Shut the Box

Shut the Box has been popular in northern France for many years. You can buy a special box set for the game in some parts of the world, but it is easy enough to make at home. Draw nine boxes (numbered 1 to 9) on a sheet of paper with the boxes large enough to be covered by a counter each.

Age: All ages

No. of players: 2 or more

Equipment: Two dice; Pen and paper for overall scoring; Nine counters and paper to indicate scores each round

Time: 10 minutes+

Aim: To achieve the lowest score.

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1. Players roll both dice to decide who will go first (highest score).

2. Player One then rolls both dice and adds them together. She can place counters on any boxes which add up to that total. For example, throwing a 5 and a 3 (5 + 3 = 8) means Player One could cover any one of the following combinations:

8
7 + 1
6 + 2
5 + 3
1 + 2 + 5
1 + 3 + 4

Usually a player will try to cover the higher numbers (7, 8, 9) first. Player One then throws both dice again and attempts to cover any remaining boxes with the new total. The combination must add up to the total on the dice. Once a player has covered the 7, 8 and 9, they can choose to throw just one die (The plural of die is dice). Player One continues her turn until she cannot cover any boxes using combinations which add to the total thrown. At this point, Player One finishes her turn with a score equal to the total of the uncovered boxes. If she has covered every number (a score of zero), she has "Shut the Box".

3. All the counters are then removed. Play continues in a clockwise direction until every player has had a turn. The player with the lowest score wins that round.

4. The game can be played for any number of rounds or for a certain time limit. The overall winner is the player with the lowest total score over all the rounds.


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