Most people that have played Football Squares before have used a 10×10 or 100-square football board. However, there’s a version of the game that only uses 25 squares so is more preferable for smaller groups.
The 25-square Football Squares board works similar to the traditional 100-square board except that each row and column represents 2 numbers per team score instead of just one number. The resulting 5-by-5 grid still includes numbers 0-9 for the home team displayed horizontally and numbers 0-9 for the away team displayed vertically. Numbers are usually picked randomly and the player that has the last digit of the final score for each team wins!
Essentially the rules for the 25-square board is the same as the standard 100-square board but you don’t have as many squares that need to be purchased or filled. Since each square now represents 2 possible winning scores from each team, each payout gives each square 4 chances to win. While having additional chances to win may be appealing, the 5×5 football grid is generally only used when the number of Football Squares players are limited.
How To Play Football Squares With A 5×5 Grid
The best way to explain the mechanics of 25-square game of Football Squares is to show you, step by step. For the most part, using a 5×5 grid is the same as using a standard 10×10 grid but there’s only 5 rows and 5 columns in the grid so each square gets assigned 2 different scores from each team.
Below, I’ll show you how to play using a printable version of the game. You’ll want to adjust the steps to fit your needs if you’re using a spreadsheet or online version.
Step 1: Print off your Football Squares
Scroll down towards the bottom of this page for more printable options that you can download and print. The paid versions generally have better designs. Let’s go with the best free option though, this 5×5 Football Squares that includes 4-quarter payouts. It’s in PDF format so you can view it on pretty much any computer or device. For these instructions, let’s assume that you’re using a computer.
Make sure that you have a printer connected to your computer. Simply open the PDF and print it on your computer. Standard computer paper is fine.
Step 2: Fill in the teams, cost per square, and winnings
Before you start asking people to join you in a friendly game of Football Squares, you need to fill out a few details on the game sheet so participants will know what they’re buying.
- Team 1: This is the home team. If you don’t know which team is the home team, look at the matchup – it’ll be the team with the “@” or “at” in front of it. For example, for the matchup “49ers at Lions”, the Lions are the home team since it’s at their stadium.
- Team 2: This is the away or visiting team.
- Cost per Square: Enter how much you’re charging participants to buy each square. Not every Football Squares will have this so if yours doesn’t, don’t worry. You’ll just need to write it somewhere or just tell people when you ask them to buy squares. I like to have it on the sheet though so everyone knows what the price is and that it’s the same for each participant.
- Total Pot: This is the total winnings available in this friendly game of Football Squares. Your sheet may not have this, and it’s not really needed but I’ve found that when you show how much folks can win, they’re more likely to sign up. That’s why everyone plays the lottery when it reaches the crazy numbers. Calculate the total pot by multiplying the price per square by 25. Example: $2 per square X 25 squares = $50 total pot.
Step 3: Sell all the squares and collect the money
Ask your buddies, family, or work mates to sign up for squares. If they haven’t played before, give them a quick run down on how it works. Maybe start off with something like “Buy a square and if your square matches the score, you win!” Depending on who it is, you may need to go into more depth but most people have already heard of Football Squares and once one person signs up, you can have them tell other people. At my office, we play every year so everyone is ready to sign up whenever myself or my buddy Dave comes around with the Football Squares sheet.
Some people like to limit purchasing squares to one per person but I prefer giving the opportunity to purchase multiple squares. That allows people to put in as much money as they’re comfortable with. Judge your purchasing limits based on the level of interest.
When someone buys a square, collect their money and then have them write their name or initials on the square or squares that they purchased. I always collect the money up front and don’t do IOU’s since I don’t like hounding people later for that money.
Put that money in an envelope so it’s all in one place and you don’t lose it! Or, if it’s a lot of money, put it in a checking account.
TIP: On the back of the sheet, write down that person’s name and how much money they gave you – this will make that info easier to track down when it’s time to pay the winners.
Step 4: Pick column and row numbers
Now that all your squares have been purchased and picked, it’s time to write in the numbers for each team, from 1 through 0. Remember, each number will correspond with just the last digit of each team’s score.
If you’re looking for an easy way to generate these numbers truly randomly, you’ll want to use my Football Squares Random Number Generator. I created this handy tool just for Football Squares so all you have to do is click on the button to generate shuffled numbers for both teams. Click the button again if you don’t like the results.
Step 5: Fill in scores as you’re watching the game!
It’s game time, kick back and enjoy! After each quarter, enter in the score. If you’re just doing payouts for each half, just enter the score at the end of Quarter 2 and the Final Score. If you’re just doing 1 payout, just enter in the final score.
To find the winning square, take the last digit for Team 1’s score (Buccaneers in this example) and the last digit for Team 2’s score (Chiefs here). Remember that with the 25-square version that each row and column has 2 different numbers. In this example, either a 1 or 3 will be the first column and either 7 or 8 will be the 4th row. Where those intersect, you have the winner – in this case, me (ABD) for Quarter 1.
You’ll need to do this for each payout quarter.
Step 6: Pay out the winners
At the end of the game, figure out the total payout for each winner. As in the case of this example, one player can actually win multiple quarters. Sometimes that will happen if there’s been no score for that quarter but a score of 10 for a quarter is not that rare either.
If you’re doing quarterly payouts, each quarter will be 25% of the total pot. Or, if you do payouts like I prefer, quarters 1 through 3 will have a 20% payout with 40% for the final score.
- With 25% each quarter payouts and $50 total pot:
- ABD gets $12.50 (25% of $50)
- JMFW gets $37.50 (25% + 25% + 25% of $50)
- With 20% payouts for quarters 1-3 and a 40% final score payout, $50 total pot:
- ABD gets $10 (20% of $50)
- JMFW gets $40 (20% + 20% + 40% of $50)
After you’ve calculated each payout, announce the winners and pay out their winnings!
Why A 25-Square May Be A Better Choice For You
If you don’t have a large enough group for a 100-square game, the 5×5 Football Squares option only has 25 squares that need to be purchased. If you have a limited size, trying to get enough players for your football pool can be a real challenge, especially if time is limited.
Where To Get The Best 5×5 Football Squares
There are a few options for 25-square grids and most of them are printable versions that you can simply print off from your home printer. I’ve included some free and paid options below and I’ll be designing a free 5×5 game board later for this season, so make sure to come back to get that better design!