A Game For Some Ages of Some Skill Level

The Story Behind...

Handtris originated one boring day in my 8th grade science lecture class while we studied sex cells and mitosis. My science teacher is blessed (or perhaps I am) to have a voice that makes Ben Stein's sound operatic, so of course I and my table sharer were quite bored. After spending 5 pages of my notebook playing The Song Game and variations on Tic-Tac-Toe, we created this game to keep ourselves from losing consciousness. It worked out great.



  1. Designate one person as the "Player" and one as the "Chooser" (or "Listener"). The Player almost always has more fun, but the Chooser also gets valuable blackmail material by being the only one of the two with the class notes (usually).
  2. Decide upon one word that will be your "signal word". It has to be something that your teacher/professor/driving instructor says rather often, like every 30 seconds or so (examples include: angle, chromosome, the great depression).
  3. Make sure that both of you have a working knoweledge of the classic game Tetris.
  4. The Player draws a 10 x 20 or so rectangle on their paper. Leave lots of room on top, you'll need it.
  5. Now the fun part! The Chooser listens to the lecture (the horror!) and every time that your authority figure of choice says the signal word, they draw a tetris piece (see below) of their choice and show it to the Player. The Player has until the signal word is said again to place that piece. When the signal word is said again, the Chooser draws a new piece which must be placed by the Player, and so on.
  6. When the Player acheives a line(s), cross them out and add the appropriate line(s) on the top of the rectangle, adding 1 point for a single line, 3 points for a double line, 4 points for a triple line, and 5 points for a quadruple line (or Tetris).


Tetrads (Tetradominoes, pieces, etc)
##  ##   #      #   ##   ####
##   ##  ###  ###  ##

  • Change the signal word to words used more and more commonly as your score gets higher (for example, chromosome to cell to he to the, etc).
  • Play "Type B". Let the Chooser go a little crazy and draw in random pieces for a few lines before you start the game and set a goal for number of lines.
  • Be a Cheating Chooser and tell your teacher to say the signal word obsessively before class. Only works if your teacher is cool, in which case you probably aren't playing this to pass the time anyway.

Yes this game is fun, But be careful once you've won, You wouldn't want to jump and scream, Or else your quarter grade might look a little lean