Board Games

How to Play the Board Game Marbles

Playing the board game Marbles, also known as Aggravation or Wahoo, combines strategy, luck, and the classic fun of moving marbles around a board to reach a designated home area before your opponents. This family-friendly game, suitable for players of all ages, is often played on a wooden board with indentations for marbles to sit in, accommodating 2 to 6 players. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to play Marbles, covering the essential rules, setup, and strategies to enjoy this engaging game.

how to play the board game marbles

Game Setup

  1. Board and Marbles: Each player chooses a set of marbles (usually 4) of the same color and places them in their starting base or “nest.”
  2. Playing Order: Players determine the playing order, often by each rolling a die, with the highest roll going first.


The main goal in Marbles is to be the first player to move all your marbles from the starting base to your designated “home” section on the board by navigating through a shared track.

How to play the Game Marbles

Starting the Game

  • To start, a player must roll a 1 or a 6 to move a marble from their base to their “start” position on the board. If neither number is rolled, the turn passes to the next player.

Moving Marbles

  • On subsequent turns, players roll the die and move any of their marbles already on the board the number of spaces rolled. Movement is typically clockwise.
  • A roll of 6 grants another roll for an additional move.

Jumping and Aggravating

  • Players can jump over other marbles if there are enough spaces counted by the die roll but cannot land on or pass through a space occupied by another marble.
  • If a player lands on a space occupied by an opponent’s marble by exact count, the opponent’s marble is “aggravated” and sent back to their base. The attacking marble takes its place.

Safe Zones and Shortcuts

  • Certain areas on the board are marked as “safe zones,” where marbles cannot be aggravated. These are typically colored differently.
  • Some versions of Marbles include shortcuts or “superhighways” that can only be accessed by rolling an exact number to enter. These paths allow for quicker movement around the board.

Reaching Home

  • To move a marble into your “home” section, you must roll an exact number to match the number of spaces from your marble to the home area.
  • Once a marble reaches home, it is removed from play.

Winning the Game

The first player to move all their marbles into the home section wins the game.

Strategies for Success

  • Opening Moves: Prioritize getting all your marbles onto the board quickly to increase your mobility and options.
  • Defense: Keep in mind the positions of other players’ marbles to avoid getting aggravated and sent back to your base.
  • Use the Safe Zones: Strategically use safe zones to protect your marbles as you navigate them closer to home.
  • Aggravate Wisely: While aggravating opponents’ marbles can be strategic, it may also divert your path. Choose wisely based on your position and the game’s progress.


Marbles has many variations, including different board designs and rules adjustments. Some versions introduce cards instead of dice rolls to dictate movement, adding another layer of strategy and unpredictability to the game.

Playing Marbles offers a delightful blend of simplicity and strategic depth, making it a cherished game for gatherings, family game nights, and casual fun. Its easy-to-understand rules, combined with the tactical decision-making involved in navigating marbles around the board, ensure that each game is filled with excitement, competition, and the occasional friendly aggravation. Whether you’re introducing it to young players or revisiting it as an adult, Marbles remains a timeless board game that brings people together over shared strategy and laughter.

Where to buy: Find the classic Marble Board Game on Amazon

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