Seven-year old and I came up with another dice and graph paper game today based vaguely off of all those computer games where you steer a growing snake around obstacles.

The goal was to draw little snakes and to keep them “alive” by not having them touch the edge of the board, itself or any other snake. The rule for drawing the snakes was to draw a line as many squares long as the number rolled on the dice. If the number was even the line turned left from where it last was, if the number was odd it turned right. Each of us had two snakes on the board at once so each time we rolled we could choose which snake to extend. If one snake died that person went ahead and started another snake and we counted up the number of dead snakes when our allotted time ran out.

At first it was practice recognizing which way is left or right (from the perspective of the snake) but we quickly realized that you could tell quickly based on the preceding line. If an odd line was attached to an odd line they both went the same direction.

The challenge in the game (besides getting the dice back from the little dice-stealing-monster) was to decide where to put the line. If you rolled too many odds or too many evens in a row then the snake spirals back into itself. You could also decide how close to go to some other person’s snake in the hopes of encouraging it to run into you, without risking running into it yourself.

I’m sure next we’ll figure out a variation that involves lopping the heads off of snakes only to have two grow in its place. The trick will be to figure out rules that allow just enough freedom of choice about where to draw the next line, without allowing so much freedom that there’s no possibility of getting trapped.

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