GridHack – Free Release!

Have you ever wanted to hack into a computer to steal data, to avoid firewalls and counter-hack programs, all without actually learning how to code?

Now is your chance, with the free release of GridHack!

In GridHack you’ll play the role of a hacker, invading a machine through the weak spots in code, and building your own hacking network to steal data. But you better hurry – you’ll be playing against the counter-hack program, which can introduce firewalls, freeze or corrupt your network and more.

If you’re interested in joining my email list, I highly suggest you do so here. I’m currently exploring the lore of Dwarf Mine, and you get some fun insider information as well.

You can download the GridHack free version here.

Why is GridHack Free

Almost exactly three years ago, I released an article which included a number of games that were in various stages of playtesting and design. I wanted to give people something fun to do, and spread some during a global pandemic. 

From that post, Dwarf Mine has been developed into a full game (with expansions), and I’ve spent a lot of time on Star Solo. However, I’ve always felt GridHack was in a good enough spot to get its own focused release. So, on a dreary February morning earlier this month, I decided I was going to give GridHack what I thought it deserved – a full release for a free version.

At some point I may plan on cleaning up the rules, adding some art and graphic design, and releasing a puzzle-book or campaign for GridHack. However, I’m a bit hesitant – and you can read why below.

GridHack Design Thoughts

I can’t remember the exact genesis of the GridHack design idea. I do know that it had to do with the pre-programmed counter-hack program that you “play against” in the game.

The counter-hack program is a pre-programmed set of actions the game takes against you. The fun in the game comes from knowing what the program is going to do on its next turn, but not knowing where. Being able to anticipate these moves, while trying to “beat the clock” on copying data before the game ends, introduces a lot of tension, and a dynamic game board.

I loved this idea when I was first designing GridHack. I think I’ve done a good job so far of matching the feel of the game with the theme.

I also think this game has a lot of design space included. While the base rules may end up changing if I continue designing the game (I’m not sold on the actions for the dice roll on your turn), I think the puzzle variety is where this game can shine. The fact that the counter-hack program is literally a paper and pencil program gives it a ton of versatility in offering different gameplay experiences. That, combined with new unique counter-hack actions, and I think this game could offer quite a few hours of fun. Of course, this is all providing that the base idea, the core feedback loop, is fun in the first place.

I do have a problem though. I’m not great at designing puzzles. When I first designed GridHack in 2019 I did a lot of reading on creating quality puzzles (shoutout to Peace for the conversation). But then the pandemic hit, my attention shifted to real world problems, etc. 4 years later, I’m still not good at designing puzzles.

This is why I am hesitant to give it the effort needed to do a puzzle book or campaign – I need to learn more. But I also need feedback to see if my efforts are paying off or not.

This free release does two things. First, it gives more attention to GridHack, which I think is a fun game in its current state. Second, it allows me to see if anyone has any feedback, so that I can continue to improve my own design skill, and more specifically, the different puzzles in GridHack.

So, if you have feedback, please reach out to me at paperdicegames (at)

Thank You

Finally, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who is reading, everyone who is joining the mailing list (seriously, lots of fun to be had over there), and everyone who continues to play games. I get so much joy out of watching people play games I design. 2022 was an incredible year for this, and it’s because of all of you!

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