Shut the Box

While wandering the aisles of your local game shop you may have seen a felt lined tray with the numbers one to nine displayed like the one in the photo above. You may have even seen it in your local pub waiting to be played. This is a dice game called Shut the Box. It is a fast moving game most often found in English pubs ,as well as the occasional German and American ones.


Players two or more

Equipment pair dice shut the box
layout score pad

How to play
The object of the game is to cover as many numbers on the layout as possible to give you the lowest score.

When a number is covered using a box, (like the one shown in the photo above) the player flips over the wood tile with the number on it.

Each player in turn rolls two dice. The player then covers the number or numbers on layout equalling the number rolled on the two dice. For example if a 6 is rolled the player could cover ; 1 and 5, or 2 and 4, or 1and 2 and 3.

Once a number has been covered it can not be used again by the player that turn.

The player continues to roll until a number is rolled that has no combination of uncovered numbers equal to it. For example if if the numbers uncovered are 1, 3, and 9 and the player rolls a 7. When this happens no more numbers are covered and the player’s turn is over.

When the player’s turn is over all of the uncovered numbers are added up to make the players score.

Player with the lowest score wins the round. First player to win three round wins the game.

Many people play that covering all the numbers in one round is an instant win. There is also a variation where you can only cover the number made by the sum of both dice or the number showing on each die. Some people play by keeping a running total of the points scored. The game ends when a player reaches 100. Then the player with the lowest score wins. Another interesting twist is the player’s score at the end of the turn is the number made by reading the uncovered numbers left to right as a single number. For example, if 1, 3 and 9 are left up the score is 139.

Here is a Shut the Box game made with dominos instead of wood tiles.


There are so many variations of this game be sure to ask what are the house rules when joining in.

Now for anyone who is thinking that this game would take up to much room in there luggage while on a trip is in luck. This is because the layout is very easy improvise with light weight material or things you already have. You could draw the layout on a sheet of paper and use counters to cover the numbers you have closed. You can even use playing cards as shown in the photo below. Just flip the card that has the number you chose to close. So all you need to play on the road is a pair of dice and your new light weight improvised layout.



One thought on “Shut the Box

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s