How to Play the Sorry Board Game
The Sorry Boardgame
Sorry is the classic kids board game of chance. Sorry is a race game based on the Cross and Circle game, Pachisi. The goal is to get your four pawns around the board and based to your home base before your opponents. Because of the high level of random chance involved in Sorry, it's an excellent choice for playing with small kids who might not be able to strategize a great deal. Sorry does allow for strategy, since you get to decide which pawn to move at any given time. This has an affect on your odds of winning Sorry, which I'll detail in the strategy section.
The lead changes often in a game of Sorry. You'll seldom see a game where a player is so far behind they have no chance of winning. Three cards (4, 7, 11) allow for big changes in the placement of pawns around the board, so even if you're behind and draw one of these cards (and use it effectively), you can affect the balance of the game. If you're playing to win, keep an eye on which opponent is closest to winning and use one of these cards against them. This lets you slow the game down, giving you more turns for the advantage to turn your way. Since the game involves 2-4 players, if all players who are behind work against the leader, they have a 75% chance of getting a game-changing card in the four-player game.
Many of the instructions of Sorry are printed right on the cards. About half the cards tell you to make a pawn forward or backward a certain number of spaces. For instance, if you get a 5 card, you'll need to move one pawn 5 spaces forward. If you get a 4 card, you'll need to move a pawn four spaces backward.
Each player has a start zone. When the game starts, you'll hope to get a card which allows you to move one of your pawns from start and begin to move it around the board. Most of the time, this requires you to move the pawn clockwise around the entirety of the board, before you can move it into your safe area. The safe area is that 5-space area inside the outer spaces of the board which culminate in the large round space which says "Home". Your safe zone is the one which is the same color as your pawn pieces. If you can get your pawn inside this area, that pawn is safe from being moved around the board by opponents with cards that might allow them to do so. The main challenge of Sorry! is to get your pawns into these spaces before your opponents can mess up your strategy with a 4, 7, or 11 card.
Some cards have unique rules, such as the 7-card, which allows you to split movement. This means you can split movement between two different pawns, so once might move 4 and the other 3, one might move 5 and the other 2, or one pawn might move 6 spaces and the other pawn only 1. This gives tremendous flexibility in moving your pawns about the board (if you have two active pawns), so you can line up one pawn to hit a slide space. You cannot use the 6-1 option or the 5-2 option when moving a pawn out of Start, though. Also, if for some reason you cannot use all 7 spaces, you lose your turn.
Another key card is the "11", which gives you the ability to either move 11 spaces forward or switch places with another player's pawn. Switching tiles with another player's pawn is important, because this gives you the chance to switch to a spot on the board advantageous to yourself, or switch the pawn of the game leader to hurt their chances of winning, or both. Using this card in the right way gives you a big advantage, especially if you get lucky in what part of the game you draw the card. Note that, if it's not to your advantage to switch pawns with someone and you also cannot move forward 11 spaces, you have the option to pass.
Sorry Strategy Tips
One Sorry strategy tip is to keep one of your pawns at Home, so if you get the "Sorry!" card, you can move your pawn from Start to the spot occupied by an opponent's pawn. The opponent's pawn must return to its Start. This can negate a significant amount of work on their part and change the course of a game.
Keep a pawn just outside and near your safe zone. If the pawn is within 3-4 spots of the entrance, if you get the 4-card, you can use this card to move this pawn back four spots, thus placing you right outside your Safe Zone without having to go all the way around the game board.
Some Sorry strategists consider it a bad idea to keep a pawn outside the entrance on the "dot" space, because this blocks you from getting the next pawn out of the "Start" location. A key part of strategy is to decide whether to keep a pawn near the Start to facilitate a move back with a 4, or to begin moving it around the board, making the long trip back to the Safe zone.
You'll find Sorry experts, but it's is a game fit for children as young as 6 years old. Sorry gets kids used to basic strategy, planning, and the concept of bad luck. I remember playing Sorry! as a child and straining my little brain trying to figure out how to beat my older brother and sister the next time around. Kids these days have access to the Internet, so children can research Sorry playing tips online. But whether you're into mastering Cross and Circle games or you just want to play Sorry with your siblings on a Saturday afternoon, don't forget it's all about fun.
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