What is Print and Play

Updated: Jul 15



You might have come across print and play games on Facebook, Kickstarter, or specialised websites. Or maybe this is the first time you've heard about them. If that's the case, then you're in for a treat.


To keep it as short as possible, a PnP game is a game which you can print yourself. A pen, and sometimes some dice or tokens, is all you need once you have that sheet of paper.


It may sound simple because it is, but it is not simplistic. Such a minimalistic and constraining format requires a lot of ingenuity and creativity on the part of the creator. As a board game enthusiast myself, I can confirm that you can find some real jewels in this format.


Print and play is becoming an increasingly popular way to play games. That's because its benefits are quite a joy to enumerate:

  • They are cheap and sustainable, with cost of materials and distribution close to zero (all it takes is one or two sheets of paper and a bit of ink).

  • They offer flexible ways to play, as they stand with one foot in the physical world and one foot in the digital: you can either print it, or play it directly on your device, with the help of a few common apps (in which case, some call it Load and Play).

  • Given their format and distribution methods (this website being an example of that), they are the perfect platform for new or experienced creators alike to deliver content.

Another attractive feature of PnP is that it tends to concentrate on solitaires, games that can be played solo. Almost any multiplayer PnP game also has a solo version. We can't and may not always wish to play with others. Maybe we just want some quite time for ourselves. And when it comes to relaxing and getting some headspace, a nice, catchy game beats a phone screen any time.


There's something in the minimalist external format combined with the elements of inventiveness and environmentalism which give PnP games their markedly contemporary flavour.


To sum up, with PnP games you can have all the comfort of the digital, while savouring the homely atmosphere of good old board games.

 

Some of the best websites for PnP games are:


PNP Arcade
DriveThru RPG