautern
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4
May 2014
Owned
Alex Cannon
United Kingdom
London
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4
Apr 2015
Owned
Steve Zamborsky
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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"Ah, Denny, I've hardly seen you this episode."
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3
May 2010
Best with crayon and kids' menu playmat at a restaurant.
2006-07-24*
Owned
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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3
Jan 2008*
Free Print & Play pencil-paper-road-trip game. Rules in Gladstone's Games to Go.
2008-01-07*
Owned
Brian Coppedge
United States
New Haven
Connecticut
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3
May 2010
pencil and paper, of course
2010-05-10
Owned
Stefan Svalbard
Sweden
Linköping
Östergötland
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3
Apr 2012
Paper and pencil version.
2012-04-10
Owned
Daniel Peterson

Layton
Utah
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3
Aug 2013
iPod Touch Play:

Simple game to play.
2014-09-12
Owned
Robert Kelsey
United States
kalamazoo
Michigan
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N/A
Owned
Poochie D
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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N/A
Owned
Big Woo
Scotland
state:
running out of space...
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N/A
Owned
Fred
Belgium
Gent
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N/A
Owned
Tom Verdonck
Belgium
Edegem
Antwerp
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N/A
Owned
For Trade
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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This game is waaayyy deeper than people give it credit for. It's one of those games whose simplicity works against it, in the sense that everyone assumes they know everything there is to know about it and there's nothing there. That assumption is totally wrong. It's a very deep game.

The early game is not a whole lotta fun though. Gets better with alot of experience, but still, it's a big weakness.
2008-03-29*
Owned
Rian
Netherlands
Utrecht
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Owned
Bruce Bernard
United States
Fairview
Pennsylvania
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N/A
Owned
Ted Moore
United States
Idaho
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N/A
Owned
Philip Marivoet
Belgium
tienen
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N/A
Owned
Università Europea degli Sport della Mente UESM
Italy
Milano
Italy
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The House of Games
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N/A
Owned
Koen Piepers
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N/A
Owned
Hannes Ironeagle
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
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N/A
Owned
Patrick Scheemaker
Belgium
Oostkamp
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N/A
Owned
Jim Sutherland
United Kingdom
(just) West of London
Middlesex
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N/A
Owned
Brent Jablonski
United States
Minnesota
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Owned
Casper Hoyng
Netherlands
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N/A
Owned

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