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Shut the box dice game

Shut The Box

Shut the Box is a delightful and engaging dice game that combines luck, strategy, and arithmetic skills. Whether you're playing solo or with friends, the simple yet addictive gameplay of Shut the Box makes it a favorite pastime for players of all ages. Gather around the table, roll the dice, and see if you can shut the box!

Shut The Box Dice Game

Rules and Gameplay

Shut the Box is typically played with a special wooden or plastic box with numbered tiles or flaps representing the numbers 1 through 9 or 1 through 12. The objective of the game is to "shut" or close all the tiles by rolling the dice and flipping down corresponding tiles.

Players take turns rolling two dice and then use the sum of the dice to flip down tiles that correspond to that number. For example, if a player rolls a 7, they can flip down the tiles numbered 7, 6+1, 5+2, 4+3, or any other combination that adds up to 7.

After each roll, the player must flip down at least one tile. If a player cannot flip down any tiles that match the roll, their turn ends, and they add up the numbers on the remaining tiles. This total becomes their score for the round.

The game continues with each player taking turns until all tiles are flipped down, at which point the game ends, and the player with the lowest score wins.


While the standard version of Shut the Box is the most common, there are several variations and house rules that players can explore to add variety and challenge to the game. Some popular variations include:

  • Traditional Shut the Box: Players use a box with tiles numbered 1 through 9 or 1 through 12 and follow the standard rules of the game.
  • Double Shut the Box: Players use two sets of dice and compete to shut their respective boxes before their opponents.
  • Speed Shut the Box: Players race against the clock to shut the box within a specified time limit, adding an element of urgency and excitement to the game.
  • Team Shut the Box: Players form teams and work together to shut the box collectively, combining their scores to achieve the lowest total.


The origins of Shut the Box are believed to trace back to 18th-century France, where the game was known as "Canoga" or "Batten Down the Hatches." The game later gained popularity in England and other European countries, where it was played in pubs and taverns as a gambling game.

Shut the Box was introduced to North America by European immigrants and sailors, who played the game during their voyages and introduced it to local communities. Over time, Shut the Box evolved from a gambling game into a popular family-friendly pastime enjoyed by players of all ages.

Player Demographics

Shut the Box appeals to a wide range of players and is popular among:

  • Family game nights
  • Pub and bar patrons
  • Travelers and campers

The game's simple rules, quick gameplay, and compact size make it a versatile choice for any occasion, whether you're at home, on the go, or enjoying a night out.

Duration of Play

The duration of a game of Shut the Box can vary depending on:

  • Number of players
  • Rolling and decision-making speed
  • Variations and house rules

On average, a game of Shut the Box typically lasts around 15 to 30 minutes. However, players can adjust the length of the game by modifying the number of tiles used or setting time limits for each turn.

Party Ideas

Hosting a Shut the Box-themed party is a fantastic way to entertain guests and create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. Here are some ideas to make your Shut the Box party a memorable event:

  • Decorate the venue with vintage-inspired decor, such as wooden dice, old-fashioned scoreboards, and rustic table settings.
  • Set up multiple Shut the Box stations with different variations and challenges for guests to explore and enjoy.
  • Offer themed snacks and refreshments, such as dice-shaped cookies, retro candy, and craft beers or cocktails inspired by traditional pub fare.
  • Organize a Shut the Box tournament with prizes for the winners, such as gift baskets, board games, or custom Shut the Box sets.
  • Provide Shut the Box-themed party favors for your guests to take home, such as mini wooden dice sets, personalized scorecards, or vintage-inspired coasters.


Shut the Box is more than just a game; it's a timeless classic that brings people together and creates lasting memories. With its rich history, simple rules, and endless variations, Shut the Box offers hours of entertainment for players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you're playing competitively with friends or casually with family, the charm and versatility of Shut the Box are sure to make it a favorite game night choice for years to come.

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