Sprouts is a nodal game invented by the mathematicians John Horton Conway and Michael S. Paterson that is referenced in Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers. What makes the game unusual is that instead of playing within an existing set of nodes and paths, the players create their own.
- Two players
- Pencil & paper
Object of the game:
- To put leave the opponent with no legal moves.
- The game begins with players sketching a few nodes on a sheet of paper. The exact number does not matter, but for your first few games you probably want to keep it to four or fewer.
- Players take turns drawing a path from one node to another. Paths do not need to be straight, but they cannot cross one another.
- New paths can only be added to nodes that have fewer than three paths already connected to them.
- After drawing a new path, players should draw a new node on it. Because they are drawn on a path, these new nodes start with two paths already connected to them.
- Paths can start and end on the same node. Paths beginning and ending on the same node count for two of the node’s paths. This means that these types of paths can only be drawn on a node that has one or no paths currently connected to it.