Playing Snail Mail Games

There are several games that can be played through the mail. If you and your pen pal are looking for a little extra something to keep it entertaining then maybe mail game play is for you. Here are some ideas:

This is an easy game that anyone will know how to play. Draw a little picture of a hangman’s noose on a piece of paper to pass back and forth with your friend. However, make sure you write the solution to the puzzle down in a safe place so you don’t forget the final message. To make opening the paper more exciting each time, add a little decoration or character around the edges of the game. At the end of the puzzle, you’ll have a unique piece of art to remind you or your friend the fun time you had playing the game.

A little more intense than hangman, but you can play scrabble just as easily. Draw out a scrabble board on a sheet of paper with squares big enough to fit the letters. This game works best if you’re willing to keep a scrabble board and pieces out for reference. You can play the game with your pen pal by sending them a slip of paper containing the letters they can use along with the sketch of the board. Have the person write the word they want to play on the paper board, and cross off the letters they used. When you receive the letter containing the game, remove those pieces from the person’s stand and give them new ones, marking them down on a slip of paper. Then, play your own word and note it on the board. Keep repeating these steps until the game is over.

You might be surprised to know that The United States Chess Federation actually has a page on their website dedicated to explaining the rules of correspondence chess. You can actually join and compete in tournaments, however if you want to just play with a pen pal, what you’ll need is a chess board to mark each players turn and an agreement on how you’ll be relaying the moves. Usually, chess players use algebraic notations, but you don’t have to do this.

After you know who will be white or black, start sending moves. Continue this way until the game has ended. A game like this doesn’t take up much space to note a new piece position. You may also want to draw out a board each time. I suggest two actually. One with the current board, the second with your new move. Then your opponent can do the same.


For more interesting games and other tips and inspiration when Pen Paling pick up a copy of PenPals: A Personal Guide for Prisoners.

Looking for a new penpal? Checkout and e-mail someone today!


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