Here’s a simple game for two players that just requires pens, paper and a coin.

Preparation

  • Draw 7 circles in a line on the paper, with a line through the middle circle. 
  • Place the coin on the middle circle. 
  • Place the paper so that one end of the line of circles is near one player and the other near the other. The circle at the end of the line nearest you is your home circle.
  • Each player takes a small piece of paper and notes their starting point score of 50.

Aim

The aim is to get the coin onto your home circle. You move the coin by spending more points than your opponent.

 

How to play

Simultaneously, both players decide how many points they will spend this turn and write this down. Players can do this silently or talk to each other before they make their decisions.

Both players reveal how many points they have spent. The player who has spent the most points moves the coin one step towards their home circle. In the event of a tie, the coin stays where it is. Both players now deduct the number of points spent from their total. 

Repeat this spending – revealing – moving – deducting cycle until the coin has reached one player’s home circle. They are the winner. If one player runs out of points before the coin has reached a home circle, the other player automatically wins.

Strategy

Of course, it is possible to win Footsteps in three turns, but the winning player will have spent more points than the losing player on every turn. The more points you spend, the less power you have on subsequent turns. The ideal is that you’re always spending just one point more than your opponent – winning, but in the most efficient way.  

The ability to mind-read is particularly useful here. But in the absence of superpowers, you’ll have to look for small cues and patterns of play in your opponent. To stay ahead and fox your rival, change your strategy in repeated plays to be as unpredictable as possible.

I think this is a lovely little strategic bluffing game – despite the fact I invariably lose.