Here’s a great pencil & paper game for two players for you to try at home. 

All you need is a pen or pencil, paper and a ruler.

Draw a cross of dots on a paper as shown in the image. You start with a 4 x 4 grid in the middle, then add four 3 x 4 grids to each side to create the cross. 

Players take it in turns to draw a straight line connecting some dots on the paper. Each line drawn must meet the following conditions:

  • The line joins exactly five dots.
  • One of the five dots, may be a new dot, created to extend the current grid. The other four must be pre-existing dots that are already part of the grid.
  • Lines may not overlap any segment of a previously drawn line. However, lines may meet and intersect.
  • If you do not draw an extra dot on your turn, but instead draw a line connecting five pre-existing dots, you may save this dot so that you can draw two new ones on a future turn. NB: You may never create more than two extra dots to draw your line, even if you have more saved up.

The player who draws the last legal line wins the game.


  • Start with just the outer dots in the cross. All internal dots are removed.
  • Start with a smaller cross and draw lines connecting 4 dots instead of 5. 
  • Experiment with different starting grids. Instead of using a grid created on square paper, try isometric paper instead. How does the game change? Does it still work? 
  • Play without allowing players to save new dots from one turn to the next.
  • Play as a solo game. Count each new line you draw (using a tally chart). Your aim is to draw as many lines as possible before running out of space. The world record is 172. How many can you do?

More information about Join Five here.

Play a version of Join Five online

Find other games to play at home here.