Playing the Paper

Playing the Paper

People around the globe shell out billions of dollars each year on professionally manufactured games: According to a recent study, spending worldwide on playing cards and board games is expected to reach nearly $22 billion by the year 2025. But the truth is that you can turn anything into a game — even a newspaper! These fun hexagon tiles are flexible game components that allow for a variety of games and play styles. You can make your own by cutting up a newspaper and folding it using the instructions below.

The New York Times Games team has come up with a few games using the tiles to get you started, but you should think of them as starting points. Try your own variations, or make up something entirely new. Let us know what you come up with in the comments!

Two players, 5-10 minutes

Have the most tiles flipped to your orientation at the end of the game.

We recommend making 16 tiles, but any even number should be fine. Each player takes half the folded tiles. One player is the Hex player; the other is the Triangle player.

  • Alternate placing tiles with your opponent. Hex players go first, laying their tiles face up so the smooth side is visible. Triangle players lay theirs face down, so the folds are visible.

  • Tiles must connect to at least one other tile and match on all connecting sides. A match means that the sides that are connected have one of three components in common: text, images or white space. The components must be on the edge of the tile and be physically touching.

  • If a tile becomes flippable, it must be flipped. Tiles can be flipped in any order, and flipping a tile can cause chain reactions.

  • The game ends when all tiles have been placed, or when at least one player has no valid moves left. Each player then counts the tiles flipped to their orientation. The player with the most tiles wins.

Two players, 10-20 minutes

Get the most pieces to your opponent’s graviton.

  • Lay pieces out in a diamond shape, face up.

  • Place a piece face down at both ends of the diamond. This is your “graviton.”

  • Place four game pieces, of differing colors, on each graviton. You can use whatever you want to play: tokens from another game, coins, checkers, even M&M’s!

  • On your turn, you must move one of your pieces forward one hexagon. Pieces must always move toward the opponent’s graviton.

  • If there is an unoccupied space behind an opponent’s piece, you can jump over it. Jumping over a piece captures it, removing it from play

  • When one of your pieces reaches the opponent’s graviton, you can move the graviton anywhere along the edge of board. This changes the direction your remaining pieces move in.

  • Pieces that enter the opponent’s graviton are no longer in play.

  • If you cannot make a move, you must remove one of your pieces that is still in play.

  • The game ends when a player’s pieces have all been captured, or when they’ve all entered the opponent’s graviton.

Two players, 5 minutes

Guess your opponent’s secret tile.

Each player takes eight tiles.

Place the tiles in front of you, face up, so they are visible to both players. (Or, if you want more of a challenge, place them face down, with the triangles showing.)

  • Choose a tile on your opponent’s side, without telling them which one you’ve picked. This is your secret tile.

  • Flip a coin to decide who goes first.

  • Take turns asking yes-or-no questions to figure out which of the tiles in front of you your opponent has chosen as their secret tile. Each player can only ask three questions, so choose wisely! Good questions to ask might be “Does your tile have a headline?” or “Does your tile have images?”

  • You may put aside tiles that are not a match to help narrow down your choices.

  • After each player has asked three questions, count to three together and then slap your guess. Players score a point for each correct guess.

  • Shuffle the tiles and repeat these steps for at least three rounds. The player with the most points after three rounds wins!