Dots (game)

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This article is about the paper-based strategy game. For the iOS video game, see Dots (video game).
Example of game

Dots (Czech: Židi, Polish: Kropki, Russian: Точки) is an abstract strategy game, generally played by two (or more) people on a sheet of squared paper. At first glance, the rules of this game can seem similar to those of Go. But there are some major differences, resulting in two completely different games. Instead of territory control, as in Go, the primary target of dots is capturing enemy dots by surrounding them with a continuous line of one's own dots. Once surrounded, dots are not playable.

Schematic game beginning


The game is played on a grid of unspecified finite dimensions. (The most commonly used graph paper has dimensions of about 60 × 40.) Players take turns making dots of their own colour. At each turn, a player must make a dot at an intersection of the grid. This dot has to be free, therefore it must not be on another dot and can not be part of a territory. You can also enclose a whole closed territory for yourself. You can make a territory of any size by making dots in a circuit that can be connected by straight or diagonal lines, one space in length. If there are no obstructions in the circuit (e.g. lines, opponents' dots) then a line can be drawn connecting the dots in your color and the space inside is your territory. A line can not be drawn until the dots are able to complete a circuit. Before the line is drawn, you can intersect their line diagonally and claim territory before the opponent can.

The game ends when a player can no longer put a dot anywhere. The winner is the player who covers the most total space in their territories. An opponent's territory does not count if it is inside another's territory.

An alternate scoring system is that a player receives one point for each dot of the opponent's colour which is inside their own territory.