You Are What You Play


Mind & Paper Game

Name of Game:



Mind and Paper

Country of Origin:

UK, France, Russia, Italy – all during WW1

Where did you learn it?:

At home

How many players?:




Where is it played?:

Wherever you can have 4 pieces of paper / a table top, on the floor etc.


The game is played on four grids, two for each player. These can be drawn by hand or printed out. The grids are typically square – usually 10x10 – squares in the grid are identified by letters (on the left) and number (across the top).


On one grid the player arranges ships and records the shots by the opponent. On the other grid the player records his/her own shots made.


Before play begins, each player secretly arranges their ships on their primary grid.


Each ship occupies a number of consecutive squares on the grid, arranged either horizontally or vertically (some allow diagonal as well). The type of ship determines the number of squares for each ship.


The ships cannot overlap (i.e. only one ship can occupy any given square in the grid).


The types and numbers of ships allowed are the same for each player. These may vary depending on the rules.


Type of ship & Size:


1 Battleships: 5 squares

2 Destroyers: 3 squares

2 Submarines: 2 squares

2 Patrol boats: 1 square


(NB different combinations of ships are sometimes found)


After the ships have been positioned, the game proceeds in a series of rounds. In each round, each player takes a turn to announce a target square in the opponent's grid which is to be ‘shot at’ (e.g. “B9”).

The opponent announces whether or not that square is occupied by a ship, and if it is a "miss", the player marks their primary grid with a X; if a "hit" they mark this on their own primary grid by shading in the square. The attacking player notes the hit or miss on their own "tracking" grid with the appropriate, in order to build up a picture of the opponent's fleet.


When all of the squares of a ship have been hit, the ship is sunk, and the ship's owner announces this (e.g. "You sank my battleship!"). If all of a player's ships have been sunk, the game is over and their opponent wins.



How to play:

Materials Needed:

Paper and pencils

Aim of game:

To sink all your opponent’s ships

How does it End?:

When they declare all their ships sunk

Variations from other places:

There are now plastic board game versions and online versions

Average time needed to play:

10-15 minutes

Age Range:



Who Introduced us to it?: