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Morpion Solitaire Puzzle

You might have heard of this game as Join 5 or simply the Line Game. Morpion Solitaire is a bit of a misnomer, as they game can be played by two players and is actually more fun like that.


How to Play Morpion Solitaire Puzzle

The first thing you need to do is draw the grid of dots or crosses and it’s best to use a piece of paper from a math notebook, which allows you to trace the pattern much easier. The standard version of the starting grid is that of a cross which consists of a square of 4×4 dots plus four 4×3 dots rectangles on each side of the square. The aim of the game is to draw lines connecting 5 dots. The game ends when it becomes impossible to draw another line.

If you play the game on your own, at the end you can count the number of lines and see if you’ve managed to beat your personal record. If there are two players, the one who manages to draw more lines or the one to connect the last remaining dots wins.

The most important rule of the game is that no new line can overlap with parts of a previously drawn line.

Another rule says that if you have four aligned dots or crosses in the pattern you can draw a fifth dot outside the initial cross outline. This extra dot can be used to draw a five dots line or, if you don’t actually needed you can save it for later.


Morpion Solitaire Puzzle Variants

One version of the puzzle starts with cross-shaped pattern made of 36 crosses. Unlike the standard version, there are no crosses or dots inside the pattern. You still need to connect 5 crosses, but you are allowed to draw new ones as long as they are in line with other 4 crosses. The winner is the player who manages to place more extra crosses.


History of the Morpion Solitaire Puzzle

Some says this puzzle might have originated in Northern Europe, but there are many elements pointing to it being of French origin. The term morpion comes from the French phrase ‘mords pion’ which means bite pawn, while solitaire is the French term for alone or loner. Also, the first known references to this puzzle appeared in French papers during the 1970s. As far as anyone can tell, before becoming famous, this was just a game used to play in school.