!!! Before reading the post, I'm not talking about Dots and Boxes, but Dots (a paper-based game).

I've been playing the game for some time and to become better at it, I started to search for different strategies for the game, but as this game is not so fame/popular there is only one (wikipedia) article to it. Can you share some different experience you've had with the game? Eventually how would you place more and more dots?

This game is pretty similar to go, the only difference is, that you don't have living points (I guess they're called breathing points?), but the only thing that counts is to circle the enemy. You start in a position where in 2x2 dots the opposite corners are of one player, and the other two dots are from the other.

Can I just assign Go-strategies here? Because it looks like I can't use them.

PS. Add 'dots', 'paper-based' tags for the forum, if possible. (Or if this forum is strictly for board games, are paper-based games board-games?)

  • 1
    No; because the "liberties" rule is very different. In Go there are can be instances of living groups wholly inside of another living group, and one must explicitly form eyes for all groups. In Dots wholly contained groups are captured, and groups are automatically live if they touch the boundary anywhere. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


Since the main rule of breathing is different, the players need to achieve completely different goals: In go a group can breath within another group, and the chips may get removed by being killed, while in dots a dot stays forever in game. Both games have the main goal to have the highest possible area, in where some strategies may be similar, but mostly your main goal in dots is to surround enemies dots/area and avoid having your own surrounded. Some of strategies that can be used, are:

Strategy #1: Keeping one dot free space

If the opponent is being surrounded and prefers to build walls, you will be able to catch him by building the perimeter with one dot empty space between every new dot, this helps surrounding faster and is more effective then just trying to catch at the same speed. However you still need to fill every dot you avoid at first to continue surrounding. (x and o are different colors)

x x x x x ...   -> x x x x x
ooooooooooo ... -> ooooooooox (Redirection of o’s)

Strategy #2: Know when you need o give up area

When your enemy has succeeded by occupying one of your zones, you need to know if you can fight for it, or can’t. There are not real parameters you can search for, as it’s very position-depended, but you can look at:

  • Size of your area
  • Shape
  • How much is occupied. (and how is it occupied? Keeping free dots? Any way to break through?)

Strategy #3: Building areas on top of areas

If you have a large area, you can build more small areas onto your large area as in example of green below

Dots game, me and my father who played green

Green simply have an area and build all other areas using some of the dots of the main area.

  • For # 1; what is preventing the o's to push through the gaps that you leave behind?
    – Taemyr
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 17:40
  • @Taemyr: If you place an o in the gap, x will place one above, in the end, x will do that anyway, but still. You may think that the o's may take one or two x's under their control, but it won't be the case: There are some combinations for x to have good.
    – Someone
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 19:03
  • 1
    Is it? You get .x.//xox//ooo - Next .xo//xox//ooo Threathening the x on the right. If this is saved, you get oxo//xoxx//ooo threathening both the x on the left and the one on top. (Of course it gets more interesting if x does not try to prevent this single intersection loss in the first place)
    – Taemyr
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 20:54

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