Paper soccer

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Paper soccer
Standardowe boisko do pilkarzykow.svg
An example board
Genre(s) Paper and pencil game Abstract strategy game
Players 2
Setup time couple seconds
Playing time Five minutes
Synonym(s) Paper hockey

Paper soccer (or paper hockey) is an abstract strategy game played on a square grid representing a football or hockey field. Players take turns to extend a line representing the position of a ball, until it reaches one of the grid's two goal spaces.


Paper soccer is a traditional paper-and-pencil game. The game is commonly played in schools[1] and can be found in children's magazines,[2][3][4][5] and many computer implementations of the game exist.

Despite the game's simple rules, paper soccer has several expanded strategies and tactics.

General rules[edit]

The game's pitch is drawn as a rectangle on a grid, with small extended rectangles in the center of each of the two shortest sides to represent the two goals. The grid can be any size, although both sides should be an even number of squares to allow a centre point for kickoff. The goal areas are typically 2x1 squares in size.

A "ball" is marked as a dot in the very centre of the pitch. Players then make moves alternately, "moving" the ball to a new point by drawing a line from its current position to a new one. Each such move must be to a point orthogonally or diagonally adjacent. The ball cannot be moved beyond the boundary of the pitch, nor along a line that has already been drawn.

Example of a "bounce" move, shown in red: the player moves the ball one space west, and then bounces it another space west

If the ball is moved to a point which already has one or more lines connected to it (including the perimeter of the pitch), the ball "bounces" and the player immediately takes another turn. The player's move finishes only when the ball reaches a point with no existing lines.

The winner is the player who places the ball in their opponent's goal. A player also wins if their opponent scores an own goal.[6] If the ball reaches a point from which it cannot be moved (such as a corner of the pitch) this is regarded as a draw, or a loss for the player unable to move, depending on the rules being played by. In some versions of the game, both of these moves can be illegal.[3][7]

Variants and modifications[edit]

The players can regulate the pitch's shape in various ways by altering the pitch's dimensions or the placement of the gates. In some variants, a special line (or lines) is added to the pitch. This modification is found in computer applications.[8] Expanded variants of this modification are used by PDE Football.[9]

In some variants of the game, the gameplay can be continued from the central pitch's point after a goal is scored or after a move blocks the gameplay. The player who did not score moves first from the central point.[3] The game is finished when a move from the central place is not possible. This ends the game and the player with the most points wins.[10]

Another variant allows a player to make a "bounce" during any turn if the line of that bounce would cross an existing diagonal line.[11]


Example of blocking a gate

Blocking is the main aim in Paper Soccer and similar games.[12] Since the ball's movement cannot overlap lines drawn before, a player can block their opponent's potential moves by filling relevant points on the board. In this way a player can streamline their mobility and limit their opponent's mobility. Bounces are useful to score the goals and to block the gates' access.[9] In versions of the game where a player who cannot move loses, a player can focus on moving the ball to a position where their opponent cannot move it further.[13]

The player who moves first starts the game with the initiative (But this initiative is not the advantage in the case when both players are experienced).[11] As the game progresses, the gameplay becomes more tactical, with players being able to use bounce moves to outmaneuver their opponent.

The AI player in some computer programs always chooses the shortest path to the goal and omits other strategies.[14]

Game notation[edit]

Each move in the game may be recorded as a string or one or more digits from 0 to 7, each digit representing a direction (with 0 corresponding to 'north', 1 to 'north-east', 2 to 'east' and so on). It has been used in a service.[15]

This series of moves can be notated as "0", "3", "67", "5" and "0"

Similar games[edit]

There are also two similar games which imitate the football match. Their mechanisms also depend on drawing lines with a ball's moves.

Larger playing area[edit]

Usually in this version of the Paper Soccer, the pitch has much larger dimensions

Players have the opportunity to block an opponent's potential moves. Sometimes a player who starts the game first has a minimal advantage. Gameplay's competition is important at the edges of the field, which players can use to maneuver the opponent. Players can also aim to make a trap for a penalty kick. This is useful gameplay, but sometimes can result in extreme moves for an opponent.[16]

The game was popular in many USSR places.[16] There are Russian magazines about this game[17][18] as well as several computer versions too.[16][19][20][21]

  • Players make their moves one after another. The first move is decided by a coin toss.
  • "Making a move" depends on drawing a jagged line in which the ball follows empty dots at line crossings of squares on the lined sheet. In one game variation, the line consists of 4 spans connecting the nearest dots along square's sides. In another, it consists of 3 spans, but they can also pass along a square's diagonals.
  • The line should not intersect itself, previously drawn lines, or the field boundary except the gates. There is one exception here - penalty kicks (see below).
  • The beginning of one line should start at the end of the previously drawn line. The first line starts at the center spot.
  • If the player is unable to draw a line (without crossing another line or the field boundary) then his opponent should make a penalty kick: from the end of the previous move he draws a line 6 (13 in some game variations) spans of length in any of the eight directions. This penalty line can cross other lines except the field boundary. If the penalty line stops on already occupied dot or the player is unable to make his move from this point, his opponent makes the penalty kick again.
  • If the penalty line touches the gate boundary dot (the goalpost), the line should bounce (like a beam of light bounces from a mirror) but the whole penalty line length should be still exactly 6 (or 13) spans. In some game variations the penalty line cannot bounce.
  • If the line (during regular move or penalty kick) crosses the gate - the player scores a goal and the game starts again at the center spot of the same field or on an empty field. Loser makes the first move here. In another variation, the game stops after the first goal.


XrSoccer is a computer game published in 2005 by the company eXtreme Results International Inc.[12] xrSoccer's gameplay is also possible with the use of paper and pencil. It has something in common with both options of the soccer game on paper and looks similar to Paper Soccer but its gameplay generally is not very similar to both versions.

Rules of the game:[22]

  • The pitch has 13x19 points and there aren't any lines (bounds), which limit the ball's movement at the border. The gates are marked as three purple points and they are placed at the centres of the shorter sides.
  • Players make moves with drawing the ball`s way, which is a 3-part long line. Lines drawn in the gameplay can cross and contact each other, but lines cannot cover each other. A player doesn't have bounce move due to the fact the line drawn in his move touches some other lines which have been drawn before.
  • The yellow points are the markers of the places where the ball won't reach in the future due to the fact that the access to those points has been limited by the lines drawn before.
  • When the player can't continue his move, the ball is carried by yellow dots to the nearest, unblocked point. The point is placed in the same rank or in the rank which is placed nearer to opponent's gate. The ball is carried by last part of the before movement if not blocked point is placed in neighboring file and in the same rank.
  • The players cannot score goals with the bonus (carrying) moves, because gates' points also are carrying the ball into other points.
  • The game isn't finished when a player is scoring a goal. After the goals, the ball is carried to the most central point on the pitch, and the player who scores a goal gets a point. The player also gets a point if his opponent scores his own goal. The player who doesn't get a point continues the gameplay from the central point of the pitch.
  • If one player scores all the possible goals in the gameplay, the game is finished. In xrSoccer resulting in a draw is impossible.

Группа ВК "Футбол на бумаге / Paper soccer"== References ==

  1. ^ Marek Futrega. "Wiadomości kurnikowe, archiwalna wersja z dnia 20.04.2004" (in Polish). Archived from the original on June 9, 2004. Retrieved 2016-02-17. 
  2. ^ Архангельск присоединился к всемирной акции «Игротека». 2 November 2014 – via YouTube. 
  3. ^ a b c Anonim. "8x10 Paper soccer" (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-01-27. 
  4. ^ Ławicki, Mariusz. 155 gier i zabaw z dzieckiem, dziećmi i dla dzieci. p. 14. ISBN 978-83-931024-0-2. 
  5. ^ Joanne O’sullivean I Don’t Care pp 212.
  6. ^ "Google". 
  7. ^ Work of Line Bounder app. (lack of own goal, and getting the points for finish a gameplay by short way]
  8. ^ For example it is relevant in: ([1], [2], [3]) or Paper Soccer for geeks, PageFootball PDE Football)
  9. ^ a b Elephants Will Be Mine (February 2013). "PageFootball". google play store. Retrieved 2016-02-17. 
  10. ^ Work of Inteligentna piłka app.
  11. ^ a b "Интеллектуальный футбол на бумаге" (in Russian). Retrieved 2016-02-17. 
  12. ^ a b eXtreme Results International, Inc. "Description of xrSoccer". Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  13. ^ Unknown. "Rules of the Paper soccer at" (in Polish). Retrieved 2016-03-05. gdy któryś z graczy zostanie zablokowany (when one of players gets blocked) 
  14. ^ Bartosz Tarnowski. "Gra "Piłkarzyki"". Implementacja sztucznej inteligencji (in Polish). Retrieved 2016-02-13. 
  15. ^ "PlayOk - statistics' resreach". 
  16. ^ a b c "Gridball Game". 
  17. ^ "Самые известные игры на бумаге". 
  18. ^ Olga Bogdanova, 300 лучших игр для веселой компании от бывалого тамады, приколиста и заводилы
  19. ^ "TreeGame — онлайновые игры на любой вкус: настольные, карточные, интеллектуальные и азартные". 
  20. ^ AlHeSoft:. "P&P Soccer". CBS Interactive. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ eXtreme Results International, Inc. (2016-02-18). "Video with download XrSoccer and show of the gameplay". 


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