- 2, 3, or 4 players are recommended
- 2 standard dice
- Shut the Box game board includes nine boxes numbered 1-9 but you can also make this yourself if needed
- Nine chips or similar to use as markers if you don’t have the official board to turn the numbered boxes/tiles
- A scorepad and pens
- In a game of Shut the Box, players aim to end the round with as low a score as possible, shutting the boxes (turning around the number-spaces or tiles) by rolling that number with their dice.
- Whatever numbers are left at the end of the person’s turn, that is the total score.
- The person with the lowest score wins.
- If a person manages to turn over all tiles during their turn, they immediately win the round as that is the lowest possible score of zero.
- Shut the Box is played for a total of five rounds, and total scores are summed at the end of the fifth round.
The objective of Shut the Box is to try to lower as many tiles as possible on each turn before exhausting all options. Any tiles left at the end of each player’s turn are added to their total score.
You will begin the game with all tiles open, in other words, they are showing the numbers 1-9. The game Shut the Box comes from the idea of covering each number space with a marker to shut that number space. If a player covers all number spaces, they’ll score 0 points for that turn AND have shut the box, effectively winning the turn, and ending it.
To start the turn, a player will roll the two dice. Next, they’ll have to take one of these actions:
- Go solo: Use each die individually
If the numbers rolled are different, and if both of those number spaces on the board are not yet shut, then the player can shut both spaces. For example: If you roll a 1 and a 5 and both are open, you may shut them.
- Sum up: Use the sum of both dice
If you sum up both dice and get a number that matches an open number space, that can be shut, too.
If you roll 7,8,9 during your turn, you have the option of rolling a single die instead of two. If that single die doesn’t match an open number space, then you pass the turn onto the next player.
Don’t forget to sum up the tiles left as the score for that round!
Players will repeat rounds five times unless someone manages to maneuver a Shut the Box, closing all number spaces in their turn as that will end it. At the end, scores will be totaled, and the person with the lowest score wins.
- Three players are gathered around a table with the Shut the Box board set up, all numbers facing up from 1-9.
- Player one rolls 2 and a 3 and decides to shut both of those boxes.
- Player one gets to go again, rolling a 6 and a 4, and since the total sum is greater than 9, player one has to place chips or markers on those two number spaces.
- Player one rolls again, this time he gets a 5 and a 6, again, since there is no 11 number-space, it ends player one’s turn. They count the numbers still open and mark down their score.
- Players take turns as shown above until they’ve all played five rounds in total.
Always Sum is one of the most popular variants of Shut the Box. In this alternative version, you don’t use the numbers on the dice separately. You roll both dice and then always sum them together. What’s more, you can shut any open number of spaces that add to the total sum rolled.