Shut the Box #1-12 Rules


A fun and fast paced game of luck and skill for any number of players age 5 and up. Over 700 years old.  Originating in Jersey England in the 14th century, for centuries it was common on the old sailing ships and in bars as a gambling and drinking game, and still is a popular tavern game around the world. In schools it is popular as an educational game to develop math skills in a fun way.


Object: End up with the lowest score. If your lucky you will “Shut the Box”, ie, flip all the numbers and end up with Zero!

Game Rules: Expose all the numbered tiles in the box.

The first player rolls both dice and proceeds to shut (flip) one or more numbered tiles that add up to the value of the throw. That is; if a 7 is rolled, a 7 or a 6&1 or 5&2 or 4&2&1 etc… may be flipped. The dice are rolled continuously by the same player until the number rolled cannot be flipped by the remaining tiles. Note when remaining tiles total less than 6, only 1 dice is used in the roll. At the point where the roll cannot be taken, the players turn is done and the game passes to the next person. A player’s score is the total of all tiles remaining. For example, if a 2, 3, and 6 are still exposed, then the players score is 11. If a player “Shuts the Box”, that is turns over all the tiles, then the score of all other players is doubled for that round. The winner is the player who has the lowest score. You can play one round at a time, or play multiple rounds until one person reaches 100 points. Player with the lowest score after that round is the winner.


Optional (recommended) Rules for #1-12 Shut Box

Shut the Box with numbers going up to 12 can be played using exactly the same rules as standard Shut Box with numbers up to 9; that is, you can eliminate any combination of numbers that adds up to your dice roll.

However , Shut the Box games that have numbers going up to 12 provide the optional opportunity to use optional rules with a bit more complex math. It is a favorite of teachers that want to provide more challenge to the kids. The level of math required goes up and can be very good for advancing math skills in children ages 8-12 .


Multiplication of Dice 

On every role, the results of the dice can be either added together or multiplied together. For example; if a 4 and a 6 are rolled, one could either ADD them to 10 (4+6)  or MULTIPLY them to 24 (4 x 6). You then have the option of flipping a 10 (or any combination that adds to 10) from the Shut Box game board or 24 (or any combination that adds to 24). If taking 24 for instance you might flip the 12, 10 and 2 tiles (or the 10,8, & 6 tiles etc…). 

You could also flip any combination of numbers that multiply to 10 or 24. That is, you can flip tiles that multiply to 24 like 2 and 12 (since 2 x 12 = 24).  Or, you could flip 2, 3, & 4 because 2 x 3 x 4 = 24. You could also flip numbers that multiple to 10 such as 2 x 5.  


On every role of the dice there are many combinations that are possible. This is a great and FUN teaching tool and a favorite item for homeschoolers and teachers in grades 3-6.

As another example, if a 5 and 6 were were rolled, you would have a number of alternatives as to what to flip.

-You could use :addition; 5 + 6 = 11 and flip any combination of tiles that add or multiplies to 11. (such as 4 + 7; or 2 + 9, or 2 + 3 + 6, or 1 X 11 (since 1 X 11 = 11) or just the 11,  etc….)

- You could use multiplication; 5 x 6 = 30 and flip any combination that adds or multiplies to 30 (such as 12 + 10 + 8, or 3 x 10, or 2 x 3 x 5 , etc…)


A learning exercise that some teachers use is to ask the students to list every possible way to flip tiles for any given role during the game. It really gets them thinking!


We highly recommend Shut Box for both its learning opportunities and its good old fashion fun factor! Shut Box is a game that is enjoyed by all ages and is something that kids, parents and Grandparents can play together. A 1-9 and a 1-12 version is available. NOTE that the 1-12 version can be played with just addition for the younger kids by first eliminating the numbers 10,11 & 12 and then trying to shut the box using just addition. The odds of shutting the box this way are about the same as shutting the box using addition and multiplication on the 1-12 version.

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