24 February 2021 (updated)

The Best Pen And Paper Games to Play

You love playing board games with your family but want a bit of change? There’s nothing like the old pen and paper games to get in on the action! Whether you play tic-tac-toe or a fantasy role-playing game, sharpen your pencils and start the fun!

It’s easy to forget that simple things are often the most fun: like pen and paper games for adults. Whether you opt for a classic or try something new, don’t take the simplicity of paper and pencil for granted! Get out your pens and start drawing those boxes you need for Battleship or Hangman.

What Are Pen and Paper Games?

The name "pen and paper games" refers to the material you will need for playing: a pencil and a notepad is enough for simple Paper-and-pencil games, although some of them also require special dices for example. Games for paper and pen are usually easy to understand as well as they don't have a complex set of rules. So most of them are great to play with children.

In the last years, the name pen and paper often refers to a special kind of role-playing games. But before we explain these more complex activities, let's start with the fun of easy games.

What Are the Best Pen & Paper Games?

Pen and paper games for groups can be a great ice breaker and lots of fun! The following are some of the best and most popular paper-gaming options out there. Plus, they don't need any work or time to preparate as you can start as soon as everyone has a pen in their hand:

  • Hangman– This is among the classic pen and paper games for couples when it comes to guessing the word. By drawing gallows and choosing a word that needs to be filled in, the ‘hanging’ man will be drawn in with each incorrect letter choice. The ultimate goal is to figure out the word before the man is fully drawn!
  • Categories – It might sound easy enough, but this game can keep everyone entertained for quite a while! To start, choose a category and write it at the top of a piece of paper. Each player picks a letter of the alphabet and writes down all the words they can think of starting with that letter. After one minute, players tally up the word count. This is one of the best pen and paper games to play by yourself too!

What Are the Best Pen-and-Paper Games for Two Players?

When it comes to pen and paper games, there are many places to begin. But the following are some of the best games you can do on paper with two people and just a pencil. You may even want to share them on FamilyApp!

  • Tic-Tac-Toe – Few games are easier to learn than Tic-Tac-Toe, and few can provide as much simple fun! Start by creating a grid of two horizontal and vertical lines for 3 columns and 3 rows. With one person as ‘X’ and one as ‘O’, the game wins whoever gets three of the same in a row. Even small kids enjoy this as soon as they can handle a pen.
  • Connect Four – Many people know this game from the fun boardgame version. But, it’s pretty easy on paper too! Much like Tic-Tac-Toe, players draw ten lines horizontally and vertically to make 20 squares. Players will take turns drawing circles row by row in a box of their choice. Whoever gets four in a row wins the game!
  • Battleship - This game with paper and pen is great for older kids and adults as Battleship demands some brainpower and strategy. Write the letters 1 to 10 one underneath the other and the letters A to J next to each other on graph paper to create a grid. Do another one right next to it. In the left grid, you draw your own ships by edging boxes. Then ask the other player about their ships using the grid's coordinates like "F-2". They reply whether you have shot their ship, than you draw an X into that box or whether you have missed, then draw a dot into said box.

If you don't have the Connect 4 board game, you can play with pen and paper.

What Are the Best Pen and Paper Role-Playing Games?

There’s more to the old pencil and paper games than just some lines and boxes. In fact, if you’re ready to use your creativity, the following fantasy games and role-playing games (RPG) are a great place to begin!

  • Dungeons & Dragons – While this pen and paper RPG has been around since 1974, it’s morphed into many different forms since then! It’s actually one of the first role-playing games of its kind and involves wargaming where each player creates their own character. The Dungeon Master is the game’s storyteller and referee while the characters solve problems and do battle on paper using just a pencil and some special dices.
  • Shadowrun – It might not be as famous as Dungeons and Dragons, but this is still one of the best RPGs out there! Created in 1989, this tabletop game includes everything from novels and card games to video games. It tells the story of industrial espionage in a future dystopian world, providing hours of endless play.

With an iPad or a PlayStation, there’s certainly plenty of opportunity to keep yourself entertained. But pen and paper games for one person can also be a great way to have fun without relying on technology! Do you have a favorite game for pencil and paper or RPG? Let us know in our comments! Hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe may be classics, but there’s always new game out there to play.

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