Every Player

Every player must download and run the free Dots and Boxes program.

  • Dots and Boxes is a game for Windows computers; it will not run on other devices.

One Player

One player (the host) must also download and run the Dots and Boxes Server program.

Download the free evaluation version of the Dots and Boxes Server program (limited functionality):

  • Play with 2 players
  • Play as many times as you want and as long as you want
  • Make sure it works on your computer
  • Decide if you like the game
  • Limitation: small game board, 3 x 3 boxes
  • Learn more

$15 to Register to unlock full functionality:

Host Name: (required)

The Host Name will be displayed as the host for all the Snakes players.

You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay with a credit card through PayPal.

Dots and Boxes

2 players. Play online with family and friends, over the internet or across a home network

Dots and Boxes is a two-player strategy game (also known as "Pen the Pig"). The object of Dots and Boxes is to complete the most boxes, as the players take turns connecting adjacent dots. If a player completes a box, they get an extra turn.

Start the Game

Before you can play the game, one player, the host, must start a game. Learn more about hosting this game.

After the host has started the server, each player should start the Dots and Boxes game on their own computer and enter the port, IP address, and player name exactly as instructed by the host.

The Initial Grid

The initial grid of dots will be displayed when the last person arrives. The number of dots in the grid was set by the host when they started the server.

The first player is randomly chosen. Players take turns going first for each subsequent game.


The object of Dots and Boxes is to complete the most boxes.

Connecting the Dots

As a player moves their mouse acroos the grid of dots, an indicator line appears between the two closest dots. When a player clicks one of those indicator lines, a permanant line is drawn to connect those dots. The most recently drawn line will appear darker to emphasize the last drawn line.

Completing a Box

Any player who completes one box with their most recently drawn line, will be allowed to draw another line before their turn ends.

Any player who completes two boxes with their most recently drawn line will be allowed to draw two more lines before their turn ends.

All of the player's completed boxes will be colored red. All the opponent's completed boxes will be colored gray.

Players receive one point for each box they complete. The scores at the top of the window indicate how many boxes each player completed.


The player who completed the most boxes wins.


  • Look for long paths of unfinished boxes.
  • Look for enclosed areas, such as an outlined 2 x 2 square. Whoever finishes those boxes will complete two boxes with their last drawn line and will then get to draw two more lines.
  • Would you like to customize this game or learn to write other multiplayer games? Complete instructions for writing this Dots and Boxes game and several other multiplayer games are provided in our Do-It-Yourself Multiplayer Java Games book.
  • You can play this game without conversing with other players, but you may find it more enjoyable if you use some other form of audio or video communication while you play this game. For example, Zoom, Discord, or phone.
  • If one person leaves the game early or loses their internet connection, the game will automatically end for everyone.
  • If anyone leaves the game and others want to play again, the host must stop and restart the game server (click Stop then click Start) or close the server and start it back up again.

More Games

We have more games available for Windows computers.

Learn to Write Your Own Computer Games

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Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Computer Programming

More Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Graphics and Event-Driven Programming

Advanced Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Threads and Animated Video Games

Do-It-Yourself Multiplayer Java Games: An Introduction to Java Sockets and Internet-Based Games

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