Best Pencil and Paper Games for Small Groups

There comes a time in your life when you want to disconnect from this fast-moving world and the internet. You decide to go old school and try different games to cherish your moments. You can have a small party at your home or far from home where you can enjoy the time with family and friends. 

Laughing, chatting, and playing pen and paper games is the classic way to spend time with your family or friends. You can play these games when you are on a vacation, stuck at home due to any reason, waiting for a doctor, or you want to play them with your kids. For kids, it can be a learning source too. Grab a pen and notebook for some old-fashioned fun.

Best Pencil and Paper Games for Small Groups

There are a few pen and paper games as a one-player or two-player or more games. If you are having a small party at your home or a small group on vacation, you can play these pen and paper games with them. 

Categories Pen and Paper Game

You will have to choose 5 to 10 categories. Write them at the top of the page. Now each player takes a turn and they will pick a letter of the alphabet. Each player with their turn will list something in each category with the chosen letter. Each player will be having 1 minute for their turn. 

The points will be totaled in each round and the player will get a point only if their words are unique than others. After all the categories are finished, the player with the most points will win the game. You can try categories such as fruits, movies, boy or girl names, TV shows, vegetables, things, things that whistle, animals, etc. 

Pictionary Pen and Paper Game

It is not a single-player or two-player game. Any number of players can play this game. Give each person a pen and paper. Ask them to write down a common phrase on the paper and fold the paper. Now collect all the papers and put them in a basket or box. Each player will take their turn and choose a folded paper from the basket. 

They are supposed to act out the phrase or draw it on a large piece of paper. It can be a whiteboard too. If one of the players guesses the correct phrase or drawing, the player in position will draw the thing or act out the next phrase. It is a brainstorming pen and paper game but you can decide the game-winning options. The first team will get a designated number of points. 

You can choose categories such as famous places, movie names, sports teams, book titles, animals, foods, etc.

Bulls and Cows Pen and Paper Game

Each player will create a secret numeric sequence of four numbers. Players will take their turns and guess the number with bulls indicating the correct sequence of the numbers. Cows will indicate the correct numbers in the wrong position against each guess. The winning point in this game is to guess the correct secret sequence in fewer turns.


If you remember the hangman game, then it is a kid-friendly and less deadly version of hangman. It is known as a spaceman. The rules of this game are the same as hangman but you don’t draw a stick figure hanging from a noose. A player will think of a word and will write the dash for each letter in the word. Other players will guess the letters to complete the word.

If a player guesses the wrong letter that is not associated with the word, the letter will be written above or aside and the head of the spacemen will be drawn on the paper or board. The winning option is to guess the letter correctly before the other players finish drawing a complete spaceman with wrong guesses. 


One of the popular games for fun. The more dots you draw on the paper, the longer will be the game. The other name of this game is the dot game. To play this game, at least two players are required but for more fun, there can be more players than two. You draw dots on the page and each player takes their turns to connect the two dots in a straight line. 

The player to complete a box will write their initials in the box. The game will continue until the last two dots are connected. Each box means 1 point. The player with the most boxes and points will win the game. 

Paper Soccer

One of the pens and paper games that requires a bit of strategy. The goal of this game is to be the first player who gets the soccer ball into their goal. One player gets only one move but if you can bounce the ball off the other line or side of the board. It is a two-player game in which you have to connect the dots and the lines. With these lines, you will reach your goal. 

Mark the boundaries of the field on the paper and mark dots to set up the game. Mark one goal at each end. The drawn ball on paper will be kicked off from the middle of the paper. Each player will be able to connect two dots with one straight line. If the ball touches the boundaries, the other player will get to go again. The winning point in this game is to reach your goal first.

Ultimate Tic Tac Toe

Tic Tac Toe

To play this game, it takes crosses and naught to kick up the notch. It takes a time to play this game but the rules are very simple. Firstly, draw a big tic-tac-toe board on the paper. Each grid will be having a smaller tic-tac-toe board inside. X goes first and the player choosing X as their symbol will put it anywhere on the board. 

The O player is then supposed to play in the corresponding grid where the X played its first turn. Look at the moves of X and then compare them to the larger board. That would be the area where O is supposed to move. Then X will play on the board where O played their last turn. 

When one of the players gets 3-in-a-row in any of the smaller boards, the player will put a large X or O on the smaller board. The winning option of this game is that it continues until there are 3 large Xs or Ox in a row. 


It is one of the popular board games that has become a pen-and-paper game for two. On two separate sheets, each player will set up a grid with ten vertical and horizontal lines. The horizontal side is for letters and the vertical side is for numbers. On one sheet, a player will draw rectangles that represent the fleet of ships. Other players cannot see their location. 

On the other grid, the hits will be marked with an X and miss with an O. The ships are supposed to take adjacent squares horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Once all the squares of the ship are discovered, a player will say that you sank my battleship. The winning option is to sink all the ships of the opponent. 


It is a similar game to tic-tac-toe. This game is having a larger board and there are more chances to gain points. The players will take their turns by writing an S or an O in the grid. If a player can make an SOS sequence, they will highlight it with a marker and take another turn. 

When the paper or grid is filled, the game ends. The player with the most SOS sequence wins the game.


This game involves triangles and lines. You can play it with your kids too. Firstly, set up the game board and draw a hexagon with dots at each corner. Now draw the lines connecting the dots. 

Players will be using different colored markers or highlighters to make the difference. Each player will color one line at a time. To your surprise, to win this game, you don’t have to be the first player to create a triangle with colors. If you are the last person to complete the triangle with color, you win. 

Pencil and Paper Games – Fun Games for Small Groups

You can play these pencil or pen and paper games when you are not having cellphone signals or your batteries are dying. These games are a strategic and fun thing to do on car road trips, on an airplane, on a ship, or in a waiting room, etc. Other than this, it would be fun to declare a night with old-fashion pen and paper games!