How to Play Boggle
Boggle Instructions, Rules, and Strategy
Learning how to play Boggle will allow you to take part in a cultural phenomenon thatís been referenced in everything from Seinfeld to King of the Hill. Designed by Allan Turoff and first sold by Parker Brothers in 1972, this popular word game has inspired numerous variations including a television game show and a version for the Windows operating system.
Iíve always preferred Boggle over Scrabble, mainly because one provides just as much enjoyment without all the obsessive memorization and pretentious notions. I donít have time to commit the dictionary to memory, but I do enjoy challenging my brain whenever possible. Plenty of people must agree with me, as Boggle has sold millions of copies since it exploded in popularity in the 1980s.
This article will focus on how to play Boggle, as well as offering a number of strategic options for gameplay. Whether youíre a veteran or a raw beginner, youíre bound to find something to help your game.
Boggle instructions are easy to follow thanks to the lack of hundreds of small pieces to keep up with. Once you open the box, youíll find the following components: 16 lettered dice, an hourglass-shaped timer, a plastic tray that holds the dice, a plastic cover for shaking the dice, and a copy of the Boggle rules. Youíll also need several pencils and writing pads, although youíll have to provide these yourself.
Setup time should only take a minute, so youíll be able to enjoy Boggle without lots of fuss. Now that youíre ready to play, letís take a look at the rules for Boggle.
One of the players takes the plastic cover, places it over the blue tray with the dice, and then shakes it vigorously. Once the dice have settled into the tray, the three-minute timer is started and all players begin looking for words among the dice cubes.
All the words you write down must be connected in some way (either vertically, diagonally, or horizontally). Words must be at least three letters long to be legal, and an individual letter cube can only be used once in the creation of a word.
When the time has run out, players read their words in a clockwise fashion. If more than one player wrote down the same word, all players must cross it off their lists. If a player writes down an invalid word, they lose a number of points equal to what they wouldíve scored if the word was valid. Any player can challenge the validity of a word, with the dictionary being the ultimate judge.
Players should take turns when determining who reads their list after everyone else. The final player to read their words has a slight advantage in that they have the option of crossing out any invalid words on their list that might have lost points for another player.
Scoring is determined as follows:
3-letter words = 1 point
4-letter words = 1 point
5-letter words = 2 points
6-letter words = 3 points
7-letter words = 5 points
8-letter words or greater = 11 points
Once each player has determined their score, the player with the highest total is declared the winner for the round. Players can also choose to keep a cumulative score and play until someone reaches a predetermined amount.
The following section details some of the various kinds of Boggle strategy available to astute players. While employing these tactics wonít guarantee a win, you will notice an immediate improvement in your play.
Ignore the Timer - Youíre going to play until the timer runs out anyway, so why bother staring at it? My suggestion is to ignore it completely and focus your attention on the letter grid.
Stay Calm - When the timer is running and people are searching for words, some players can get stressed out. Try to stay as calm as possible during gameplay. Iíve found that taking a deep breath before and after a round of Boggle helps me stay focused.
Donít Think - If you think youíve found a word but arenít sure, just write it down and move on. There will be plenty of opportunities to establish its validity after the timer has expired. Worrying about it while the game is going can cost you valuable points. This method is especially handy if you know youíll be the last player to read your list of words.
Challenge Yourself - If you only play Boggle against your 9-year-old sister, you may not improve as quickly as youíd like. To push yourself to be better, try to play against those who are better than you. Even if this is difficult to do in real life, youíll have no problem finding obsessive Boggle players on the Internet.
Have Fun - While itís always satisfying to win a game of Boggle, keep in mind that the primary reason for playing should be to have fun. No matter how stressful or heated the competition becomes, never forget this fact.
Write Clearly - In the heat of the game, players will frantically scribble down words and sometimes be unable to read what theyíve written during the scoring phase. For this reason, always make sure your handwriting is clear enough to read when it counts.
Memorize - Try writing down a list of common Boggle words and then memorize them. I suggest beginning with three letter words and working your way up from there. While this wonít guarantee that the words will appear during play, it will increase your chances of spotting them.
Donít Give Up - Sometimes a glance at the Boggle tray will reveal no usable words, but itís important to keep searching and not give up. Even if the timer is seconds away from expiring, the persistent play may be able to find scoring opportunities at the last minute.
For those who enjoy playing Scrabble, learning how to play Boggle will provide a more casual variation while still challenging your brainpower. With a number of variants available through sites like Amazon and eBay, even veteran players will be guaranteed hours of word-forming fun. And since the game is suitable for almost anyone who can read and write, youíll have no trouble finding something to do at your next party or family game night.
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