Games Sprouts • Kelly D. Chien • 2008-02-18
Riparian Entertainments






prouts is an interesting little pencil & paper game played by two people. Three spots are drawn on the paper and moves consist of joining spots together with lines. As each new line is drawn a new spot is added to that line. Each spot may have a maximum of three lines touching it. Lines may not cross each other. The last person able to make a move wins.

This game was invented in 1967 by Cambridge University mathemeticians John Horton Conway and Michael S. Paterson.

Start out by drawing three spots on the paper. Each spot has three lives.

A move consists of joining a live spot to a live spot by drawing a line. The line kills one life from each spot it touches.

A new spot is placed on the new line. Note that the new spot has two lines touching it already so that it only has one life left.

Player 2 takes a turn, choosing to join the new spot to an existing spot, and places a new spot on the line.

This spot now has three lines and is dead. It cannot be used again.

This is an example of joining a spot to itself. As long as it has at least 2 lives left this is legal.

Player 2 continues.

Player 1 has joined two spots inside a closed area. Lines may not cross, so the new spot created inside this area cannot be joined to a spot outside.

Player 2 continues.

Player 1 wins. There are two lives left, but it is impossible to join them because a new line cannot cross an existing line.

here are some interesting variations. Try starting with more spots or fewer spots. You can also play so that the winner is the first person who isn't able to make a move.