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How to Play Shut the Box: A Beginner’s Guide to the Classic Game

Mastering Shut The Box

Shut The Box is one of the latest TikTok crazes, but is actually a traditional pub game with origins that trace back several centuries. It is a simple yet captivating game of dice for one or more players. Traditionally played in a wooden box containing numbered tiles, the game combines elements of luck and strategy, making it a beloved pastime for players of all ages. This guide will introduce first-timers to the essentials of playing Shut The Box, including its rules, strategies for winning, and variations to keep the game fresh and exciting.

how to play shut the box tiktok game

Understanding Shut The Box

The Setup

Shut The Box is typically played with a wooden box that has a row of hinged tiles numbered from 1 to 9 or 1 to 12, depending on the version. The game also requires two six-sided dice. The goal is to “shut” or cover all the numbers by rolling the dice and covering the corresponding numbers.

Equipment Needed

  • Shut The Box game board
  • Two six-sided dice

Basic Rules and Gameplay

Shut The Box can be enjoyed individually or with multiple players, taking turns. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Determine the Starting Player

In a group setting, players typically roll one die to see who goes first, with the highest roll starting the game.

Step 2: Opening the Box

The starting player opens all tiles, ensuring all numbers are visible and the box is “open.”

Step 3: Rolling the Dice

The first player rolls both dice and adds up the total. Based on this total, the player decides which tiles to shut. For example, if a player rolls an 8, they can choose to shut the 8 tile alone, or any combination that adds up to 8, such as 5 and 3, or 2, 3, and 3 in versions with more tiles.

Step 4: Continuing the Turn

The player keeps rolling the dice and shutting tiles until they cannot shut tiles to match the dice roll. The sum of the remaining open numbers becomes the player’s score for the round.

Step 5: Passing to the Next Player

The next player resets the box (opens all tiles) and starts their turn, following the same steps. In versions for individual play, players attempt to beat their previous score in subsequent rounds.

Winning the Game

In multiplayer versions, the game can continue for a predetermined number of rounds, or until a player successfully “shuts the box” – closes all the tiles. The player with the lowest score at the end of all rounds wins.

If playing alone, the goal is simply to shut the box or achieve the lowest possible score.

Strategies for Success

Balance Risk and Reward

Deciding which combination of tiles to shut with each roll is where strategy comes into play. Early in the game, it might be tempting to shut higher numbers, but leaving versatile combinations available can be beneficial for future rolls.

Aim for Flexibility

Keeping a range of numbers available gives you more options with future dice rolls. Be mindful of the combinations that can be made with typical dice rolls.

Practice and Observations

Like many games of chance, observing patterns and practicing different strategies can improve your gameplay over time.

Variations of Shut The Box

To keep the game interesting, try these variations:

  • Different Number Ranges: Use a box with numbers up to 9, 12, or even higher for a more challenging game.
  • Multiple Dice: Adding a third die increases complexity and strategic options.
  • Timed Rounds: Introduce a time limit for each player’s turn to add pressure and quick thinking into the mix.

Shut The Box is more than just a game of chance; it’s a blend of strategy, risk management, and a bit of luck, offering endless entertainment for solo players or groups. Whether you’re unwinding after a long day or looking for a fun activity with friends, this classic game proves that sometimes the simplest games can be the most engaging. Embrace the strategies outlined in this guide, experiment with different variations, and most importantly, enjoy the timeless appeal of Shut The Box.

Where to Buy: Find Shut the Box Gameboards on Amazon ($24.99)

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