The title game of this book is the simple one where two players start with a rectangular grid of dots. They take turns connecting two adjacent dots using either a horizontal or vertical line. If the line closes a square, the player initials it and then connects two additional dots. The player with the most initialed squares at the end wins the game. There are several games that are mathematically equivalent, which makes the explanations even more interesting.
Like so many other games, the rules are simple, effective strategies for improved play are available and easy to understand, but a complete analysis is elusive and may be all but combinatorially impossible. Of course, this is what keeps our interest.
Many problems with solutions are presented with some currently unsolved situations listed at the end. While the book is interesting, the lack of detailed explanations of at least some of the solutions would have done a great deal to improve the quality of the book. Games like this have strategies that can be subtle to say the least and I found it difficult to justify the moves that the author put forward as the appropriate strategy. However, this is not to say that I ultimately found the move to be incorrect.
Humans are creatures that require games and play. The best all seem to be the ones with simple rules and complex or impossible strategies. The games described in this book are fun to play and the explanations of basic strategies are easy to understand. If this type of game interests you, then you will find the book enjoyable.
Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.