A little while ago, Kristin and I were having a lovely Thai dinner at Madam Mam’s, and we wanted to play a game, but didn’t have anything at hand. Fortunately, I had a small pad of graph paper, so before too long, we had sketched out a little air hockey table, and come up with some simple rules for moving a puck around – one person chooses the direction in which they’re hitting the puck, and the other chooses the distance. Classic “I cut, you choose” type of stuff. The first player to get the puck into the other’s goal area wins, even if it’s on their turn! A nice start.

After a bit of playing around with different variations and tweaking things here and there, we had narrowed the rules down so that you had to pick each one of the eight directions before you could pick the same one again, and pick one of some number of some set of distances before you could repeat those, as well. (With a little bit of tinkering and math, I came up with a series of seven numbers that seems to work out pretty well, and the sets of seven and eight work to mix things up nicely.) So we played a few times, and added a couple of rules to make play a bit smoother – you lost if you moved to a square that had been moved to before, there’s no strict time limit on moving, but try to keep it quick, there’s no overt counting of squares, once you declare a direction, there’s no take-backs, and so on.

So, after that evening, we let that sit for a while, and I had been carrying around the papers that we’d sketched things out on for a while. Eventually, the “write up Papair Hockey rules and design a printable play sheet” item rose to the top of my todo list, and I spent an evening hammering this out. You can download and print a PDF of the rules from that link, or check out this quick little page for it – please do grab it and take a look and play it a bunch and let me know if it works for you!

The current version of the rules and playsheet are a first draft, clearly, so if you find any typos or errors or things that need clarification or anything that would make it easier to play, don’t hesitate to let me know. Have fun!

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