7th May 2020
The latest game to be added to Pencil and Paper Games is MetaSquares, a game in which you score points for placing your pieces so they form the corners of a square.
It was originally designed by game designer Scott Kim as a two-player board game for Metacreations, with game art by Kai Krause, and it ran as an online game between 1996 and 1997 on America Online (AoL). Since then it's been reincarnated in various online versions.
The players 'X' and 'O' take turns in drawing their symbol in one of the cells on a 8 x 8 grid. When a player gets four pieces at the corners of a square, which can be vertical or tilted, the square is drawn in and the player gets points according to the area of the square.
The original scoring system takes a bit of getting used to as it's quite complicated, so I've suggested a simpler variant of the game in which you just count the number of squares each player has made, and the winner is the first one to reach eight.
In the original game the score for completing a square is calculated by multiplying the number of cells along each side by itself. For example, in the left-hand diagram below 'X' has completed a square with 4 cells along each edge, so this scores 4 x 4 or 16 points:
For slanted squares the length of each side is taken as the total number of cells along the 'L' between two adjacent corners, so in the right-hand diagram this is six cells, giving a score of 6 x 6 or 36.
The first player to reach 150 points and be 15 or more points ahead of their opponent is the winner.
A finished game
Here's a finished game in which the first player, 'X', has won by achieving 160 points against 'O's 90: